Sweet Lou’s Restaurant and Tap House is now open in the Athol Crossings Shopping Center where U.S. 95 crosses Highway 54.
“It’s been great becoming part of the Athol community,” said Chad Foust, co-owner. “They have been very welcoming and have embraced us since breaking ground.”
The Athol location is the third Sweet Lou’s restaurant in the region, with one located in Ponderay and another in downtown Coeur d’Alene. Of the three Sweet Lou’s, this is the first the Fousts have built from the ground up, with design and architecture support from Miller Stauffer Architects.
With 187 seats (which includes a covered, heated patio), Sweet Lou’s offers a casual, family friendly atmosphere with décor celebrating the naval history of Farragut State Park. The goal of the design was comfort for the guests and an efficient kitchen for the staff.
“I’ve been in the restaurant industry for over 25 years now,” Foust said. “Being able to use all my experience to design a restaurant is a dream come true. Every detail has been created to give our guests a great experience and convenience for our employees.”
Changes in the industry have also impacted the design, specifically changes from the COVID pandemic.
“In the past two years, the take-out side of our business has grown dramatically,” Foust said. “We did our best to create a take-out plan that doesn’t interrupt our guests that are dining in, while streamlining the process of picking up to-go orders.”
Sweet Lou’s restaurants, named after the Fousts’ son, Lou, offer American-fare on the table. Ninety percent of what is served is made in-house with quality ingredients.
“If it’s on the menu, it’s something we like,” said Meggie Foust, co-owner. “We love to travel the nation to get ideas for dishes — at the end of the day, it’s our quality comfort food that really satisfies our customers.”