Two years ago, Adrian Webb and Amanda Stoffel were preparing for their first St. Paddy’s running Finaghty’s Irish Pub & Restaurant. The couple moved to Snoqualmie Ridge in November 2017, and when they found out about the opportunity to own the local pub, they could not resist the chance to share the spirit of Ireland with their community.
You see, Adrian’s parents are both from Ireland. His mom, Ann, is from just outside of Dublin and his dad, Maurice, is from just outside of Belfast.
Adrian and his brother, Derek, grew up in California, but they spent many of their best summers in Ireland visiting relatives. Says Adrian, “the people of Ireland are so amazing, very generous, fun-loving, friendly and extremely inviting.”
Unfortunately, Adrian lost his older brother, Derek, in early 2019. This tragic event pushed him to make the most of opportunities and live a life centered on connecting with people. What better way to connect with the community and honor his brother than to own the local Irish pub! Adrian and Amanda officially closed the purchase of Fin’s in October of 2019.
They were excited to put on a grand party for their first Saint Patrick’s Day, a Tuesday in 2020. In preparation, they had Guinness and green beer kegs lining the hallways, corned beef brining, and a lineup of singers, Irish dancers, bagpipes, and of course the Bellevue Firemen for what was to be four days of festivities.
However, a few days into their preparation, Governor Inslee issued the mandate to close inside dining – takeout orders only.
The new owners were reduced to selling corned beef to-go on what was supposed to be the busiest day of the year for an Irish Pub. The Snoqualmie Valley community was amazingly supportive, keeping their phones ringing, and they ran out of corned beef very early.
Unfortunately, they needed the liquor sales from the busy holiday to help replace equipment and fix the bathrooms. Amanda says, “Once we took over, we realized the pub was not in the best shape. There was always something breaking down or leaking. Fin’s was a bar first, then a restaurant. With a fryer that was on its last legs and no hood, the kitchen was not equipped for us to produce great to-go food.”
March 23, 2020, they closed their doors.
“We first closed to see how the pandemic would materialize. Staying open with all the pub’s issues would have cost more money than we could make on to-go sales. We wanted to reopen July 2020 but didn’t realize what was in store for us,” notes Adrian.
Says Amanda, “I was happy to start making the necessary changes, but it was also a difficult decision. I knew we were letting our staff and even the community down. We kept some of the staff on to deep clean the place and paid them out of pocket. We hoped this and installing a hood would allow us to reopen with decent to-go food.”
Little did they know in 2020, getting the hood installed would end up being a huge issue. It was finally resolved and installed just this month – March 2022!
As time went on, Amanda and Adrian realized almost everything in the pub needed to be repaired or replaced. They brought in consultants to help them design the kitchen’s new layout. Once the layout was done and the drawings were finally approved, no longer would the place be a pub first, restaurant second. They now had the potential to be a great restaurant as well.
The following issues were supply chain delays, skyrocketing prices and venting the new hood to the rooftop. After many reviews, the engineers and contractor determined that the only spot the exhaust vent could run was right through the lobby of Peak Sports & Spine Physical Therapy.
Says Adrian, “A huge thank you to Russell Kowalinski for giving up a part of your lobby; we will deliver on the agreed-upon supply of Guinness!”
Amanda had hoped to spruce up the place on her own, but the couple decided to involve their contractor, Mike Myers, and bring on an interior designer to help. In January 2021, they hired Darren Fagan from Irish Pub Company for interior design. Based out of Dublin, the Irish pub company has created bespoke interior designs for Irish pubs worldwide.
The Irish Pub Company builds everything from scratch – all wood, art, furniture, glass and mirror come from Ireland. However, bringing on such a company was a huge commitment and would mean the community would have to wait even longer for reopening. Darren and Amanda were immersed in the details until December 2021, a whole year.
Since everything the Irish Pub Company creates is made in Ireland, it has to arrive via containers. At the time, with many port delays, it was best to send the containers to Montreal. They would then travel by rail to Vancouver, then truck to Snoqualmie.
Two containers shipped in early January, and only this past week was one taken off the ship in Montreal. It is slated to arrive on March 22 if there is no rail strike in Canada. Initially, these containers were supposed to be here in February.
Not only did they revamp the kitchen and cosmetics, but they also shifted spaces around in the pub for better flow, expanded the keg room, moved walls, cut into the slab for new plumbing and rearranged the bar equipment. What was once only the desire to install a hood became a full-fledged demolition of the space.
The fun begins when the containers arrive, and the design will quickly come to life. The good news is that the hood is installed, the drywall is in place & primed, and plumbing & electrical are mostly installed. But still, they wait.
The newly renovated space will open under a new name – Saints and Scholars Irish Pub. Ireland is known as The Land of Saints and Scholars, and this theme is represented throughout the pub.
While they don’t have an exact reopening date due to the container delays, they hope it will be this summer. Since they missed this St. Paddy’s celebration, they hope to have a Half-Way to St. Paddy’s celebration in September, which may double as their Grand Opening.
There will be a new menu with everything made in-house. Expect brunch on the weekends and great cocktails with whiskey and gin being the primary focus. There will be live entertainment, and they have already booked dueling pianos for some fun interactive singing.
Says Adrian, “We hope there will be a lot of amazing memories made here, including first dates, anniversaries, birthdays, special events, and we want to help make those memories special. At the same time, we also want people to feel this is a place where they can come in for a casual beer. The Irish are all about bringing a great light-hearted attitude to their lives. We will work to foster this positive feeling, make it a fun environment where anyone can come in not knowing anyone and leave with many new friends. The layout is designed to bring people together.”
“We know so many in the community want more updates and want to know when we will open. It has been so hard as many times there is little to update, and at times we did not know if we were going to be able to make all the changes we wanted. If we updated the whole community about the great food offerings and future of an amazing kitchen to find out, we could not do it; it didn’t make sense to us. Timing is also a moving target; we cannot control the weather, railway strikes, port delays, trucking, and logistic issues. You name it, and we have run into it. Then add in rising labor costs, inflation, and staffing shortages across all industries, and this may be the most challenging time to do a construction project. Putting out an update to have to take it back weeks later due to some other unforeseen item is the challenge. We appreciate the grace and understanding the community has given us. We are so excited about what this will be. We want to make our families and community proud.”
Adrian is in the mortgage business, and staying busy keeps the couple afloat and able to take on their crazy project. Says Amanda, “to anyone who refinanced or purchased through him during the last two years, you have some stake in the pub, and we thank you!”
The couple would also like to send a special thank you to:
- Mike Myers and Bill James from My Way Construction (and the many subcontractors on this project)
- Darren Fagan from Irish Pub Company,
- Chris McKenty and Dwayne Yee from Smith & Green
- Scott and Myles Gilkey from Gilkey Restaurant Consulting
An extra special thanks to the surrounding businesses in our building, including Peak Sports & Spine Physical Therapy, Kirby Nelson Orthodontics, Arbor Eye Care, Snoqualmie Optimal Health Chiropractic, The Swirl, Frankie’s Pizza, Aahaar Indian Eatery, T-Mobile, and Sno Falls Credit Union for putting up with the construction noises, water and data shutdowns, and many other interruptions.
Says the couple, “Without the many wonderful people around us, we wouldn’t have made it this far.”
Congratulations, Saints and Scholars Irish Pub! We’ll see you this summer!