Tom’s Fish & Chips fills space left by sushi restaurant

Tom Krueger, left, and Tom Drumheller are the co-owners of Tom's Fish & Chips, a new Cannon Beach business. The oars they're wielding will become part of the restaurant's decor.

CANNON BEACH — Tom Drumheller and Tom Krueger, the co-owners of a new fish-and-chips restaurant at 240 N. Hemlock St., were hard-pressed to come up with a name for their establishment.

“But with a lot of encouragement from other people, I think we’ve finally decided that ‘Tom’s was appropriate,” Krueger joked.

Even though “Tom’s” is singular possessive, Drumheller insists that the name refers to both of them.

“My mother taught English, so she would probably correct me,” Drumheller said. But he likes the way the apostrophe looks after the “m.”

“We’re brothers in arms,” Krueger said.

Tom’s Fish & Chips, which fills the space left by Fishes Sushi & Japanese Cuisine, held a soft opening earlier this month.

After looking at the local market, Drummer and Krueger felt that Cannon Beach could use a quick-service, low-price fish restaurant in that spot, where families could sit down for their meal or get it to go.

“Maybe you don’t want to sit down formally and have a white tablecloth meal,” Krueger said. “You’re going to be able to come in here, get some good quality food at a good price and not feel like it bankrupted you along the way.”

How will this new fish restaurant resemble Fishes Sushi, which vacated the site last spring?

“Same location,” Drumheller said.

“That’s about it,” Krueger added.

Their restaurant will specialize in three kinds of fish-and-chips: Northwest salmon, Alaskan halibut and arctic cod. Fish tacos, a blackened salmon Caesar salad and a “good old-fashioned” all-beef burger are also on the menu, Drumheller said.

A salty sea dog would feel right at home amid the maritime decor, which is still a work in progress. Long wooden oars and a functional life preserver are strewn about the unfinished interior. An expansive mural by local artist Craig Shepherd depicts pirates storming a beach.

The Toms are renovating the space “to add some warmth to it and try to make it really, really cozy, especially during the off-season for the locals,” said Drumheller, who is also the CEO of Escape Lodging, a hospitality company. “I wish we had a little bit more seating, but we’re doing the best with what we’ve got.”

Proprietor Mike Clark and his staff at Coaster Construction “were instrumental in helping us come up with this old wood” for the design, Drumheller said.

Tom’s Fish & Chips, which incorporated in June, is still accepting applications. “We’d, ideally, like 20 employees,” said Krueger, a former chef who spent 22 years at Red Robbin in the Seattle market. “That’s our summer number.”

For the general manager position, the Toms turned to Frank Eckstein, who worked at Cousins Restaurant, another Escape Lodging enterprise, in The Dalles.

Eckstein knows how to maintain control when “all hell’s breaking loose,” Krueger said.

“When you see a swan swimming, it’s very calm, serene, peaceful. But underneath, they’re paddling like crazy,” Eckstein said.

The Toms have only vague plans for holding a grand opening in the fall. They do know that they’ll want to do something fun. “Dancing codfish?” Krueger mused.

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