The Horny Toad Celebrates 40 Years


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Glenn and Marian Price

Few restaurants and saloons survive to experience four decades in business. However, The Horny Toad continues to grow and thrive as it celebrates its longevity in Cave Creek.

Glenn and Marian Price, who purchased The Horny Toad in 1976, had more than 25 years of experience as restaurant owners in Michigan. Today, son Jeff Price is managing partner along with the managing staff of Tom Price, Pam Hurst and Jim Leonard. The restaurant’s chef, Don Dantine, has been with The Horny Toad for more than 28 years, and approximately 35 employees now work for the historic establishment.

The Horny Toad’s original building was a home in 1932. Prior to the Price’s purchase of the property, the establishment was known as Dirty Will’s Mustache Cup; Dirty Will was a supervisor at the Cave Creek dump.

“It was quite – and remains – an interesting place,” says Frank Imel, who has provided construction and maintenance for the complex since its purchase. “In the early days, the saloons in town were Harold’s (a very tiny bar at the time), The Maverick (now the Buffalo Chip), The Horny Toad and The Treehouse restaurant. Visitors had to wait three or four hours to get into these places because there were so few to choose from.

 

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Jeff & Tom Price

Jeff Price says that his grandfather had the first liquor license in Indiana after prohibition, and after years in the restaurant business there, his parents moved to Cave Creek to open The Horny Toad. Price worked for his dad for about five years before Price senior retired.

“The Horny Toad is the oldest, originally-owned restaurant in Cave Creek,” says Price. “Years ago, people rode their horses to our establishment and tied them right outside. From the beginning, and ongoing today, I have been blessed with a dedicated management team and the most committed wait staff around,” he says. “Their ideas are important to our success and I value their input. Everyone who works here is like family.”

Over the years, the restaurant has made many changes. The original tiny kitchen was expanded dramatically to feature a barbecue cooking station, a large food prep area, more refrigeration, coolers and storage. The restaurant’s newest seating area features a wall made from rocks from New River. Roughly 15 years ago, a large, dog-friendly patio was added to the west side of the restaurant with more additions planned in the coming months.

The Horny Toad Shops, behind the restaurant, originally incorporated only 620 square feet. The first shop, constructed in 1931, was a tack room and feed storage room. At the end of 1976, a pottery store and an Indian rug retailer came to life followed by bike rentals and unique retail.

The Horny Toad, which is located on roughly five acres in the center of historic Cave Creek, offers signature dishes including made-from-scratch fried chicken, barbecue chicken and homemade secret barbecue sauce, pork and beef ribs and mesquite-grilled porterhouse, top sirloin and rib eye steaks, prime rib and award-winning strawberry shortcake.

Why do people still flock to this 40-year-old restaurant/bar?

“Consistency in food quality, customer service, hard work, a little luck and a great vision to make each customer’s experience a memorable one,” says Tom Price. “The management team is committed to this brand and all it has come to mean to the customers who grace this special place.”

The Horny Toad is located at 6738 East Cave Creek Road in Cave Creek. For more information, call 480.488.9542 or visit www.thehornytoad.com.

 

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