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Montana Provisions bringing new options to downtown diners

Posted at 4:12 PM, May 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-05 14:52:31-04

BOZEMAN – The former Service Electric building in downtown Bozeman is poised to re-emerge as a new market and eatery, “devoted to the curation and creation of the finest meats, cheeses and seafood available anywhere in Montana or beyond.”

That’s how Montana Provisions describes itself, and with a soft opening set for this Saturday, May 12, partner Todd Brandes and his team are eager to show off the transformation of the building at the corner of North Rouse and Mendenhall.

“It was cinder block and nothing much here,” Brandes says of the building. “My partner Travis [Byerly], who started Montana Fish Company, he always had the dream to do something like this. He’s been here maybe 25 years, maybe longer; he knows this building and he’s always said ‘If that thing ever comes available, I really would like to do it’ and when it did, he jumped at it.”

The building offers unique, hard-to-find options for downtown diners, such as outdoor patio seating and ample parking.

Brandes — who is also the creative force behind the signature artwork at Montana Provisions — left a successful marketing career in Chicago and arrived in Bozeman last June to help Byerly realize their shared dream.

Master Butcher Eric Hepplewhite holds a prosciutto that’s been dry-curing for more than three years. Partner Todd Brandes shows a custom-built charcuterie board made from a lightning-split Montana tree.

What does that dream mean for hungry folks in Bozeman? First and foremost, meat: house-made charcuterie and dry-aged steaks, bison, game meat, deli fare and more, all from local Montana ranches.

Montana Provisions, before and after

Eric Hepplewhite is a 6th-generation Swiss butcher who moved to Bozeman from New Jersey to join the Montana Provisions ranks as its master butcher. He explained how the scope of the business extends beyond the downtown storefront.

“This is the forefront of what the meat industry is going to be,” he said. “We have five ranches here in Montana currently, we’re expanding that every year.”

Their vertically-integrated business model includes a processing facility in Butte and other offshoot businesses, such as Stay Classy Meats, which offers custom-order boxes of Montana meat, delivered directly to consumers.

Montana Provisions has custom made, dry cured meat products processed by the only state-inspected dry cured facility in Montana, Artisan Meat & Cheese.

Local foodies will also get the chance to become Montana Provisions “Board” members by buying a custom charcuterie board, made by Montana Reclaimed Lumber in Gallatin Gateway.

“You purchase a charcuterie board, and it gets branded with your serial number. We store and maintain it here on the wall,” Brandes explained.

“Board” members can send in orders ahead of time and have them prepared on their custom boards, as well as having access to exclusive events and tastings. And furthering the made-in-Montana ethos, Brandes and his team chose not only a local company to make the boards, they ensure all the reclaimed wood actually comes from the Treasure State.

All this, and then there’s the fish.

Montana Provisions will be offering fish directly sourced from Hawaii, as well as suppliers along the eastern and western seaboards, that will arrive in the store’s display cases within 36 hours of leaving its origin.

From there, customers can take home whole fish and filets, as well as sushi and sashimi prepared by the in-house fishmonger.

Another void in the local community Montana Provisions will help fill: late-night dining options, via the food truck parked next to the main building.

“This place was designed with no hot kitchen, so it was always meant to have the food truck as sort of our hot kitchen,” Brandes said. “For sure, during the summer, Thursday, Friday, Saturday nights when the bars let out, from 10 o’clock on, we’ll be cooking stuff.”

Having evolved from cinder blocks to pre-sliced blocks of sashimi, this market and eatery demonstrates the ongoing evolution of downtown Bozeman.

Montana Provisions is located at 326 E. Mendenhall.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story stated that Montana Provisions is the only licensed dry curing facility in the state. It has been corrected to clarify that Artisan Meat & Cheese is the only state-inspected dry cured facility in Montana and processes meat products for Montana Provisions.

Reporting by David Dyas for MTN News