More wine, tapas and organic gourmet food are coming with a new downtown restaurant along Minnesota Avenue.
By late March or early April, chef Ben Harman, who worked in Southern California, will open his first restaurant, named The Fieldhouse.
“My dad offered $50 to the first person who came up with a name I liked at a family reunion, and I thought this was a no-brainer,” he said. “It’s about taking food right from the field to the house.”
When Harman opens his restaurant at 2601 Minnesota Ave., one space will remain vacant in a building hugging the south side of the railroad tracks that his folks, Joni and Steve Harman, gutted and remodeled.
The Russ Plath Law Firm and Gym Jay are already doing business in the 6,400-square-foot building that used to house Kitchen Gallery.
One signature dish that highlights Harman’s local produce, organic green concept is the nachos.
“I can get six Montana-based companies or products into braised Wagyu beef nachos,” he said.
The cheeses are from Montana, tortillas from Trevino’s in Billings, the salsa from Bozeman and the beef from Birney.
The Fieldhouse will serve breakfast and lunch with espresso roasted in Missoula and at Revel Coffee in Billings. Folks who don’t want a full meal can order appetizers or tapas with a glass of wine. Family-style dinners will be served just once a week around a community table to encourage people to meet and talk.
Re-location for the Re Store
It took seven weeks, but Habitat for Humanity Mid-Yellowstone Valley, which recycles building materials and household goods, has moved into larger store. The new digs are at 1617 First Ave. N., the former home of Frontier Chevrolet.
Habitat, which was located near Shipton’s Big R at 201 N. 15th St., now has lots of windows showing off its product displays.
“We encompass the entire showroom and we have an entire second section in the back of the store. The store is definitely twice as large as our first one,” said development director Jim Woolyhand.
The Re Store, which employs seven and has a small army of volunteers, now has 18,000 square feet, including about 10,000 square feet of sales space.
Bunnies having a hard time
A loyal reader who has lived on Canyon Trail Road in Lockwood for 50 years said she used to see rabbits everywhere. But in the last few months, she’s seen none.
Gary Hammond, regional supervisor of the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, said the rabbit population is cyclical and two years ago there were tons of bunnies.
Now the population has crashed, probably due to several reasons, he said, including the harsh winter of 2010-2011. In rainy years, grasses grow, there’s plenty to eat and plenty of shelter, and under those favorable conditions, rabbits have a lot of babies. But when there are lots of rabbits, their concentration makes them more prone to disease.
So many local rabbits have died that it has affected their predators, Hammond said. Fewer juveniles among bobcats, a species that eats rabbits, have been spotted this year.
“But rabbits are cyclic and they come back as fast as they leave,” he said. “By next year, they should be come bouncing back.”
Scams du jour
A caller claiming to represent a medical company or the government is calling around Billings demanding financial or personal information in order to send a “new medical card.”
Carol Hauge of Billings said she received a call like that recently from a woman with a heavy accent. She rattled off Hauge’s name, address and telephone number and then asked for the name of her bank.
“I said I didn’t think my bank had anything to do with my medical business, and she hung up,” Hauge said.
A fine is a tax for doing wrong. A tax is a fine for doing well.
Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.