One of Billings’ fastest-growing neighborhoods will soon have a new restaurant with a familiar name.
Owners of the Pickle Barrel hope to finally bring the sub sandwich shop back to the West End this summer, two years after it closed. Workers at Fisher Construction recently knocked down an old building on Rosebud Drive at 32nd Street West and are building a new structure in its place. Last week, they were working on the foundation.
Pickle Barrel owner Daniel McComish, 29, said he’s been overwhelmed by the response so far. A Billings native and Montana State University graduate, McComish is familiar with how the Pickle Barrel was embraced at its original store in Bozeman. He was sad when the Billings shop on 13th Avenue West shut down for repairs in the summer of 2012 and then closed. The building still sits vacant with a falling-down real estate sign out front.
“I was eating there a week before they closed. It was busy,” McComish said.
In January 2013, McComish and his father, Rich McComish, successfully lobbied the Billings City Council for a zoning change to allow the restaurant to operate on a residential block on Rosebud Drive. It’s surrounded mostly by apartments and across the street from a Holiday gas station.
The Bozeman-based Pickle Barrel currently has four active franchises, one each in Bozeman, Belgrade, Livingston, and Sioux Falls, S.D.
Subway remains king of fresh sandwiches nationwide and locally, with 12 stores in Billings. Jimmy John’s is a growing player with three Billings stores. The crowded market has helped pushed sandwich giant Quizno’s into bankruptcy, and the company recently closed its Grand Avenue store, leaving a hole in the Billings market.
The Pickle Barrel is a unique Montana brand known for its hot cheesesteak grill sandwich and thick subs, McComish said. The shop also gives free pickles from a barrel with every sandwich, a tradition McComish said he plans to continue.
“The Pickle Barrel has a very strong following. I’ve gotten an overwhelming response from people that are excited about it coming back,” he said.
Out and about
Speaking of sandwiches, it looks like the old Quizno’s spot at 1313 Grand Ave. No. 1 already has a new tenant. Project Meats moved from its former location in Shepherd on Highway 312.
In Glasgow, the Two Rivers Economic Growth office moved, along with the chamber, from its former home at PlainsPlaza. The agencies are now at 313 Klein Ave.
Gearing up for tax day
Attention procrastinators: The Montana Department of Revenue is beefing up services ahead of the April 15 deadline.
On Monday and Tuesday, the agency’s call center is expanding its hours to 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. The toll free number is 866-859-2254.
Agency officials are urging taxpayers to file online, where refunds should be received in between five and seven days. Mail filers typically receive refunds in four or five weeks, according to Revenue.
Visit www.revenue.mt.gov for more information on online filing.
New sugar co-op CEO
Western Sugar Cooperative, which owns a sugar beet plant in Billings, has a new CEO.
The Denver-based company announced this month that Rodney Perry, a former Bunge Limited executive, was named top executive.
Perry has been in agribusiness for 24 years, mostly recently out of Geneva, Switzerland.
The Western Sugar Cooperative represents 1,400 growers in Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska and Colorado. The group markets sugar beets and sugar byproducts, such as beet pulp, high-energy molasses and livestock feed.