A new barbecue restaurant is moving into the long-vacant spot formerly occupied by German restaurant Kuckucksei on Billings West End.
Owners Ryan and Cindy Sahli say they’re planning to open I’m Cravin’ Bar-B-Que in early April at 111 S. 24th St. W. inside the Rimrock Mini-mall.
The two started the restaurant as a food truck about two years ago, setting up shop at Canyon Creek Brewery and on the Billings South Side. After this snowy season, Sahli said he knew he was ready to make the jump to brick-and-mortar.
“The long winter helped. It’s hard to get the trailer out in that stuff. And we were always discussing it. We wanted to do something small,” Sahli, 41, said.
The new space is about 2,300 square feet and seats about 100 people, he said.
The Sahlis make brisket, pulled pork, homemade chili, frito pies, chili dogs, melt sandwiches, Philly cheese steaks and other Southern favorites. Cindy Sahli is a Texas native, and Ryan Sahli, who is from Billings, spent about nine years in the Longhorn State, learning the recipes.
In the West End location, the Sahlis plan to expand the menu and add side dishes, more ribs, smoked chicken and smoked turkey.
They plan to keep operating the food truck but on a more limited schedule.
The expansion will also allow Ryan Sahli to quit his job driving truck and work in the restaurant full-time, he said.
“It’s in a good area. It’s still lively, and the school is close,” he said.
I’m Cravin’ Bar-B-Que will be open 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Saturday. The business will have six to eight employees.
Pizza chain eyeing Billings
A West Coast pizza chain is seeking franchisees to expand in Billings.
Oakhurst, Calif.-based Pizza Factory announced last week that it’s accepting applications to open a new store in Billings. The chain has 110 stores in six states.
Pizza Factory is a fast-casual restaurant that serves pizzas with fresh cheese, slow-cooked meat sauce and meat balls rolled in-house.
The chain has a “No Bully Zone” program and holds fundraisers for youth groups in its communities.
Visit www.pizzafactoryfranchises.com for more information.
Mel’s Lunch Box, a new Billings South Side sandwich shop, added bagels to its breakfast menu last week, owner Tammy Fletcher said.
The eatery inside the historic L&L Building at the corner of Minnesota Avenue and South 27th Street is selling different colored bagels, including rainbow, Fletcher said.
Fletcher and her wife, Melody Fletcher, opened Mel’s Lunch Box in February at the former Subway shop. The also own For the Funk of It across 27th Street.
Taxes coming in
The Montana Department of Revenue announced last week it has processed 212,899 individual income tax returns so far this year and issued 141,317 refunds averaging $447.16.
The agency noted refunds might take longer because of extra security in response to a rise in fraudulent filings.
April 18 is the deadline for all filers. Taxpayers can visit www.revenue.mt.gov for more information or call 866-859-2254 for assistance.
Haikus from the valley
They came, they shot hoops
They visited Billings schools
And boosted tourism