Like the short story, “A Small, Good Thing,” by Raymond Carver, it is remarkable how much good food, good people and the simple things in life offer comfort. For many Red Lodge locals, that is exactly what Honey’s Café does for the mountain community.
Located at 209 Broadway Ave. S., owner Kerri Wolfson and Chef Melissa Kreuzer work to create a place that provides solace.
Honey’s Café opened in December 2012, after Wolfson moved from Gardiner to Red Lodge. It was Wolfson’s daughter that inspired her to follow her dreams.
“Honey’s is very much about my daughter. I wanted to show her from a young age what it looks like to have goals and dreams and work to make them into reality – both the sacrifices and the rewards that come with that. Honey’s is largely a reflection of who I am and my ideals, and in that regard I hope to model for her the importance of being her true self out there in the world,” said Wolfson.
It seemed that perhaps fate was also at play when Wolfson decided to pursue her ambitions.
“I found the space at 209 S. Broadway and knew it was the right fit for my vision. The universe conspired to help bring Honey’s to life, from my amazing landlords to my contractor to finding the kind of furniture I wanted – it took many hands and some divine intervention,” she said.
With a degree in sociology and a focus on alternative education, Wolfson has always had a passion to promote wellness – whether it be emotionally, educationally or artistically – in her community.
After working as the education coordinator at the Beartooth Nature Center, her desire to promote and foster nature-related education programs became part of Honey’s with events co-hosting ZooMontana and other wildlife organizations.
“At the foundation, I aim to make Honey’s a place where people feel comfortable and well nurtured, through the eclectic seating options, the local art, the kids play area, the warm staff, and the no-brainer food and beverages – good quality, homemade, locally sourced. From there, I think about Honey’s as a conversation with the community, open to the dynamic needs of the locals, whether that’s a place to have meetings, to meet friends, to hold an event, to play music, or whatever comes up,” said Wolfson.
The community shares in the love. Honey’s has become a stage for musicians, drum circles, birthday parties, poetry readings and so much more.
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“One of the most rewarding of these was hosting a meeting between community leaders and teens, to talk about how our community could better meet the needs of teens. One thing the teens brought up was that they wanted an open mic venue, as they are not able to attend open mic at the bars. We had all the players in the room to put it together: I offered Honey’s as a location, Travis Burdick offered his sound equipment, and the teens showed up. We have hosted several of these and they were a huge success – teens played original and cover songs, read poetry, did improv comedy – it is awesome,” said Wolfson.
Honey’s is all about the soul food, yes – but what about comfort food? Wolfson, along with Chef Kreuzer, insures the quality of food matches the quality of community service – rich, delicious and delightful.
“Chef Kreuzer, is a gift. She makes magic in the kitchen – like the fairy godmother in 'Cinderella' turning pumpkins into a carriage – but she turns pumpkins (and beets, and berries, and apples…) into the most incredible soups and muffins and sauces. I hear over and over again that her muffins are the best people have ever tasted,” said Wolfson
What is a top fan-favorite food at the café, you ask? Well that’s hard to choose. From the turkey panini with a peach chutney and brie on ciabatta bread, to the veggie pita with basil pesto, the menu at Honey’s Café always aims to please. But there is one dish that everyone seems to love.
“Our breakfast burrito is always a favorite. We combine two local eggs with our home fries, cheese, meat, veggies and homemade salsa swaddled up in a spinach tortilla. Right now we’re featuring chorizo, sharp white cheddar and spinach with a corn salsa made from local corn from Gallagher’s Ranch, with jalapenos and cilantro from Shoshone River Farm,” said Wolfson.
It can be so unassuming and easy to take such uncomplicated things for granted: a place to hear music, poetry, make connections, have conversations, enjoy a good cup of coffee, and a delicious plate of food – those small things that generate large amounts of joy. For Wolfson, to bring such contentment to her community is why she works day-in and day-out at Honey’s Café.
“I believe that loving each other – in the broadest sense of the word – is the most political act we can commit. If people coming into Honey’s experience kindness and warmth, perhaps they will take that with them when they leave and spread it around some more. Honey’s is part of my personal grassroots effort to change the world,” said Wolfson.
Check out the Facebook page or call (406) 446-1600 to learn about everything happening at Honey’s Café.
“There are so, so many people that have been a part of Honey’s in one way or another: staff members, artists, vendors and co-conspirators of every walk of life. In many ways I view Honey’s as a product of all of them – my job is holding the space,” said Wolfson.