Beargrass Bistro in Lakeside opened just a few months ago and already it’s difficult to get a table without a reservation, owner Steve Patyk said.
The new restaurant focuses on sourcing local ingredients alongside a menu that changes with the seasons. Patyk owns the restaurant with his wife, Bettina.
“Bea and I retired 10 years ago in Lakeside and fell in love with it,” Patyk said.
Unique fare, like aged wagyu steaks and rare Pappy Van Winkle bourbon, is intended to draw customers who know good food and are willing to pay for it, Patyk said. The place is casual but elegant in appearance.
Bringing in local products is a priority, Patyk said. The main menu, created by head chef CeCe Andersson, rotates every two or three months. Specials that rotate weekly allow the restaurant to be nimble in the kitchen and feast on certain items when the price and quality is good, and pivot away when the best stock is gone.
Patyk said he priced the menu accordingly, making sure the items are a good value. Most of the entrees range in the area of $20 to $30, with some specials going a little higher. Patyk said the dishes are well worth the price.
Another of Patyk’s priorities is to make the restaurant a destination for residents from throughout the Flathead, not just tourists. He said he looked to neighboring Tamarack Brewing Company as a model. The hope is that when the summer traffic slows, the cooks will still have food on the stove and servers will have people to care for.
“It’s very important for me to appeal to the locals year-round,” Patyk said.
After moving to the valley, he noticed how difficult it can be for businesses and employees to thrive in a seasonal climate dependent on tourism. He’s made an effort to address those concerns by ensuring employees have year-round work and committing to training people with the right attitude.
“It’s important for me in this business or any business to find the best people you can,” Patyk said.
He said overall he is very happy with how the first couple months have gone, but the biggest endorsements have come from the customers who have returned for a second and third time.
“That’s the proof of the pudding,” he said.
Beargrass Bistro is open for dinner only, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, at 306 Stoner Loop. More information, including a menu, can be found at www.beargrasslakeside.com.
Reporter Peregrine Frissell can be reached at (406) 758-4438 or firstname.lastname@example.org.