Every venture deserves a second chance – even homey, small-town bakeries.
Grand Bakery, 120 W. Broadway St., has reopened with new owners who have a style all their own.
Take kolaches, for instance.
With a sweet, bright dough, kolache is all the rave in the South, say new Grand Bakery owners William and Dee Smith. They relocated to Montana in February from Houston, Texas, where they discovered the popular ethnic Czechoslovakian pastry.
“We were driving around Butte and thinking, ‘what doesn’t Butte have?’ ” said William. “A bakery.”
At least Uptown.
The former bakery, also called the Grand, closed in 2014 after a few months in business. Its claim to fame is a gargantuan 9-foot by 15-foot French oven, which building owner Chuck Schnabel and crew moved inch-by-inch from the old Renaissance Bakery, 127 N. Main St., in August 2013.
The French oven remains, but the Smiths have transformed the front area into a coffee house-style atmosphere. Couches and comfy chairs replace window-side booths, and free WiFi is available to customers.
“We cook everything in the big French oven except croissants and bagels,” said William. “We’re hoping next year we can tap into the Montana Tech (student) market because it’s a great place to study. We want more of a sit-down coffee house feel.”
They bake kolaches and bread in the big oven, but fresh Chicago-style-rising pizza-by-the-slice and other delicacies go in the convection ovens.
Serving fair-trade Guatemalan coffee, the Smiths offer a 20-ounce cup for $2 or $3 for unlimited refills.
Kolaches come in pocket-like sausage-and-cheese or ham-and-cheese varieties with jalapeño, if desired. Sweet kolache flavors come in apple, custard with chocolate drizzle or huckleberry filling.
Bagel cream cheese toppings abound: veggie, huckleberry, smoked salmon or plain.
Both military veterans, the Smiths have traded Houston’s abundant kolaches and hot weather for a bakery of their own and Butte’s colder clime.
“We don’t even own snow boots,” said Dee Dee, a Dillon native whose maiden name is Cricks. William grew up in Owensville, Mo.
Dee Dee was gone from Montana for about 20 years. She served in the U.S. Army overseas, then she and William met while stationed at Fort Lewis in Washington state. Later both worked in private security in Kuwait.
Monday is scones day, when Dee Dee starts work at 1:30 a.m. Other mornings she doesn’t start until 3:30 a.m.
He works from home as an IT specialist, and she’s trained as a certified surgical tech. But the baking life beckoned after their return to her home state.
“I’ve always loved to cook,” said Dee Dee. “I cooked on a ranch in Dillon.”
For now, the Grand Bakery is open seven days a week, from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on weekends. The Smiths have one full-time employee and plan to hire one more. Telephone: 406-723-1112