It has been a while now since the doors of the Big Sky Cafe, a popular Main Street restaurant in Cut Bank, closed. It has been missed by locals and those just passing through hoping to grab a good, homemade meal. Gary and Sue Racine are about to change all that.
"We finished the deal on the Big Sky Cafe on April 27, but it's been in the works since October when the Native American Community Development Corporation in Browning agreed to finance us," explained Sue.
Between negotiations, normal life issues, paperwork and the Coronavirus, finishing the deal and signing the final papers took a few more months than the Racine's had originally planned.
Sue said they are happy about being the new owners, but also realize there is some work to be done before they can begin cooking and then serving meals.
"Since we have started cleaning this past week, we have come up with lots and lots of remodeling thoughts. And we seem to find more and more that needs to be done. Of course, we thought that could happen, but it is a little overwhelming," she admits.
"I am not going to give away our ideas," she said. However, she did say, "we are going to keep the menu about the same as it's been at Big Sky Cafe. We may have to cut it back a little, but we may also add a few different meals."
When do they plan to re-open the homey restaurant? "We are hoping to open on June 1, but it will be for take-out only. We are planning to stick with just take-out for a while, at least until we see how the COVID-19 pandemic develops as we get closer to summer," she added.
The Racines are not new to the restaurant and food prepping business. They have been the owners of R’ Snack Shop for a number of years now and as Gary “loves the business!" shared Sue.
“R’ Snack Shop will remain open and our daughter Melanie will continue to manage it," Sue said. "If we are able to keep it open, we definitely will, but we won't know for sure about that until we are further into the whole process with the new restaurant."
The Racines believed Cut Bank would benefit from having another restaurant added to the few that were still open for business.
"Since we bought R’ Snack Shop, we've seen how much Cut Bank needs another full-service restaurant. We can, however, only do so much at R’ Snack Shop because of the set-up that exists there. And we didn’t want to put a lot of money into a building that we don't own," said Sue.
Knowing that, they started considering buying, renovating and opening the Big Sky Café, as its new owners.
"Gary loves the business. He has always enjoyed cooking for people and even though he may not be doing the cooking, he will still be making people happy with food."