Lloydminster’s new and highly-anticipated Montana’s Cookhouse is officially scheduled to open on August 17, and when it does, it’ll bring a slight twist to the historic brand.
“Some of the look and feel, and the artifacts around this restaurant are new to the brand and will be replicated in new builds going forward,” said Clint Wolstenholme, owner of the incoming Montana’s. “We’re excited to introduce this new Montana’s concept and we’re certainly excited to bring great barbecue to Lloydminster.”
Excitement over Montana’s arrival has been growing for weeks, as residents have seen the old Kesley’s building along 44 Street revived and transformed into a vibrant-looking Montana’s restaurant.
Wolstenholme, who also owns a Montana’s in Saskatoon, says he expects the restaurant to thrive under Lloydminster’s young demographics.
“At heart, we’re a family restaurant - we’ve got the brown paper that the kids come in and draw on with the crayons, and kids are a huge part of our business. But we’ve also developed a neat lounge that we can add to the mix in the current lounge establishments in Lloydminster. I think people are going to enjoy the vibe that the whole building provides.”
Wolstenholme says preliminary plans to bring Montana’s to the Border City actually began about three years ago. Once it became clear that Cara, Montana’s parent company, was intent on entering the Lloydminster market, Wolstenholme eagerly jumped on board.
“When we opened up our store (in Saskatoon) three years ago, we identified Lloydminster as an opportunity that we thought would be particularly well-suited to the brand. What we’re finding is that the smaller centres really identify with the Montana’s offering and Lloydminster was one that was exciting for us.”
As for its food, Montana’s offers a menu that Wolstenholme says is unique, not only compared to other restaurants in the city, but to establishments elsewhere, too.
“We’re taking a barbecue basically from Texas to small-town Alberta. We’ll be smoking our ribs in-house, we’ll be smoking our pulled pork, our brisket, we’re going to have more of a hands-on aspect to our food creation than most stores do.”
Although he was born in Saskatoon and spent most of his childhood Hudson Bay, Ont., Wolstenholme is no stranger to the Lloydminster region. He moved to Marwayne at the age of 15 and lived in the area for about six to seven years. Additionally, his in-laws have been farming in the Kitscoty area, “basically forever.”
Montana’s Lloydminster has already hired around 70 staff, and Wolstenholme says he expects to add about another 10 before the restaurant opens.