Rigatoni with Bolognese Sauce and Garlic Bread Italian Sausage Sandwich with Rustic Potato Salad Ortega / Swiss Burger with Sweet Potato Fries Southwestern Taco Salad Cowboy Caviar, Pico De Gallo & Homemade Chips Northwestern Nachos
Hello! My name is Todd King and I reside with my family in Harlowton, Montana. I would like to share with you a little bit about myself, my vision for Cafe Chinook, and what it would mean to me to finally make this project become a reality.
The Cafe Chinook project began in 2010, when we acquired a beautiful historic home with a prime location at the junction of two main highways, and adjacent to a critical access hospital. Immediately I could see the vision for the Cafe Chinook project! We enthusiastically pursued the groundwork to convert this solid home into a charming restaurant. The location is ideal! It has visibility from the intersection of US Highways 191 & 12 on the west side of Harlowton, visibility from the local hospital, and street-side parking on 3 sides of the property. The original home built in 1917 has some deep rooted character to offer. I wanted to create a Cafe here for symbolic reasons - I've always valued the individual history of a place, and I wanted future patrons to feel at home when they entered the building. The unique setting would become a destination place for fresh food that is simply delicious, and I know that the experience would leave a lasting impression on all who took the time to visit!
In 2010 we jumped in and got to work. The building has been gutted out, and the framing upgraded to commercial standards. The wiring and plumbing have been completely re-vamped to meet the demands of a small modern cafe. A majority of the cooking equipment has been purchased. All of the tables and seating were locally made and are ready for use! The building still needs to have an emergency exit installed in the basement prep and food storage area to bring it to code, the fire surppression system and hood ventilation system need to be installed, the walls need to be insulated and dry walled, flooring needs to be purchased and installed, and the 2 handicapped bathrooms need to be completed. And last but not least, we need to purchase the initial cookware! The quotes total up to our funding goal of $87,500. Reaching this goal would be a life-changing experience for me. I would reciprocate the community support for years to come.
My plan for the cafe is to prepare 2-3 daily specials that are totally fresh and locally sourced whenever possible. These seasonal dishes would be simple, colorful, creative, and reflect the western traditions that surround me. I would reinterpret these culinary inspirations and plate them with a smile! The daily specials would be prepared by me and sold on a first come, first served basis. When the food's gone, it's gone! This basic approach would enable me to have a very minimal amount of food waste and low overhead. My wife and I would also be able to serve the cafe customers with extremely prompt service as a result of the select daily specials. The customers may order their food at the beautiful wooden counter and choose to dine-in or dine-out. The inside seating capacity is for 33; there is room for a few additional tables and chairs on the outside patio area. Streamlining the daily menu and prompt counter service would allow us to effectively operate the cafe with our own family.
Now I would like to share with you a little about myself and why my life experiences have prepared me for this venture. My passion for cooking started as a child. I learned alongside my mother who taught me that food is more than just a meal; it's a form of love and art. She planted the culinary seed that grew within me. I was later devastated when she was diagnosed with Terminal Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. This terrible form of cancer took her from us in 1996. I went through an extended period of grief but decided to enroll in the Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School in Pasadena, CA to honor her memory. Two intensive years later, I graduated with my Culinary Arts degree!
The Le Cordon Bleu program trained me in Classical French cuisine. The skills and discipline that it required are priceless. After culinary school I worked at various restaurants and catering companies in Southern California. I also got married, started a family, and lived in the small eclectic alpine community of Mt. Baldy, CA. Then came the economic crash in 2008, and it was very tough on our growing family. We had just been joined by our 2nd child, and wondered what the financial future would hold. We decided that the downturn might be a blessing in disguise, and be the right time to re-locate to Montana and give it a try. We came to the conclusion that in this uncertain and overly plugged-in-world, it would be best to raise our children on the rocky-mountain front and right next door to their maternal grandparents.So that was it! We packed up our kids and dogs and headed north to Big Sky Country for a new beginning.
Since we've arrived in this rural community, my spouse and I have both worked various jobs ranging from catering private parties, construction, painting, cooking, cleaning etc. and even one winter as a ranch hand! These experiences gave me a deeper appreciation for the hard work and endless hours that are typical in an agricultural community! Most recently, I've helped manage the kitchen at our local hospital for the last two years. I valued this opportunity to make quality food for the elderly residents in the nursing home, in addition to the hospital visitors, staff, and patients at Wheatland Memorial Healthcare.
I'm now the same age my mother was when she was diagnosed with cancer. I realize how precious life is, and how important it is to live and cherish each minute of each day. I want to instill in my 3 growing children (ages 3-13) the intrinsic value of perseverance. Most importantly, I want to use my best skill-set to create a place at Cafe Chinook where families, friends, and travelers may enjoy life together, one delicious meal at a time!
Thank you for reading my story. I deeply appreciate your time and consideration.
With much gratitude and sincerity,
Todd King & Family
In Summary -
What we've accomplished until this point:
*purchased Cafe building and property
*converted residential house to commercial building with required retro-fitting
*gutted entire main floor, framed kitchen and dining area, plus 2 handicapped bathrooms
*gutted 1/2 downstairs (prep & storage area)
* rewired with commericial grade electrical panel
*replumbed with commercial rated pex pipe
*reroofed Cafe building
*purchased dining tables and chairs
(handcrafted by Montana Woodworks)
*purchased 10 ft. hood ventilation unit, 36 inch charbroiler, 55 lb deep fryer, 6 burner stove, 24 inch flat top griddle with salamander,
convection & standard ovens, exhaust fan unit +
make up air unit (for proper kitchen ventilation)
What we still need to complete Cafe Chinook:
*hood ventilation system installed
*fire suppression system installed
*emergency exit installed in basement prep area
* 3 refrigeration units & 2 freezer units
*2 prep tables, vegetable prep sink & drainboard
*2 handwashing sinks & 3 compartment sink
*bathroom fixtures for 2 handicapped bathrooms
*2 48 inch wire rack shelving units
* 48 inch refrigerated sandwich prep table
* double bain marie (for soups & chilis)
* basic cookware
* wood stove (for low cost heating in winter)
* roof gutters (to maintain dry basement area)
* commercial grade front door with handbar
* handicap ramp access from back completed
*handrails for both front and back entries
*interior & exterior paint and stain
*basic cash register
*flooring for entire main level
*drywall & insulation
Our initial strategy is to reach $4,500 out of our total funding goal. Once we achieve this 1st level, we will resume construction at Cafe Chinook. Priority #1 is to have the emergency exit installed out of the basement on the west side of the building. This would be hired out to a locally licensed contractor and enable us to meet fire codes. We hope we can complete this fundamental step while the weather permits this summer or fall. The remaining projects are primarily indoors and can be completed throughout the year.
If we can reach out to 2,920 future customers who donate an average of $30 each, we can reach our ultimate goal and get Cafe Chinook open and ready for service! With your enthusiasm and participation, we can do this! :)
Dining Room Furniture
Handcrafted By Montana Woodworks
Waiting Area Furniture / Enclosed Front Porch