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FARM-TO-TABLE FRESH

Foxhole Eatery owner looks for ingredients close to home

 

September 23, 2021

Miriah Kardelis

FRESH OUT OF THE OVEN - The Foxhole Eatery owner Heather Piper holds up a fresh batch of her homemade cranberry orange scones at her restaurant in Hot Springs.

If you are looking for a meal crafted with fresh, locally sourced ingredients giving that highly sought-after farm-to-table quality; look no further than The Foxhole Eatery. Located in Hot Springs, the new business opened in June of this year and hit the ground running.

Staying true to her values, owner Heather Piper opened her business with the goal of finding ingredients for her dishes close to home. "We source our products as local as possible," Piper said. "We start with what we can get in town and source out from there. We get some of our produce and eggs all within Hot Springs as well."

Piper says she also works with the local grocery store on getting in products and feels it is a good way of being able to give back to the community who has welcomed her with open arms.

She has created a menu that has allowed her the freedom and creativity to give her patrons fresh and unique dishes. "People really love my brisket," she said. "I can't keep it in the store. I smoke it myself and I'm not a professional smoker but people do like what I do."

Piper says along with her homemade barbecue sauce, she has created a brisket panini, barbecue brisket fries and has even incorporated the main ingredient into her breakfast menu via a breakfast burrito filled with cherrywood smoked brisket that has been simmered in hand-crafted barbecue sauce, melted cheddar cheese, local cage-free scrambled eggs and organically fried potatoes.

The Western Bison Melt, a "Roam Free" grass-fed bison burger topped with caramelized onions and served on a homemade buttered country roll, has been a favorite that customers keep coming back for.

Piper's Black and Blue Wagyu Burger is made with Kobe beef. The high-quality, tender meat brings this dish to a whole other level when someone wants to order a good burger.

The owner gets her bison from Roam Free Ranch right there in Hot Springs and the rest of the meat for her eatery comes from Montana Marbled Meats in Polson.

"We have a good 80% of our offerings from locals and within the state of Montana," she said. "We just bring the best we have to offer, wrap it up in a nice meal, give some good hospitality and send people on their merry way."

Piper has been in the hospitality business for the majority of her life and has been dreaming about the possibility of opening her own place for the last decade. While she has spent the last 10 years finding inspiration everywhere she went, Piper said when it came time to open, she already knew exactly what she wanted, right down to the utensils.

The name "The Foxhole Eatery" comes from much deliberation as Piper says she wanted something unique that reflected a rustic feel and everything Montana has to offer. While many may choose café, bistro or restaurant; Piper chose something a little different that would not only set her business apart but also give her the flexibility to offer what she wanted.

"I wanted something different and nonexclusive of what I would be offering because I want to be able to offer whatever I want and not be restrained to offer a certain type of food because of my name," she stated.

Piper and her father, who is a general contractor, have been putting in 16-hour days for the last four months renovating the building and unfortunately, like many businesses in the area, she can't find any help. "When I had this concept of opening a restaurant here, I was going to hire a cook; but I couldn't find anybody to work, so I became a cook overnight," she said.

With hardly any back-of-the-house experience, Piper found the resourcefulness and efficiency to manage all on her own and in a swift move, she became a one woman show doing everything herself.

"I took my bartending skills and my love for cooking and baking and I married those together overnight and I made it work," she said. "It's been madness, but a good madness. It's a dream come true to have this opportunity to own my own restaurant in a small town while also having my kids there."

In company with hand crafted burgers and paninis, the eatery's country French toast with spiced butter will transport you right into fall, if you're not there already. "I am working on my biscuits because biscuits and gravy are very popular in these parts," she mentioned.

If you are on the go and need a quick snack, grab a cream cheese cinnamon roll or an orange cranberry scone, both made in-house, from scratch and two of the owner's favorites.

"I can't take credit for everything I've done, but I did take recipes and made them my own for what I thought would be good for the dish and my offerings," she said.

Serving Hunter Bay Coffee out of Missoula, Piper has also created a specialty coffee menu. "We craft our own specialty syrups and mixes," she said. "We don't use prepackaged syrup of any kind; everything is made from scratch."

The eatery has just recently started offering a seasonal pumpkin spice latté that is made fresh as it's ordered. "We take a pumpkin puree and whip it up with some cream, a pumpkin spice blend we make in-house and some organic brown sugar," Piper said. "It's super popular and very decadent. It's a dessert within itself."

The specialty crafted Vanilla Bean Latte comes from simmering a simple syrup with a whole vanilla bean, making this drink a favorite that sells out quickly.

Piper continued, "it's not something that comes made in batches," she said of her drinks. "I know it saves time in the restaurant industry to prep, but we don't do that. We would rather take a couple of extra minutes and make it from scratch."

With the hope of finding some help in the near future, Piper has big plans not only to expand the menu, but to expand her ability to offer much more to her patrons. Starting with bringing in a roaster to roast her own coffee; she also has plans of adding in a bigger bakery in the back of the building allowing her to explore the world of artisan sourdough breads. She will also be bringing in a wood stove for wood fire pizza.

Miriah Kardelis

The Black and Blue Wagyu Burger at the Foxhole Eatery is made with Kobe beef from Montana Marbled Meats in Polson.

Piper does acknowledge there is more work to be done on the interior, but so far, she is very pleased with the modern but rustic concept she has created. "It works well for what we are doing and what we are offering," she said.

Whether you are a local of Hot Springs, a community member of the county or a traveler on the way to Glacier National Park, Piper wants everyone to leave her establishment happy and hopefully wanting to come back for more.

The Foxhole Eatery has added catering services to those around Sanders County and will be present with her baked goods at the Sanders County Health Fair October 2 at the Plains Fairgrounds.

Stop in for a meal and enjoy the rustic ambiance Piper has created or order online for pickup while on the way through at, thefoxholeeatery.com. For catering inquiries call (406) 749-0513.

The Foxhole Eatery is open Tuesday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Fridays until 7 p.m. and is located at 205 Main Street in Hot Springs.

 

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