No one knows exactly what to expect when opening a restaurant, but Gerald Miller, general manager of the new Mercantile Steak in downtown Kalispell, knew the establishment had one critical factor in its favor: owners Pat and Missy Carloss.
“Pat and Missy have built such a great culture running all of these beautiful restaurants,” Miller said. “We were already one step ahead.”
Indeed, the Carlosses have had great culinary success at the Tupelo Grille, one of Whitefish’s most revered and stable restaurants, and most recently at the Abruzzo Italian Kitchen in Whitefish and the Gunsight Saloon in Columbia Falls. Their new business, Mercantile Steak – or “The Merc” – in the historic KM building in Kalispell, adds one more branch to this impressive family tree of restaurants.
Still, Carloss was a little worried about launching his first steakhouse, in a town he has yet to operate. But the first two weeks eased her anxiety, with a steady stream of rave reviews.
Carloss said it was helpful to have started with “a really great staff,” including bringing in Chef Shane VanVeldhuizen from Tupelo and Miller, Managing Director, from Abruzzo. Jeremy Grossman oversees the kitchens of Mercantile, Abruzzo and Tupelo.
“The feedback has been really good,” said VanVeldhuizen. “Kalispell is delighted to have something a little different. We’re a steakhouse, but we try to push a more modern theme on a lot of things, by doing traditional things in a different way.
At the point of VanVeldhuizen, with high quality cuts of meat, the restaurant offers eclectic items such as lobster bolognese; hen of the woods mushrooms; yellowfin tuna with foie gras; smoked trout and many other delicious appetizers and main dishes.
VanVeldhuizen said the meat is carefully selected, especially in northwest Montana Wagyu of the Flathead Valley. Beef is either wagyu beef or certified angus beef (CAB), while bison and pork are also available, along with special fish. The burger and prime rib, smoked on site, are also very popular.
“The bison ribeye is personally my favorite,” VanVeldhuizen said.
Carloss and Miller noted that the lion’s share of customers were local, even in the height of the summer tourist season, a strong indicator of year-round viability, as well as a sign that Kalispell was hungry – clean and well. figured – from a quality restaurant. in its downtown area, which is undergoing an expansive makeover that officials expect to reinvigorate the downtown economy.
Bill Goldberg of Compass Construction, the new owner of the KM building and other downtown properties, approached Carloss with the idea of opening a restaurant in his historic central building. Carloss also opened the KM Bar in the same building this year, and he believes the dual restaurant-bar will fit in nicely with other redevelopment activities downtown and along the corridor of the new Parkline Trail.
“It definitely has a lot to do with my decision making,” said Carloss. “It all goes together, including the KM bar, to have nightlife, music, hotel entering, lots of buildings under construction.”
The Carlosses opened Tupelo Grille on Central Avenue in downtown Whitefish in 1995, with a menu inspired by their Southern roots – Pat is from Abbeville, Louisiana and Missy is from Memphis, Tennessee. Tupelo has since undergone a series of expansions, while further strengthening its reputation for consistently great fare.
The Carloss then launched Abruzzo in 2017 and Gunsight the following year, before setting their sights on Kalispell, where the steakhouse adds culinary diversity to their restaurants’ culinary canon. The name of the restaurant is a nod to the history of space. Over a century ago, it was the Kalispell Mercantile, anchoring the valley trade as the premier retailer of quality goods and merchandise.
Like everyone else, Carloss struggled to recruit staff this summer, but got enough staff to run the bar and restaurant five days a week, hoping to grow to six or maybe seven. days this fall and winter, especially weekends at the bar for Football.
With the Parkline Trail and the wave of interest in development in the heart of the city, Carloss has a good idea of the future of Kalispell.
“I think 100% that Kalispell is ready for a rebirth,” Carloss said.
For more information visit www.mercantilesteak.com.