Photography by AJ Ragasa
After college, I followed a German soccer player to Europe. That fell apart quickly, but I stayed for four years and met my partner Adam. We worked for the Department of Defense at this crazy NATO hotel, in this perfect, idyllic town, deep in the Alps. It was like Aspen, but people wore Lederhosen everyday. It was a bizarre place, one we can’t get enough of. Ginger beer is everywhere in the UK. We'd save up our days off and buy a cheap ticket to London. It was in all the pubs, then I came back here and there was just a gap in the market. I wanted ginger beer to drink, there was no ginger beer being made. That was almost 6 years ago.
Linda Derschang (Oddfellows, Smith, Linda's) has a philosophy I love: She wants to create your favorite spots, the places you want to go to everyday. That starts with nailing a great product and environment. But the most important thing is how you feel when you leave. That puts all the power in the hands of the person serving you. There is nothing more empowering then someone walking in with a crummy mood and turning their day around. That’s actually a quantifiable feeling, those are the places you go back to. I go to the same bars over and over, the same lunch places, because they make me feel good!
One of the most gratifying aspects of having your own business is choosing who you collaborate with. Kate Opatz and I met almost 8 years ago waiting tables at Lark. It's incredible looking back when we decided to open Montana, how did we ever think we could do it! Neither of us have defined roles within our business, everyone wears every hat and it works really well. I love working with Monica Dimas. She knows exactly what she wants and I haven't met anyone as hard working as her. She is solid, present, knows how to cook and has built a great team. These women want to grow, and I want to grow.
The Northwest should see each other as one unit, cause Portland is really fucking cool! We have the most beautiful ingredients in the US, amazing weather and philosophy on indoor/outdoor living, and we get to enjoy and invest in the arts. I wanted to get a solid footprint in Seattle and then look to Portland as an extension of what we are doing here. We have fun collaborations with homies in Portland: a tea collaboration with Smith Tea Maker, cold brew coffee with our buddies at Heart Coffee Roaster, and Salt & Straw is making our soft serve!
1610 12th Ave
1530 Post Ally
1506 E Olive Way
209 Broadway E