RIP, Hoagieville

Very sad news — Hoagieville has closed its Great Falls location. I saw an awful lot of hate on social media when it was announced — a lot of people didn’t like it, for some reason.

I did like Hoagieville — was rarely my first choice, primarily due to location, but the burgers, chicken, breakfast tacos, and fries were pretty darn good. And contrary to what I heard from so many people, the service was pretty awesome – super-friendly staff.

But I know the restaurant struggled during its 18 months in Great Falls — they tried advertising, they tinkered with the menu, they lowered some prices, but it just never worked.

Hoagieville was and is a big deal in Missoula, but just couldn’t catch fire here in Great Falls.

Thanks, Hoagieville – you tried, and I appreciated it!

So the next question is…what will move into the space? Before Hoagieville, it was a KFC. And given KFC’s summer-time re-opening on the west side (and much better than before!), could it once again be a KFC?

Hoagieville in Great Falls

Dog Park!

Saturday was a good day for Ziggy and I to visit the dog park! Even pretty early in the morning, it was pretty packed full of pups!

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“Food with a side of Boobies!!!!”

So…if this post on Craiglist is legit, then things might get a little more interesting up in Carter: apparently the former Rocking K has a new owner who has turned it into a strip club.

New Club ParadiseLLC just opened we are a new club out in a remote location 23 miles away from great falls out on the old havre high way. We also serve food and were the only bar in the town so imagine the possibilities. We’re a hour and a half from Havre. We’re in farm land on a major highway, right by a fishing spot where there’s a lot of bored men just waiting to see you…….We have drinks and lap dances food, a DJ playing all the hottest tracks and taking request, and great environment…come check us out 23 miles from the city out in the cut can’t wait to see you all.

I don’t know why, but this sound like some sort of a prank. If it is true, then I’m sad — it’s been a while, but we really enjoyed our few visits to the Rocking K.

"New strip club open in Carter, Mt" (click for full size)

“New strip club open in Carter, Mt” (click for full size)

Cold-Calling Mourners Via Snail Mail?

In the wake of the passing of my mother-in-law, everything seemed surreal for several days — time had little meaning, food had no flavor, and the memories of the first few days seem very fuzzy now.

We were, of course, overwhelmed by the outpouring of sympathy and kindness from family members, friends, co-workers, and others.

Flowers, cards, meals — the kindness has been a beacon of happiness, and we are so grateful for the compassion from so many wonderful people.

But today brought us arguably the most unusual response to Carole’s passing: a letter from “J. Musanto.” Yes, an actual USPS-delivered letter.

Inside the envelope was a hand-written letter from J. Musanto offering condolences on our loss, along with some Bible passages meant to provide comfort.

The letter also recommended that we visit the website JW.org — the website for the Christian group known as Jehovah’s Witnesses.

The envelope also contained a mini-pamphlet extolling the virtues of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

And where did this letter come from? Toledo, Ohio. The return address on the envelope is 3725 W. Alexis Road, which according to Google Maps is the address for the Jehovah’s Witnesses temple (church?) in Toledo.

And my wife’s sister received a nearly identical letter today.

In case you’re wondering: no, we have never heard of J. Musanto, have never visited Toledo, and have had zero dealings with the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

So either this is a sincere letter from a long-lost friend of the family that my wife and her sister don’t remember — doubtful! — or the Jehovah’s Witnesses at the Toledo HQ are so desperate to recruit new members that they apparently go trolling through online obituary notices and send cold-call letters to grieving family members in hopes of getting new blood.

Seriously – WTF?

Jehovah's Witnesses are sending "cold-calling" condolence letters...?

Jehovah’s Witnesses are sending “cold-calling” condolence letters…?

Farewell, Carole

Heartbroken — my mother-in-law Carole Jean Stehlik Pratt passed away on Sunday.

She was an amazing woman — raised in Belt, college in Bozeman and Great Falls, an Air Force wife, a Pan Am wife, and mother to my wonderful wife and my sister-in-law.

Aside from the sorrow at her passing, I am touched by the professionalism and compassion of the Great Falls Police Department, Great Falls Fire Rescue, Cascade County Sheriff’s Office, and O’Connor Funeral Home.

When my wife and I found Carole on Sunday, we called 911. Within minutes, the firefighters, police, and Sheriff’s Deputy arrived, and they were the epitome of compassion and professionalism.

In particular, Officer Brinka of the GFPD and Deputy Baker of the Sheriff’s Office were kind and considerate.

The representatives from O’Connor Funeral Home arrived a short time later, and they, too, were compassionate.

On Monday, when we went to O’Connor to make arrangements, Todd and his crew ended our meeting by giving us a pan of lasagna…a very nice touch.

Thank you to everyone who has shown kindness in these difficult days.

Here is the obituary for Carole – may she rest in peace.

Carole Jean Stehlik Pratt

Carole Jean Stehlik Pratt

Carole Jean (Stehlik) Pratt, 79, passed away at her Great Falls home on Sunday, November 29, 2015 of natural causes.
At her request, no services are planned. Cremation has been conducted by O’Connor Funeral home.
Carole was born in Great Falls on February 20, 1936.
She was raised in Belt by Rudy and Lavina Stehlik. After graduating from Belt high school, she attended Montana State College in Bozeman, and then completed her bachelor’s degree in education at the College of Great Falls.
She taught at schools in HIghwood, Great Falls, and the California Bay Area.
In 1958, she married Melvin A. Pratt and was a loving Air Force wife during tours in Texas, Florida, and California before returning to Great Falls. Melvin then became a pilot for Pan Am.
Carole also served for many years as the secretary at the Westside Methodist Church in Great Falls.
Carole and Melvin had two daughters, Lisa and Krista, and raised them in Great Falls.
Melvin died in a Pan Am plane crash in 1974, and Carole devoted her life to raising her daughters and seeing them through college and marrying.
Carole very much enjoyed playing bridge with friends and traveling, and she was very proud of her Belt roots.
Carole was preceded in death by her husband and her parents.
She is survived by her daughters Lisa Prosperie (Kyle) and Krista Sherman (David).

NEW SBX!

At long last — a crack in the armor of the tyranny of 10th Avenue South! A new Starbucks has opened on the northwest side of Great Falls!

OK, it’s not a free-standing Starbucks — but it’s a legit SBX that can serve up my precious 10-shot iced espresso!

It opened yesterday inside the Albertsons on 3rd Street NW.

New SBX location inside Albertsons on 3rd Street NW!

New SBX location inside Albertsons on 3rd Street NW!

Now if I (or you) want to get a SBX beverage and you live or work or just happen to be on the NW side of town — no more driving across town — woohoo!

This brings to SIX the number of SBX locations in town:

Two free-standing stores — the first one at 10th Avenue South and 9th Street (opened in August 2005), the second opened last year at 10th Avenue South and 32nd Street.

One in the Barnes & Noble shop in the Great Falls Marketplace.

One in the Albertsons at 10th Avenue South and 23rd Street.

The new one inside the NW Alberstons.

And although I haven’t seen it, I’ve heard that there is one inside Target.

Yes, I do indeed love my SBX — and the awesome crew members that even surprise me during the holidays :-)

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