Iconic Missouri River bar-grill is reopening
Great Falls Tribune USA TODAY NETWORK
The Missouri Inn, a well-known restaurant at Hardy Creek along a blue-ribbon stretch of the Missouri River that closed three years ago, is reopening under new ownership.
Hayley Mieyr and her daughter, Schuyler, have purchased the eating spot and watering hole, which sits across a popular river put in amidst striking rocky cliffs where it’s common to see bighorn ship grazing while fly fishermen cast in the river like some scene from “The River Runs Through It.”
It is accessed from the Hardy Creek exit on Interstate 15, 35 miles southwest of Great Falls.
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Missouri River Inn Restaurant and Bar at Hardy Creek is opening again under new ownership, the mother-daughter duo of Hayley and Schuler Mieyr. PHOTOS BY RION SANDERS/GREAT FALLS TRIBUNE
Anglers fish the Missouri River south of Cascade on Wednesday.
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“We just wanted to come home,” Hayley Mieyr said Wednesday, in work clothes as she installed a new floor in the restaurant. “We’re excited to be here.”
Hayley Mieyr, 53, who is originally from Great Falls, spent the past 35 years in Seattle where worked she worked as a model and also in the restaurant business.
The mother-daughter team still owns a restaurant called the Viking Sports Bar in Grill in the Seattle.
They’re thinking about changing the name of the bar and grill to the Missouri River Inn.
There’s still a lot of work to do before it reopens for business.
The Mieyrs are doing most of the remodeling themselves. They’ve overhauled three restaurants before.
“We’ve done plumbing and electrical,” Hayley Mieyr said.
By a 5-0 vote, the Cascade County Zoning Board of Adjustment approved a special use permit for the restaurant Sept. 17, with conditions.
“It’s going to go through some substantial improvements to come up to standards with the City-County Health Department,” said Michael Stone, a planner with the Cascade County Planning Department.
The Mieyrs purchased the restaurant from Greg Jones of Texas and Phil Camera, who owns the Prewett Creek Fly Shop next door.
“You can’t imagine how many people who say they wanted the restaurant to open,” Camera said.
The restaurant had a 50-year run prior to its closing in 2016, Camera said. It served both the local Hardy Creek community as well as visitors who camp and fish.
Over the past dozen years, Camera said as he tied flies in his shop, this stretch of the Missouri River, less known than reaches to the south, was discovered.
“The reason it got discovered is the fishing is every bit as good, and there’s fewer people,” Camera said.
Burke Tyree of Tyree Investment group, working under broker Dustin Young and Co., represented the buyer and seller in the deal.
“It’s just something the corridor needs,” Tyree said of the restaurant. “It will help give people an option where to eat.”
The area is zoned agricultural, with the restaurant a grandfathered non-conforming use.
But once it ceased operations for a year, it was no longer protected, and a special use permit was needed allowing it to reopen, which took more time than Tyree expected because the county was proposing changes to its zoning regulations at the time.
“Hopefully, we’ll see the rewards and dividends of a long, hard process,” said Tyree.
A provision, or call out, in the rules allows a shopping center in the agricultural district with a special use permit.
That’s the route Missouri River Inn is taking to reopen.
Besides the restaurant and tavern, a convenience store is planned as well.
“That’s what allowed it to come back in as a special use call out as a shopping center,” Stone said.
On Wednesday, bighorn sheep grazed along the railroad tracks, prompting several motorists to stop to watch and take pictures.
“Our new neighbors,” Hayley Mieyr posted on her Facebook page with a picture of the sheep.
The “open” light in the window of the restaurant was dark but Mieyr was working hard inside putting down the new floor.
“It’s hard to see my vision right now,” she said, acknowledging the disarray of a building that had been closed for almost four years.
“I know once we get moving, it will go fast,” she added.
The Mieyrs are planning a soft February opening with the firm opening scheduled in the spring.
The bar and grill will won’t be fancy, she said, but food will be fresh, and expect great, hand-formed burgers and home-made fry seasoning, said Mieyr, noting her Seattle restaurant has won awards for its burgers.
Football games will be shown at the bar and grill, which will have a “sporty vibe,” Mieyr said.
“The locals are so welcoming,” she said.
The restaurant venture is a truly a family affair. Mieyr’s mother, Carolyn Gerhardt, a wildlife artist and Belt native, will have an art studio at the building.
Reach Tribune Staff Writer Karl Puckett at firstname.lastname@example.org or 406-7911471.
Phil Camera, owner of Prewett Creek Fly Shop, was the former owner of the Missouri River Inn before selling it to Hayley and Schuyler Mieyr. RION SANDERS/GREAT FALLS TRIBUNE
Bighorn sheep graze near the Missouri River Inn at Hardy Creek Wednesday.
RION SANDERS/GREAT FALLS TRIBUNE
Hayley Mieyr lays down new floor at the Missouri River Inn Restaurant and Bar at Hardy Creek. Mieyr and her daughter Schuler Mieyr are the new owners and hope to reopen the bar and restaurant early next year. RION SANDERS/GREAT FALLS TRIBUNE
Schuyler and Hayley Mieyr have purchased the Missouri River Inn at Hardy Creek.
The Hardy Bridge, is three span Warren truss bridge built in the 1930's, crosses the Missouri River in the community of Hardy south of Cascade.
RION SANDERS/GREAT FALLS TRIBUNE