GARDINER, Mont. – The Curtis family may be done picking up the pieces from an accidental fire last July, but their "reimagined" gravel lot looks to benefit as well as help out other businesses in the small tourist town during the summer of "pandemic revenge travel."
On July 14, 2020, an accidental fire with the cause still unknown started in the Two-Bit Saloon jumping an alley and fully engulfing Red's Blue Goose Saloon, three restaurants and employee housing between Park Street and Main Street in downtown Gardiner.
After almost a year of clean-up, permits and negotiations with insurance companies, the Curtis family made a "reimagined" gravel lot with Red’s Blue Goose Saloon in the middle and several food trucks.
The Gardiner Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Terese Petcoff said they don’t have exact numbers on the economic impact of losing the businesses during the 2020 tourist season, but did mention there are only 21 places to go grab a bite to eat in the tourist town of around a thousand people.
“They’ve been overwhelmed with trying to service all of our visitors, we love our visitors, but we just don’t have enough people, supplies, all of that,” Lisa Curtis, landlord of Red’s Blue Goose Saloon, Rosie’s Bistro, Two-Bit Saloon and Yellowstone Raft Company said. “A lot of people were displaced because we also had employee housing in the Two-Bit.”
Not only was employee housing lost, but the Curtis family home above Rosie's Bistro.
“I wasn’t able to come out and see just the fat gravel lot, the spot that I used to live and work in for you know years and years until like eight months ago,” Charlie Curtis, Red's grandson said.
The idea to reimagine Red's Blue Goose Saloon became a reality once wrecking crews from Standish Excavation, LLC. cleaned up the lot in time for the busy pandemic 2021 revenge summer ahead.
“We needed to reimagine it in even a small way to bring back life to our community and our corner, and we’re just so pleased to see all the tourists come in and enjoy it,” Curtis said.
The Curtis family has welcomed two food trucks to the lot, have another one coming soon and said the reimagined look isn't final. They want to thank everyone in the community and beyond for their help through this journey.
On July 14, 2021, the Curtis family will host a "fireball" event from noon to midnight to celebrate bringing the community gathering place back together even if they are "reimagined."
The vendors on the lot are "Pizza on the Fly" by Hans Friedman, "Scoop! There it is" by Chloe Chase, "Magpie Mexican" by Anna Holloway, "Yellowstone Carriage Company" by Bailee Morrison-Fogel, "Yankee Jim Designs" by Kenney Berndt and "Big Sky E-Bikes" by Jay O'Connor.