A new neighborhood gathering spot is coming to the fast-growing upper Miller Creek neighborhood of south Missoula.
Local couple Dennis and Robin Round, owners of the popular downtown café Market on Front, plan to open a new full-service restaurant called The Den by Market on Front at a scenic spot on Upper Miller Creek Road where it intersects with Linda Vista Boulevard.
They’ll also open a little grocery store called The Market with hand-dipped ice cream and items like meats, cheeses and sauces. It’ll all be part of a large new commercial development called The Vista, being built by multiple partners, which will have small tenant spaces available for lease to separate businesses.
The restaurant will serve coffee, breakfast, lunch and a dinner entrée menu seven days a week featuring steaks, pizzas, burgers and other specials.
“Our menu will include many local products and will be updated seasonally,” Round explained. “We feel with the addition of The Market, we will be able to provide the neighborhood with a convenient spot to pick up many of their daily staples.”
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Yes, they’ll have their famous breakfast burritos. But they’ve also got a beer and wine license for the new spot, so they’ll have a bar and table service.
Round, who grew up in Florence and attended the University of Montana, has a long history in the service industry. He bought Market on Front a few years ago.
“Market on Front has done well over the past few years,” he said. “It is in a great location, and we have a loyal customer base, but we are limited by our footprint and a deed restriction for future growth. With the inability to expand at our existing location, we are not able to offer a complete dinner menu to our customers.”
He said they’ve been approached by people in Billings, Whitefish and Bozeman about expanding to those towns. But it’s Missoula where he wanted the business to grow.
“When Robin and I were offered the opportunity to open another location in Upper Miller Creek, we jumped at the opportunity,” he said. “We are looking forward to being a part of a new commercial development in the Miller Creek area. We believe the synergies of the businesses will bring much-needed offerings and value to the area and its local neighbors.”
Under construction by Jackson Contractor Group right now, The Den will feature an outdoor patio and fire pit with views of the surrounding mountains when it’s done in the first quarter of 2023.
“That’s one of the things I’m most excited about is the patio,” he said. “It’ll offer shade and the view is just going to be stunning for sure. It’s a great setting.”
Round says he’s not sure what types of businesses will lease the other spaces, but a doctor’s office, a workout facility, an urgent care clinic, a childcare facility and a small brewery taproom have all surfaced as possibilities. The Vista is getting built in two stages, and each building will be about 10,000 square feet.
“We’re looking for some neighborhood retail tenants,” Round said. “Perhaps some banking. We’re really open to anything that can help the neighborhood in that area.”
The way he sees it, as long as hundreds of houses keep getting built in that section of town every year, there might as well be some amenities and services so all those residents don’t have to drive to Brooks Street every time they need a meal or a few groceries.
He noted that last-minute staple items, like flour for cookies or a six-pack of beer for a barbecue, currently require a fairly long drive for residents of the area.
Claire Matten of Sterling Commercial Real Estate, the broker for the available lease spaces, agreed.
“If you live up Miller Creek and need to run out and get a last-minute gallon of milk or grab dinner from the family, The Vista is about to make your life much easier,” she said.
Round said he and Robin are excited about the opportunity to finally bring their vision of a full-service restaurant to the community.
“We look forward to receiving feedback from the local neighborhood regarding what they are looking for and in need of, allowing us to turn The Den and The Market into a true local gathering spot for the neighborhood where everyone truly knows your name,” he said.