Flavors Moment: New beginnings at Evergreen Cafe
Change is the constant these days. In midtown Billings, inside the Ace Hardware store, the Evergreen Café has new owners.
Stu and Cyd Hoefle will be keeping their business, Big Sky Kombucha but have sold the sandwich and charcuterie portion of their business they opened a year ago to Andrew and Ashley Lauckner.
"We are continuing on with the fresh charcuterie and the delicious sandwiches," Ashley Lauckner said. "We’ll be looking to offer more types of sandwiches like hot sandwiches. We’re also interested in offering breakfast items."
Lauckner says it was the right time to take on the challenge of running the cafe.
"My husband, Andrew, and I saw our time with our kids slipping by and he was in career that took him away from us pretty often, so this opportunity became available and we thought it would be a wonderful family for all of us," she said.
Lauckner plans to include their 8-year-old son, Jayden, and 10-year-old daughter, Emma, in the new adventure.
For the Lauckners taking over the already established business is a good opportunity. Andrew managed a restaurant as a high schooler in Nashua and worked at a bar in college, but Ashley says she's "completely new in the restaurant business."
"It is something that has always interested me but it had been a little bit intimidating," she said.
For now Big Sky Kombucha will be made and offered at Evergreen Café. Assistant Brewer Mitch Hoefle says they'll have eight different varieties on tap every day.
He and his father, Stu, are "just experimenting with flavors," Mitch said.
And those experiments are bringing on new kombucha options — a lightly spiced pineapple-jalapeno combination Hoefle calls Pine-a-Peno; and Epic Berry, mixing raspberry and cherry.
The new innovations include some ingredients found locally.
"We’re getting the chokecherry from Laurel and then we are also doing watermelon-strawberry-mint and we’re locally sourcing the mint," Hoefle said.
Mitch Hoefle says the plans for Big Sky Kombucha are to grow the business and "see where we can grow it." His wife, Cyd, has a clearer vision of the future as she prioritizes her responsibilities.
"We started three businesses at the same time. We’d purchased Raised in the West Magazine and we hoped to do the kombucha brewery and at the same time the café got itself in there," she said.
Now that the café is sold, "we're going to expand on the magazine and play with grandkids and visit our daughters and float the river, hike, and fish," she said.
Mitch's father, Stu, says there's a lot he'll miss at Evergreen Café
"We’ve been so embraced by the community," he said. "It’s really become a community for us so that’s the thing that we will miss the most is friends. Laughing."