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Flavors Moment: Revitalizing a Neighborhood Restaurant - The Granary

Owner Kelsey Daer and Executive Chef Megan Jesse are bringing new flavors and fun to this iconic neighborhood restaurant in Billings.
Stella Fong
Owner Kelsey Daer and Executive Chef Megan Jesse are bringing new flavors and fun to this iconic neighborhood restaurant in Billings.

Stella Fong: Executive Chef Megan Jesse is firing up a new menu in this Midtown restaurant. Co-owner Kelsey Daer who also owns Buffalo Block at the Rex with her family the Larsens shares:

Kelsey Daer: We’re so excited to have Megan on board. She definitely brings a lot of fun and creativity and experience and we are revamping the menu right now. We’ve working really hard on just on listening to guest when they come in and things that they are looking for and taking all that into account. So we’re focusing on local, so whether that’s beef or whether that’s microgreens that we get, pasta, really focusing on Montana.

Stella Fong: And that focus on the bounty found here under the Big Sky is not new for Executive Chef Jesse.

Chef Megan Jesse: I was born and raised here but left and went to culinary school in upstate New York, Culinary Institute of America and after that travelled all over the world cooking, from all over the country and came back to Montana. The last five years I’ve been at Sage Lodge in Paradise Valley, but I have also been involved in the ProStart Program here in Montana.

Stella Fong: Jesse was not planning on coming back to the town she grew up in, but she could not turn down the opportunity to bring back to life this gathering spot.

Chef Megan Jesse: This place has been part of Billings, the heart of the neighborhood for a long time.

Stella Fong: For Daer and her family, the Granary was a second restaurant project that was near and dear to their hearts.

Kelsey Daer: When we took over the Buffalo Block it was an iconic building, an iconic restaurant, a staple in the Billings community and The Granary was much like that. It’s been around forever. My brother and I both have a connection to Rocky so we’ve been here many times. My brother had his rehearsal dinner upstairs so we definitely all had a piece of that history in this building, and it was exciting to revamp another important building here in town.

Stella Fong: The menu, too, will be revamped seasoned with comfort and the sentiments of neighborhood.

Chef Megan Jesse: I basically thought about those things that I would make for somebody that was coming to my house. The roasted chicken is always my go to so we have the roasted half chicken with a garlic mash

Stella Fong: Chef Jesse not only brings home to the Granary but also

Chef Megan Jesse: The other thing I have been able to do in my last five years here is develop a relationship with a lot of Montana vendors.

Stella Fong: So the new menu will feature items such as;

Chef Megan Jesse: The Montrail bison short ribs, Flathead Lake trout.

Stella Fong: And these dishes are brought to the table from the enthusiastic team in the kitchen.

Chef Megan Jesse: It’s collaborative back there. They have some good ideas and they help me develop some of the complexity of the flavors.

Stella Fong: And what’s developing in the front of house?

Kelsey Daer: The plan right now is we’ll be getting rid of the live tank and just trying to make it more open when guests walk into the restaurant.

Stella Fong: And what about the oyster offerings that debuted last year?

Kelsey Daer: As far as the raw bar we’re going to redevelop that. We’re still going to have oysters because that is a big part of who we are and we are also passionate about that but we’re going to look at more craft cocktails and maybe setting up some interesting over there.

Stella Fong: Interesting it will be at the Granary as a new chef takes over the kitchen. This is Stella Fong for ypradio news.

Stella Fong shares her personal love of food and wine through her cooking classes and wine seminars as well as through her contributions to Yellowstone Valley Woman, and Last Best News and The Last Best Plates blogs. Her first book, Historic Restaurants of Billings hit the shelves in November of 2015 with Billings Food available in the summer of 2016. After receiving her Certified Wine Professional certification from the Culinary Institute of America with the assistance of a Robert Parker Scholarship for continuing studies, she has taught the Wine Studies programs for Montana State University Billings Wine and Food Festival since 2008. She has instructed on the West Coast for cooking schools such as Sur La Table, Williams-Sonoma, Macy’s Cellars, and Gelsons, and in Billings, at the Billings Depot, Copper Colander, Wellness Center, the YMCA and the YWCA. Locally she has collaborated with Raghavan Iyer and Christy Rost in teaching classes.