Missoulians have been anxiously waiting to find out what new shops and food options are coming to the new Mercantile hotel downtown, and now they finally have an answer.
A Thai food eatery with an outdoor patio, a new traditional Mexican restaurant and a cocktail bar with small-batch tequilas, a do-it-yourself arts-and-crafts bar and a couple of fashion boutiques are all on the list.
That's according to HomeBase Partners, the development team that's currently building the 175-room Marriott hotel and commercial complex on the corner of Higgins and Front. It's expected to open in late January 2019.
According to Andy Holloran, principal of HomeBase Partners, leases have been signed with several businesses that will occupy spaces on the ground floor of the project.
They include Teton Thai, which has two other restaurants in the Jackson, Wyoming area; a Mexican restaurant called The Camino; CREATE Art Bar; local clothing shop Olive + Iron, and a lifestyle fashion boutique called The Montana Scene.
Holloran said it will be Teton Thai's "first outpost" outside of Jackson, Wyoming, and Driggs, Idaho. It will offer regional Thai favorites and Bangkok-style street food.
"The atmosphere aims to capture the whimsical and vibrant food culture and design that is so commonly found in Thailand's capital," said owner Ryan Hemsworth.
The restaurant will offer patio seating on Front Street during the warmer months and a take-out counter for those on the run.
The Camino will be a full-service restaurant and cocktail bar. It'll be dedicated to "traditional, artisanal" Mexican cooking techniques and recipes. Using ingredients from local farms and Oaxacan corn, they'll feature tacos and antojitos (Mexican street food).
Some menu items include lamb barbacoa wrapped in banana leaves along with scallop aguachile with serrano and lime. The bar will feature small-batch tequila and mezcal negronis. Holloran said the owners will "think big" by having "a small, focused, seasonal menu."
The CREATE Art Bar will be a do-it-yourself crafting area where people can "be creative, make a unique piece of art and enjoy craft cocktails, wine and beer."
CREATE will have a menu of around 15 art projects ranging from leather wallets to beaded jewelry to string art and magnetic bottle openers. Projects will be purchased with all materials, tools to borrow and custom written instructions so customers can complete it on their own, at their own pace and with assistance as needed.
Olive + Iron is a men's and women's clothing shop next to Draught Works Brewery in the Westside neighborhood right now. They'll locate to the Mercantile as well.
"If you embrace tradition, create your own trends or follow your own heart, Olive + Iron will have what you are looking for in a wide range of prices," said shop owner Mandy Burns.
The Montana Scene is a "lifestyle fashion boutique" the owners say is "inspired by Montana and the great outdoors with a focus on trendy clothing and extraordinary gifts." It originally started in Bigfork and now has five locations across the state.
Holloran said the hotel's guest rooms and public areas will also feature Montana artists and artwork that's been conceived and curated by the Radius Gallery in Missoula. A number of items salvaged from the deconstruction of the original historic Mercantile building have been incorporated into the new project, including the iconic copper dome. That will be placed in the Mews, a public indoor social space connecting Higgins Avenue and Pattee Street. The second floor of the reclaimed Pharmacy portion of the old building will become the Mercantile Inn's "Presidential Suite" featuring high ceilings, two bedrooms and a large common area.
Holloran said he's excited about the "unique customization of the hotel as well as the dynamic group of tenants."
"It is gratifying to see the Mercantile come back to life," he added. "Combining a diverse, exciting mix of retailers and restaurants with our custom Residence Inn by Marriott, the Mercantile will again be the centerpiece of trade, commerce and activity in Missoula.''
Holloran said there is also still limited retail space available in the complex. Interested parties can find a phone number on the banners outside the construction site.