Since March 2007, the space inside 147 West Broadway in downtown Missoula has been home to a Mexican restaurant, a catering company, a café and bakery, a bar and grill, and a chain barbecue restaurant. But Scott McIntyre, who co-owns the space and an interconnected web of businesses known as the Badlander complex, thinks that cycle of turnover might finally be coming to end. Last month, experienced restaurateurs Angel and Tim Chen signed a lease on the space. The Chens plan to open a high-end eatery called Face Club this fall.
"They bring not only experience but they're also managed well," McIntyre says. "I think that separates them from any of the tenants before them."
The Chens own two existing restaurants, Sweet Chili Asian Bistro in Bozeman and Lemongrass Asian Bistro in North Little Rock, Ark. For their latest project, the Chens have big plans. They expect to offer not only Thai, Chinese and Japanese fare, as they do at their other locations, but also to include American, French and maybe even Brazilian food. The exact menu will depend on the expertise of the chefs they hire to work alongside Tim, who specializes in Asian cuisine. The goal is to have something for everyone.
"You can try different countries of food," Angel Chen says. "Not every day is burger. Not every day is pizza."
The Chens estimate meals will cost between $10 and $30, as they do at their other locations. They are also extensively remodeling the space to create a more refined atmosphere than is available elsewhere in the Badlander complex, such as next door at the Golden Rose or downstairs in the Palace Lounge. For now, however, the room is a bare construction site.
Though it remains to be seen exactly how the space and the menu will turn out, Angel Chen says Face Club will offer what other places around town don't. When asked for an example, she says alligator will be on the menu.
"You come here," she says, "you have a surprise."