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Beer and Barbecue on the Menu at Brookies Cookies

By Beacon Staff

After two-and-a-half months of intensive remodeling, Brookies Cookies recently reopened for the summer season.

Aiming for a more rustic look and feel, owner Greg Edwards and a group of close friends removed carpet, put up new paint, refurbished the riverside deck and added picnic tables.

“It wasn’t so bad, but it wasn’t so good,” Edwards said of the previous interior. “It just wasn’t our style, for sure.”

Edwards says the remodeling will help solidify the bakery’s transformation into two separate eating venues. By day, Brookies offers baked goods such as triple berry muffins and their uber popular chocolate chip cookie. At night, a different scene emerges when Kickin’ Chicken Bar and Grille opens for business.

Using a grill on a back porch that overlooks the rapid-choked Swan River, Edwards turns out barbecued meat and side dishes. Patrons can converge on the deck, sit around the fire pit or settle at a picnic bench on the large yard.

“It’s like going over to your friends’,” he said of the relaxed atmosphere. “With the river in the backyard, you couldn’t ask for more.”

After offering nearly a dozen different items each night last summer, Edwards decided to trim the menu.

“It just got overwhelming,” he said. “This year we’re going to get a better handle on it and provide more entertainment and as our kitchen grows, we can add more variety.”

Because Kickin’ Chicken holds a liquor license, Edwards, an experienced bartender, serves up a full menu of cocktails and beer.

“It’s just nice to have a cocktail by the fire and the river,” he said.

Kevin Gordon, a friend who helped with the remodel, is one of many to welcome this addition.

“Now that he’s got the bar we come down every Friday and have a couple of beers,” he said. “The food and the music are great.”

Starting June 9, Brookies will run on its extended summer schedule and will feature live music several nights a week. Edwards said the closing time could extend as late as 1 a.m., depending on the crowd.

Although there are more projects he would have liked to complete, Edwards said he made it a priority to reopen by June. With all the summer tourists in Bigfork, nearly 80 percent of the bakery’s business will flow in over the next 12 weeks. According to Edwards, each week the bakery will consume 300 to 400 pounds of flour.

This will be Edwards’ fourth summer running the bakery since taking ownership in March 2007. Besides leaving behind the original décor, the previous owner left his recipe cache. Edwards says the recipes were a godsend as his only prior baking experience had been limited to frozen pizzas.

“With no experience, that was tough,” he said. “The learning curve was definitely pretty sharp.”

Although the cookie recipes were pretty fail-proof, the other baked goods proved to be more difficult.

“Our cinnamon rolls were just like cow pies,” Edwards said. “From what the clientele tells us now, they’re back to par.”

For next summer, Edwards wants to build an outdoor bar, build tables for the inside, expand the kitchen and attach the walk-in cooler, construct a gazebo, cover part of the deck and build it out 15 feet.

“Fortunately I have a saw mill and a whole bunch of logs,” he said.

Although he averages around four to five hours of sleep each night, Edwards says he relishes running the business.

“I’m always excited about the day, as soon as I wake up,” he said. “This place is the last little green space left in Bigfork and it’s my big fight to save this and make this business work.”

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