POLSON – With a few things new and a lot of the old, 4-B’s has reopened here at the intersection of Highways 35 and 93, much to the pleasure of the legions of faithful who yearned for the tomato soup and were left begging when the family restaurant closed three years ago.
And if there’s any doubt it’s the same soup made famous by the Hainlines, who owned the popular chain of cafes across the state for 50 years, just ask for the recipe, said Cheryl Gertge, a former Polson employee who now is the store’s general manager.
Bread pudding has also been added after customers requested it for dessert, but the menu remains much like it was when the place closed in April 2007.
“Everything is reasonably priced so you can take your family out and have a great meal,” said assistant manager Chris Erickson, who brings extensive food service knowledge to the operation after many years working as the dietary manager at St. Joseph Hospital and Assisted Living Center. “It’s not going to break your pocket book.”
The salad bar, the only one at any 4-B’s, remains and three plasma televisions are being added to the restaurant.
Extensive renovating, including landscaping, took about a month to complete prior to the restaurant’s reopening and work continues on the roof after delays caused by the rainy weather.
There was need for another restaurant in Polson, said Gertge, and response since the 120-seat restaurant opened on Mother’s Day has been excellent.
“Busy. It has been fantastic, actually great,” she said. “I had so many people say that they are so happy because we needed another restaurant, a different place for people to go. There just isn’t much selection in town.”
There were about five applicants for each of the 56 part-time and full-time positions and a few, like Gertge, who previously worked at the Polson location for more than seven years, returned to the fold.
Star Buffet, Inc., a multi-concept restaurant holding company, bought the 4-B’s name and menu when the company folded and also operates under the name in Great Falls, Havre, Miles City, Butte and Deer Lodge, while also owning JB’s locations in Billings and Great Falls.
The Scottsdale, Ariz., company operates or franchises 45 restaurants under a variety of monikers in 17 states.
While there currently is no 4-B’s in Missoula where the business was founded and the former buildings are occupied, Gertge said expansion isn’t out of the question.
“It may happen some day,” she said. “We’ve had a lot of people ask.”
The Polson restaurant currently is open until midnight on Friday and Saturday and until 10 p.m. the remainder of the week, although the hours of operation may be slightly extended later in the tourist season.
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