Blending British and Whitefish

By Beacon Staff

WHITEFISH – Every British pub tries to offer a few traditional meals that are “scrummy.” That might sound uncomplimentary in the U.S., but it’s rather high praise in England.

The newly renovated pub and sandwich shop Quickee now has a whole menu full of British and American dishes that deserve being called scrummy, or tasty to an American.

Winner of the “Best Sandwich” in town seven years running, Quickee recently evolved, both in location and taste. After being closed for six weeks, the sandwich shop reopened on the corner of Second Street East and Lupfer Avenue in early January in a fully renovated building twice the size of its old location.

Quickee Pub Whitefish

Line cook Lainy Klein places two prepared plates of food in the pickup window at the new Quickee Pub and Sandwich Shop location in Whitefish.

The shop offers both lunch and dinner, either to go or in its sit-down restaurant. The food is almost all supplied locally and the beer and wine list is similarly recognizable. The menu still has a few classic items intact, such as its popular sandwiches. But there’s a new lineup of rather foreign names that are probably more familiar to the owners, Yvette Haines and her husband Peter McCrone. There’s bangers and mash – sausages coated in caramelized onion sauce atop mash potatoes. There’s steak and ale pie – steak slices, mixed vegetables and leeks simmered in Cold Smoke ale gravy. And, of course, there’s fish and chips, another Great Britain staple.

“True to my roots, we’re British pub-style food now,” Haines said.

The new Quickee reflects a blending of two proudly unique identities – British and Whitefish – and so do Haines and McCrone. The husband-wife team gives away their English roots with just a few words.

Haines and McCrone, both from England, moved to Whitefish in late 2008 after falling in love with the town years earlier. Haines had visited a dude ranch in Fortine in 2004 and she wanted her husband and son to share the memorable experience. The family visited together a couple years later and the trip ended up being more than just memorable.

“We went back to the (United Kingdom) and none of us could settle,” Haines said. “We really loved it here so much. It just kind of draws you in.”

The family began seriously considering a move to Northwest Montana, but there was one major hurdle in the way. In order to be granted a U.S. visa, foreigners must meet a few criteria, including committing to purchasing a business. Haines and McCrone discovered Quickee, which had opened in 2000 as a lunch stop. But before making the life-changing decision, Haines made sure the family was all on board, especially her son Matty.

“It was all or nothing. We either all wanted to do it or we weren’t going to do it at all,” Haines said. “Matty was the keenest of us all to come. He really wanted to do it … We had to make that blind commitment. It was a big leap of faith.”

Quickee Pub Whitefish

Steve Minser, Laura Klein and Jessica Gutting, left to right, dine in the new Quickee Pub and Sandwich Shop location in Whitefish.

Today the family is “delighted” to have taken that giant step. Not only did the parents settle into a successful business in the heart of town, but Matty went on to become an all-state captain on the high school soccer team. Now a senior, Matty helped the Bulldogs win the Class A state championship in the fall and is being pursued by college soccer programs.

The move has gone better than planned, Haines said. The same can be said about the revitalized sandwich and pub shop, which has already picked up with more business than before, she said. The business has grown from four employees to 16 and the new shop is now decorated with a mix of pictures of Great Britain and the Whitefish soccer team.

It’s just as Haines and McCrone envisioned it, distinctly British-Whitefish.

“There aren’t many better places in the world to live,” she said.

“When I come into work here everyday, it’s something to really be proud of. I like this. It’s how we want it to be.”