By Tim Leeds/Havre Daily Newsfirstname.lastname@example.org
Several coincidences led to the opening of a new restaurant in the Atrium Mall.
Former Havreites Aaron and Peggy Utsler, who operate a seasonal restaurant, the Bears Den Cafe, in Dupuyer, opened the Bears Den lunch and coffee shop in the lower level of the mall Monday, coming to Havre just in time for the wintry weather.
"Most people head south for the winter," Peggy Utsler joked.
She said she and her husband were in Havre visiting their children and grandchildren when they noticed Quench & Bench was moving from its location in the Atrium. Their daughter Tara Brandon owns Sunsations Tanning Salon and Day Spa.
Quench & Bench is in the process of remodeling a spot just inside the main entrance of Holiday Village Shopping Center, previously occupied by Pizza Pro. Quench & Bench owner Leeann Evans could not be reached for comment.
The Utslers decided to open their own restaurant in the space in the Atrium previously occupied by Evans Optical. Evans Optical moved to a space in the Bing N Bob's Sport Shop building a few weeks ago.
The Utslers started remodeling the space in the Atrium about 10 days ago, Aaron Utsler said.
"We hated to see the Atrium lose a restaurant," Peggy Utsler said.
Utsler said it was just good luck they were in Havre at all. Their seasonal restaurant in Dupuyer usually stays open through hunting season, but closed early this year because the summer fires cut off tourist traffic early, she said.
She said her family will continue to operate the Bears Den in Dupuyer, but family members haven't decided who will manage which operation. Their daughter in Dupuyer might run the Bears Den Cafe while she and her husband run the Havre restaurant, Utsler said.
The Bears Den in the Atrium is open 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Utsler said she and her husband may extend the hours in the future.
The menu includes a special each day, along with sandwiches, homemade soup and stuffed baked potatoes. The restaurant sells Pepsi products, coffee and tea.
Utsler said the remodeling of their business is still under way, and the phone has not been installed. She said the Bears Den can be contacted at Sunsations at 265-3609.