Restaurant sets sights on spring opening
A Cody restaurant is expanding to downtown Powell, as Millstone Pizza Company & Brewery plans to move soon into the building that housed Hansel and Gretel’s Restaurant for decades.
“It came to our attention that the location was for sale, so we came out and looked at it,” said Millstone owner Gary Johnston. “After looking at it, we decided we might be ready for an expansion. It gets us (Millstone) a little closer to Lovell, and gives the folks in Powell a little better access to it.”
The summer season is a busy one in Cody, thanks to a healthy tourism industry. Johnston hopes that as empty seats in Cody’s downtown establishments become scarce, local residents will head east to Powell for a family dining experience.
“With downtown Cody, it’s really hard to get a seat anywhere in the summertime. For about five months, it stays busy,” he said. “I think people will come this way.”
Despite the size difference, Johnston said the demographics in Powell and Cody are similar.
“There’s actually a pretty equal amount of young people in Powell and Cody,” he said. “And there are a lot of people on the outskirts. The college is here, there’s a good-sized high school, a lot of elementary schools. I think the market is definitely there. The demographics are actually pretty good, I think we’re going to do fine.”
Millstone — which describes itself as a family-friendly restaurant, sports bar and arcade — was allowed to take over Hansel and Gretel’s liquor license during a City Council meeting earlier this month.
The restaurant will consist of a main dining room, a sports bar with multiple television screens, an area for private parties and a large arcade for kids of all ages. Games such as skee-ball will dispense tickets and tokens that can be redeemed for prizes.
The interior of the restaurant, when it’s all said and done, will be very similar to that of the Cody location. A lot of work will also go into redesigning the outside of the establishment to give it its signature look and feel. The menu will be the same, but unlike the Cody location, the arcade will be on the same level as the rest of the restaurant, making it easier for parents to keep track of their kids (or vice-versa). The Powell location will not have its own brewery but will feature craft beers from Millstone’s Cody restaurant as well as other area breweries.
“We would like to use some local breweries, give them some tap handles,” Johnston said. “Sheridan, Billings, Ten Sleep, they (micro-breweries) are all over the place. There’s a local brewery here; we hope to get some of their beers here. We just want Wyoming and Montana beers to be well-represented.”
With spring just around the corner, Johnston and his crew are wasting little time on renovations.
“As soon as we closed escrow we got started on it,” he said. “We hope to be close in a couple of months. We’d like to be up and going by April. The demo is practically done; now it’s time to start putting it back together.”
Johnston added that he’s excited to be a part of the local business community.