The Whitehall Ledger - Serving Southern Jefferson County in the Great State of Montana

By Jack H. Smith
Ledger Publisher 

New restaurant opening next month

Stageline to open in April


March 29, 2017

In 1996, Ken and Tina Bates opened Stageline Pizza restaurants in Dillon and Anaconda.

They would later decide to sell both businesses to spend more time with their children and pursue other opportunities. Now over two decades since they opened the two Montana stores, they have decided to get back into the pizza business and will be opening a Stageline next month in Whitehall.

Along with the popular pizza and breadsticks featured in Stageline franchises across Montana, Ken said they would also be offering their own Italian dishes including lasagna.

They will also be offering delivery within the town limits of Whitehall. Ken said in the next few weeks they will be mapping out routes for delivery and would eventually like to include the outer limits of town. The new Stageline will also be offering daily and carryout specials.

The couple closed on the business located at 605 West Legion March 9, and have been busy remodeling since. The restaurant will be in the former home of the Chinese Garden, and Ken said the former tenants removed everything in the building but the sinks. He said they have been working hard bringing in new equipment like ovens, and the restaurant will feature eight booths that sit four, two booths that sit two, and will also have several round tables.

Ken and Tina both stressed the importance of keeping a clean restaurant and providing great customer service.

Tina said they would also take pride in being able to provide a nice family oriented sit down restaurant that will eventually feature a salad bar on the weekends and an outdoor patio.

The hours of the restaurant are not set in stone, but will tentatively be from 4 p.m. to 9 or 10 p.m. Ken said they may look at opening for lunch in the future, but for now want to focus on doing the best job they can during dinner. Ken said there really isn't anywhere for people to go and eat after tournaments or games that end late, and they would adjust their hours when necessary to accommodates to those attending games.

While neither has plans on quitting their current jobs, they both will be doing the cooking at the restaurant. Tina said that when they had the business in Dillon, people would often come into the restaurant hoping it was one of the two of them cooking.

The couple will also be relying on family and friends during their opening few months. Ken said they both have numerous family members who have owned Stageline franchises and they will be coming to help. He said it would be a benefit to customers at the start to have people that know what there doing. Ken added once they are up and running they will begin to hire local residents. A sign was placed at the location March 20, and Tina said they have already had people stopping by to see if they were open. Ken said the response he's heard has been positive and everyone seems to be looking forward to their opening in mid to late April.

Ken said they recently ate at the Stageline in Dillon and it is still doing well.

"20 years later and we are doing it again," Tina said.


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