BUTTE — After a multi-year wait, Uptown Butte can finally Live Más: the Taco Bell Cantina on the northwest corner of Park and Montana is now open.
With no formal announcement, the cantina held a soft opening on Tuesday evening and, through word of mouth on social media, saw a steady stream of customers.
"It's a work in progress and we are stoked," said Michael Smith, a Taco Bell Area Leader. "We were supposed to open in March and just with everything going on with COVID these last few years—you know, we're so excited."
Smith said the plan is to have the restaurant open from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. this week before expanding operating hours to 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. next week.
From there, hours will expand to include breakfast and, eventually, the plan is to have the location open daily until 2 a.m.
And of course, this isn't your average Taco Bell, but a Taco Bell Cantina, meaning this restaurant can serve alcohol to those of age.
It'll be the only Taco Bell of its kind in the Pacific Northwest.
Management wasn't sure if they'd open on Tuesday. But the beer kegs—all five beverages on tap are Montana brews—arrived just in the knick of time, and they decided to open the doors to a community that had been left to wonder when, if ever, this long-awaited spot would be open for business.
"This has been a long journey," said Operations Director Peggy Hulsey. "Thanks to the wonderful world and its craziness of a backlog of equipment and everything. It was a mad dash."
The restaurant includes a main dining area and also a VIP area that can be rented out with a private bar and seating.
Smith also said that he hopes to see the location host special events, such as trivia nights and karaoke.
"We demolished the entire interior of this building, took the floors out, took the walls out," Smith said. "We put in new tile, new copper ceilings throughout the entire building. We have this amazing artwork that was custom made just for us here out in Butte, America."
Bringing this Taco Bell Cantina to life has been an exercise in patience and a labor of love. But Tuesday's promising turnout was an indicator that this spot will likely become an integral part of Uptown Butte.
"It's fabulous," said Hulsey who spent part of the afternoon outside with a sign to draw customers in. "That just warms my heart 'cause I know we're gonna be here forever, and just making history."