LOLO — A windy road, a vintage trailer, and food so delicious it’ll have you forgetting your manners. These are just a few of the trademarks of Graze, the Highway 12 food truck.
“All the little pieces really just fell together perfectly, and we couldn’t have planned that,” said Graze co-owner Whittney Olson.
Sometimes it doesn’t take much to bring the magic back to a forgotten place. Whittney and her husband Jason know this from experience.
“There have been so many people stop by and say, ‘Oh, I remember stopping and getting penny candy’ or you know all these stories that people have...this place needed life," Jason told MTN News.
That’s exactly what it got, and then some.
You may remember the location, about six miles up Highway 12, as the old Lolo Creek Store.
That store is now home to the Olsons, and while you won’t be buying penny candy from what’s currently their living room, there’s something new cooking just outside: Graze, Lolo's newest food truck.
Hit the gas a little too hard, and you might just miss it.
“After COVID hit, I was teaching school up at Woodman, and he was the rep for the Lolo Creek Distillery, and we had an opportunity to sit back and reflect and decide that if we're gonna give something a go, this might be the best chance to do it,” said Whittney, recalling the decision to open Graze food truck outside of their home.
5th generation Montanans, this duo knew their roots would prove vital in creating a menu worthy of stopping travelers in their tracks.
“Jason's family has a cattle ranch in Malta, and we have constantly tried to find a connection to that in our world over here, and this is just perfect,” said Whittney.
“The meat from over on that side of the state is really unbelievable, so we had a good base, and Whittney brought on her family’s baked bean recipe,” echoed Jason.
To open a business during a pandemic, in, let’s face it, the middle of nowhere, takes guts, but according to the Olsons, they operate on dreaming and doing.
It’s a model that’s worked since they met on a Labor Day in Dillon 11 years ago.
“He's got this creative spirit that is just 'manifester vibes' because all of a sudden, if he can dream it, he can do it, so I'm the dreamer and he's more the doer, and I couldn't be more lucky to have him as my partner.”
For Jason, it’s the day-to-day spent working with his wife that keeps the creativity flowing.
“She’s always got a smile on her face, she makes everyone she talks to extremely happy. She’s good at what she does, she’s built an amazing menu,” said Jason.
The people behind the window, the family recipes, and a location that’s merely a dot on a map -- it’s all magic.
The duo know they’ve hit the jackpot in more ways than one.
“It blows our mind,” laughed Whittney. “We’re so thankful and excited, and although we live right here, I still continue to be late for work, so thank you for being a great boss,” gesturing to her husband. “We couldn’t be more grateful to be doing this right outside our front door.”
Graze Highway 12 is open Monday and Thursday, 4pm to 8m, and Friday through Sunday, 11am to 8pm. They only accept cash.