HAMILTON — This week, a popular pasty shop in downtown Hamilton reopened its doors after almost a year.
MTN News learned about the obstacles the business faced in trying to keep their staff safe, and their Bitterroot customers happy.
“This is real, this is our every day, and every part of this is just everything our family’s built up and done,” said Scott Hoenstine, looking around the restaurant he and his wife Kristin opened six years ago.
The official Ma and Pa of MineShaft Pasty Co., Scott and Kristin Hoenstine opened shop in March of 2015. He’s from Anaconda, and she’s from Butte. Naturally, the duo felt drawn to bring an authentic pasty shop to the Bitterroot where they live now.
“When we opened it up, it was a venture between my mom and dad and my brother, and then us,” said Kristin.
When they say it’s a family-run business, they really mean it. Grandma bakes the scones, Ella paints the murals, Gabe works the blender, Caleb does the dishes, and Chloe just looks cute, for now.
“So it really is...truly, it's family,” said Kristin.
When COVID-19 came knocking last year, the Hoenstines did everything they could to keep their customers and their family safe.
This decision to follow the rules came at a cost. “We would have some very angry people when we asked them to mask up,” said Scott.
“I was ready, emotionally, to be done when it was just a constant fight with people,” said Kristin, “We’d come home just drained.”
They knew there had to be a way to make each and every customer feel comfortable, so they elected to close their lobby, offer delivery, and utilize a takeout window they’d never taken advantage of before.
“We did end up going to our little takeout window for all of our service and we stayed that way for almost a year. There was not a lot of pushback because they could come and still order and not feel like they were being asked to do something they didn't want to do, so I felt like in some ways it was a really great middle ground,” said Kristin.
Maskers and non-maskers alike came to the window with support for the family-owned shop, and funding from the Downtown Association helped the takeout and delivery model flourish. The Hoenstines told MTN News they were overwhelmed with support from all sides.
“It took many, many hands to keep us moving through this and encouraging us, it just, it never ended,” said Kristin. “People were here, they would call to encourage us, send us notes of encouragement. It was fantastic."
The MineShaft’s lobby is officially open for dine-in and take-out. You can learn more about the family-owned shop here.
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