The young entrepreneurs of 515 Inc. learned the ins and outs of the restaurant business from top-tier chefs in swanky eateries from Long Island to San Juan Islands. Paul Myers, his wife Carrie Blabac-Myers, and their business partner, Brae Bullard, are now ready to step out on their own here in Missoula.
That first step will be into a big pair of shoes; their new restaurant, 515, is set to replace Hip Strip mainstay The Bridge restaurant later this fall.
“The Bridge is closing at the end of the month, and we’ll get into the space [and start renovating] Sept. 1,” says Paul, who cooked for Shirley Juhl and Dave McEwen when they reopened their The Lily restaurant as The Bridge in 1994.
Juhl and McEwen have piloted The Bridge—in its various incarnations—through three decades in downtown Missoula, so they know as well as anyone what it takes to run a successful restaurant in the Garden City. Having worked with and known Myers for years, they expect their successors to do well.
“Paul is one of the best cooks in town,” McEwen says. “The food will undoubtedly be outrageously good.”
Juhl and McEwen will continue to run the Bridge pizza and takeout restaurant on the corner of Higgins Avenue and South Fourth Street, but will lease the Butterfly Building (where The Bridge and the Crystal Theatre are located) to 515 Inc.
Bullard says they plan to fully renovate the upstairs and downstairs dining rooms and create a fresh dining experience in the former Bridge space.
“It will be a brand-new business with a new look and a new menu,” she says.
Patrons will be able to explore smaller plates and appetizers in the downstairs dining room, while entrées and fine wines by the bottle will be served upstairs. The Crystal Theatre will remain a venue for small performances and film screenings.
Juhl and McEwen say they’re looking forward to scaling back on their workload, and eating at 515 when it opens this fall.
“It will make us feel good to see it change into something new and exciting for Missoula,” Juhl says.