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Changes at ye olde mall



For 22 years, when Kalispell wanted a beer after work, or maybe a massive steak, it has gone to the Bulldog Pub and Steakhouse in the Kalispell Mercantile (KM) Building. But in October, the bar and all its employees will leave the downtown area, relegated to the WestCoast Outlaw Inn south of downtown on Highway 93.

KM Building owners Bill and Jana Goodman were reticent to say what might take the Bulldog’s old space, but did say they want to keep it a restaurant and “have had conversations with well-qualified food people.”

The Independent was unable to contact Bulldog owner Bill Lincoln by press time for comment.

The departure of the Bulldog from downtown comes in the wake of another major shake-up at the KM, one of Kalispell’s most historic buildings, which some view as the old-fashioned precursor to the modern-day mall and which has been, in one form or another, a center of Flathead Valley commerce for 110 years. The owner of the KM’s Mountain Aire Music, Pat Bailey, announced at the end of August that he would be moving his store to Tennessee’s Blue Ridge Mountains. The Goodmans already have plans for that space. The building owners themselves plan to get into the bar business by turning Mountain Aire Music into a wine bar.

“We have long been dedicated to improving downtown and improving things to do downtown,” Bill Goodman says. “The wine bar follows that same theme of giving people more and better options.”

As Mountain Aire’s Bailey announced he was leaving, he expressed concern that the center of commerce in Kalispell was shifting toward new developments such as Borders Books and Music, Pier 1 and Target north of town on Highway 93. The Goodmans, however, say the KM will continue to thrive due to its niche market.

“We know it doesn’t appeal to everyone, but a lot of the Flathead enjoys the ambience of walking around this historic building,” Jana says. “So basically, we’re appealing to the people that we like.”


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