Montana’s newest food truck opens on the Hi-Line.
Havre is the hub of an agricultural region that ships wheat, lentils, chickpeas, grains, and cattle across the country and around the world. These farmers and ranchers, and the businesses in Havre that support them, quite literally feed the world. But who’s feeding them?
Sarah Manuel, a Havre native, has thrown her hat into the ring. On Saint Patrick’s Day, she opened Streatery, Havre’s only food truck. Parked outside of Triple Dog Brewing, Streatery serves up delicious, locally-sourced food from an ever-changing menu that cycles with the seasons.
“When I was in high school, I knew that I wanted to be an entrepreneur. But I didn’t really know what that was going to look like,” Manuel said. “I wanted to work for myself and I wanted to make a difference and do something amazing.”
Throughout high school, Manuel had a booth at Havre’s farmers’ market. She baked and sold muffins that highlighted the Hi-Line. She used as many local grains as possible, which she ground fresh on her family’s farm, and she often foraged for wild berries.
Like many young folks across rural Montana, Manuel left home after high school. She attended the Culinary Institute of Montana in the Flathead, where she was trained in French cooking techniques. After college, she moved to Maui, where she worked on a 6 acre farm with chickens, fruit trees, tilapia, and a huge vegetable garden.
Manuel had the opportunity to stay in Maui, but she chose to return to Havre.
Havre seems to be bucking the trend of rural America. Manuel is part of a wave of young folks returning home to start businesses and raise their families on the Hi-Line.
Upon returning home, Manuel helped with her family’s farming operation, Prairie Grass Ranch, and she continued to sell homemade, locally-sourced baked goods at the farmers’ market.
“People were so excited [about the baked goods], especially compared to previous years,” Manuel said. “I think that people are ready for something different, and maybe they don’t exactly know what it is yet.”
There’s a lot of high-quality food coming out of Montana. As a producer and a foodie, Manuel wants to connect folks to the food that’s grown and raised in their communities.
“There is a way to bring back that connection not only with the people who are cooking the food, but also with the people who are consuming it,” said Manuel.
Food doesn’t have to come from the back of a big semi-truck, unloaded in the early hours of the morning behind restaurants and grocery stores. Food comes from hard-working men and women who dedicate their lives to stewarding the land and producing quality ingredients they can be proud of. Manuel, who was raised on a ranch, understands that as much as anyone.
So when the opportunity arose to lease a new food truck from Michael and Erin Garrity, the owners of Triple Dog Brewing, Manuel jumped on it.
Triple Dog Brewing, which opened in 2014, is a favorite hang-out spot among folks in Havre. It has a family atmosphere, and they brew some absolutely outstanding beer.
“It reminds me of Cheers,” said Paul Tuss, the executive director of Bear Paw Development. “Cheers‘ theme song is ‘Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name.’ Well, it’s that kind of place.”
The pairing of this popular brewery with Manuel’s new food truck is a match made in Heaven, assuming Heaven is filled with people who love good beer and delicious food.
“Triple Dog adds a lot to the culture. It adds a lot to the friendliness of our communities. It adds to the quality of life,” Tuss said.
And Streatery fits right into that model.
“[Michael and Erin] are really excited about the truck. They really want it to work,” said Manuel.
Last weekend, Manuel’s menu featured Irish street tacos with corned beef from B-Bar Ranch in Big Timber, a Purple Cabbage Salad made with all organic vegetables, and pasties with IPA gravy made with roast beef from Prairie Grass Ranch and potatoes from Quinn Farm and Ranch in Big Sandy.
Manuel isn’t confined to a certain style of food. She gets to be creative, support a variety of different producers, and change the menu with whatever is in season.
This week, she’ll have lentils from Timeless Seeds and English Banger Sausage from Bear Paw Meats. And because she works closely with Quality Foods, a distributor out of Bozeman, she can get dairy products from Lifeline Farm in Victor and Montana Flour and Grains in Fort Benton.
“I love the whole thing,” Manuel said. “I think probably my favorite part is just all of the aspects of running a business. I never feel bored.”
And Manuel’s not the only one loving it. Streatery’s Facebook page is filled with rave reviews and Streatery’s delicious pasties are the talk of the town.
“So far people seem to be loving it,” Manuel said.
So try Streatery for yourself. Parked in front of Triple Dog Brewing, it’s opened from 4 to 8 on Thursdays and Fridays, and from 2 to 8 on Saturdays. You know where to find them.
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