Butte residents Mike and Mallory Potts are going local with a new taproom they opened mid-October in Uptown Butte.
The couple said their vision for Slainte! Butte America Pub is to establish it as a craft mecca that celebrates Montana businesses.
“It’s a big part of our business model,” Mike said.
“We really like our state,” Mallory added, laughing, noting that Mike was wearing a Montana T-shirt during his interview with The Montana Standard.
Slainte! — a traditional Irish greeting, which roughly translates as “good health” — held a soft opening Oct. 10 and features 36 craft beers on tap, a majority hailing from the Big Sky State.
The bar also boasts signature cocktails and wine, along with an ample supply of Montana-made spirits — including those from Butte’s Headframe Spirits, but also from distilleries based in Whitefish, Ennis, Missoula, Winston, Bozeman, Coram, Manhattan and other Montana towns. Even the floors and tables are made from wood grown and milled near Helena in this bar that’s making the most of the state’s locavore movement.
Last week the couple spoke about their dreams for Slainte! as customers began trickling in just after the bar opened for the afternoon.
Slainte! resides on Park Street at 43 E. Park St. — the former location of Trimbo’s Pizza. The pizzeria closed May 2016, leaving some Butte residents worried that the location would remain a vacant Uptown building.
But the Pottses have breathed new life into the property, giving its interior a “makeover,” the couple said.
The interior now boasts an open space concept, replete with a large seating area for customers. The couple has installed new wood floors with a distressed look, along with rustic wood tables adorned with simple votive candles.
“I hammered every single board in,” said Mike of the new floors, noting that he and Mallory did much of the renovations themselves, including creating the tables, which they made with the help of carpenter Bob Haithcox.
Encapsulating it all, meanwhile, is a large sign bearing the bar’s name, hung on a newly exposed brick and granite wall.
Mike and Mallory said another part of their business model entails creating a social, communal space in the spirit of the traditional Irish pub (replete with Irish whiskey) while also creating an environment where families are welcome. The couple has two small children and said that kids enjoy being social just as much as adults.
“They’re a part of our lives,” said Mallory. “We’re team Potts.”
True to their vision, the couple has planned a light menu that will feature “social” food that can be shared by a single party. At the time of their interview they hadn’t finalized a menu, but said they plan to serve a large, Bavarian-style pretzel, a hummus and pita chip plate, chips and salsa and other light fare. The couple has scheduled a grand opening for Nov. 11, at which time they hope to roll out a small menu. For now, they’re keeping things simple because they want to get things right.
To create their signature cocktails the couple enlisted the help of the taproom’s head bartender, Tone Connors.
The eight drinks offered by the taproom include a 1920s-inspired Boulevardier cocktail, along with a Sazerac, a drink made from whiskey and absinthe and other ingredients that was popular in the 1800s. Mallory, meanwhile, said her favorite drink is the French 75, which contains gin, lemon juice and champagne, a concoction of “bubbly deliciousness,” according to the taproom’s menu.
Mallory, 31, and Mike, 33, are both Montana natives.
Mike grew up in Clancy, Helena, and throughout Montana, while Mallory is a native of Lolo, where her parents own and operate the Lolo Creek Steakhouse.
The husband-and-wife duo moved to Butte in 2012 while Mike was attending graduate school at Montana Tech. He landed a job as an engineer at Pioneer Technical Services in 2013, and the couple later bought an Uptown home and started a family.
The couple said they decided to open Slainte! to further grow roots in the Mining City.
“We’re committed to Butte,” said Mike.
“We’re proud that our children are going to be Buttians,” said Mallory.