New owners take over historical Star Bakery in Nevada City

 Heather and Mike Hale stand in front of the Star Bakery in Nevada City with their daughter Hannah. The Hales bought the business last year.  Photo by Greg Lemon

Heather and Mike Hale stand in front of the Star Bakery in Nevada City with their daughter Hannah. The Hales bought the business last year. Photo by Greg Lemon

When Heather and Mike Hale decided to move back to Madison County, they weren’t thinking about become restaurateurs, but then they heard about the Star Bakery in Nevada City.

The restaurant, which had become well-known around southwest Montana for it’s food, was for sale and the Hales jumped at the opportunity to run a restaurant and gift shop in the old mining town.

“We kind of fell into it,” said Heather Hale.

By trade, Heather is a civil engineer and Mike is a contractor, but last year the couple had their first child Hannah and they wanted to get back to small-town life.

Heather is originally from Ennis and Mike is from Dillon.

“We wanted to be close to both of our families,” she said.

But they knew that moving back to Madison County would likely mean they would have to become entrepreneurs, Heather said.

They didn’t think the business they would own would be a restaurant however. Mike had never worked in a restaurant and Heather only had limited experience.

But the old owners showed them the ropes and they learned the menu enough to take over in June last year.

“We walked in and immediately fell in love with the place,” Heather said.

The menu is the same as it’s always been and the Star Bakery is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

So far this season has been pretty busy, she said.

“Everyone knows this place,” Heather said.

Everyone knows it for good reason.

The Star Bakery is one of the oldest buildings in Nevada City. It was built in 1863 and occupies its original building. Over the course of its life the building has been everything from a brewery, to a bakery and a butcher shop. But mostly it’s served as a restaurant, she said.

“Most of its history it’s been a restaurant in some shape or form,” Heather said.

But like most places in Nevada City, the remnants of the past are all around. Just outside the back door, this years crops of hops are already creeping up the walls. The vines are from the same vines planted back in the late 1800s, she said.

Besides good home-cooked food, the Star Bakery also sells baked good from Elles Belles in Bozeman and at the adjoining Nevada City Emporium, the Hales offer Wilcoxon’s Ice Cream.

Running a restaurant is a busy business, but the Star Bakery is small, which makes it easier, she said.

“One of us is here all the time,” Heather said. “I do all the dinners, Mike does all the breakfasts and we split the lunches.”

She welcomes people to stop by who haven’t been to the Star Bakery and try their biscuits and gravy for breakfast and one of their Reubens for lunch. And if you’re looking for dinner, they’ll gladly dish you up a plate of barbecue ribs and chicken.

For more information call the Star Bakery at 843-5525.

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