|August 1, 2013
Renegade Grill’s maverick menu adds tribal flair
By Alyssa Nenemay
Renegade Grill opened in June and located highway side in the building that formerly housed Lynns Drive-In II. (Photo By Alyssa Nenemay)
St. IGNATIUS — Renegade Grill opened its doors in June serving concession style cuisine. Tribal owner and operator Robert Matt said the drive through restaurant offers more than the average burger joint. “We have Indian Tacos and a lot of huckleberry products, which is pretty unique,” he said.
Robert Matt is the tribal owner and operator of the Renegade Grill. Matt follows a family food industry legacy. (Photo By Alyssa Nenemay)
Matt grew up in the food industry as his family owned the Silver Dollar Bar and Grill from the 60’s to 80’s. Starting his own family, Matt and his wife Sharlena ran a concession for years that traveled to various powwows and festivals. The couple took their business to the next level by investing in a year-round restaurant. “This is my first restaurant and it’s taken a lot of hard hours to get it going,” said Matt.
Adding a local flair, menu items include the “Rez Dog,” which is a foot-long hot dog smothered in fry-bread batter; the “Prairie Chicken,” which is a chicken sandwich that replaces buns for fry bread; and the signature “Renegade Burger,” which is hamburger that includes bacon, ham, and also replaces buns for fry-bread.
Mariah Douglas was hired to work for the restaurant through the Fatherhood program. Matt said tribally owned businesses have an opportunity to provide jobs for tribal members. (Photo By Alyssa Nenemay)
Although it has only been a couple months Matt said he enjoys being an entrepreneur. “I really enjoy being my own boss. It’s a lot of hard work but the reward is being able to choose what you do every day. A business plan is important and even though I don’t have the schooling, I learned a lot from my dad (Basil Matt),” he said.
Being an owner, Matt has been able to incorporate some of his personal passions into his establishment by incorporating the Salish language into the “kids meals” items. The meals are named after the Salish numbers: nkwu, esel, cele, and mus. “Studying the language has been a personal interest of mine and I want to do what I can to promote it,” he said.
Fry bread is saturated in the grill’s menu items. Matt said the restaurant relies on his grandmother’s secret recipe. (Photo By Alyssa Nenemay)
Although Renegade Grill hasn’t had an official opening, Sharlen said the support they’ve received has already been strong. “It’s been better than I thought it would be because it took so long to get it running. But we’ve had a lot of tribal support,” she said.
Matt has employed two tribal members so far, one of which is working through the tribe’s Fatherhood Program. He said it is important that tribal members become entrepreneurs. “We need more tribal members to pursue businesses or ideas. It creates more job opportunities for tribal people and helps build a strong economy for our people,” he said.
Lou Sorrell has worked with Matt since his family’s times working the concessions. (Photo By Alyssa Nenemay)
Now that the business is established, Matt said they plan to incorporate new menu items including daily soups and healthier options. He said they are also working to be able to accept debit and credit cards. For more information call: (406) 745-FOOD or (406) 745-3663.