The Rudeboys Bistro in the old Log Cabin Bakery building is officially open for business.
Owner Matt Melvin went with a soft opening on Tuesday, relying on nothing more than a small sign in front of the bistro at 2401 Second Ave. N., and between 11 a.m., and 4 p.m. about 20 people stopped in.
Until summer, weekday hours will be 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., with a limited breakfast menu until 11 and lunch until 3. Melvin will also be doing a Saturday brunch, starting this Saturday, from 9 a.m. to to 2 p.m.
Melvin started leasing the closed Log Cabin Bakery in November, after working exclusively out of his food truck (with its own mobile bakery) since last spring. Three Birds Bakery, the expansive commercial bakery behind the bistro, is going well, providing enough money to finance the opening of the cafe.
As Melvin put it, “No bank loans. It’s all slinging bread.”
It was also his own labor and that of family and friends. They knocked down a wall, put in a new floor, painted everything and gutted and rebuilt the bathroom. The airy bistro also has light fixtures made from commercial-kitchen-size wire whips, and original paintings by Kevin Rose.
The lunch menu, which is completely different from the Rudeboys food truck offerings, includes beef tacos and veggie wraps, a turkey burger and a light offering of black cherry hummus with braised greens and toast. There is also the EBURD — the cafe is just outside EBURD, or East Billings Urban Renewal District — a burger with pineapple, poblano pepper, provolone and a cilantro ginger sauce.
There are three kinds of sandwiches, including the Chimi Steak Dip — shaved beef, grilled onions, house chimichurri, provolone and au jus — and three salads, including the Zeppelin — Brussels sprouts, chickpea quinoa, cranberries, goat cheese, almonds and a house vinaigrette.
One of the early customers Tuesday was Rita Clippinger, an experienced chef and baker who most recently owned the Travel Cafe on North Broadway. She had the Zeppelin and said it was, and we quote, “yummy.”
The bistro actually debuted around Valentine’s Day, when Rudeboys offered nine dinner events over three days, attracting as many as 36 diners per meal.
“We would love to do dinner (on a regular basis); we’re just not sure there’s a demand for it,” Melvin said.
The next big event he has planned is a Spring Equinox Dinner on March 20, and then “we’ll do a big launch here at the end of March or the beginning of April,” Melvin said.
At the front counter, baked goods are always for sale, including cakes, croissants, a variety of cookies and artisan breads — boules, baguettes and rye bread. They will also be selling gluten-free breads soon and hope to have a gluten-free croissant.
If all that doesn’t keep Melvin and his employees busy enough, he’s also planning to bring the food truck out of winter hibernation by the end of the week. For now, the truck will be at Harbor Freight, 1400 Grand Ave., on Mondays; at the Heights Ace Hardware, 1547 Main St., on Thursdays; at the Loft Dance club, 1123 1st Ave N., on weekends; and at Craft Local, 2413 Montana Ave., on Saturday evenings.
Rudeboys Bistro is also now serving homemade kombucha.