Joanie Swords

Recent Posts

Rudeboys food truck owner moves into Log Cabin Bakery

The Boys

Barely a month after the storied Log Cabin Bakery closed down, Rudeboys food truck operator Matt Melvin has moved in. His food truck, which included a mobile bakery, was comparatively large and well-designed, but in the old Log Cabin building at 2401 Second Ave. N., he’ll have 5,000 square feet between the basement and the ground floor, out of which he intends to operate a wholesale bakery, with a retail shop and cafe up front. (more…) Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Cafe’s reopening sparks memories of 10th Ave. Grocery


Joanie Swords has reopened Harper & Madison. That’s a good thing. What “Yellowstone Valley Woman” (one of my favorite local publications) has called a “quaint eatery … for people of all walks looking for baked goods made in-house, coffee, lunch and camaraderie” had been closed for remodeling since Christmas Eve. Look for Harper & Madison on 10th Avenue North—sunny side of the street—between North 31st and North 32nd streets. (more…) Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , ,

Taste of Billings: 5 questions for Joanie Swords, Harper & Madison


The second annual Taste of Billings, featuring two nights of fine dining at the historic Billings Depot on Montana Avenue, is set for Friday and Saturday, Feb. 5 and 6. The Saturday night formal dinner will feature a seven-course meal, each plate paired with a wine. All proceeds will go to support the nonprofit Billings Depot. More information is available on the depot website. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , ,

Owners of Harper & Madison, Lilac forming partnership


So many rumors have been flying about the future of Harper & Madison, a popular café and bakery on the edge of downtown Billings, that owner Joanie Swords thought it was time to spill the beans. But about those rumors: “The biggest one is that we’re closing,” she said. “I also heard I sold it. But no one knows who I sold it to, and I haven’t seen a check.” (more…) Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Stella Fong charts Billings’ culinary history in new book


In earlier times, apparently, restaurant-goers in Billings were big on flesh, as well as variety. On the menu of the St. Louis Café, formerly located at 2507 Montana Ave., there were more than 30 items under the heading of “Meats.” Offerings included fried kidney, weiner wurst, beef liver with bacon, brains scrambled with eggs, chipped beef in cream, veal chops and half a spring chicken. (more…) Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Baking skill, business smarts launch 10-year-old’s career


Before he founded his own bread-making business last year, 10-year-old Ian Wollschlager had had a few other entrepreneurial ideas. One involved creating an indoor go-kart racing track, for which he created his own plans. “He’s really good at art, so he drew the whole schematic,” said his mother, Lotus Wollschlager. But his father, David Wollschlager, thought maybe the idea was a little too big. (more…) Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Off to Tuscany: Well-earned break for ‘serial entrepreneur’


Joanie Swords is dreaming of Italy. In the fall, she will seek out the discoveries that author Frances Mayes writes about in her book, “Under the Tuscan Sun.”

As Harper & Madison, the cafe, bakery and market that she has “put her heart and soul into,” enters its fourth year, she can trust her staff to operate the business while she’s away. (more…) Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,