Harper & Madison

Recent Posts

Top-chop bluegrass-Americana band to play Billings


Two Bit Franks, a Bozeman-based acoustic bluegrass and Americana four-piece band that has played in shows all over the region, will be performing in Billings on Friday, April 21. The concert will be at Harper & Madison, 3115 10th Ave. N. The music will run from 7 to 9 p.m., but there will be a no-host cocktail hour starting at 6, with wine, beer and handcrafted cocktails from the Edgar Bar. Seating is limited to 50 seats. Two Bit Franks features John Lowell on guitar and vocals, Tom Murphy on mandolin and vocals, Jeff Shouse on banjo and special guest Wes Horton on standup bass. Continue Reading →

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Food truck-mobile bakery almost ready to hit the street


Late last decade, Matt Melvin, a chef and baker who had worked for a lot of restaurants, started thinking about opening his own place. But he and his wife, Maggie, were looking at an upfront investment of up $200,000, and it was a hurdle they couldn’t get over. Things started looking up last year, when Brian Johnson got a hold of him. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Billings Petroleum Club hires Lilac’s Engebretson


Jeremy Engebretson is well on his way to becoming the busiest person in Billings. He opened Lilac, a popular Montana Avenue restaurant, five years ago, and just about a year ago he announced that he was partnering with Joanie Swords, owner of Harper & Madison, a bakery and cafe, so they could share their talents to make improvements at both establishments. Today, the Billings Petroleum Club announced that Engebretson has become its “executive chef in residence.” The Billings Gazette carried a story 10 days ago saying that the Petroleum Club had just finished a six-month, $513,000 renovation of its lounge and dining room on the 22nd floor of the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel, formerly the Crowne Plaza hotel at North 27th Street and First Avenue North. A press release from the Petroleum Club pointed out that Engebretson was recently named one of the top 100 executive chefs in the United States. It also said he plans to continue his executive management of Lilac. Continue Reading →

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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 →

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Annex Coffeehouse and Bakery offers sneak peek


This story has been updated to include a correction. Friends and family got a sneak peek at the Annex Coffeehouse and Bakery on Monday evening. The new business is connected to the Fieldhouse restaurant, owned by Ben and Krystal Harman, at 2601 Minnesota Ave. (more…) Continue Reading →

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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 →

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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 →

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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 →

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Being one with Billings


Lay of the Land: A series of essays on the spirit of Montana
I can’t remember when I first came to Billings, but the safe money would put it sometime in the first half of 1970, when I would have been mere weeks or months old. My parents lived in Casper, Wyo., at the time, and we had kin in Billings and Great Falls who were eager to meet me. (more…) Continue Reading →

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