Dennis and Diane Havig moved from Livingston
to Wisdom, Montana in 1988, when Dennis
transferred to the Big Hole Valley with the Forest
Service as a District Ranger. In 1994, Diane bought
a struggling restaurant in Wisdom.
“It was her first venture into the food industry, but
she had eaten out quite a bit, knew what she liked,
and was ready to go with her instinact and some great
recipes passed down to her,” says Diane’s daughter,
Ali. With delicious, made-from scratch fare and
Diane’s outgoing personality, The Big Hole Crossing
grew a loyal clientele. Customers came from Salmon,
Butte, Dillon and the Bitterroot every week.
On May 31, 2010, a fire destroyed the restaurant
and a neighboring art gallery. That summer
the Havigs and their two daughters cleaned their
burned equipment and considered their options.
That December, they bought out their competition,
Fetty’s Bar and Café, and spent the New Year
renovating the building. The new restaurant opened
January 14, 2011, and now seats 100, between the
dining room and the bar.
Ali describes their food as “simple, delicious homemade
American food,” and says they make their own
bread, bagels, biscuits, pies, cookies, desserts, soups,
and “anything and everything we can from scratch.”
Prices range from $3.50-$25, and the meals make
your mouth water: biscuits and gravy, steak and eggs,
double bacon blue cheese burger, liver and onions,
hot veggie dinner, or prime rib.
“My mom’s philosophy is to do simple food with the
best ingredients and to make things as healthy as possible.
We use non trans-fat cooking oils and shy away
from processed ingredients or pre-made foods.”
The Crossing’s fire put them in good company:
Dennis estimates 60 percent of Wisdom, Montana’s
buildings have burned over the years. He says old
houses with dry walls and roofs, wood stoves and
bad wiring typically have problems with fires. Some
of the businesses that have burned include the
town’s gas station and car dealership, the bar, and
numerous houses. The Havigs are glad to be up and
running in their new location.
“It’s awesome to be finally open,” says Ali. “Everyone
seems so excited.”