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Amuse Bouche: Back in the saddle again

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By Scott Mechura EBS CONTRIBUTOR

While every state seems to have its own pace, the country is re-opening its commerce once again and Buck’s T-4 Steakhouse is no exception. 

While people were enjoying a little something extra in their stocking so to speak this spring and summer in the form of time away from work, I know many people who were nevertheless anxious to get back to work; to return to their craft. 

Friday, July 3 Buck’s joined the ranks of the re-opened, albeit under slightly different circumstances. 

In addition to the usual COVID-19 challenges, Buck’s has found new ownership by way of Lone Mountain Land Company. While Dave and Chuck have moved on, Buck’s is still plugging away as always. It is the train that never seems to stop running. 

But that’s not why I write. The community has no doubt heard by now of the changing of the guard, but what many wouldn’t necessarily know is that Buck’s opened back up on July 3 with 100 percent returning staff.

There’s an old saying in our industry that it is easier to be open than to get open. The work up to opening doors is never easy, though I would say that as leaders and managers, we may have things on our plate that the rest of the team doesn’t. But it is precisely that aforementioned team in any location or business that will make or break you. 

I would put our team up against anyone. I realize the weight of such a statement, but while I know there is a plethora of talent in this community, we have built something at Buck’s that is rarely seen.

A team willing to go to bat for one another, a team that sees the big picture, and a team that understands the gravity of what Buck’s is and what we are doing. A team that is a family in the truest sense of the word.

It was Friday, July 3 at about 4:30 p.m. when we were having an impromptu gathering with our staff and Kevin Hinkle of Lone Mountain Land Company. As the team introduced themselves to him, I proudly let him know that this team was 100 percent returning employees. 100 percent, do you have any idea what that means in today’s workforce?

As previously mentioned, everyone went back to their rolls and duties. There’s opening a restaurant with new ownership, and then there is opening with a team that knows every step, every other co-workers nuances, and the “when this happens do this” situational understanding.

I have had some pretty proud moments in my countless tours of duty in this industry, but more than once on this Friday night I had to take a mental step back and absorb the moment, as I watched a veteran team just act with industry impunity.

Buck’s hadn’t seen a guest or family member since March 14, yet with the returning staff it felt like a mere four days rather than four months.

As we were in the throws of our first dinner rush of a new era, something we have done too many times to even count, one of the cook, who left us a few years ago and returned home, came up in my ear in a rare moment when I wasn’t moving and said “we have a good team chef.” 

Scott Mechura has spent a life in the hospitality industry. He is a former certified beer judge and currently the executive chef at Buck’s T-4 Lodge in Big Sky.

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