By Brandon Walker EBS EDITORIAL ASSISTANT
BIG SKY – The Hungry Moose Market and Deli has a rich and storied history in Big Sky. Founded over 25 years ago by Jackie and Mark Robin, the parents of a familiar contemporary Mooser face, Andrew Robin, the community staple began as a modest produce stand. Fast forward to the present and new owners Frank and Kristin Kern recently completed a renovation that adds more than 2,000 square feet to the Hungry Moose location in Big Sky Town Center.
Kern was quick to reflect on how the Hungry Moose originated from its humble beginnings. “It was an outdoor produce vegetable market, that 25 years ago, in the fall, moved in house to a little place down by Three Rivers,” he said. “And then as it grew, it took over the second part of that same store. Then 15 years ago, they moved to this store, which is right here in town center.”
The expansion began Aug. 19 and was completed, less than four months later, on Dec. 13. The additional 2,000 square feet more than doubled the overall size of the Hungry Moose. “We got to the point [where] we needed more space, more storage, more deli, more delivery, more drinks, but if you track it, it’s just an evolution that the Hungry Moose has been part of Big Sky, and it’s just grown with Big Sky,” Kern said.
He went on to describe that he wanted to keep the same design themes the Hungry Moose has become known for, throughout the expansion, even down to the colors painted on the walls. “It’s a pretty awesome opportunity too, to fine tune our selection and make sure everyone’s got everything they’re looking for,” said Andrew Robin.
A myriad of items were brought in to inhabit the added space; a beer cooler, a small grab-and-go cooler, two flower coolers, a freezer and a new produce cooler top the list of new utilities. More seating space, a soup and salad bar, a vehicle to keep up with shopping deliveries available to any location in Big Sky, custom flower arrangements, and more than 100 wine selections are also joining the Hungry Moose offerings.
“All the different steps and evolution that we’ve seen and I think this is the right step. Everyone asks me what is my dad thinking about all this right now,” said Robin, donning his late father’s Christmas hat as he spoke. “I honestly think he would be really excited to see it the way it is. It’s kind of continuing on the legacy in a positive [and] pretty exciting way.”
To accompany the expanded seating area, which sits adjacent to the Hungry Moose patio, Kern hopes to bring events such as open mic nights, live music and even poetry readings to the community. “We’ll be able to do events out there. We can play music on the patio, we have lights, it has a railing,” he said.
The finishing touch on the expansion was the installation of a weathervane on the top of the Hungry Moose roof—as if it was meant to be, the weathervane happened to belong to Big Sky founder, Chet Huntley, and features a moose.
Kern even hung a plaque in the seating area paying homage to Huntley. It’s a fitting gesture—just as the former broadcaster left his mark on the community, so too has the Hungry Moose impacted the community indefinitely.