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An upscale French-fusion restaurant and full-service bar, tucked away on the second floor of the newly renovated Osborne Building, has opened in downtown Bozeman.

Brigade had its soft opening last week. Owner Casey Durham on Wednesday described the restaurant as a “true Montana farm-to-table concept with a French influence.”

Starting July 1, the restaurant will be open 3 p.m. to midnight, seven days a week. Happy hour, from 3 to 6 p.m. daily, includes $3 martins, draft beers and oysters.

The restaurant is on the second floor of the former Osborne Building, at 233 E. Main St., which once housed the Rocky Mountain Toy Company and Starky’s deli. A gas line explosion in 2009 ripped through part of downtown and leveled the building and several others.

Brigade

Casey Durham sits in the lounge of his new restaurant, Brigade. Last week, Brigade opened its doors on East Main Street using Montana's Farm to Table with a French influence.

The lot sat vacant until Durham, part of the Okay Cool Group, bought it about three years ago. It’s the final damaged building to be reopened.

Durham also opened the East Main Street Market on the ground floor of the building and is set to open an Asian restaurant and karaoke bar in the basement of the building.

The Okay Cool Group also owns El Camino, Copper, Kitty Warren Social Club and other bars and restaurants in Bozeman and Big Sky.

He’s aiming for an upscale dining experience that’s accessible and caters to both locals and the influx of newcomers in Bozeman.

“We have whole bunch of new people to the area,” he said. “You can see what we’re missing on Main Street and we’re just trying to fill that.”

The 8,000-square-foot space can seat about 200 people. A private dining area, which seats about 40, is scheduled to open in the back of the restaurant by the end of summer.

The front of the restaurant features a lounge with a fireplace, couches and large awning windows that overlook East Main Street. Durham aimed for a timeless aesthetic, he said, with leather furniture and earth tones — hiring a design firm out of Calgary, Alberta.

An exposed brick wall, on the far side of the restaurant, was built with salvaged bricks from the now-destroyed Rocky Mountain Toy Company portion of the original building, he said.

In the center of the restaurant is an island bar. The restaurant has a full liquor license and an extensive wine list, Durham said.

Durham wanted to cultivate an intimate, sophisticated restaurant that still riffs off the downtown energy.

“This is elevated dine, but it’s still very approachable,” he said.

He thinks the food will speak for itself and will carve a niche in Bozeman’s restaurant scene.

The restaurant is named for the French “kitchen brigade” system, which is an organizational hierarchy for professional kitchens developed by French chef Georges-Auguste Escoffier. A portrait of Escoffier and his chefs hangs near the entry and exit of the restaurant.

Brigade

Bailey Loftus, a Brigade garden manger, is responsible for preparing cold sides and salads for the new 8,000-square-foot restaurant on the second floor of The Osborne Building.

In a kitchen brigade, each member of the kitchen has a devoted station and specialty, which promotes efficiency, consistency and a higher quality of product, Durham said.

A kitchen brigade “hierarchy” is a common organizational structure in many fine-dining and upscale restaurants.

“Most kitchens you have a couple people doing a lot of different things,” he said. “Where in this kitchen, because of the size, we can afford to put each individual at their own station so they become masters at that station.”

Durham said the kitchen will be “chef-driven,” with a crew of eight or nine chefs each night.

Toward the back of the restaurant is the open kitchen, which showcases chefs working throughout dinner service.

The food is “farm-to-table,” Durham said, with executive chef Scott Myers — he previously cooked at the Gallatin River Lodge — sourcing about 80% of the kitchen’s ingredients locally.

“It’s Montana farm-to-table, but we do have a French flair,” he said.

Menu items include French cuisine classics, like foie gras, croque madame and duck confit.

Other items lean more toward a French-Montana fusions, like an elk tartare or a sea-salt-cured salmon.

“We’re pushing the envelope on some of these dishes,” he said.

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Juliana Sukut can be reached at 582-2630 or jsukut@dailychronicle.com

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