Trails Inn Bar and Mama Stella’s Pizza gets major upgrade, offers more selection

The Trails Inn Bar and Mama Stella’s Pizza has new owners, a new look, new features, an expanding menu and more to come.

Ilyana and Dan Rice bought the Trails Inn, the former Comedy Club, the adjoining Range Riders Bar, and Badlands Taxi on Jan. 11.

The Trails Inn and the dining room (former Comedy Club) have undergone a lot of renovations, and they plan to remodel the former Range Riders Bar in time. 

There have been no changes in the Badlands Taxi.

Dan is the city attorney for the City of Miles City, county attorney for Prairie County, an attorney at Lucas and Tonn P.C. (of which he is part owner), and now has received his real estate license and for Sheila Martin at Cutting Edge Realty.

Ilyana has several rental properties. 

“I like to flip houses. I like to remodel,” she said. 

This is the first joint venture for the couple. 

“She’s in charge. I just help,” Dan said. He explained that she always is into food, likes to cook and does the books.

“Ilyana runs and manages the bar and restaurant and staffing on a full time basis, and I just assist her …” 

Mostly with the beer and liquor selection, he explained.

Ilyana said, “It’s a completely new adventure for us.”

The family has experience with business, just not with this business. 

Dan said it isn’t much different from any other business, and they have a skilled staff, good bartenders, good cooks and good maintenance.

“You need a good vision for the business, then work with staff, vendors and contractors to accomplish it,” he said.

“I’ve always wanted to go with a good beer selection on tap, good single malt scotch, good bourbon and a relaxing atmosphere. It just seemed like a good opportunity to make that happen,” he said.

 

FEATURES

Dan said there are already bars in town that are purely historic and others that are modern, so when they approached the Trails Inn, they wanted to blend modern decor with historic. 

The 1885 building has a Brunswick back bar that was built in Iowa between 1897 and 1912. It used to be in the Range Riders Bar.

There are several historic back bars in Miles City, “but across the country and the rest of the world they are really unique,” Dan said.

New flooring has been installed, and Ilyana wanted to give the front bar an industrial look to by putting on a new surface.

The interior has all new tables and bar stools. 

The juke box is the best sound system in town, Dan said.

The new, state-of-the-art casino section has its own space, giving patrons more privacy, twice as many games, and all new games. The new games also are quieter.

Moving the casino has opened up space in the other parts of the building. 

They’ve added a new 70-inch and 65-inch television and two new pool tables.

 

KITCHEN

The kitchen has been upgraded, and the former Comedy Club space will be converted into the dining room for customers, especially for business people and families, using a separate entrance. 

“We want people to feel comfortable to come in for lunch and not feel like they are coming into a bar,” Dan said.

Mama Stella’s menu will be expanded, but nothing is being eliminated. 

Mama Stella (Stella Bradley) still comes in every Thursday with her friends and plays cards, he said.

They are adding what they call “authentic ethnic American foods,” like Chicago-style Italian Beef Sandwiches (roast beef, spicy vegetables and smothered in au jus), Coney Island hot dogs, Chicago hot dogs, and in the future there will be New York Chicken Spiedie.

They have added Korean Chicken Wings. Ilyana lived in Korea for five years, and Dan lived there for three. She learned to make the barbecue sauce for the chicken wings from scratch, and “there won’t be anything like it,” Dan said.

“The goal in the kitchen is to have really good quality food — something that draws them in, like Mama Stella’s pizza has. Nobody else has it. I wanted the bar to appeal to a lot of different generations,” Dan said.

 

BAR

Dan wants to get the microbrew drinkers in their business and will get good scotch whiskey from all four regions in Scotland. 

Bartender Dave Emeny is developing a martini menu.

They increased the number of beers on tap from four to 22. Dan said that is more than any other local bar and hopes to add eight more if the demand merits it.

They are focusing on Montana microbrews from Great Falls, Red Lodge, Billings, Sidney, Wibaux, Belt and Belgrade, “with some very interesting beers outside of Montana,” he said.

“We will always have some beers that are seasonal or hard to find,” he said.

Every day Pabst Blue Ribbon will be $2 a pint. 

In the basement a large walk-in cooler for the kegs has been added.

They want to attract a more diverse clientele, especially with a more family-friendly and business-friendly crowd. He said they’d like to see people in their 50s and 60s come in and get dinner and have a couple of beers. They want people in the mid-20s to mid-40s to come in and close the bar down — not getting rowdy, but just having a good time.

“We’re already seeing a more diverse crowd,” he said.

He added that they have already kicked people out for being rowdy and belligerent. 

“We don’t want anyone to be uncomfortable (and people being rowdy makes people uncomfortable),” he said.

This Friday, “Doug The Beerbarian” from Red Lodge Ales Brewing Company will be at the bar for a pint night. There will be six Red Lodge beers on tap that night, with prizes and pub games. 

There will be other breweries featured on different nights in the future.

 

FUTURE

In the future the former Range Riders Bar area will be developed and there will be a fuller restaurant and a kids’ playroom. 

Even more foods will be added.

 

Dan and Ilyana credited the help of electricians, contractors, plumbers, heating and cooling workers, amusement services (for the casino games, music, pool tables, darts, game consoles), and working very closely with First Interstate Bank as critical in making this all come together.