Head on up to Backcountry Cafe

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Photo by Josh McDonald/ Backcountry Cafe owner and operator Francine Hoch stands outside the new diner in uptown Kellogg.

KELLOGG — A new restaurant in uptown Kellogg has locals buzzing.

After their grand opening last month, Backcountry Cafe has seen a steady rise in both business and popularity.

Serving breakfast and lunch in a deli-style setting, the opening of the restaurant has really revitalized the foot traffic in the uptown area.

Owner and operator Francine Hoch brought her passion for the service industry along with her sister, Dee Ungarten, who has years of experience working in a deli.

“It was something we had always talked about whenever we would go on car rides or taking kids to and from sports,” Hoch said. “We would always bounce ideas off each other about what we would do if we opened something up.”

One thing both Hoch and Ungarten were never willing to compromise on was their stance on quality — a belief that had been cultivated when they were kids on the East Coast.

“Using Boar’s Head Meats was a non-negotiable for us,” Hoch said. “Boar’s Head is from New York. I was born in Brooklyn, my whole family is from Brooklyn, and we were raised on the Jersey Shore. Growing up our grandparents would always come from Brooklyn, bringing stuff from Jewish delis, German delis, Polish delis, Irish and Italian delis, it was what we were raised on. New York is a big deli hub. That was something we always wanted around us and having Boar’s Head here was a way for us to do that.”

Hoch and her sister are insistent that they will only use the meats from Boar’s Head, and if they happen to run out then that menu item will be on hold until they can restock.

Located in the old Meister Burger building on McKinley, the space has always had the feel of a restaurant that was meant to be a social environment, similar to a classic deli setup.

“We love this space,” Hoch said. “It’s simple, but it’s perfect for us.”

The food varies in style, with deli-style sandwiches dominating the menu, but their breakfast menu is nothing to slouch at either.

With their full sandwich menu or classic breakfast fare, Backcountry Cafe also strives to make sure its menu has more healthy options than unhealthy.

“As an athlete I believe in fueling the body,” Hoch said. “I don’t believe in any diets other than eating right, so I really tried to make sure that our menu had as many simple, healthy options as possible.”

Hoch struggled at first having a fryer for french fries, but at this juncture the menu offers next to nothing of the fried variety, and a full run of freshness.

“All of our meats and veggies are fresh cut each and every day,” Hoch said.

While deli food may be their specialty, every Tuesday, Backcountry Cafe will host “Burger Tuesdays” to give their patrons a little something different.

“We will make up so many patties each week and when we’re out, we’re out,” Hoch said.

Backcountry Cafe is located at 118 McKinley Ave. in Kellogg.

Open daily, breakfast is served from 7:30 to 11 a.m. (noon on weekends), and they close at 3 p.m.

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