Patrick and Molly Burns weave together influences from Cuba to Cleveland at Stumptown Marketplace

Story by Justin Franz | Photography by Greg Lindstrom
V ariety is the spice of life, and that’s especially true in the food world. A few years ago, when Patrick and Molly Burns looked out across the Flathead Valley’s culinary landscape, they noticed something was missing. While there are many places from Bigfork to Whitefish to grab a sandwich, the Burnses say there were no sandwich shops offering hoagies with a twist.

To fill that void, the husband-and-wife team opened Pig & Olive Sandwich Shoppe at the Stumptown Marketplace in August 2014. Billing itself as “not just another sandwich shop,” Pig & Olive offers sandwiches that are conceived from a variety of influences and cultures, from Cuba to Cleveland.

“We wanted to do something fun and different and offer flavors that are a little different,” Molly says. “We just love helping people step out of their comfort zone when it comes to food and help them try something new.”

Among the highlights are the Banh Mi, which includes Vietnamese meatballs, and the Taste of Cuba, made with pulled pork shoulder, “swangy” slaw, mojo sauce, pineapple and fried banana. But Pig & Olive’s most popular fare is the Thai Steak Sandwich that includes soy-marinated Montana beef, Thai peanut sauce, carrots, radishes, cucumbers, greens and chili garlic sauce. Patrick says the combination of sweet and savory is like an “adult peanut butter and jelly sandwich.”

The Thai Steak Sandwich, which includes locally raised meat, was one of the original menu items Patrick and Molly came up with a few years ago when they fleshed out the resturant’s concept on the back of a bar menu at the airport after visiting friends back east. Molly says she drew from her experiences working in Greek, Middle Eastern and Asian restaurants in Cleveland to help build the menu.

Each sandwich at Pig & Olive comes with a side, including fried cheese curds, a sweet and tangy slaw or a salad. However, the owners recommend the fried potato salad, and one bite into the dish, which includes potatoes, carrots, celery and a house dressing, will confirm why it’s their favorite.

“We wanted to make food that we wanted to eat, and that’s what we’ve done,” Molly says.
Part of that effort is using local ingredients, including meats, vegetables and breads. Patrick and Molly also make all of their own sauces for the sandwiches. Both of those efforts take a little extra time, but they say, in the end, it’s all worth it.

“We think you feel better when you eat local,” Molly says.