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photo by Jim Larson, Corry Heaney, and Lisa Sanchez

by Jim Larson

Lisa Sanchez began bartending at a small “local pub” when she was 28. She then moved to bartend at a “dive bar” called the Berkeley Inn where she stayed for 30 years, eventually buying the place in 2012, she said during an interview at her restaurant on Utah street.

She kept her dive until November 2021 when she decided “That my adventure needed to be in Butte, Montana.”

She sold everything and moved to Butte where she opened the Miner’s Pub & Grub. After years in the hospitality industry, she still loves her work.

“Hospitality is my thing. I love people,” she said during an interview in her restaurant

Sanchez is looking forward to the looming nice weather. “I’m gearing up for a great spring and summer season. I have that big patio out in the back. I’ve got a couple of gazebos coming next week. I’ve got tables and chairs coming next week.” She understands that more snow could come to Butte, but she’s optimistic. She purchased a small food cart so that she can serve at the Montana Folk Festival, Lunch in the Park, and Brawls and Kick Start Days.

Sanchez said that November and December were phenomenal for her business, but noted also that they were quite warm. She said that the restaurant struggled through the winter. She attributes that to the cold and to her winter hours. “They were weird,” she said.

At the time of the interview, Sanchez was about to close on a full-beverage liquor license, and she will have new hours. She’ll be open seven days a week until 9, and possibly later on Friday and Saturday depending on the crowd.

Sanchez also plans to remove the pool table in the restaurant’s back room and replace it with “a few casino machines.”

When asked why she chose Butte, she said that they actually looked at Red Lodge first, and she noted that it was a nice tourist town. She also looked at Big Fork, Kalispell, and Polson. She then looked at Butte and again at Red Lodge. She looked for roughly six to eight months during the pandemic, coming to Montana six or seven times, she noted.

Prices in Red Lodge “skyrocketed,” she said. Also, a year-round population of 2,000 seemed less attractive that a population of 35,000. Before she bought her house and her building, she came to Butte eight times.

She’s served “pretty much” the same menu over the years, she said, and it’s done well for her. She comes from a Hispanic family. Her grandmother taught her how to make chili and enchilada sauce. Her husband taught her how to make beans. I’ve pretty much stuck to the basic Mexican fare, which is more Mexican-American than Mexico-Mexican.”

On the topic of hamburgers, Sanchez said, “If you have a good hamburger, people will come and eat.” She added that a good hamburger was hard to find. She noted that she had a good hamburger.

“My story’s simple,” Sanchez said. I’ve been working since I was 14. That’s what I know. I know how to work.”

During the interview, she gave a shout-out to Bill Fisher of Butte Depot. She said that he had been “super kind” to her and had helped her get into local events. She had kind words as well regarding local promoter Monte Klistoff who had helped her as well.

Find the Miner’s Pub & Grub at 1107 Utah. Call them at 406.565.5261.