Swiftcurrent Restaurant

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Swiftcurrent Restaurant

Postby Jay w » Thu Jul 19, 2012 9:10 pm

What's worth eating on the menu? I've had overcooked burgers, omlets that seemed like the eggs were cooked, folded over and served. The pizza we've had was fine, even good, but after we finish a pizza, all I can think is, "What's the next course?"

I heard from an MG manager, that the burger has to be cooked to well done as per NPS policy, so emu is a better choice. Any other tips?

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Re: Swiftcurrent Restaurant

Postby Jen » Thu Jul 19, 2012 9:59 pm

Had a really nice soup and salad lunch with July Guy and Gal last year :)
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Re: Swiftcurrent Restaurant

Postby Pocketlint » Thu Jul 19, 2012 10:21 pm

Jay w wrote:What's worth eating on the menu?
Jay


Nothing much imo.
I had pancakes a couple weeks ago that were "tough" but edible after covering with fake maple syrup. 8)
"Keep alive" food. Keeps one alive, but nothing to write home about.

Like MR burgers? I do.
Go to Two Sisters and get a buffalo burger.
Rationalize the drive by telling yourself you'll look for animals.
Take your camera :)

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Re: Swiftcurrent Restaurant

Postby Hockey Ref » Fri Jul 20, 2012 5:28 am

Jay w wrote:I heard from an MG manager, that the burger has to be cooked to well done as per NPS policy, so emu is a better choice. Any other tips?

Jay

We were told the same thing in the bar/restaurant at Many Glacier Hotel two years ago. We had bison burgers that were like hockey pucks (and I've handled a lot of hockey pucks in my day). It was the worst meal of the trip by far.
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Re: Swiftcurrent Restaurant

Postby toddnick » Fri Jul 20, 2012 6:20 am

The quality of GPI food (MG and Swiftcurrent) more than justifies the 1/2 hour drive to Two Sisters, Park Cafe, or Johnson's.

The only decent thing that I've had at Swiftcurrent were the pizzas.
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Re: Swiftcurrent Restaurant

Postby rayeraye » Fri Jul 20, 2012 11:54 am

everything that has been said about the food at the GPI properties is true--it is just not that good.

Many, many better options in town. BUT, if you're in a pinch or the timing doesn't work right, there are a FEW (emphasis on few) things on the menu that don't suck. In my opinion the pizzas and sandwiches are your best bet.
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Re: Swiftcurrent Restaurant

Postby brindledog » Fri Jul 20, 2012 6:40 pm

I have the culinary aptitude of a coyote, and even I cannot say anything good about the food at Swiftcurrent. And I'm usually VERY hungry when I eat there. I can say that I've had good meals elsewhere in the park (in GPI restaurants). Not great, but good.

I have not had good service at Swiftcurrent either. I guess once you get out there with a job serving tables and travel all the way across the country, they can't really send you home if you're not great at it. :D
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Re: Swiftcurrent Restaurant

Postby llholmes1948 » Sat Jul 21, 2012 11:30 am

brindledog wrote:I have not had good service at Swiftcurrent either. I guess once you get out there with a job serving tables and travel all the way across the country, they can't really send you home if you're not great at it. :D


I agree with the other comments on the Chat. A drive from Many to Babb or to the Two Sisters, Park Cafe or Johnson's is just not that far. It is a nice drive and the daylight lasts a long time. Good chance to see wildlife as Pocketlint says and the scenery is pretty good. And if there is a good program at the Visitors Center in St. Mary such as the Native Speaks program or the Two Medicine Dancers, all the better!

I don't know what GPI's current attitude is but at Lake McDonald in the 1970s, GPI had no qualms about dismissing employees as it deemed necessary. Employees paid their own transportation costs without assistance from GPI. I assume that is still true.

I remember meeting with our hotel manager in 1971 and he told me that I had been fired. I asked for an explanation and he said it was not anything that I did but they had to let me go. I began to worry about missing my friends and about packing up. Then I woke up. Fortunately it had only been a dream, or I should say, a nightmare because I liked working in the Park.

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Re: Swiftcurrent Restaurant

Postby Hockey Ref » Sat Jul 21, 2012 3:54 pm

llholmes1948 wrote:
brindledog wrote:I have not had good service at Swiftcurrent either. I guess once you get out there with a job serving tables and travel all the way across the country, they can't really send you home if you're not great at it. :D


I agree with the other comments on the Chat. A drive from Many to Babb or to the Two Sisters, Park Cafe or Johnson's is just not that far. It is a nice drive and the daylight lasts a long time. Good chance to see wildlife as Pocketlint says and the scenery is pretty good. And if there is a good program at the Visitors Center in St. Mary such as the Native Speaks program or the Two Medicine Dancers, all the better!

I don't know what GPI's current attitude is but at Lake McDonald in the 1970s, GPI had no qualms about dismissing employees as it deemed necessary. Employees paid their own transportation costs without assistance from GPI. I assume that is still true.

I remember meeting with our hotel manager in 1971 and he told me that I had been fired. I asked for an explanation and he said it was not anything that I did but they had to let me go. I began to worry about missing my friends and about packing up. Then I woke up. Fortunately it had only been a dream, or I should say, a nightmare because I liked working in the Park.

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I don't recall anyone getting fired from Many Glacier Hotel in 1973, although it's been 39 years, so I'm sure I might have forgotten something. Back then, nearly all MGH employees were U.S. college students. Today, I believe GPI hires many people from other nations. Not that that has anything to do with the quality of the people. Also, I believe GPI has a strict drug policy these days. That wasn't the case way back when.
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Re: Swiftcurrent Restaurant

Postby toddnick » Sat Jul 21, 2012 4:11 pm

I've got to say that the breakfasts at Johnson's are my favorite that I've had (though I do like the "Eggs Montana" at Park Cafe).....

For lunch, I've had great meals at Two Sisters, Park Cafe and Johnson's....

I prefer the dinners at Two Sisters (though the best dinners that I've had are at Northern Lights and Sperry Chalet)....

But for pie, it is all about Park Cafe, and I often just get a piece of pie to go in the afternoon if I'm cooking over the campfire....it is a good way to avoid the lines and still get some amazing pie....man, I'd love to have some cran-blueberry or peach pie from Park Cafe right now.....
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Re: Swiftcurrent Restaurant

Postby pitamakan » Sat Jul 21, 2012 5:23 pm

Hockey Ref wrote:I don't recall anyone getting fired from Many Glacier Hotel in 1973, although it's been 39 years, so I'm sure I might have forgotten something. Back then, nearly all MGH employees were U.S. college students. Today, I believe GPI hires many people from other nations. Not that that has anything to do with the quality of the people. Also, I believe GPI has a strict drug policy these days. That wasn't the case way back when.

I was the dining room manager at Lake McDonald in 1981, and I had to fire one person that summer (he showed up for work late and intoxicated more than once). In general, I thought I had a great crew ... though almost none of them had food service experience, and by the time everyone was settled into their roles the summer was already starting to wind down. By August we were usually trying to talk people *out* of quitting, because we'd be short-staffed, and getting a replacement that late in the season who knew what he was doing was nearly impossible.

The biggest problem back then was heavy pressure from GPI upper management to keep costs down. We had almost-impossible targets for labor costs, food costs, and so on ... and as the manager I would have gotten fired if I didn't meet them. Both service quality and food quality suffered as a result, but GPI knew the hotels would sell out regardless, so they didn't seem too concerned.

As the manager, I was the only dining room person on salary, and consequently I ended up working almost every meal. I never put in so many hours in my life, or worked so hard ... but I held things together and was the first dining room manager in several years not to get fired. My waitstaff, as underpaid as they were, actually made more money than I did, especially when I looked at it on a per-hour basis. Given what they had to work with, I was actually pretty proud of them.

I'd had more than enough of the dining room by the end of that summer, and the following year I came back as head bellman. Best job in the park, and part of me wishes I could still do that today. :)
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Re: Swiftcurrent Restaurant

Postby llholmes1948 » Sat Jul 21, 2012 8:11 pm

Hockey Ref wrote: Also, I believe GPI has a strict drug policy these days. That wasn't the case way back when.


A strict drug policy WAS the case at Lake McDonald in the early 1970s so it must have depended on the individual hotel managers. Drug possession and alcohol possession in the employee dorms was forbidden and was strictly enforced. I think about 6 employees were fired for marijuana or alcohol possession in the first two weeks of the season in 1970, including the daughter of a Montana Supreme Court Judge. In another instance some employees hopped a freight at West Glacier on their day off and rode to Spokane or Seattle and didn't get back to work on time. They were fired.

I don't recall if or how all these positions were filled. In a couple of instances, I recall they hired people who were visiting the park but often they moved people from one job to another. For some reason we seemed to have had a high turnover in the bar in 1971 although no one was fired. As I recall one of our cooks became a bartender and a maid and a dining room waitress became our cocktail waitresses. I don't know how those other departments made up for the losses.

I always thought that the dining room managers had the most stressful job in the Park. They were under tremendous pressure and had so many people to manage. Just the weekly schedule must have been a nightmare with people wanting to switch days off to do hikes with friends, etc. I thought the pay scale of the dining room manager and the bar manager at Lake McDonald was just bizarre. If I recall correctly in 1971 and 1972 both the bar manager and the dining room manager at Lake McDonald were paid $408 a month. However as bar manager, I had only three other employees to manage. I also worked a regular shift and got tips. The dining room manager got no tips as far as I know, managed at least a couple dozen employees and had a very stressful life compared to mine. I always thought my job was the life of leisure in comparison.

In the early 1970s I think our dining room managers were students from the Cornell School of Hotel Management. They did great jobs and they lasted all season but it was not a job I would have wanted. I don't recall that any returned for a second year.

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Re: Swiftcurrent Restaurant

Postby pitamakan » Sat Jul 21, 2012 8:44 pm

I think by the time I was at Lake McDonald, if the employees would have been terminated for alcohol possession, there wouldn't have been anyone left to run the hotel! :) Harder drugs were fairly rare, though. I'm sure enforcement levels depended on specific hotel management ... and LML was far-enough removed from GPI's amazingly-quirky personnel hierarchy that we enjoyed a somewhat more laid-back life.

In 1981, I made $186 a week as dining room manager ... which worked out to be substantially less than Minimum Wage, considering the number of hours I worked. I didn't receive any cash tips during the summer, but did receive 1.5 shares from the tour-group gratuity at the end of the year. For that, I managed a staff of 18 people -- a few of whom I still count as friends three decades later.

I remember being more than a little jealous of the head bartender, who managed to get by with a very cavalier attitude towards work life ... an attitude I was able to successfully adopt as head bellman the following year. :)
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Re: Swiftcurrent Restaurant

Postby llholmes1948 » Sat Jul 21, 2012 9:15 pm

pitamakan wrote:I think by the time I was at Lake McDonald, if the employees would have been terminated for alcohol possession, there wouldn't have been anyone left to run the hotel! :) Harder drugs were fairly rare, though. I'm sure enforcement levels depended on specific hotel management ... and LML was far-enough removed from GPI's amazingly-quirky personnel hierarchy that we enjoyed a somewhat more laid-back life.


Montana drinking age was lowered from 21 to 18 when I was at Lake McDonald in 1972 (It is now back up to 21) and I don't recall that alcohol possession was much enforced that year. There was considerably more alcohol consumed that year at parties at Sunova Beach. There had been a change in hotel managers between 1971 adn 1972. I don't recall much marijuana use but I just may not have been aware of it.

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Re: Swiftcurrent Restaurant

Postby pitamakan » Sat Jul 21, 2012 9:39 pm

llholmes1948 wrote:Montana drinking age was lowered from 21 to 18 when I was at Lake McDonald in 1972 (It is now back up to 21) and I don't recall that alcohol possession was much enforced that year. There was considerably more alcohol consumed that year at parties at Sunova Beach. There had been a change in hotel managers between 1971 adn 1972. I don't recall much marijuana use but I just may not have been aware of it.

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Yep, the Montana drinking age was 19 the years I worked in the park. I'd come from a state where the age was 21, and so Glacier gave me my first taste of legal alcohol ... or rather, the string of bars in Bad Rock Canyon did. Pretty exotic places, then and now!

When I was a bellman, I made friends with some of the Tauck Tour escorts, who were based in Calgary, and they'd bring Canadian beer down for us. Much better than the Lucky Lager that we'd get locally.

We had a different location manager each of the 6 years I was at Lake McDonald, including two different ones who managed to get themselves fired rather spectacularly in mid-season. (One of them "borrowed" the bellmen's van, drove it to Columbia Falls, and shoplifted a bunch of camping equipment from the B&B! Good times ... :) )
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