By C.L. Harmon/Publisher
The image to conjure up I think is one of those old cartoons when the character snatches the aroma of something good from the passing breeze and almost floats through the air until reaching the source. At least this is what I thought of while listening to Doug Hanson desorbed the types of foods he will be serving at the new Crow’s Nest Bar & Grill at Pier 51. I could almost see the boat drivers on Lake Keystone hypnotized by the intoxicating aroma of perfectly cooked hand-cut steaks that floated with the breeze to their vessels causing them to blindly steer toward the delightful taste they want for dinner.
Hanson is fairly new to the area having only moved here last year. He opened up the establishment on May 5 and said he has been using his time to meet the local population and getting a feel for what they like, food wise.
“The people have been very welcoming here and it’s nice too since we already had some friends here,” he said. “We” refers to his his wife Tara, daughter Jenna 11 years of age and 17 year old son Tanner. It’s a family business with Hanson and Tanner cooking, Tara doing books and Jenna in charge of the duck food. Tara also works at the new American Heritage Bank location.
Hanson has been cooking for 20 years.He ran two restaurants in Montana and two more in Deadwood, South Dakota; one of those being Jake’s, which is owned by actor Kevin Costner. He was a sous-chef at that time. He has apprenticed under three executive chefs over the years. Through his training, he has learned to be creative and use different toppings and spices in his pasta dishes, steaks and pork chops among other dishes. It’s important that patrons get something different than they would get at home from their own grills, he explained.
“The way I see it, what you get at a restaurant needs to be ten times better than what you cook at home,” Hanson said. Fresh ground burgers, pork chops with bacon onion jam on top, hand-cut steaks, fried pickles, pepperjack cheese balls, wings and his specialty of course, pasta dishes will be offered as weekend specials. It’s different what people want in different locations, he explained. It is true that there are always favorites like wings and appetizers that people like, but people here will have some different tastes than those people in Deadwood. He is always working on what the locals want, he said.
“Business has been good so far. People have been very supportive so far,” he said. “However, I cannot keep enough ranch on hand down here,” he quipped. This is a difference he has noticed from Deadwood. Hanson grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska. Upon graduation from college, he and some buddies hit the road for California, made it to Cody, Wyoming after their car broke down. He ended up working for an Italian lady and there began his love of cooking. His goal when moving here was to own and operate this restaurant. Although it was not available when he got here, he took another job and waited. Fortunately for food lovers, Hanson will be giving all lake-goers something good to crow about.