THE ROOTS OF PARKER'S BBQ PIT
What started through family traditions, pit master, Steve Parker's love for sharing great food is the driving force behind Parker's BBQ Pit.
From a young age, Steve learned the art of pit roasting and barbecue from his father. When the Montana Centennial Cattle Drive came to the area in 1989, Steve's father pit roasted a buffalo to honor the celebration. The beauty of that process, along with the wisdom shared by his mother and grandmother to care for the best ingredients, helped shape his passion for barbecue.
In 2015, with the encouragement of his wife and co-owner, Jennifer, as well as family & friends, Parker's BBQ Pit came to fruition serving up their barbecue as a vendor booth at powwows during the Rocky Boy's Powwow Celebration. The response from the community and visitors was overwhelming and they received a lot of encouragement to make it a more permanent business venture.
In 2017, with the purchase of a food trailer, the Parker's took another leap of faith. With an invitation to the Havre Discover Downtown event, they started serving up their creations on a much larger scale. They ended up winning the People's Choice award on their very first day.
In 2021, when they had the opportunity to purchase the historic Heltne's Oil Company building, they knew they couldn't pass it up. In early 2022, their ultimate dream of bringing an old school barbecue restaurant with a modern atmosphere to the Hi-Line became a beautiful reality. There you will find a versatile menu that includes flavorful barbecue along with their famous Green Apple Slaw and Piggy Bags, which is their version of a taco in a bag for barbecue.
Steve and Jen invite you to venture into Parker's BBQ Pit for the best 'Que on Highway 2.
HISTORIC HELTNE'S OIL COMPANY
The Great Northern Railway transported people and goods to, and through, northern Montana in the lat 1880's and early 1900's.
By the mid-1920's, however, automobile travel eclipsed rail travel. Soon, modern roads and new roadside service stations, motels and cafes catered to auto travelers. The Northwest Refining Company of Cut Bank built the building, now home to Parker's BBQ Pit, in 1939. Texaco industrial designer, Walter Dorwin Teague, adapted the style for gas stations in 1936 and oil companies nationwide followed suite. Teague specified white porcelain-enamel tile siding, but white brick or concret block were common substitutes. Colorful horizontal "speed lines" at the roofline, large glass display windows and enclosed service bays are other stylistic hallmarks. These design ideals were all aimed at making service stations appear as clean and modern as a new hospital and inviting to any type of driver.
Danfield "Dan" Heltne leased the station from the outset in 1939. He initially sold Grizzly Oil Company prodcuts and then, through different owners, sold Oval E, Carter, Humble, and Enco products through the 1960's. He purchased the station in 1974. Always a cheerleader in the community, Heltne spent years directing the May Music Festival, Kiwanis Club, the Salvation Army Board and the Havre Chamber of Commerce Board. Dan passed away in 1990 and his son continued the business. Over the years, Heltne's became a Havre institution and a Hi-Line landmark. When it closed in 2006, it was the longest continuously operated service station in the area.