Missoula Frugals Finally Re-Opens Following Gas Explosion
Months after a late-night gas explosion heavily damaged Missoula's Frugals Drive-in, the popular fast-food eatery is back open for business.
The drive-in on Brooks Avenue re-opened Monday with a "soft-opening" as it got back in operation for the first time since the blast happened in early October.
That explosion cut short the Northwest-based chains' drive to finish 2022 on a strong trend, coming back from all the challenges of serving food and staffing the drive-in during the pandemic years of 2020 and 2021.
Missoula Fire Department investigators had determined the blast after the building closed was likely caused by a gas fitting that had failed. Gas had accumulated in the building and the resulting explosion was so strong the roof was lifted off the building, which Frugal's had remodeled from a classic Dairy Queen drive-in.
Although damage was limited, repairs were extensive
Frugals began planning to re-open within a matter of weeks, but it took months to secure the needed permits and get repairs underway. In December, Regional Manager Kris Baker told me it was fortunate some of the equipment wasn't damaged because it's been very hard to acquire commercial kitchen equipment in recent months.
Frugals began serving up its delicious burgers, fries, and other treats on Monday. Baker explained the company was using the first few days to get new staff trained and make sure all the systems are working before the formal announcement later this week.
I thought it was best I do some "investigative reporting" right away though, and was happy to find all the familiar favorites are back, from the standard Frugal burger to the dressed-up "Works" burger, to chicken sandwiches and sides. Since I've been enjoying Frugals since it first opened in the 1980s in Port Angeles, Washington it was happy to see the return of an "old friend."