When Madisen Cross’ father Huck got sick years ago, he couldn’t eat bread or sugar, and his family started making him juices and smoothies to help him feel better. A healthy diet allowed him to feel better and he pursued a naturopathic approach in addition to Western medicine.
“He tried using traditional medicine and it just didn’t work,” Cross said. “He always felt best when he had juices and smoothies and that’s where we base our recipes.”
Huck eventually succumbed to his illness, but Cross and her husband and business partner Kyle have continued the healthy legacy when they opened Huck’s Place about four years ago at Stumptown Market on Spokane Avenue in downtown Whitefish.
“We wanted our storefront from the beginning,” Cross said. “We moved in there and put up two menu boards and started from there.”
After the market closed, they moved to a new location last year on Central Avenue where they renovated the space to open their storefront and artists painted an Italian-themed mural inside with Huck on the wall. At the same time they moved, they also started their own family and now have two daughters, 2-year-old Grace and 5-month-old Eloise.
Huck’s Place is centered around family, inspired by their favorite recipes, and they also got help building from her uncle.
“My uncle helped us build this and come up with the Italian theme, and then we just started adding a bunch of my family’s favorite things,” Cross said of the juice bar’s interior.
Cross continued her father’s favorite juice and smoothie recipes at the new juice bar and restaurant, which also serves breakfast and lunch, coffee, gelato, baked goods and grab-and-go items.
Huck’s Special consists of coconut milk, kale, spinach, banana, pineapple, avocado and honey, and the restaurant serves several other all-organic and dairy-free smoothies, all of which can be made into a fresh fruit smoothie bowl above.
“We don’t add any sugar and everything is plant-based,” Cross said.
To continue the “food as medicine” theme, a local cancer survivor also shared her smoothie recipe with Huck’s called Natalie’s Survivor, which has almond milk, spinach, banana, mixed berries, flaxseed, spirulina , cinnamon and almond butter.
“This is the smoothie she says helped her, so we make that too and it’s very popular,” Cross said.
The juices at Huck’s are an even more concentrated form of delicious vitamins and minerals – with juices centered around roots, greens, turmeric and fresh fruit. Many customers also regularly order a ginger, lemon, cayenne and turmeric colon cleanse. The store also carries a miniature version of the colon cleanse called the mule kick shot, which has ginger, lemon and cayenne pepper in it.
Since Huck enjoyed drinking beer, Cross added ginger beer to the menu as another ode to her father, which she makes with lemon, ginger, filtered water, vanilla beans and cane sugar. She also adds other flavors like habanero, strawberry rhubarb, lime and raspberry, which also make delicious cocktail mixers. Cross says the habanero variety pairs well with tequila while vodka complements strawberry rhubarb.
Huck’s Place originally started with just smoothies and juices, but since moving to its new location on Central Avenue, manager Racheal Broom has introduced a coffee bar. Coffee drinks are prepared with Illy Italian coffee syrups to make lattes, cappuccinos, chai, matcha and a cold drink that flows from an Illy machine.
Cross added gelato to the menu to continue the Italian theme at the store, with a variety of flavors sourced from a distributor in Salt Lake City that imports its ingredients from Italy.
“My parents traveled to Italy together and loved it,” Cross said. “They had gelato together and we’re trying to base the menu off of some of their favorite flavors.”
But a straw or spoon isn’t required for every item on the menu, breakfast items include farm-fresh eggs with Farm to Market bacon, bacon or sausage in a burrito or served on a bagel or a Wich Haus focaccia bread sandwich . Lunch items include paninis, soups and salads with vegetarian options.
“We just want to be a fun family restaurant,” Cross said.
Huck’s Place is open seven days a week in summer, 8am to 6pm Sunday and Monday, 8am to 8pm Tuesday to Thursday, and 8am to 10pm Friday and Saturday. on Saturday.