Development Rumors: What’s real, what’s not

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been asked about several rumors related to restaurants and development.

Some of them are eerily similar and some we’ve heard for years.

Yes, we know of a few others but are not yet able to confirm or deny with certainty from reliable sources. When we can, we’ll report it.

Here’s a look at the latest.

Rumor: Winco is moving into the old Shopko building.

False. The Shopko property owners confirmed to The Electric that this rumor is not true. The property owner said they are working with several prospects for that location, but Winco is not currently one of them.

Business Bites: Cartwheel demolition planned for Chipotle; Fiesta En Jalisco managers leaving; Emerald City Casino demolition planned; The Electric’s 5th Anniversary party; Downtown Night Market; new Panda Express location planned

Rumor: Costco is building on the east side.

There is no evidence that this is currently happening.

Costco does not confirm new locations until they are within two to three months of opening. We checked with their corporate office.

Business Bites: Mountain Tire closed; new owner for Dahlquist Realtors; Life in Bloom expanding; Craig Taphouse open; GF Clinic testing shuttle service; GF Library hosting online safety event; GFPS giving away books

According to Cadastral, the company doesn’t own any land on the east side and they have not approached the city about any land development actions, which would take far longer than two to three months and permit applications would become public record. The Electric regularly checks those permits. If Costco does ever file permits to build in the city, we will certainly report it.

Rumor: Tamarack Brewing is moving into the old Wells Fargo building downtown.

Nope. This rumor has been floating around since 2018, according to the email thread of The Electric’s communication with Tamarack, and it’s still not true.

Business Bites: Magpie opens; Game Night Lounge closing; Crumbl planned; 5th and Wine adding patio; Ortho Rehab opening; Alluvion breaks ground; GFPS music award; community cleanup; Russell Museum has consignment for auction; WakeFest; reading at Cassiopeia

Tamarack told The Electric recently, “As of right now, we are not working on plans to open a third location.”

We’re getting a Chipotle.

Looks that way. Documents have been submitted to the city indicating a Chipotle will be constructed on the lot where the former Cartwheel was recently demolished at 1900 10th Ave. S.

Chipotle told The Electric a few weeks go that “we are planning to open a Chipotle in Great Falls at some point next year. Those are the only details I can share right now.”

Here’s our previous coverage on this one: Business Bites: Cartwheel demolition planned for Chipotle; Fiesta En Jalisco managers leaving; Emerald City Casino demolition planned; The Electric’s 5th Anniversary party; Downtown Night Market; new Panda Express location planned

Panda Express is opening a second location.

That’s the plan.

Panda Express is planning a new location in West Bank. The company submitted a variance request to the city recently for the property related to landscaping in the parking lot.

Business Bites: The Sting changing hands; historic preservation awards; GF Clinic gets new equipment; Omerta Cigar Lounge opens; Habitat for Humanity donation; Easterseals-Goodwill anniversary; Husted, Nitschke get national recognition

City staff is recommending denial of the variance but expects the project to move forward.

El Comedor is reopening.


El Comedor was sold to Fluffy, Inc., a local restaurant company headed by Sandra Haverlandt.

The restaurant closed on May 1 for a remodel.

The new owners had initially said they’d reopen in 30-60 days.

The city issued an interior remodel permit to the new owners of El Comedor in June.

Business Bites: El Comedor changes hands; new Taco Bell; new food trucks coming; American Bar closes; KellerGeist, Tres65 expanding

The restaurant posted recently that it now plans to reopen in mid-August since the remodel became more extensive.

According to the city, the owners submitted an application for a commercial remodeling permit on April 22.

The city returned the application with comments from planning, building and environmental on May 16. The owners returned the revisions for a second review on May 25. The city issued the permit on June 21.

Business Bites: The Wild Hare open; Rise Athletics going to national competition; Alumni Club blacklisted by Malmstrom; Trail Mixer and Legacy Awards coming up

To allow the applicant’s contractor to get some work done while revisions were being addressed, the city issued an interior demolition permit the same day it was applied for on May 19.

We’re getting a Taco Bell.

Yup. A new Taco Bell is planned for a commercial pad next to the Panda Express near the eastside Walmart.

The city received a permit application for the project in April.