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As stay-home order nears end, business picking up at local grill and RV park

Local Business

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Spencer Grill and RV Park is at 1479 N. Highway 91. | Courtesy Paul Williams

SPENCER – Interstate traffic is significantly lower right now due to the stay-home order, and that’s having an impact on local businesses. But the owner of a local RV park says business is starting to pick up.

Spencer Grill and RV Park reopened on April 16 after closing for three weeks. Owner Paul Williams tells people are looking for something to do after being in their house for so long.

“The last two Saturdays we’ve been open have been really good. Monday through Friday is a little slow,” Williams says. “People are trying to get out of the house. They’re moving around and want to get up in the mountains, so it’s getting busier.”

Spencer Grill and RV Park sits on a 5-acre parcel just off Interstate 15 about 15 miles south of the Montana state line. Its proximity to many recreational sites, including Stoddard Creek Campground and Camas National Wildlife Refuge, makes it a tourist attraction for people around the world.

“We’ve had people here from Perth, Australia. They were doing a father-son trip around the world together,” Williams says.

People from Germany, Austria, Belgium, China and Japan have also visited, along with Capetown, South Africa and the Netherlands.

Twenty different RV spaces are available for campers, along with two suites in a private lodge.

The grill is the only restaurant in town and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. A large variety of items are available to customers. The No. 1 selling item, according to Williams, is the bacon cheeseburger. The chicken fried steak is popular as well.

“Three ladies and a guy from Holland stopped in one night and they all ordered steaks. When I asked how they liked it, one lady asked if it was from one of the black cows they’d seen around the area,” says Williams.

Williams says a couple from Japan once ordered a breakfast burger and said it was worth the trip just for that.

“Everything on the menu is better than what you’d get at (many) restaurants,” Williams says. “It’s made as fresh as possible.”

Menu items available at Spencer Grill and RV Park | Courtesy Paul Williams

Spencer Grill and RV Park first opened in June of 2016. Williams purchased the property because he “wanted to slow down and relax.”

“I’m busier now than I’ve ever been,” he says. “It’s crazy. I never realized (what I was getting myself in to) and it started from the day we opened.”

Since opening the business, Williams says he’s realized what a small world it is. Meeting people across the globe is the most rewarding aspect of the job for him.

The number of visitors at the RV park increases every year, he says.

He doesn’t anticipate the number of visitors being as high this year due to the pandemic, but he says he’s following all the recommended guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control. The restaurant currently only offers curbside and takeout services and everything is constantly wiped down.

“I try to keep my establishment clean. If you’re having to go above and beyond your normal maintenance to coincide with this virus, you’re not doing your job right,” Williams says. “If you’re elderly, stay home for your protection or do curbside. If you’ve got an immune deficiency, same thing, but I don’t think we should’ve been shut down.”

Once things get back to normal, his goal is to eventually add fueling stations and a convenience store.

“It’s a lot of work, but it’s fun,” Williams says.

Spencer Grill and RV Park is at 1479 N. Highway 91. It’s currently open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week. Call (208) 374-5111 to reserve a spot or visit the Facebook page to learn more.

Courtesy Paul Williams