City Council opens alley behind Hoagieville in advance of taphouse construction

The new taphouse/restaurant’s view from Livingston Avenue. (OZ Architects)

Customers of the taphouse that will replace Hoagieville at South Avenue and Higgins Street will be able to use a long-closed alley behind the building to come and go.

Missoula City Council members voted unanimously Monday night to remove a barrier that has blocked the flow of traffic down the alley for more than 30 years.

At the suggestion of city engineer Troy Monroe, the alley will be paved and its southern portion (behind the taphouse) will have speed bumps and a sign encouraging customers to turn right and exit the alley behind the next-door convenience store.

Those concessions, Monroe said, should help limit the amount of alley traffic running alongside the home that sits directly behind the restaurant.

Helen Petroff has lived behind the drive-in since 1956.

The City Council closed the alley in 1988 because of Petroff’s concerns about traffic coming and going from the drive-in restaurant.

Now, Monroe said city staff members favor removing the barrier, which will open access to Livingston, Lester and South avenues. The entire length of the alley will be paved, he said.

Hoagieville owner Chris Goble will pay for the paving, speed bumps and sign.

Councilwoman Michelle Cares said added requirements should alleviate Petroff’s concerns, since they’ll steer traffic toward South Avenue and behind the pizza delivery business and convenience store that back onto the alley’s north end.

Goble endorsed the plan on Monday night.

“I really want to thank Chris (Goble) and his team for being patient and working with us,” said Councilman John DiBari.

Goble received the go-ahead to tear down Hoagieville and replace it with a taphouse and restaurant in early February. He plans to serve breakfast, lunch and dinner – and has a beer and wine license.

In deference to the restaurant’s proximity to the residential neighborhood, council members earlier restricted its closing time to 11 p.m. Also required is a building design that obscures the view of Petroff’s home from the taphouse’s second-story balcony.

The new development proved popular with other residents of the Lewis and Clark neighborhood during a February hearing on the larger plan.

Several residents said they think the establishment will provide a community gathering place where they can bring their families and visit with neighbors.

Goble has not yet announced a timeline for Hoagieville’s razing or the taphouse’s construction, but said at the earlier meeting that he’ll plan a celebratory sendoff for the iconic 1950s-style drive-in restaurant.

Missoula City Council approves taphouse, restaurant on site of Hoagieville drive-in