The pride of Montana is coming to Carmel at the corner of 116th Street and Rangeline Road. MacKenzie River Pizza, locally owned by brothers Jon and Mike Shuel, opened their first rustic restaurant east of the Mississippi River in 2011 on the southwest corner of 82nd Street and Allisonville Road in Castleton.
Born in Indiana but raised in Bozeman, Montana, Jon and Mike decided early on that they wanted to work together in their restaurants. Instead of splitting up their managerial duties across two northside restaurants, they hired management for the Castleton location so they can both be onsite at the Carmel location.
“People have been very positive about our food and atmosphere,” said Jon Shuel. “We love the 116th Street corridor which accesses all of Carmel, but also out west to Zionsville and Fishers to the east.”
Welcoming patrons inside the front door of every MacKenzie River Pizza is a wooden bear, hand carved by a Montana artisan with a chainsaw from one block of wood. Table tops, chairs, columns, and even the bar are constructed by long-time Shuel family friend and Bozeman business owner Kurt McManis. Mike Shuel grew up with McManis’s son, Cody, and created the “lodgey” interior for the first MacKenzie River Pizza in Bozeman 20 years ago. “Kurt is one of our good friends and just an original Montana guy,” said Mike Shuel.
McManis spent two months preparing the interior timbers from lodgepoles harvested in Butte, Montana. Installation takes about two weeks, making the March 18 grand opening possible.
Follow the new store opening on Facebook (/mrpcarmel) or on Twitter (@MackRiverCarmel). You can also watch a video interview with the Shuel brothers and family friend McManis shot during the construction.