Welcome to Park Cafe & Grocery, located at the East Entrance to Glacier National Park in Montana.
Stop in for a delicious homemade meal!
- Delicious homemade pies
- Breakfast til noon every day
- Omelets, bacon, pancakes, and smoothies
- Lunch and dinner entrees
- Sandwiches and wraps
- Fresh salads and fruits
- Soup and chili
- Vegetarian fare
- Spaghetti and garlic bread
- Ice cream sundaes and homemade cookies
- Did we mention the homemade pies?
- Check out our menu for more tasty options!
Our grocery and gift shop carries:
- Fishing tackle and nightcrawlers
- Camping gear, stove fuel, and bug repellent
- Automotive supplies
- Montana beers
- Energy bars
- Indian jewelry
- Huckleberry gifts
- Park maps and guide books
- Espresso bar
- Postage stamps
- And more!
Brief History of the Park Café and Grocery
The Hilton family is pleased to announce that the Park Café and Grocery in St. Mary, Montana will be open for the 2014 summer tourist season. Their small family-owned business is located at the east entrance to Glacier National Park. The Park Café and Grocery was started by Helen and her late husband Ed Hilton in 1952. Both Ed and Helen Hilton are native Montanans.
After Ed returned from his service in the Army during World War II, he worked a variety construction and automotive jobs trying to make a living. In 1950, he rented a Conoco gas station and garage in Browning, Montana and ran that business for about five years.There he met his future wife Helen Murphy, who worked in a café that adjoined the gas station. Ed and Helen were married that same year.
Around 1952, Ed decided to lease some land from the Blackfeet Indian Tribe to build a gas station and café at the east entrance to Glacier National Park. In those early days, Helen stayed in Browning to run the struggling gas station and garage while Ed, with the help of his friends, Lester and Ruth Johnson, went to St. Mary to start building his tourist business. They rented some earth-moving equipment to fill and level the ground even with Highway 89 and dig holes for two underground gas storage tanks. They constructed a building for a gas station and a café. At that time they had to pump water out of the Divide Creek about 1/2 mile away using a small gas driven pump because there was no electricity. They also bought some cabins and old school buses that they stripped and furnished so they could be rented to patrons because accommodations were slim in Glacier National Park at that time.
About 1958, the Johnsons purchased some land across the highway up on the hill. They bought a large log building and started their own café. At about the same time, Ed bought a used gas station that had an office and two automotive stalls in Great Falls, Montana. He moved it to St. Mary and placed it on a cement foundation that he poured.
From 1964 to 1970, several improvements were made. Ed built a grocery store, a gift shop and a dormitory in the back. An apartment was added over the store for his family to live in. He added a second gas station with four pumps, a private office and two new gas tanks. Helen ran the café and Ed ran the grocery store, gift shop and gas station with the help of their four children and seasonal employees. The entire family spent their summers working at St Mary. During the off season they lived in Browning, Cut Bank, and later Columbia Falls, Montana.
In 1981, Ed hired Rob Hiestand, his sister Kathryn Hiestand with her husband Neil Miller to manage his business. For 32 years, the business prospered under their management and in 2013, the manager's agreement came to an end. Starting in 2014, the Park Café and Grocery will be run by the Hilton family once again. We are looking forward to meeting and serving you. Please stop in and say hello.