culinary students preparing at the Smolder pop-up restaurant
Mar 26, 2023
Daily Inter Lake

FVCC Culinary Students Open Pop-Up Barbecue Restaurant

The graduating class of Flathead Valley Community College’s Culinary Institute of Montana is launching an international barbecue pop-up restaurant next month.

The restaurant, Smolder, will be open for lunch beginning Wednesday, April 12. The restaurant will be open from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday throughout the month of April.

Located on the FVCC campus in the Arts and Technology building, patrons can head downstairs to the instructional kitchen to order and enjoy on-site or pick up and take out the group’s entirely homemade menu of meals. Menu items include choice of an entee protein, side and sauce, as well as sandwiches, salads, vegetarian options, desserts and beverages.

“Our mission is for people to gather, taste and connect. We hope to bring people together through food and the many flavors of barbecue,” says culinary student and Smolder Marketing Manager Alexa Martinez.

Martinez and her fellow classmates created the idea of Smolder as their Culinary Capstone final project and each play a management role in the pop-up business. Everything from the type of cuisine and restaurant name to business plan and marketing materials are all part of the capstone project that marks the culmination of the group’s FVCC culinary studies.

FVCC Culinary Arts Program Director Chef Manda Hudak said the Culinary Capstone class and final project allow students to combine their culinary skills with real-life business skills in managing a restaurant.

“It’s an important part of their education and really challenges each student to tap into their entrepreneurial spirit and find passion in their work,” Hudak said.

The passion behind the capstone project and in working together to create the pop-up restaurant is clear with the tight-knit graduating class.

“The class of 2023 has always felt like family and we’re excited to welcome the community into our family for lunch,” Martinez said.

Smolder is open for lunch on April 12-14, 19-21, and 26-28.

To order ahead for pick up, call 406-309-0259, or dine in at FVCC’s Arts & Technology building on campus.

The restaurant menu is available at

Visit to learn more about the Culinary Institute of Montana at FVCC.