BELGRADE — I’m not a breakfast burrito kind of gal. I lean more toward a cinnamon roll or doughnut. But given that the Rise and Shine Café and Bakery has become known for their scrumptious burritos, it seemed only fitting that I give one a try. While pondering what to order, a friendly staffer suggested the Kick-In-The-Pants burrito, the staff favorite. The burrito was stuffed with a scrambled egg, hash browns, cream cheese, sausage, jalapeno pepper jelly, chipotle ranch, and pepper jack cheese. It was more than filling. I did my best to finish about two-thirds of it before I was stuffed. The burrito was delectable with just a hint of sweetness! I might be a burrito convert. For sure, it won’t be my last breakfast burrito!

Rise and Shine Café and Bakery is a few miles from Belgrade along Jackrabbit Lane, sandwiched between a lumber company and a brickyard. Robyn Feddes and her daughter, Jordan Feddes own the business, now in their 10th year of operation. Jordan grew up in Manhattan, where her family raises cattle, and her mom owned a café for several years. After high school graduation, Jordan went to Whitworth University in Spokane, earning an English degree. She taught for Teach for America in Mississippi for two years, then needed a break and returned home.

When a deli a few miles from Belgrade run by skiers (appropriately named K2) came up for sale, Robyn and Jordan bought the eatery. They intended to have a sit-down coffee shop featuring home-baked goods. The burrito had been a popular item on K2’s menu, so the women decided to add a basic breakfast burrito to their menu. Ten years later, Rise and Shine has developed almost a cult following of outdoorsy folks and local construction workers stopping in for one of their burritos. As Jordan says, “the burrito is easy to make and take.”

Some of the goodness created in the Café can be traced back to Jordan’s grandparents, Darol and Bob Wetzel, who happen to be world chili champions. “I follow recipes, but my grandma invents them,” admits Jordan. Rise and Shine is a family affair. Helping out in the kitchen are two aunts and a few cousins. Jordan’s dad does the grocery shopping for the café. Jordan reveals the business has been way crazier than they thought. As I sipped on my coffee, I watched a steady stream of customers pop in and out while a few opted for a sit-down breakfast. As Jordan’s dad says about his daughter, “You’re the only business owner I know that goes to bed hoping they won’t be as busy tomorrow.”

Rise and Shine goes through 1,000 lbs. of hash browns and 270 dozen farm-fresh eggs per week, supplied by Lucht Red Angus, just down the road from the café. Each egg is cracked and whisked by hand. In the fall of 2019, they expanded their space which doubled the seating and storage for all those eggs and hash browns. The cozy interior is painted out in a palette of light aqua and whites, with local artwork on display.

Both Jordan and Robyn are quick to point out that at the heart of their success is their rock-solid staff. I observed an abundance of sweet dispositions from everyone working the counter, prepping in the kitchen, waiting tables, or refilling coffee. Speaking of coffee, Rise and Shine doesn’t serve espresso or lattes, just good coffee. There is a coffee kiosk nearby with a whirlwind of options for customers wanting something more.

Currently on the menu are nine varieties of burritos, along with a kid’s burrito. The Gallatin Gorge is a 10” flour tortilla filled with a scrambled egg, hash browns, cheddar cheese, homemade salsa, sour cream and a trio of breakfast meats: ham, bacon and sausage. The Carnitas burrito comes with house BBQ pulled pork, black beans, chipotle ranch, a scrambled egg, hash browns and cheddar cheese. Customers can choose breakfast sandwiches or plated breakfasts — more of a traditional breakfast with eggs, hash browns, ham, bacon, or sausage and toast.

For lunch, both hot and cold sandwiches are available, along with salads, a soup of the day and burgers. The Pilgrim sandwich sounded mighty good to me. It’s a combo of smoked turkey, Monterey jack cheese, mayo, lettuce, sprouts and Grandma Darol's homemade cranberry salsa. The Bridger Burger has it all — a fresh hand-pattied burger, choice of cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, red onion, mayo, mustard and ketchup on a brioche bun. The ciabatta and brioche buns come from a nearby bakery, On the Rise. Jordan mentions they don’t have the time or capacity to make the bread and buns needed every day.

There is no shortage of creativity coming out of the kitchen with their weekly specials. One such option was the "Take Me as I Yam" breakfast burrito, filled with chipotle-lime sweet potato chili, sour cream, fresh cilantro, hash browns, a scrambled egg and cheddar cheese. The Saturday brunch offers the regular menu, but in addition, there are always specials. It might be a blueberry Dutch baby topped with powdered sugar and fresh blueberries. Or it might be their "Bee-Sting Cake" (a yeasty cake topped with smooth pastry cream and a crunchy layer of honey and almonds). The holidays present an excellent excuse for themed frosted sugar cookies.

Rise and Shine is closed Sunday and Monday, allowing staff a much-needed break and time to get caught up on baking. Come Tuesday morning, customers can count on freshly baked cinnamon twists, scones, brownies and one of my favorites, Scotcharoo bars. If I lived in Belgrade, Rise and Shine would be my go-to breakfast stop.

Donnie Sexton, who retired in 2016 after a long career with the Montana Office of Tourism, freelances as a travel writer and photographer, covering destinations around the world.

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