by Nathan Boddy
Joe and Barbara Williams are happy to bring something new to the Bitterroot Valley, in the form of traditional European cuisine. It seems as though the community is likewise happy to have them. The owners of Seppi’s European Market and Deli, located at 129 Copper King Court in Hamilton, were recently recognized with the ‘New Business of the Year’ award by the Bitterroot Chamber of Commerce, something that Barbara says is, “a great honor.” She adds that having the business thrive since they opened in 2020 has been “a great accomplishment.”
Seppi’s provides patrons with a variety of dishes, many from Poland, Austria and Germany, but also with a rotating selection of dishes from other European countries. While some of the names on dishes may not be familiar to some, Joe points out that traditional foods they make really shouldn’t be outside of Montana’s comfort zone.
“It’s just bringing something more traditional,” he says, “and we try to do a very original meal. They’ve been making these meals for hundreds or thousands of years in Europe and we try to honor that and respect where it came from. I think that’s something very important for me.” He adds that the folks at Seppi’s are always on hand to answer any questions for visitors.
Joe and Barbara opened Seppi’s in 2020, when Covid regulations added a whole different set of complications for the business owners. Nonetheless, their experience with previous businesses, including a restaurant in Poland, gave them an important set of skills for the undertaking. “There were a lot more rules and restrictions as far as the health department,” says Joe, adding that the increased requirements influenced the way they chose to design the interior of the building. He also mentions that having a somewhat “eased” start to their business may have helped in the long run, as they never had to compete with the fanfare of a grand opening.
Seppi’s provides a wide variety of meats and cheeses from Europe, and hopes to expand into providing such amenities on a wider basis in the future. The Covid pandemic, and now the war in Ukraine, has made the supply side difficult, but the couple seem happy with their rate of growth.
As far as the dishes at Seppi’s, Joe says that European cuisine is largely a ‘meat and potatoes’ type of diet that many would consider a comfort food. Still, he points out that there can be new discoveries in the offerings, and that, “we just love bringing the different, and introducing things to people that they don’t know.”