Opening up a brand new restaurant is a pretty hard task. Opening up a brand new restaurant in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic is probably a thousand times harder. And yet, that's exactly what happened with the two new locations occupying where Liquid Planet used to be on Higgins in Downtown Missoula.

Pangea, a more modern restaurant, and Stave & Hoop, a prohibition-style speakeasy, are officially open for business downtown. I was actually walking down Higgins about a month ago, saw Pangea, and had to think back on whether I had seen it there before. Turns out I hadn't! It's a new place! The more you know.

It's a difficult spot to be in when you're forced to close your doors before you even actually open, but managing partner Kyle Riggs is looking at it as a positive, saying that other restaurants had to work backward, "and recreate who they are, while we get to move forward."

For now, Pangea is open for dinner only, though they look forward to launching a lunch menu soon. They're also looking forward to doing events in the barrel room that will include wine tastings and dinners.

Have you stopped by Pangea for a meal or Stave & Hoop for a drink yet? What do you think of the place?