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This small diner in the even smaller Polson, Montana is an unexpected gem. Seat yourself in the 50's inspired diner where the owner may or may not have a Betty Boop fetish. Grab a cold Flathead Cherry Ale that is brewed right down the road. The waitstaff is friendly and is glad to give you advice on what to do around the area. We were lucky enough to find out about "Polson's Got Talent" happening that evening and were schooled on the local talent. After one dinner here, we were hooked. This was a once or twice a week ritual with our favorite waitress, Leah.
Favorite Dish: I can embarrassingly state that I ate the same thing every time I went to Betty's. The Greek Chicken Salad. It is amazing! With freshly grilled chicken, an abundance of vegetables, feta cheese, and tzatziki sauce it belongs in a real greek restaurant. Everything seems fresh and has amazing flavor.
I did try bites of other peoples dishes, which were just as good. The Black'n'Blue Salad and the Breezy Burger were hits as well.
Written Dec 22, 2011
Address: 49779 Hwy 93 Polson, Montana
The Kountry Korner Cafe is located in a western style building just outside Bozeman. Inside the decor tended toward western style with a homey atmosphere. The staff was friendly and the menu varied. I had some meatloaf that was well above average. Portions were large enough and the price reasonable. I would recommend this place and would be happy to eat here again. The place seemed to be very popular with the locals and had a steady stream of customers.
Favorite Dish: Good meatloaf.
Updated Sep 29, 2010
Address: 81820 Gallatin Road, Bozeman, Montana
Phone: (406) 586-2281
Fiddler's Green is a sports bar and grill. The decor was minimal except for the sports posters and beer signs. The menu tended toward pizza and burgers but included some heavier fare. I had a decent pizza. The waitress was cute but not that friendly or efficient. I will probably go somewhere else on my next visit.
Written Sep 29, 2010
Address: 5104 Southgate Drive, Billings, MT 59101
Phone: (406) 259-2020
Bayern Brewing sounded so promising. My wife is from Germany and we lived in Munich for some time so we know quite a bit about Bavarian beer. Bayern is German for Bavaria. I read about its biergarten with big soft pretzels and helles and dunkles biers. I figured this was going to be a great reward for all the backpacking we planned on doing in nearby Glacier National Park. We had even tried their weizen in Seattle in bottle form and it was pretty good.
After eleven days in the national park, we found ourselves heading towards Missoula a lot later than originally planned. We had just hiked out from Oldman Lake after three days in the backcountry of the Two Medicine area and had to rush across Logan Pass with news that snow was on its way. Going-to-the-Sun Road was about to close.
We sped to Missoula and got there around 5 PM with not all that much in our stomachs aside from what we snacked on in the car. It was not really a nice day so the biergarten was closed and that meant the food was going to be very limited since the inside is more of a tasting room/bar and not a restaurant. It was a very modern place and though nice enough, it was not the cozy Germanic place we had envisioned. They were also out of their soft pretzels, evidently flown in from the same Seattle bakery I had tried to get pretzels from a month earlier in the trip.
Favorite Dish: Things were looking grim but when I went up to order a couple of beers, a local at the bar, on learning my wife was from Germany, said he had brought food in for the bartender's birthday and that we were more than welcome to the small buffet. This was an absolute Godsend and his pulled pork saved the day. It was tasty and free so no complaints. Just don't go there expecting the same. Things like this only happen when you don't expect them!
The beer: 1) Schwarzbier (4.8%)-Dark amber w/ a light roasty palate. Lacking the full body of a true German dark lager as well as the malty profile typical of a Munich beer. Not exactly Bayern. 2) Oktoberfest (6%)-Unfiltered & similar dark amber. Very malty & sweet, lacking typical spicy character of a Marzen. Thin body and flavor. 3) St. Wilbur Weizen-Honey-hued unfiltered w/ fluffy head. A rare Bavarian style weizen for this part of the country. Not quite as tasty as in bottle form but a valid and valiant interpretation. 4) Amber-Light amber w/ little head. A primarily malty brew w/ some hops for balance. Thin body but probably closer to a Marzen than their seasonal Fest beer. 5) Dancing Trout-Filtered version of the weizen does not cut it. Seems they filtered out the flavor too. 6) Pilsner-Light golden and fizzy. Fair interpretation of a Southern German Pils. Light-bodied and fairly dry.
Our bill came to $20 with tip. Food was free!
It was getting late, the much anticipated biergarten was not an option, and quite frankly, the beers were disappointing. We looked for a room in town but everything was either a real dive or too expensive so we pushed on despite the late hour. Oddly enough, when updating my Montana page, I noticed I had been to the brewery in 1994 and had no real recollection of the place or beers. No wonder. I guess I better check my own pages before I head out next time!
Updated Dec 12, 2009
Address: 1507 Montana Street, Missoula, MT
On my first trip west in 1994, I pretty much hit every brewpub in my path. Spanish Peaks Brewing was probably the biggest microbrewery in Montana at the time so a stop there was a no brainer. I did this on my way to Glacier National Park. It was a pretty big place but aside from that I don't remember all that much about it to be honest. When you go to 120 breweries in four months, you only remember the very best and maybe some of the very worst. This one must have been in the middle somewhere. ;) It was a gorgeous mountain setting and a fair enough place to have a meal.
Spanish Peaks has gone very much regional and we could even get their beer in Florida for a spell. We did not stop here on our 2008 trip. After Bayern Brewing, we really were selective where we did!
I see the brewery is still running but no info about its tasting room or restaurant so check ahead before heading to Bozeman, where the old one was.
Favorite Dish: Pale ale & pasta was not a bad combo in 1994 but this time around Montana Wheat's grilled roast beef & cheese won out.
Updated Dec 4, 2009
Our time in Glacier National Park may have been great but we had been doing pretty dismally in Montana ever since we left the park. Bayern Brewing had been a disappointing bust and it led to a nightmarish search for a motel for the night that found us laying our very weary heads down a lot later than we had ever imagined in a little town called Drummond.
It was not the greatest place and when drying out our wet tent, I tore a few small holes in its mesh screening. It was pouring when we got up and since we had a short drive that day and had gotten in so late, enjoyed being in a room no matter how meager it was. We had to leave at some point as the motel's restaurant was closed on Sunday and wouldn't you just know it, yup, it was Sunday.
We were pretty hungry driving towards Yellowstone but nothing really jumped out at us along I-90 until this big silver silo appeared on the horizon. It almost looked like a brewery but I dared not even say it after the previous evening's outing. Nope, it was a big bakery called Wheat Montana. It's parking lot was full so we decided to give it a shot and glad we did. It was pretty touristy but it seemed to attract plenty of locals too. Hell, I guess out in Three Forks, there aren't all that many choices for a Sunday afternoon meal. It was cozy enough and warm.
Favorite Dish: We both had roast beef with cheddar cheese. It was grilled and came with chips and a pickle. We also split a raspberry bun to go with our much needed coffees. The sandwiches were pretty good. The bun looked a lot better than it was. Our bill came to $23. It was counter service so no need to tip.
Updated Dec 4, 2009
Address: 10778 Highway 287 Three Forks, MT
While in Billings, we walked down the road from our hotel to the nearby Outback Steakhouse. Sure, they are all the same everywhere you go, but you always know what you are getting. We sat at the bar where we could watch the World Series since we visited in mid-October. We had a Fat Tire draft ($4.50), then stuck with a few rounds of local Big Sky Brewing Company's Moose Drool Brown Ale (also $4.50). For our dinners we enjoyed an 11 ounce sirloin steak ($15) and the pecan trout ($16.30).
Written Jul 8, 2009
Address: 2001 Overland Ave Billings, MT 59102-6454
Phone: (406) 652-3565
Okay, I've posted this as a Montana tip because I don't have enough to warrant a Billings page - despite having been there quite a few times. Author Christopher Moore makes a perfect comment about Billings in his book "Coyote Blue" but I wouldn't want to offend anyone who lives there! :)
In the spring of 2009, I took a group of students to Italy and Greece. In Athens, we met a very friendly shop owner who adopted our whole group - making sure that we traveled safely and ate well while we were in the city. He'd been to Montana - a complete surprise! - and was thrilled to share stories about his travels. One of his friends owns a restaurant in Billings...so my students practically demanded a visit there once we'd returned to the US. In a very Montana moment, 12 of us drove the 2.5 hours to Billings simply for dinner!
The Athenian recently remodeled and has beautiful pictures of Greek landmarks on the walls. The dining room is spacious enough, but quickly filled, even on a Monday night.
Favorite Dish: My gyros platter was great. We also enjoyed the sampler appetizer platter with stuffed grape leaves, olives, feta, etc. A couple of the guys went for the meal samplers and loved them. The desserts were great - all homemade.
The gyros meet is beef or chicken. Lamb seems to be hard to get - or get in the right form? - in Montana. I must also mention the service. The owner was wonderful and kind, enjoying my students' enthusiasm for the evening. We felt very welcome, despite being a large group with mostly young people.
At the end of the night, with a bit of a drive ahead of me, I took home a Greek coffee. It was wonderful!
Written Jun 23, 2009
Address: 18 North 29th Street
I have worked here for over 7 years and I have met many many traveling people. So not based on my opinion but on theirs, I know that this is a very nice restaurant to stumble upon in western Montana. The ambience and atmosphere are special.
Favorite Dish: I would go for a good Montana steak myself but there are many choices available, seafood and vegetarian entrees.
Updated Jan 5, 2005
Address: 163 south second st Hamilton Montana
Some people use their credit card to earn United miles to fly and all over the U.S. there are restaurants where you get 10 miles for every dollar you spend there. In the giant state of Montana, there is exactly ONE restaurant who participates in this milage program....La Parrilla.
Its a cool renovated old house with lots of young kids working there.
Favorite Dish: Huge Burritos, we had a chicken, a pork, and a steak, all with black beans and rice and their salsas and sauces are delicious, especially the sesame wasabi sauce. One burrito is about $5 and it is way too much to eat.
Written Sep 5, 2004
Address: 1533 W. Babcock street, Bozeman Montana
Phone: (406) 582-9511
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