A month of meals in Bozeman

Travel + Leisure just published an article recounting all the reasons why Bozeman is THE place to be right now. Many of the author’s observations overlap with the restaurant experiences we have had over the past month, so I thought I would share them with you.

There is currently a pretty major food scene going on and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. Here are some of my insights touching on some of the destinations mentioned in the T & L article, and some that were not.

As mentioned in the article, a tried and true favorite is Blackbird which sits smack in the middle of Main Street in Bozeman’s historic downtown. It is not always easy to make a reservation as the restaurant is often packed. It is even harder to secure a table in their small outdoor area (first come first served), but it can be done. The secret is to stop by early and put your name on the list and then return when the table is ready. The menu leans heavily to market fresh produce and incredible pizzas. The bread that is made in-house also proves to be hard to resist. Blackbird is always a winner, especially the night we were there when we enjoyed a chopped kale and romaine salad topped with feta and walnuts as well as roasted sweet potato on a bed of chard, shiitake mushrooms and creme fraiche (me) and a summer pie topped with fresh corn, shishito peppers, red onions, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, feta and cilantro (my husband). It is hard to beat sitting outside on a summer night while devouring such a delectable feast.

Another summer night favorite of mine is Tuesday night at the Bozeman Farmer’s Market in Lindley Park which featured not only farm fresh produce, local crafts and gorgeous flowers, but a wide arrange of food trucks, of which the plant-based Starseed is my favorite. There is nothing better than perusing all the stalls at the market and then settling in with a light meal from Starseed and listening to whatever musical entertainment is on the schedule for the evening. The people watching is pretty darn good as well. (The Tuesday Farmer’s Market has closed for the season, but will return in 2022).

A new discovery, and maybe my favorite at the moment is Tanoshii, also located on Main Street in beautifully renovated space that is modern and appealing. We have not yet dined in but we have taken out on several occasions. It is delicious and there are so many gluten free vegetarian options- not least of which is the Okonomiyaki Waffle pictured below center which consists of cabbage, yams, gluten free flour and is then fried as a waffle and served with pickled ginger, furikake, and then drizzled with Kewpie and oko sauce. It is AMAZING. We have tried the octopus, the ramen, the eggplant, and also the addictive Mochi donuts which are addictive and delicious. We would give Tanoshii 4 thumbs up- terrific.

Little Star Diner is always on top of my list, as we are able to dine on their inviting roof top deck. Still Covid cautious, we have preferred to dine outside as much as we could. Unfortunately, our meal the night was quite disappointing, with only the classic double cheeseburger worth photographing. Due to a labor shortage (which to be fair is affecting all the businesses everywhere) our apps and mains were brought simultaneously, and sadly they were all cold. The one server was doing such a heroic job attempting to service the entire rooftop that we didn’t have the heart (or the patience tbh) to try and send back the order. Because I do love Little Star and am hoping this was a fluke, we will return again shortly and hope for the best.

There is a new restaurant that is absolutely worth a visit if you haven’t already been, Brigade. Brigade sits above Main street, located on the second floor of the brand new Osborne Building, atop Main Street Market. Brigade is brought to you by the same folks as Copper, and they have developed all the concepts in Main Street Market as well, so they definitely know what they are doing. Brigade bills itself as Montana Farm to Table, specializing in Modern French Cuisine. Don’t be intimidated, the food is totally approachable and because of the plethora of fresh ingredients it is very tasty as well. The bread that is brought to the table once you are seated has an intoxicating smell, and all the dishes we tried tasted as good as they looked. The service was Montana friendly (very!) and the whole evening was a pleasure. Absolutely worth a try!

My restaurant update wouldn’t be complete without some ice cream – with Mark’s In and Out in Livingston (not Bozeman I know, but pretty close and worth the trip) remaining as the top contender for the classic Wilcoxson’s soft serve vanilla with hot fudge combo. There is nothing better on a hot summer day. Sadly, they have just closed for the season, so you will have to count down the days until the re-open next May.

While we have passed by Sweet Peaks‘ Bozeman location countless times (there are 4 other locations as well), we had never found ourselves waiting on line with everyone else to give this local spot a try. The space is certainly inviting, and many folks seem to love it. I ordered a scoop of Chocolate Love and liked it very much, but didn’t love it. Perhaps I will give it another go, but the consistency was just a little too dense. They do offer dog ice cream though they were sold out the night we stopped by. My dog may find he is a big fan!

Related to ice cream are pastries, and Bozeman now has two fabulous spots in which to indulge, Wild Crumb and Vienne. You cannot go wrong with either as the lines of folks out the door in the early morning hours when the delicacies are fresh out of the oven can attest to. Vienne is more of a traditional French Patisserie and Wild Crumb has a bit of a Mountain slant to their baked goods. Both are incredible.

This is just a short list of some of Bozeman’s offerings, and there are more places opening each week, including the reincarnation of The Sashimi Bar which shut down for a period and will be unveiling their new Izakaya concept in a couple of weeks (you can keep up with them on IG @izakayathreefish). We are trying it October 8, and I will report back. Clearly, the secret is out about Bozeman, but it doesn’t detract from how fabulous a destination it is.

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