The 10 Foods That You Must Try in Missoula, MT

Missoula, Montana is home to beautiful views, friendly people, and incredible food. Whether you’re just visiting and don’t know where to start, or you live here and want to switch things up, you can’t go wrong with these 10 dishes and drinks!

 Liquid Planet Grille: Biscuits & Gravy

Liquid Planet Grille Biscuits and Gravy

The Liquid Planet Grille sits right across the street from the University of Montana campus, making it a hit with students and faculty alike. Aside from having killer sandwiches, fries and tots, this joint is also home to some of the best breakfast dishes out there. We’re talking about biscuits & gravy. This savory dish is the perfect way to fulfill your growling tummy in the morning (or any time of the day for that matter). Two flakey, buttery biscuits get topped with rich sausage gravy infused with the earthy flavors of sage and rosemary. As if it can’t get any better, the good folks behind this masterpiece top it all off with candied bacon. Yes, candied bacon! You don’t want to miss out on this one. I know you’re drooling just thinking about it. I sure am.

Biga Pizza: Flathead Cherry Pizza

Biga Pizza Flathead Cherry Pizza

If you are a lover of pizza, or just food in general, then Biga Pizza is for you. Aside from tasty salads, antipasto plates, sandwiches and calzones, Biga creates some of the most incredible pizzas out there. From classics like cheese or pepperoni, to more exotic flavors like maple chipotle or fig and prosciutto, there is something for everyone. There is one pizza on the menu, however, that stands out above the rest. The Flathead Cherry Pizza is from another world. The homemade sausage, smoked gouda cheese, fresh mozzarella, and fragrant garlic oil is paired with a sweet cherry chutney to create a mouthwatering combination that is finally cooked to perfection in a brick pizza oven. It might sound unconventional for a pizza, but the juxtaposition of the savory sausage against the sweet cherry chutney, completed with two creamy cheeses is sure to satisfy anyone’s pizza craving!

Jaker’s Bar and Grill: Scones and Honey Butter

Jaker's Bar and Grill Scones and Honey Butter

 Whether you’re looking for a delicious steak dinner, or an endless soup and salad lunch, Jaker’s has it all. The item on the menu that just tops it all off, however, actually comes to your table courtesy of the restaurant. Instead of classic bread and butter with your meal, the fine folks at Jaker’s offer something much more dreamy. Scones and honey butter. It sounds simple, but these aren’t just any scones. Soft, sweet, decadent, and paired with honey butter that melts in your mouth. You might actually find yourself full before your meal comes, because it’s impossible to have just one….or two…. or four.

 Top Hat Lounge: Chicken and Waffles

Top Hat Chicken and Waffles

 The Top Hat Lounge is a special joint located in downtown Missoula. They host a variety of events, concerts and shows. While you’re soaking up some entertainment, don’t forget to check out the menu. From small plates, to burgers with locally sourced meats, the Top Hat offers some tasty combinations with crazy fresh ingredients. If you’re looking for a little snack or flavorful meal, you cannot go wrong with the chicken and waffles. The waffle has a hint of sweetness that comes from a vanilla batter. The chicken comes in the form of perfectly fried little nuggets of heaven. To make this dish even more irresistible, it comes with maple rosemary butter and some maple syrup. The perfect combination of sweet and savory that you’ll come back for time and time again.

 Thomas Meagher Bar: Pub Nachos

Thomas Meagher Bar

 Pronounced “Mahr Bar,” this Irish Pub knows how to satisfy an appetite. Meagher Bar has a wide selection of tantalizingly good dishes, from a range of mac and cheeses, to wings, bruschetta, and pasties. They have a trivia night and a beer bingo night; both offering prizes and drink specials. So why wouldn’t you want to go here? It gets better though. The hidden gem that you MUST try from the menu is the Pub Nachos. The regular nacho toppings are all there, from onions, black beans and tomatoes, to jalapenos, cheese and salsa. But what makes these bad boys really special is the Irish Beer Cheese Sauce. Not to mention, you can switch out the boring tortilla chips for Doritos. Yes, I’m serious. This giant plate of Dorito, Irish Beer Cheese Sauce nachos will give you an entirely new perspective on nachos. So try them.

 Big Dipper Ice Cream: Dusty Dale

Big Dipper Ice Cream

 It’s no secret that Big Dipper Ice Cream is home to some of the best sweet treats in town. With lines flowing all the way to the street, it seems that customers will bear any type of weather to get a taste of the famous ice cream. Have you ever tried cardamom ice cream before? How about El Salvador Coffee ice cream? Big Dipper’s homemade ice cream comes in just about any flavor you can think of, and they’re all incredible. If you’re a fan of chocolate, there is one concoction that you don’t want to miss out on. The Dusty Dale is a combination of chocolate ice cream, chocolate sauce, malt powder and whipped cream. The variety of textures creates a creamy, crunchy, chewy, soft, crazy delicious party in your mouth. It is the perfect way to cool down on a hot summer day, or just to enjoy and rich and sweet treat any time of the year.

 Taco Sano: Breakfast Burrito

Taco Sano Breakfast Burrito

Taco Sano is a locally owned burrito shop that focuses on using fresh and local ingredients, and homemade sauces for a Mexican food experience unlike any other. The breakfast burritos are an item on the mouthwatering menu that can make any Monday morning brighter. Not to mention, they are accompanied by free coffee! The burritos start with scrambled eggs, to which your choice of juicy meat can be added. Choose from BBQ brisket, pulled chicken, ground beef, Pacific salmon, or pulled pork. Next comes the cheese, salsa, your choice of homemade sauce (my favorite is cilantro lime), and finally potatoes and sautéed veggies. This is no ordinary breakfast burrito, so start your day happy and swing by Taco Sano, on the Hip Strip yo.

 James Bar: Sweet Potato Tots

James Bar Sweet Potato Tots

 James Bar is a cool little spot tucked away in the heart of downtown Missoula. Dimly lit, chic, and classy, but with a rustic, friendly and approachable feel, James Bar offers an eclectic menu with some ridiculously flavorful food. From comfort food such as smoked gouda mac and cheese or shepherd’s pie, to quinoa cakes and lobster sliders, James Bar has something for any type of diner. The “Local Legend” on the menu that is a must-try comes in the form of sweet potato tater tots. These babies come piping hot to your table and are crispy and golden on the outside, but unbelievably creamy on the inside. There is no way to do these things justice with words, because they are honestly that good. As if they can get any better, you have the option of dipping sauces, from classic ketchup, to mango ketchup, ancho ketchup or caper tartar sauce. So whether you’re staying for dinner, or just grabbing a drink and a snack, make sure to ask for some sweet potato tots.

 Doc’s Sandwich Shop: Doc Holiday

Doc's Sandwich Shop

 Doc’s Sandwich Shop is located in the Higgins Building in the center of downtown Missoula. Known both for the crazy names of their sandwiches, as well as their genius sandwich creations, Doc’s is the perfect lunch joint. You can try a Doctor Strangelove if you’re in the mood for a meatball and marinara sandwich. Or maybe you’d like a Doctor Doolittle if you like chicken salad with some unique and yummy mix-ins such as apples. If nothing sounds quite right then you can “write your own prescription” and choose all the fixings yourself. But before you dive into that, the sandwich that you MUST try is the Doc Holiday. Referencing the festive Thanksgiving ingredients in the name of the sandwich, the Doc Holiday is the best combination of familiar holiday foods for us all. The multi-grain bread is stacked high with fresh sliced turkey, herby stuffing, cranberry sauce, lettuce and mayo. It is Thanksgiving dinner rolled into one perfect sandwich that can be enjoyed any day of the year, and it never disappoints.

 Montana Distillery: Blood Mary

Montana Distillery Bloody Mary

 After trying all of the incredible food that Missoula has to offer, you’re probably going to be in need of a drink. The Montana Distillery is a unique micro-distillery, bar and tasting room that offers some of the highest quality vodkas out there. A laundry list of flavors is available, from pepper to ginger, and bacon to huckleberry. This isn’t artificial flavoring either. Montana Distillery’s vodka is made from all-natural, fresh ingredients, creating the most authentic flavor possible. The menu of specialty drinks will keep you busy for hours, but the one thing you have to try is a Bloody Mary. This customizable drink allows you to pick your vodka (I like pepper and bacon) to add to their homemade Bloody Mary mix, topped off with a variety of garnishes. This drink is aromatic, so flavorful and truly the perfect way to end a busy week.

Top 5 Things You Miss About Home

College is great, don’t get me wrong, you have freedom to do as you please but you take for granted the little things from home. As a senior in college there are definitely a bunch of things that I miss about being home and you really learn to appreciate all the things your parents did for you!

5. Your Pets

pugYour dog is just something you can’t take with you to school. Sometimes you might miss your pet more than some family members (shhh.) It’s like leaving your best friend behind and you’re not able to talk to them at all! Your mom lets you “facetime” the dog, but come on, that dog has no idea what’s going on.

4. LAUNDRY

laundry

I absolutely despise doing laundry. I’ll put it off for as long as humanly possible and there are clothes all over my floor. Being home your parents will just throw it in for you and you have no worries about it. (side note: laundry detergent isn’t free and we have much more important things to buy!)

 

3. Home Cooked Meals

food

Being someone who, frankly, sucks at cooking, one of the biggest things you miss is mom’s cooking and dad’s barbecuing. After a while you just get tired of ramen noodles and Taco Bell (crazy concept right?) and you just want a substantial meal. Not to mention, mom isn’t going to make you pay her for the meal, thanks mom!

 

2. Your High School Friends

friends

Chances are, if you don’t go to school with a bunch of your high school friends you’re going to drift apart. Everyone gets busy with either school or starting their careers and everyone seems to go different ways. You reminisce about fun and crazy times you had with the people you grew up with!

 

  1. Your Family

family

No matter how old you are you always miss your mom and dad when you leave home! It doesn’t get easier leaving and you’re always counting the days til the next time you get to see them. They’re your main supporters and have helped you throughout your whole life so it’s scary when you get out into the world by yourself! You might not admit it, but you even miss your annoying siblings! Leaving home really makes you appreciate the time spent with your family, so to my family: thank you for everything!

 

Post by Shane Monsen, Senior at the University of Montana.

Montana Adventures

Montana Adventures

By Andrew Moreland

The blog that brings you all my favorite adventures that I’ve experienced in Montana. Below, you will find all the information that I’ve used and what I’ve done throughout my time here. With all these adventures that I have experienced have made Montana one of my favorite places on earth.

Here is a list of my favorite adventures that I have experienced in Montana                                  (Scroll down to find more information about them)

Hiking & Backpacking

Rock Climbing (Indoor & Outdoor)

Whitewater Kayaking

Skiing & Snowboarding

Mountain Biking

Hot Springs 

Hiking and Backpacking

One of the best ways to experience this beautiful state is by hiking in the great outdoors. There are so many amazing places to explore including my all-time favorite, Glacier National Park. This national park is located in the north-western part of the state and it extends up into Canada. I’ve traveled to Glacier many of times and every journey has been more beautiful than the last.

Here is the website where you can find a ton of information if you’re interested in taking a trip up there any time soon.

Glacier National Park

 

Rock Climbing (Indoor)

Freestone Climbing gym is the best climbing gym in Missoula.  I love going there after my classes to free my mind with some climbing. It’s got awesome people and enough routes that will keep you coming back for more day after day.

Here is their website, go check them out if you like to climb!

Freestone Climbing Website

Rock Climbing (Outdoor)

Around Missoula there is a bunch of awesome areas to climb, go grab some buddies and start sending! Summer and fall days are the best to go out and explore these beautiful areas.

Here is the website with more information about the incredible outdoor rock climbing located close to Missoula!

Rock Climbing – Missoula, MT

Whitewater Kayaking

Montana has some of the best whitewater kayaking in the country. This is where I learned to kayak a few years ago and it will always hold a special place in my heart. One of my favorites, and usual after class run, is the Alberton Gorge section of the Clark Fork River. This is an amazing section of class III-IV rapids just 30 minutes west of Missoula. There is also the Blackfoot River that is just north of Missoula that offers great scenery and whitewater in the spring.

Here is where you can find more information on my favorite run as well as the current flows for this section.

Alberton Gorge – Clark Fork River

 

Skiing & Snowboarding

There is a reason so many people come to Montana for the mountains. THE SKIING IS UNREAL. From the local Snowbowl just 20 minutes north of Missoula to the massive Big Sky Resort a few hours away there is enough powder to go around. These are 2 of my favorite places to ski, yet there is so many more places out there that I’m excited to go explore.

Here is the website for Montana Snowbowl.

Montana Snowbowl

Here is the website for Big Sky.

Big Sky Resort

 

Mountain Biking

I just started mountain biking around Missoula last year, and I have no idea why I didn’t start a lot earlier! Not only is it a great leg workout but it is a blast to go out and explore the single tracks throughout the mountains. My favorite trials start from Sawmill Gulch just up the street from where I live in the Rattlesnake Recreational area.

Here is a great website with tons of information on trails just outside of Missoula!

Missoula Mountain Biking

 

Hot Springs

From cool summer nights to frigid winter days hot springs are a great choice for an adventure. There are awesome hot springs spread out all over Montana. My favorite one has to be the Boiling River hot springs in Yellowstone National Park. If you haven’t been there, it is a MUST if you live in, or are even passing through Montana.

Here is a website that has information about all the hot springs in Montana.

Montana Hot Springs

 

About the Author

I grew up loving the outdoors just outside of Portland, OR. While growing up my parents always took me and my two brothers out to go skiing and hiking along with many other adventures throughout my life, and because of this I began to have a deep appreciation for everything around me. This made it a very easy decision when I was comparing colleges all over the country. I have to say moving to Montana to attend the University here in Missoula, MT has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. I have only widened my appreciation for nature and all the things you can go do in this life. I can’t wait to go on more adventures in the future and I can only hope to see you out there!

Andrew Moreland