Downtown Missoula Features Brand-New Dining Destinations

By LINDA McCARTHY

After being gone from Missoula for nearly six months, we are thrilled to see the number of new restaurants that have opened up in Downtown Missoula. It’s absolutely stunning, and the growth in the food and beverage industry meets both the predictions and the goals of the Downtown Master Plan. My aim is to visit each of these businesses within the next month or two and immerse myself in Missoula’s newest dining experiences. I encourage you and your family and friends to the do the same. The Garden City is rich with exceptional, creative, affordable and elegant options for enjoying a night – or morning – out on the town. Here is an overview of Downtown Missoula’s newest restaurants:

The Top Hat Lounge has been around for years, but in 2012 Nick Checota bought the business and building from the Garr Family and closed it down for a major renovation. Located at 134 West Front Street, the Top Hat reopened in March with a completely new look and a tapas menu that offers some exceptional choices at moderate prices. Live music continues to be the main draw, but the basement kitchen cranks out light meals for both lunch and dinner.

PLONKPlonk, a wine bar & restaurant at 322 North Higgins brings a taste of Bozeman to Missoula. Located in the building that previously housed Army Navy, Plonk  offers a high-end experience with a vast array of specialty cocktails and wines and a well-appointed menu. The space is gorgeous and features outdoor dining on a second-level deck. Checota bought this building as well and renovated it to accommodate the restaurant. Plonk is owned by Brett Evje who built Ciao Mambo Italian restaurant at 541 South Higgins.

Five on Black has been the talk of the town. Located across the street from Plonk at 325 North Higgins, Five on Black is a Brazilian quick-order restaurant housed in the building previously occupied by Runner’s Edge. Owner Tom Snyder developed a build-your-own bowl of fresh, healthy and affordable gluten-free dishes with exotic options such as coconut, sweet potatoes, collard greens, mango and much more. The son of Dr. Michael and Laura Snyder, Tom is a Missoula native and University of Montana graduate.

Dickey’s Barbecue, located in the Historic Palace Apartment building at 143 West Broadway, marks a return of traditional southern barbecue food to the heart of Missoula. Dickey’s is owned by James Gibson, who serves as the Assistant Athletic Director for Business & Finance at UM in his primary job. This franchise brand from Houston, Texas, has been around since 1941, but Gibson’s restaurant is the first in Montana. As expected, Dickey’s features traditional southern barbecue fare and does catering for small and large groups.  Dickey’s is also a food vendor at Out to Lunch in Caras Park, Missoula’s weekly outdoor concert series held on summertime Wednesdays from 11am-2pm.

 

FIVE ON BLACKJust across the street from Dickey’s in the recently completed Garlington, Lohn and Robinson Building (150 West Broadway) is another franchise that’s new to Montana: Einstein Bros. Bagels. Einstein’shas more than 700 stores nationwide. Owner Matt Schmidt, son of Tom and Diane Schmidt who previously owned Mullan Station, has returned to Missoula from Utah to settle back in to his hometown.

Just down Ryman Street at the Mountain Line Transfer Center is a new Subway sandwich shop. Located at 200 West Pine, Subway offers the healthiest overall menu of all American fast-food chains. It fills the location previously occupied by Pizza on the Fly.

One distinctly different eating establishment has been developed across the street from MCT, Inc. at 400 East Broadway. Missoulians just can’t get enough of Treasure State Donuts , which speaks to the demand for creative cake and raised donuts. Located in the space previously known as Del’s Place, Treasure State Donuts is owned by Erin McEwen and Dmitri Murfin, along with Erin’s parents Dave McEwen & Shirley Juhl, long-time owners of Bridge Pizza on the Hip Strip.

In addition to these exceptional new dining destinations, Downtown Missoula will see the openings of three additional restaurants before the end of 2013:

Z Pizza is a franchise expanding from Billings and will be located on North Higgins.

Walking MoustacheMarket on Front
, owned and developed by Missoula native Ben Sokoloski, will be a street-level fresh food market located in the brand-new Park Place Parking Structure at the corner of East Front and Pattee.

The Walking Moustache will be located in the former Thai Spicy space at 206 West Main. Owned by brothers from a family of famous moustaches, the Walking Moustache will be open 24 hours a day Tuesday through Sunday.

With seven new restaurants and three more scheduled to open in the next few months, Downtown Missoula’s appeal as a major dining destination has grown tremendously, and summer is the perfect time to experience each of these new food and beverage businesses in the heart of Missoula. The Garden City is most definitely the best community in the State of Montana for exceptional food and drinks.

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LindaMcCarthyMissoulaLinda McCarthy has been a Missoula resident for more than 25 years and serves as Executive Director of the Missoula Downtown Association, a private non-profit, membership-based organization dedicated to promoting, supporting and enhancing the vitality of Downtown Missoula. She and her family live in the Farviews Neighborhood, and her husband, Tom Gallagher, is a computer science professor at UM’s Missoula College. Linda holds two degrees from The University of Montana and was the 2008 Montana Alumni of the Year.

 

 

 

 

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