Thursday, December 13, 2012

But... where does one dine?

Off the menu
I'm blessed to have many friends who reside beyond Lewistown city limits.
Most of these exotic hot house hybrids call the isle of Manhattan home.
Therefore their perception of the world at large is often slightly warped.

Yesterday a tres soigne New Yorker asked me the above question.
She seemed truly interested in the culinary customs of our locals.
I doubt she would have been surprised had I responded -
"We hunt it down then cook it up right fine".

Calvert Hotel Dining Room - 1950s - Lewistown MT - Courtesy Montana Memory Project - Lewistown Library

Well I'm glad to reassure all of my fellow bon vivants and gourmands.
The fact is Lewistown has several great restaurants to choose from.
Following is my short list of what I consider "must do's".

The Mint
113 4th Avenue South

18 years ago when I first visited Lewistown, The Mint was empty. Shortly thereafter two Bozeman chefs transformed it into the best dining establishment in Lewistown.

Two words describe their mantra - QUALITY and CONSISTENCY.
Quite frankly I have NEVER had a bad meal there.
Something I can't say that about many a lauded New York establishment

The Mint's Menu is simple and elegant.
Every night choose from at least 5-6 fish specials.
Or opt for menu favorites like Chicken with artichokes.
I think their pork ribs are among the best I've ever enjoyed.
Hand rubbed and roasted - so yummy I prefer my sauce on the side.
And the Creme caramel... no wonder my jeans are tight!


The Onyx
216 7th Avenue South

Sometimes it takes someone from out of town
to help us see what Lewistown really has to offer.
In 2007 Minnesotan Steve Duffy drove through and found The Calvert Hotel.
Built in 1912 as a girl's dormitory for the high school -
it operated intermittently as a hotel and restaurant (see above) since the 1920s.
Steve invested a lot of love (and over $1M)
to transform The Calvert into the lovely hostelry it is today.

Downstairs is the Onyx Bar & Grill.
The menu is what you would expect for a quality restaurant in Montana.
Steaks, seafood, pastas, etc. But the wine celler is what sets the Onyx apart.
Focused on Californian and Washington vino... the names are impressive.
Caymus, Opus 1, Rubicon, Stags Leap, Silver Oak, Leonetti, Betz & more.
If you want to spend $500 for a bottle of wine in Lewistown, Montana -
this is the place to do it.

Courtesy of
Main Street Bistro
122 W. Main Street

Dave Pallett was a local boy who loved to cook. He left town to study/work with the best chefs in California. Happens a lot - our best often move on. But this time DAVE CAME BACK.

Since 1997 Dave has been serving Cordon Bleu cuisine at local prices.
All from a humble store front that used to be the Snow White Cafe.
Experience a menu inspired by the golden age of "California Cuisine".
From Napa Cabbage Oriental Salad, to the vegetarian Grilled Portobello Sandwish. And be sure to end it all with the best Bread Pudding EVER.
Dave personally prepares it all everyday.
Next time you're in town stop by and dine with Dave!

Courtesy of
The Empire Cafe
214 W. Main Street

Sometimes you just want a home cooked meal.  If you don't want to have to cook it yourself - The Empire Cafe is your spot.
Where else can you get
- 2 pork chops
- Choice of tater
- Side of Veggies
- Soup or salad
- Dessert
- Coffee or Tea
ALL for JUST $6.99

Decor is not why you frequent The Empire.
But if you want to journey to your childhood and the heartland.
And where else can you dine with the real people
who have inspired every Mickey Rourke/Willie Nelson movie ever made?

I hope this culinary journey has been helpful.
The establishments featured are just a few of our local options.
One thing you won't find here is an endless string of CHAIN restaurants.
So... next time take a detour and dine in Lewistown.
We're ready to serve you!

Palais Royale 1917 - Lewistown Montana - Courtesy Montana Memory Project - Lewistown Library