+18 
BestBarista_Raquel.jpg

Best Barista: Racquelle Horton, Burns St. Bistro

+18 
BestBreakfastBurrito_MarketOnFront.jpg

Best Breakfast Burrito: Market on Front

+18 
BestNewRestaurant_MoDogs.jpg

Best New Restaurant: Mo' Dogs

+18 
GrizzlyGrocery.jpg

Best Convenience Store: Grizzly Grocery

BEST ALL-NIGHT DINING 

The Oxford Saloon 

There’s this strange time — right around 4 a.m. — when you will sit in the Oxford Saloon, reeling and tipsy from an amazing night out around town, and have no idea whether you should order dinner or breakfast. It’s a critical decision: Do you order the hefty half-pound Ox burger, or do you admit that it somehow became morning and order a chicken-fried steak and hashbrowns with JJ’s special gravy? We can’t answer the question for you — and the good-hearted but stern service people at the Ox won’t help, either. Only your heart knows. The Oxford Saloon: 337 N Higgins Ave • 549-0117 • the-oxford.com 

FINALISTS, BEST ALL-NIGHT DINING 

2. Pie Hole 

525 N Higgins Ave

926-2233

pieholemissoula.com 

3. Denny’s 

2922 Brooks St.

829-8500 


 

BEST APPETIZERS 

Jakers Bar & Grill 

Here’s a scenario for you: You’re sitting out on the patio, eating a mountain of nachos and getting some of the best service in town. That’s the reality at Jakers, which combines a winning recipe of service, bar comfort food and killer deals for multiple “Best of” wins again this year. Who cares that it’s pretty far south on Brooks, or that it’s not quite as fancy as some of the other bar/restaurant options in town? Not us. Pass the gorgonzola waffle fries and the dragon tails. We’re digging in for the evening. Jakers Bar & Grill: 3515 Brooks St • 721-1312 • jakers.com/missoula 

FINALISTS, BEST APPETIZERS 

2. Top Hat Lounge 

134 W Front St

728-9865

tophatlounge.com 

3. Plonk Missoula 

322 N Higgins Ave

926-1791

plonkwine.com 


 

BEST ASIAN FOOD 

Mustard Seed Asian Cafe 

We Missoulians like our Asian food fusiony, delicious, deliverable and, more than anything, from the Mustard Seed. The Southgate Mall stalwart’s expansive menu offers more than enough variety for even timid palates, though your provincial uncle Angus is far from the only reason to order the excellent wings (request ’em extra-crispy). But you’d be foolish to pass up the real meat of the menu, which is stacked with familiar pan-Asian dishes and plenty of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options. The sauces are house-made, the spice is adjustable from 1 to 4 “dragons,” and the rice and noodle bowls are almost endlessly customizable. But true confession? Even if all Mustard Seed served were the addictive Thai-style sauteed green beans, we’d still be there at least once a week. And then there’s that dessert tray. Always ask to see the dessert tray. There may well be something on it that wasn’t there last week, which may well tempt you to pass over an old favorite. Do it. The chocolate mousse will still be there next week, and it will still be to die for. But that coconut latte cheesecake...my God. You usually have to do something naked with a friend to feel that good. Mustard Seed Asian Cafe: 2901 Brooks, Southgate Mall • 721-7333 • mustardseedweb.com 

FINALISTS, BEST ASIAN FOOD 

2. Sushi Hana

403 N Higgins Ave

549-7979

sushimissoula.com 

3. Vietnam Noodle

2100 Stephens Ave, #103

542-8299

vietnamnoodlemissoula.com 


 

BEST BAKERY 

Black Cat Bake Shop 

There’s an annual tradition at Black Cat Bake Shop, a Christmastime occurrence that’s sent the shop’s baker-owners into overdrive every holiday season for the past two decades. We are, of course, referring to Black Cat’s famed Christmas stollen. That fruity, spicy, buttery loaf has been a local favorite since Christy and Jack Wich started making it in their basement nearly two decades ago. But Black Cat is more than just stollen — as Best of Missoula voters, who handed the shop its first first-place win this year, well know. It’s croissants and danishes and sticky buns and pies, and the kind of attention to taste-crafting that makes even a casual visit for a sweet or savory treat feel like a tradition of its own. Black Cat Bake Shop: 2000 W Broadway St • 542-9043 • blackcatbakeshop.com 

FINALISTS, BEST BAKERY 

2. Bernice’s Bakery 

190 S 3rd St W

728-1358

bernicesbakerymt.com 

3. Le Petit Outre 

129 S 4th St W

543-3311

lepetitoutre.com 


 

BEST BARBECUE 

The Notorious P.I.G. 

With barbecue, it’s usually best to stick to the basics, and Notorious P.I.G. has them down pat. The menu might be simple, but the flavors are rich. Brisket, pulled pork, ribs — P.I.G. has them all, and with enough saucey variety to satisfy any regionalist connoisseur. The friendly staff and relaxed atmosphere make it the most comfortable place in town to stuff your face and get doused in sauce. Just make sure to show up early if you want burnt ends — they go fast. The Notorious P.I.G.: 247 W Front St • 926-1344 • thenotoriouspigbbq.com 

FINALISTS, BEST BARBECUE 

2. Famous Dave’s 

2915 N Reserve St

541-7427

famousdaves.com

3. Just Barbecue food truck 


 

BEST BARISTA 

Racquelle Horton, Burns St. Bistro 

First-time winner Racquelle Horton ascends to the top spot this year for best java-slinger thanks in no small part to Burns St. Bistro’s faithful legions of dedicated Bistronauts. But it’s not just the army of brunching Missoulians at Burns St. who have nice things to say about Racquelle. Her coworkers fall all over themselves to explain how her hilariously wry sense of humor and kindness make her not only a great barista, but a great person to work with. Which makes us wish she worked here at the Indy. We like wry and kind. And nobody here can make coffee worth crap. Racquelle Horton, Burns St. Bistro: 1500 Burns St • 543-0719 • burnsstbistro.com 

FINALISTS, BEST BARISTA 

2. Diann Kelly, Brew Ha Ha 

207-5368 

3. Sammy Rodrigues, Liquid Planet Grille

1025 Arthur Ave

540-4209

liquidplanet.com 


 

BEST BREAKFAST 

Paul’s Pancake Parlor 

Life is short, the line is long, and the wait for pancakes will always be worth it. The menu at Paul’s offers more than a dozen different options, from the traditional buttermilk to the divine blueberry sourdough made from a 110-year-old starter. There’s a sweet side to the menu featuring peach, strawberry and lingonberry compote fillings, and a savory side headlined by potato pancakes. If you need to branch out, the omelettes are stuffed, the hashbrowns are crispy and the combinations — add pancakes, obviously — will fill you up right. Paul’s Pancake Parlor: 2305 Brooks St • 728-9071 • paulspancake.com 

FINALISTS, BEST BREAKFAST 

2. The Catalyst 

111 N Higgins Ave, #111

542-1337

thecatalystcafe.com 

3. The Shack 

222 W Main St

549-9903

theshackcafe.com 


 

BEST BREAKFAST BURRITO 

Market on Front 

Who needs a lot of different options when the two offered are so close to perfection? When we wake up in the morning, we don’t ask where we want to go get a breakfast burrito, we just decide whether we want MoF’s meat or veggie version. Both have their charms. As breakfast burrito connoisseurs, we can tell you what counts: high-quality ingredients, a good egg-to-potato ratio, a truly rad sauce and a tight roll for easy consumption. Market on Front’s breakfast burritos have it all. Market on Front: 201 E Front St • 541-0246 • marketonfront.com 

FINALISTS, BEST BREAKFAST BURRITO

2. The Breakfast Club 

1132 SW Higgins Ave

926-1240

thebreakfastclubmt.com

3. Taco Sano 

Multiple locations

tacosano.net 


 

BEST BRUNCH 

Burns St. Bistro 

For Indy readers to love Burns St. Bistro any more than they do, the Westside staple would have to be composed entirely of candied bacon. Chefs Walker Hunter and Ryan Smith are singled out again this year, along with new barista winner Racquelle Horton, as the people in our town who know how to make it happen on the plate and in the cuppa. Come for brunch (but get in line, bring a sense of adventure and make that order snappy when you get to the register) and then come back during the week for the lunch specials, which is where the Burns Streeters really let it fly. Where else can you find a menu built entirely around fairly obscure Simpsons references? But, doh! You can’t always get over to the cool side of town to take in the sights and every other person you know, so hop on your pedals and catch the mobile Beastro, often outside Draught Works, for a great burger to wash down with an IPA. Burns St. Bistro: 1500 Burns St • 543-0719 • burnsstbistro.com 

FINALISTS, BEST BRUNCH 

2. The Old Post 

103 W Spruce St

721-7399

oldpostpub.com 

3. The Catalyst 

111 N Higgins Ave

542-1337

thecatalystcafe.com 


 

BEST BUDGET LUNCH 

Five on Black 

This surprisingly healthy, immensely affordable Brazilian eatery has become Missoula’s consistent answer to the most important question of any day: “Where should we go for lunch?” The deceptively simple menu packs bold flavors into a bowl that will send you back into the world well sated for less than $9. Diners have their choice of rice or beans, meats and vegetables, sauces, sides and toppings. And then there’s the pao de queijo, those delicious ball-shaped cheese breads that cost just $0.50 a pop. It’s possible to fill up on those alone, but that would be doing a disservice to the infinitely customizable main courses — the ultimate in bowl-based cuisine and, according to Indy readers, lunch on a budget. Five on Black: 325 N Higgins • 926-1860; 3850 S. Reserve, Ste 140 • 926-1305 • fiveonblack.com 

FINALISTS, BEST BUDGET LUNCH 

2. Taco del Sol 

Multiple locations

327-8929

tacodelsol.com

3. Hob Nob

531 S Higgins Ave

541-4622

hobnobonhiggins.com 


 

BEST BURGER 

Five Guys Burger & Fries 

The quotes from newspaper reviews and food magazines all over the walls at Five Guys are like bold-print primers of the burger-and-fries odyssey to come. Words like juicy, flavorful and yummy — no kidding, “yummy” — line the walk to the counter, and when it comes to picking from the list of 15 toppings, there are no wrong answers. But there’s one word from a quote near the door that sums it all up best: simplicity. Pile on all the grilled mushrooms, relish and steak sauce in the place and it’s still a burger. Mouthwatering. Authentic. Yummy. Five Guys Burger & Fries: 820 E Broadway • 830-3262 • fiveguys.com 

FINALISTS, BEST BURGER 

2. Missoula Club 

139 W Main St

728-3740 

3. Wally & Buck 

602 Myrtle St

wallyandbuck.com 


 

BEST CATERER 

Bravo! Catering 

Consider the situations in which you hire a caterer: you are getting married; you are hosting an event; you are trying to make a sale. These are moments of great stress, when the most valuable service is the one you don’t have to worry about. This service is what Bravo! Catering is selling. They’ve built a reputation for reliability, flexibility and — perhaps most important of all — punctuality. They cook on-site, so even if everything else is falling apart, you can take comfort in the soothing process of watching your food come together. Bravo! Catering: 224 N Higgins Ave • 541-4900 • bravocatering.net 

FINALISTS, BEST CATERER 

2. Burns St. Bistro 

1500 Burns St

543-0719

burnsstbistro.com 

3. A Moveable Feast 

544-8390

amoveablefeastmissoula.com 


 

BEST CHEF 

Walker Hunter and Ryan Smith, Burns St. Bistro 

See Best Brunch 

FINALISTS, BEST CHEF 

2. Bob Marshall, Biga Pizza

241 W Main St

728-2579

bigapizza.com 

3. Ashton Patzer 


 

BEST COFFEE 

Black Coffee Roasting Co. 

Black Coffee Roasting Co. has won hearts and taste buds in Missoula since it opened eight years ago. The roasted beans are in stores all across Montana (and available worldwide), and the shop on Spruce is bustling with happily buzzed patrons. Some of us are longtime fans of the classic A.M. medium-roasted blend, but it’s hard to go wrong with any of the company’s organic, craft-roasted coffees, including the Laura, Red Room, Black & Tan and Vinyl. Summer goes better with mint-infused cold brew, and even decaf drinkers — who are you? — get to experience stellar flavor with the P.M. Black Coffee Roasting Co.: 525 E Spruce St • 541-3700 • blackcoffeeroastingco.com 

FINALISTS, BEST COFFEE 

2. Hunter Bay Coffee 

101 E Front St

830-3388

hunterbay.com 

3. DRUM Coffee 

600 S Ave West

721-5290

drumcoffeemt.com 


 

BEST COFFEE HUT 

Florence Coffee Co. 

Order a quad shot at the window of any of Florence Coffee Co.’s 15 locations across western Montana and the baristas won’t bat an eye. And neither will FloCo’s customers when they learn that their favorite pick-me-up huts have served up a quad shot of victories in this category with this fourth consecutive win. As the elevated window at their flagship hut in Florence demonstrates — them Bitterrooters like their trucks as tall as their lattes — FloCo knows what their customers want: consistently excellent joe in convenient locations. Florence Coffee Co.: Multiple locations • 546- 3538 • florencecoffeeco.com 

FINALISTS, BEST COFFEE HUT 

2. The Loose Caboose 

Multiple locations

541-1748

loosecaboosemissoula.com 

3. Good Americano 

2350 S Reserve St

529-2720 


 

BEST CONVENIENCE STORE 

Grizzly Grocery 

Grizzly Grocery stretches the definition of “convenience store,” since there’s a lot more on offer here than the usual selection of snack foods and dry goods. They’ve got fancy salumi and cheese, cultured butter, premium chocolate and a full-service coffee and smoothie bar. The pre-made sandwiches in the cold case give real value for the dollar, the beer and wine selections are expansive, and best of all, there’s still room for beef jerky and Dr Pepper. You cretin. Grizzly Grocery: 447 Hill St • 721-2679 • grizzlygrocery.com 

FINALISTS, BEST CONVENIENCE STORE 

2. Ole’s Country Store 

1600 S Russell St

728-7681

923 N Orange

721-2170 

3. Town Pump on Brooks 

2001 Brooks

926-1768 


 

BEST DELICATESSEN 

Tagliare Delicatessen 

While waiting for a sandwich one day, you overhear a customer ask one of the Tagliare staff for a cracker recommendation. Something to go with a nice brie. The staffer’s answer is so detailed your mouth starts to water. A nice bruschette, he says, would pack a little crunch and a lot of rigidity, and it wouldn’t overwhelm an already salty cheese. Curious, you jump in and ask what from the meat counter might best complement all that tastiness. Without hesitation, he points to a soppressataand says it’s your best choice for bringing a little sweetness and black pepper bite to a brie-based treat. Add a dollop of Tagliare’s fig and walnut chutney, he continues, and “you’re set.” Tagliare Delicatessen: 1433 S Higgins Ave • 830-3049 • tagliaredelicatessen.com 

FINALISTS, BEST DELICATESSEN 

2. Worden’s Market & Deli 

451 N Higgins Ave

549-1293

wordens.com

3. Good Food Store 

1600 S 3rd St W

541-3663

goodfoodstore.com 


 

BEST DESSERTS 

Mustard Seed Asian Cafe 

See Best Asian Food 

FINALISTS, BEST DESSERTS 

2. Bernice’s Bakery 

190 S 3rd St W

728-1358

bernicesbakerymt.com 

3. Sushi Hana 

403 N Higgins Ave

549-7979

sushimissoula.com 


 

 

BEST DOUGHNUTS 

Rosauers 

Portland can keep its fancy breakfast cereal toppings and bacon crumbles. At Rosauers, a doughnut is still the fresh-baked and pure treat you remember from childhood. The delectable stickiness of an old fashioned, the whimsical swirl of a French, the long, tasty journey to the end of a maple bar. Just standing in line, peering through the glass at all that brown sugar, all those polychromatic sprinkles, makes you yearn for the days when you could hold two chocolate-iced cakes to your eyes like spectacles without being thought mad. This is perfection without pretension, and it’s the closest thing to time travel a Missoula sweet-seeker can find. Rosauers: 2350 S Reserve • 721-5430 • rosauers.com/missoula 

FINALISTS, BEST DOUGHNUTS 

2. Tandem Doughnuts 

Clark Fork Market and other locations

239-3997

tandemdoughnuts.com 

3. Krispy Kreme 

1025 W Central Ave

926-2810

krispykreme.com 


 

BEST FAMILY-FRIENDLY RESTAURANT 

Red Robin 

Burgers, milkshakes and bottomless fries — what could be more universally appealing? Red Robin, at Southgate Mall, has all that and a head-spinning amount of variety to boot. But the eatery truly shines by catering to all dietary needs, making it the ideal place for a big family dinner. Picky offspring? Fear not, the kids’ menu has it dialed. Vegan cousin? The veggie patties are supremely satisfying. All that and a full bar means a family outing that won’t leave the adults with a raging headache afterward. It’s the kind of place that feels designed with families in mind. That it succeeds beyond that is what keeps Red Robin on the winner’s list. Red Robin: 2901 Brooks, Southgate Mall • 830-3170 • redrobin.com 

FINALISTS, BEST FAMILY-FRIENDLY 

RESTAURANT 

2. Burns St. Bistro 

1500 Burns St

543-0719

burnsstbistro.com 

3. Jakers Bar & Grill 

3515 Brooks St

721-1312

jakers.com/missoula 


 

BEST FOOD CART/TRUCK 

Burns St. Beastro 

See Best Brunch 

FINALISTS, BEST FOOD CART/ TRUCK 

2. Big Thai Country 

240-9511 

3. El Cazador’s Taco Truck 

Various locations 


 

BEST FRENCH FRIES 

James Bar 

A lot of places in Missoula have great french fries (singular), but James Bar takes the top spot because it has great french fries (plural). Not only are the basic James fries a clear standout for their crispy texture and salty goodness, but the downtown hotspot also offers up world-class spicy garlic fries, tater tots, Greek fries, sweet potato tots and truffle fries. Any one of them could be a headliner in the world of fried potatoes, but lucky for us they’re all in one place. There’s no such thing as a bad french fry at the James Bar. But you already know that. James Bar: 127 W Alder St • 721-8158 • jamesbarmontana.com 

FINALISTS, BEST FRENCH FRIES 

2. Five Guys Burgers & Fries 

820 E Broadway St

830-3262

fiveguys.com

3. Red Robin 

2901 Brooks St, Southgate Mall

830-3170

redrobin.com 


 

BEST ICE CREAM/FROZEN YOGURT 

Big Dipper 

See Hall of Fame 

FINALISTS, BEST ICE CREAM/ FROZEN YOGURT 

2. Sweet Peaks 

420 N Higgins Ave, #D

549-0028

sweetpeaksicecream.com 

3. U-Swirl 

1220 SW Higgins Ave

926-1967

u-swirl.com 


 

BEST LIQUOR STORE 

Grizzly Liquor 

When you’re picking out the perfect bottle for, say, a gift or a special occasion, where do you go? The place attached to the casino? Or the place that sponsors a bourbon club with a $40 annual membership and regular tasting sessions? That was a dumb question. Readers already answered it. Regional micro-distilleries, imports and high-end rarities, the maroon store has it all — and the staff there can tell you what it tastes like. Grizzly Liquor: 110 W Spruce St • 549-7723 • grizzlyliquor.com 

FINALISTS, BEST LIQUOR STORE 

2. Krisco Liquor 

1300 S Reserve St

549-7242

kriscoliquor.com

3. Magic Diamond on Brooks 

2230 Brooks

542-8761 


 

BEST MEXICAN FOOD 

El Cazador 

See Hall of Fame 

FINALISTS, BEST MEXICAN FOOD 

2. Fiesta en Jalisco 

3701 Brooks St, #A

728-1323

4888 N Reserve St

543-7757

fiestaenjalisco.net

3. Tia’s Big Sky 

1016 W Broadway

317-1817

tiasbigsky.com 


 

BEST MILKSHAKE 

Big Dipper 

Well, Dipper, with the Uptown Diner exiting the game this year, you finally slayed this category, and we couldn’t be happier for you and your tall, thick, creamy, always-delicious shakes! When it comes to scratching that shake-y itch, it’s no surprise that the Hall of Fame inductee for best ice cream also shows up here. It’s so good, every time, we almost don’t mind standing behind all those people who want a tiny-spoon sample of every damn flavor. They’re all good! Just pick! Pro tip: Go with the shake! Big Dipper: 631 S Higgins Ave • 543-5722 • bigdippericecream.com 

FINALISTS, BEST MILKSHAKE 

2. Butterfly Herbs 

232 N Higgins Ave

728-8780

butterflyherbs.com 

3. Missoula Club 

139 W Main St

728-3740 


 

BEST NEW RESTAURANT (OPENED IN 2017 OR 2018) 

Mo’ Dogs 

Missoula needed a truly snappy sausage, and Mo’ Dogs delivers with a menu that checks many of the food-group boxes. There’s the beef group, the bison group, the pork group, the chicken group, the smokin’ hot cheese group and the Moose Drool Brat group. Try the Elvis, which is a Mo’ Dog with peanut butter, blackberry jam and bacon crumble. In addition to being one of the most inventive items on the fancy-dog list, it almost begs you to recite the ingredients with an Elvis accent. Like every combo here, it just works. Welcome to the neighborhood we like to call Bestlandia, Mo’ Dogs. We hope you’ll stay. Mo’ Dogs: 617 S Higgins Ave, #2 • 926-1094 • mo-dogs.com 

FINALISTS, BEST NEW RESTAURANT 

2. SakeToMe Sushi 

137 W Front St

926-2555

saketomesushi.com

3. Lucky’s Market

2901 Brooks, Southgate Mall

549-8124

luckysmarket.com 


 

BEST OUTDOOR DINING 

Jakers Bar & Grill 

See Best Appetizers 

FINALISTS, BEST OUTDOOR DINING 

2. Iron Horse 

501 N Higgins Ave

728-8866

ironhorsebrewpub.com 

3. Finn & Porter 

100 Madison

542-4660

finnandporter.com 


 

BEST PIZZA 

Biga Pizza 

As we write this, Biga Pizza is celebrating morel season by combining the oven- roasted foraged fungi with organic spinach and herbed goat cheese on a hand-tossed sourdough crust. The popular restaurant keeps pizza fans happy with a regular menu (try the Vesuvio or Sicilian), but owner Bob Marshall always finds a special way to work with what’s in season (especially locally), which makes this winner delicious, in tune with Missoula, and never dull. Biga Pizza: 241 W Main St • 728-2579 • bigapizza.com 

FINALISTS, BEST PIZZA 

2. Bridge Pizza 

600 S Higgins Ave

542-0002

bridgepizza.com 

3. Pie Hole 

525 N Higgins Ave

926-2233

pieholemissoula.com 


 

BEST PIZZA DELIVERY 

Bridge Pizza 

All pizza delivery drivers are sacred gifts from God bestowed upon the hunger- weary masses in desperate need of sauce, cheese and crust. But Bridge Pizza drivers are in a league of their own. The hearty laughs, smiles and occasional proclamations that “Bridge is here!” will leave you squealing with joy. Always kind, always courteous, always equipped with a working pen — we salute these uniquely talented ’za slingers and thank them for their service. Delivering food is a grinding gig, but the respect and care that Bridge drivers have for customers is unparalleled. Bridge Pizza: 600 S Higgins Ave • 542-0002 • bridgepizza.com 

FINALISTS, BEST PIZZA DELIVERY 

2. Pie Hole 

525 N Higgins Ave

926-2233

pieholemissoula.com 

3. Domino’s Pizza 

Multiple locations

dominos.com 


 

BEST PLACE TO EAT ALONE 

Taco del Sol 

Sometimes the only thing you want to do in the whole world is eat a fish burrito, sip a PBR and stare out the window people-watching on Higgins. We only wish it could be three meals a day, every day. Who needs company when you have a burrito? Who needs conversation, or human connection or love when, like we just said, you have a burrito. For 20 years Taco del Sol has been one of the best lunch spots downtown, and we couldn’t be happier that it’s expanding across the state. They’ve got reasonable prices, friendly service and a warm, laid-back atmosphere we love. And really, half the times we go there to eat alone, we run into someone we know and like who’s eating there alone, too. Taco del Sol: Multiple locations • 327-8929 • tacodelsol.com 

FINALISTS, BEST PLACE TO EAT ALONE 

2. Good Food Store 

1600 S 3rd St W

541-3663

goodfoodstore.com 

3. Five on Black

325 N Higgins

926-1860

3850 S Reserve, Ste 140

926-1305

fiveonblack.com 


 

BEST PLACE TO BUY MEAT 

Diamond Bar Meats 

Diamond Bar Meats is a Missoula institution. The family-owned butcher shop has been around for more than half a century, and with meats like these, it’s no wonder. Beef, pork and chicken at reasonable prices in an honest-to-goodness storefront? It’s a rarity these days, and one that Missoula is lucky to have. And while it’s perfectly reasonable to drop your cash on steaks, brisket and pork chops, you’d be foolish not to try the excellent sausage and beef jerky. Add affordable packages for parties and holidays and you’ve got Missoula’s premier pit stop for all things protein. Diamond Bar Meats: 1500 S Russell St • 549-7272 • facebook.com/ diamondbarmeats 

FINALISTS, BEST PLACE TO BUY MEAT 

2. Good Food Store 

1600 S 3rd St W

541-3663

goodfoodstore.com 

3. Costco 

3220 N Reserve

543-6445

costco.com 


 

BEST PRODUCE 

Good Food Store 

The Good Food Store is clearly Missoula’s favorite for everything a voracious plant-based eater might want. Its manageable and local-product-heavy produce section, its prepared vegetarian food and its salads have gotten GFS voted into the top spot of three different categories this year. The white bean and fig salad from the prepared foods case is beyond compare, and no matter what your dietary restrictions, the hot bar will fulfill your desires. There are cities five times the size of Missoula that don’t have a store anywhere near this consistently good. Good Food Store: 1600 S 3rd St W • 541-3663 • goodfoodstore.com 

FINALISTS, BEST PRODUCE 

2. Farmers Markets 

Downtown Missoula (seasonal) 

3. Orange Street Food Farm 

701 S Orange St

543-3188

orangestreetfoodfarm.com 


 

BEST RESTAURANT 

Pearl Café 

It’s your birthday. You’re turning 30. Your mother is flying in from 2,000 miles away to celebrate with you. And you know what that means: Mom’s buying! When full-grown adults want a special meal that will make them feel like they got far better than they paid for, they go to Pearl. They’ll order the charcuterie plate, and maybe a fig and prosciutto salad to share. Then, say, the mushroom crepes and the bison tenderloin. There won’t be any room left for dessert, but let’s not be silly — we’re all adults here. Make it the dark German chocolate cake and, what the hell, the crème brulee. You know what? You should do this more often. Like, long before you turn 31. Pearl Café: 231 E Front St • 541-0231 • pearlcafe.us 

FINALISTS, BEST RESTAURANT 

2. Sushi Hana 

403 N Higgins Ave

549-7979

sushimissoula.com 

3. Red Bird

111 N Higgins Ave

549-2906 


 

BEST RESTAURANT SERVICE 

Jakers Bar & Grill 

See Best Appetizers 

FINALISTS, BEST RESTAURANT SERVICE

2. Sushi Hana

403 N Higgins Ave

549-7979

sushimissoula.com

3. Red Bird

111 N Higgins Ave

549-2906

redbirdrestaurant.com 


 

BEST RESTAURANT WINE LIST 

Red Bird 

You know who knows a lot about wine? Not us. I mean we’ve got Google right here, so we could pull up a list and drop some labels, but why pretend? We’re not going to impress you, and if you know what you’re doing you already know what you like, and you can confidently converse with your not-at-all-intimidatingly-well-informed server and be swishing and sipping your perfect glass in no time. But you know who’s going to be sitting at the next table, casually absorbing the expertise? Us. Because we’re curious. And because we know, just like you, that there’s no better place in Missoula to either indulge or educate your winey palate than Red Bird. They have the wines, they have the knowledge, and between the restaurant proper and the wine bar, they have the most amenable atmosphere in town for mellowing the mood with a glass of the grape. Red Bird: 111 N Higgins Ave • 549-2906 • redbirdrestaurant.com 

FINALISTS, BEST RESTAURANT WINE LIST

2. Plonk Wine Bar

322 N Higgins Ave

926-1791

plonkwine.com 

3. Pearl Café 

231 E Front St

541-0231

pearlcafe.us 


 

BEST RETAIL BEER SELECTION 

Orange Street Food Farm 

Orange Street Food Farm is a repeat winner in two categories (this one and Best Supermarket) for very good reasons. It’s incredible how many quality items from local producers fit into a store that you can get in and out of in five minutes. Not only can you stock your kitchen at a reasonable price, the staff is incredibly friendly and helpful, and it has the feel of an old-fashioned neighborhood grocery, because that’s exactly what it is. The well-curated and extensive beer selection deserves the recognition it regularly earns, and they also have a seltzer selection that delights lovers of fizzy water with the kind of special releases rarely spotted locally, like Polar Seltzerade. Orange Street Food Farm: 701 S Orange St • 543-3188 • orangestreetfoodfarm.com 

FINALISTS, BEST RETAIL BEER SELECTION

2. Worden’s Market & Deli

451 N Higgins Ave

549-1293

wordens.com

3. Pattee Creek Market 

704 SW Higgins Ave

721-2456 


 

BEST RETAIL WINE SELECTION 

Missoula Wine Merchants 

Were you at the Missoula Art Museum’s annual benefit auction in February? If you were, you probably spent a good deal of time marveling at the wine wall, a vast array of reds and whites supplied by the local aficionados at Missoula Wine Merchants. It was a sight for even the novice wine drinker to behold. But fear not, dear reader, if you missed it. For the walls at Missoula Wine Merchants’ cozy downtown shop boast an even greater plethora of pinots and merlots and so on, ensuring that no matter the season or setting, you can find the perfect pairing. Missoula Wine Merchants: 311 N Higgins • 926-1911 • missoulawine.com 

FINALISTS, BEST RETAIL WINE SELECTION 

2. Orange Street Food Farm 

701 S Orange St

543-3188

orangestreetfoodfarm.com 

3. Worden’s Market & Deli 

451 N Higgins Ave

549-1293

wordens.com 


 

BEST ROMANTIC DINING 

Pearl Café 

Yelp review, October 2017: “A great place for any occasion and romantic atmosphere with dim lighting. Ooh la la.” That guest was in town on vacation and chose Pearl to celebrate her “dear friend’s” birthday. “The table that await- ed us was the best in the house, located upstairs on the corner so we sat next to each other and [were] able to look into each other’s eyes ... We gazed at each other and the delicious menu.” This is just a guess, but if you’re staring at your dinner partner the same way you’re staring at the promise of Pearl’s bison tenderloin, that person probably isn’t just a friend. Pearl Café: 231 E Front St • 541-0231 • pearlcafe.us 

FINALISTS, BEST ROMANTIC DINING 

2. Scotty’s Table 

131 S Higgins Ave, U3

549-2790

scottystable.net 

3. Red Bird 

111 N Higgins Ave, #100

549-2906

redbirdrestaurant.com 


 

BEST SANDWICH SHOP 

Doc’s Sandwich Shop 

We could praise Doc’s extensive line of delicious and inventive sandwiches for hours on end. In fact, in previous years’ Best of Missoulas, we’ve done just that. But something that the downtown sandwich shop just doesn’t get enough attention for is its amazing soups. What good is a sandwich without soup to accompany it? We would cross the desert during the doggiest days of summer and still pull our dehydrated and sunburned bodies up to the counter to order a steaming hot bowl of Doc’s tomato basil bisque. Their sandwiches are out of this world, but don’t forget the soup. Doc’s Sandwich Shop: 214 N Higgins Ave • 542-7414 • docsgourmet.com 

FINALISTS, BEST SANDWICH SHOP 

2. Tagliare Delicatessen 

1433 S Higgins Ave

830-3049

tagliaredelicatessen.com 

3. Market on Front 

201 E Front St

541-0246

marketonfront.com 


 

BEST SEAFOOD 

Sushi Hana 

See Hall of Fame 

FINALISTS, BEST SEAFOOD 

2. Kobe Seafood & Steakhouse 

3331 N Reserve

540-4480

kobemissoula.com

3. Jakers Bar & Grill 

3515 Brooks St

721-1312

jakers.com/missoula 


 

BEST STEAK 

Lolo Creek Steakhouse 

A short drive to Lolo is rewarded with a dizzying variety of succulent dishes that diners simply can’t get anywhere else. The appetizers alone are worth the trip (pork wings, anyone?), but it’s the steaks that are truly transcendent. Lolo Creek Steakhouse has all the essentials: immaculate ribeyes, New York strip and porterhouse cuts. But it’s the addition of high-quality seafood that takes things to the next level. Alaskan king crab, Maine lobster tail and more make for the perfect surf ’n’ turf excursion. Add Lolo Creek’s plethora of cocktails to the mix (not to mention the gorgeous rustic interior) and you have the ideal steakhouse experience. Lolo Creek Steakhouse: 6600 US HWY 12 West • 273-2622 • lolocreeksteakhouse.com 

FINALISTS, BEST STEAK 

2. The Depot 

201 Railroad St W

728-7007

depotmissoula.com

3. Jakers Bar and Grill 

3515 Brooks St

721-1312

jakers.com/missoula 


 

BEST SUPERMARKET 

Orange Street Food Farm 

See Best Retail Beer Selection 

FINALISTS, BEST SUPERMARKET 

2. Good Food Store 

1600 S 3rd St W

541-3663

goodfoodstore.com 

3. Missoula Fresh Market 

800 W Broadway St

721-6009

3801 S Reserve St

251-3311

missoulafm.com 


 

BEST SUSHI 

Sushi Hana 

For years we’ve had a Best of Missoula category for Best Seafood. Sushi Hana has run away with it like a mackerel on a line, earning the venerable downtown institution entry to the BOM Hall of Fame. A few years ago, when Missoula had attracted enough sushi-specific eateries to make for a fair fight, we added a Best Sushi category. Sushi Hana grabbed that brass hook too, and hasn’t let go. If it’s fish, it’s Sushi Hana. And as for sushi specifically, whenever we indulge, we make a point of trying something new. Every time. You’d think this would be a short-term challenge in a landlocked state like Montana, but Missoula’s first sushi restaurant hasn’t rested on its laurels, continuing to tweak its menu and offer daily specials that keep our curiosity well rewarded. Our latest discovery at the only winner in this category’s two-year run: the light and delicious Hawaiian roll, with unagi, ika sansai (squid salad) and vegetables wrapped in avocado. Sushi Hana: 403 N Higgins Ave • 549-7979 • sushimissoula.com 

FINALISTS, BEST SUSHI 

2. Nara Korean BBQ and Sushi 

3075 N Reserve St #K

327-0731

naramissoula.com

3. Kobe Seafood and Steakhouse 

3331 N Reserve St

540-4480

kobemissoula.com 


 

BEST TEA 

Lake Missoula Tea Co. 

In addition to providing the calmest seating environment in town (not an official BOM category, so we can say it), Lake Missoula is home to some truly exquisite teas. Owners Heather and Jake Kreilick are among the few who can talk the talk — they call their tea “the best” on their website — and also walk the walk. Sure, they backed their claim with Indy readers’ votes, but that’s not the walk we have in mind. We’re talking about their treks across the globe to find and meet the tea farmers who make Lake Missoula possible. Lake Missoula Tea Co.: 136 E Broadway • 926-1038 • lakemissoulateacompany.com 

FINALISTS, BEST TEA 

2. Butterfly Herbs 

232 N Higgins Ave

728-8780

butterflyherbs.com

3. Montana Tea & Spice

2600 W Broadway

721-4882

montanatea.com 


 

BEST VEGETARIAN FOOD 

Good Food Store 

See Best Produce 

FINALISTS, BEST VEGETARIAN FOOD 

2. Masala 

206 W Main St

926-6444 

3. Sushi Hana 

403 N Higgins Ave

549-7979

sushimissoula.com 


 

BEST WAITER/WAITRESS 

Cheryl Nickey, Jakers Bar & Grill 

The sizzling steaks and sprawling salad bar might be staples on the Jakers menu, but the real stalwart at this Southside favorite is Cheryl Nickey. She says she’s been waiting tables “forever,” but for more than 15 years Nickey has kept Jakers customers happy with a mix of down-home charm and no-nonsense service. She carries herself with a confidence as cool as a happy-hour pour, deftly able to make your romantic dinner for two that much more special or help placate the kids during a dear-God-let-them-behave family dinner. Nickey is a true pro and makes a worthy return this year to the top of this category. Cheryl Nickey, Jakers Bar & Grill: 3515 Brooks St • 721-1312 • jakers.com/missoula 

FINALISTS, BEST WAITER/WAITRESS 

2. Matt Maddox, Sushi Hana

See Hall of Fame

3. Michael LaPointe, Biga Pizza 

241 W Main St

728-2579

bigapizza.com 


 

BEST WINGS 

Desperado Sports Tavern 

Despo’s, Missoula’s reigning wings champion presumably until the end of time, has wings for every kind of wing nut. Those who prefer to play it safe have the tangy, crispy and sweet barbecue wings at their disposal, while masochistic thrill seekers can tackle the hot wings with red peppers or the spicy teriyaki. Of course, there are also significantly tamer “sissy” variants, retaining all the great taste with minimal sweat. You can take them to-go for your game-day needs, but it’s best to hang around Desperado’s for a while. The beer’s ice cold, the stools are high and the sports are always on. Never have we enjoyed being called a “sissy” more. Desperado Sports Tavern: 3101 S Russell St • 549- 9651 

FINALISTS, BEST WINGS 

2. Buffalo Wild Wings 

2615 Radio Way

829-9464

buffalowildwings.com

3. Tamarack Brewing Co.

231 W Front

830-3113 

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