One night in Kalispell
Taking my folks to the pacific northwest this summer. we're spending one night in Kalispell, Montana. Looking for someplace for breakfast prior to a ride on the going-to-the-sun road, and someplace for dinner. Nothing upscale or fancy in any way - just good family food. Thanks.
Okay, more recommendations:
Kalispell: Reds Wines and Blues (www.redsmontana.com) is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I can only vouch for dinner, but my experiences have been good. The Knead (www.theknead.com), which I mentioned in my first post as a breakfast rec, also does lunch and dinner (except Sundays) and is really good, too. Very casual, great food, very affordable. If Gresko's (on Hwy 2) is open do not miss the huckleberry gelato (you are going in the summer, right?) Norm's News is an experience (old-fashioned soda fountain and just about any magazine or candy you could dream of) but skip the food and get a malt or shake instead. Wheat Montana does really good lunches. I'm not sure if they're open for dinner or not.
Whitefish (about a 20-30 minute drive north of Kalispell): Mambo Italiano is a lot of fun (singing cooks, anyone?) and the food is good; however, I grew up in Montana and now live in Seattle so I can't vouch for whether or not this would be the kind of place someone from the East Coast would like. That said, I really like it and try to go every time I'm home. Tupelo Grill is good - Cajun/Southern style food. Truby's has good pizza. Wasabi Bistro has surprisingly good Japanese/sushi, considering you're in Montana. The Great Northern is a fun bar, but it's more the type of place you'd go with your friends, not with ma and pa. :)
Bigfork (about 35 minutes east of Kalispell): If you're there during the day, Bookie's Cookies is great (but it's pretty much just cookies). The Bigfork Inn is usually good, as is Showthyme although anywhere in Bigfork can be tough if it's a theatre night. El Topo (on the hwy before you get in to Bigfork) has great American-style Mexican food and margaritas.
If I was only going to be home for one breakfast and one dinner, I'd go to Coffee Traders for breakfast and make sure to get coffee (plus a few pounds of beans to bring home). Dinner would be more difficult to decide...
Breakfast at the Knead (Kalispell - http://www.theknead.com/) or at Coffee Traders (Kalispell, Whitefish, or Columbia Falls - http://www.coffeetraders.com/) both promise good food and great coffee. The Buffalo (Whitefish) is also a fun breakfast spot.
Depending on where you're staying and what kind of food you like, there are a few different places that are good for dinner, both in Kalispell and in surrounding towns, particularly Whitefish and Bigfork. In Kalispell, some good, relatively inexpensive places are Mackenzie River Pizza Company, Moose's Saloon (http://www.moosessaloon.com/), Thai Palace (the only Thai in the area, and good, especially considering that you're in Montana, but service tends to be hit and miss), and Alley Connection (Americanized Chinese food, but there's a reason this place has been in business for as long as I can remember). Moose's is a real experience - sawdust on the floors, peanuts by the bowl, great selection of beers, and really good pizza. But, it's not for everyone (my parents hate it, but some of my friends' parents love it). Painted Horse Grill and Cafe Max are both really good, but they might fall in to your "upscale or fancy" category - although it is Montana, so you can show up in jeans and no one would be offended. Whitefish and Bigfork both have some great places - if you want more info, reply and I can post more.
I only wish I could remember for sure but I think the cafe connected to Coffee Traders in Columbia Falls is where we went for breakfast on the way into Glacier. Hopefully I'm right because all I really do remember about that little cafe is that it was perhaps one of the best breakfasts I have ever had. Side note-whatever you do get on the road early if you are heading to the Going To The Sun Road it gets really busy as the day goes on.