Road Trip (Idaho, Montana, Wyoming)
The Missus and I are about to embark on a road trip from Southern California up to Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. The particular towns we're visiting include Kamiah, Idaho, Missoula, Butte, and Bozeman Montana, and Cody and Jackson, Wyoming. We really love diners, little holes-in-the-wall, and road food.
I know this is one of those broad, ill-defined posts that usually don't garner much of a response, but if anyone has recommendations in any of these locations, or on the roads between them, I would be extremely grateful.
If you're going through Montana, please take the time to go through Helena. It is the most beautiful, quaint town. The Helena valley is just gorgeous. There are a few mainstays there, but you must go downtown to the Parrot Confectionary at 42 N. Last Chance Gulch, Helena, MT It is an extraordinary place. All chocolates are handmade without any parafin - it is world class. It is also very well known for it's chili and original soda fountain. Best chocolate soda I've ever had.
The original owner, Nancy, died many years ago, but her son took it over and hasn't let anything change. I spent many days there as a child, and Nancy always gave me her homemade gum drops.
We send Parrot candy to many friends at Christmas. One year we were traveling late into the month and we had 10 messages wanting to know if the Parrot candy was on its way.
If you decide to make it into Helena, let me know and I'll direct you to a few other gems.
I second the recommendation for the Parrot. Not only does it have fabulous chocolates, but the most delicious soda fountain drinks, especially the ones featuring fresh squeezed juices (I loved the lime ones). The chili's not bad either...served with saltines and vinegar.
Also in Helena and worth checking out if you are there for breakfast or lunch is the Red Roof Inn, an odd little diner. The breakfasts are very solid there, and the decor is...unique. You can watch ornamental fowl parade around outside of the window if you are at the right table.
It appears you’re following some of the Nez-Perce Trail / Lewis & Clark Trail. We drove up to the trail on top off Hwy 12 going to Missoula and you can see how a person could get lost in all those mountains. If you’re going through Wyoming from Jackson down to I-80, you may go through Big Piney. There is a restaurant there just 1 block (2?) west of the highway at the inside corner of the 2-story motel. I had the salad bar and hamburger for $4.50 the last time I was there, but it‘s been a couple of years. I’ve eaten there several times and I swear the local ladies must make the salads because they sure taste homemade. The hamburger was excellent too. If you’re interested in the immigrant trail, South Pass City or Atlantic City had some dive-looking bar/restaurants that seemed interesting.
Well this is incredibly late...but I thought I would let you know about a few places in Bozeman. Since you like diners, The Garage would be a good place to get a burger. It is a renovated garage with outdoor seating in the summer and great burgers. Pickle Barrel on Main Street or by MSU has amazing subs - they are huge! I love the steak and mushroom sub. If you like Sushi, try Dave's Sushi off Main St. It is delicious (yes, Sushi in MT!). La Parilla if you like wraps with flair is another suggestion. Mackenzie river has great pizza and salads. Mainstreet Overeasy has delicious breakfasts - I highly recommend the Lewis and Clark breakfast burrito. You may have a wait time there, especially on the weekends - but it is worth it! Columbos is also a good pizza place with a great lunch special - it is near campus. The Naked noodle has great pasta dishes that are amazing. It is located right off of Main street. If you want to go somewhere for breakfast with character I recommend the Stockyard cafe. It is fun for those with a sense of humor that don't mind passing around the orange juice container or coffee pot if you sit at the counter - it has gritty charm! Skip Cold Stone and check out Bridger Ridge Ice Cream - they have amazing ice cream and gelato in several flavors.
Coffee and tea places I recommend: The leaf and bean - get the big apple if it is in season - amazing! I have heard great things about Wild Joe's. Rockford coffee is delicious, sunny, and has great tables and some couches (and WiFi)! Friendly staff at all places and great coffee.
Hope this helps those of you traveling through that area!