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Jul 6, 2012 11:54 AM

Montana road trip

We're planning a mid-July road trip from Colroado to Alberta so we're spending some time in MT. Looking for some recommendations for chow on a route from Sheridan WY, Billings, Great Falls to Shelby. We're thinking about going cross-country instead of Interstate from Billings to Great Falls. Especially if there's some good food and/or sites along the way.

We like small, different places and always avoid chains. OK, we do frequent Starbuck and Tim Horton's but that's it. Otherwise we believe that multiple locations is the kiss of death for restaurants.

Also if you have some ideas on places to stay, sites to see we're open for all recs.

Thanks in advance.


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  1. Depending on what you're looking for,I love the Burger Dive in Billings for a quick burger fix. I usually get the Juicy Lucy and San Fran fries, but the Onion Rings are also great.

    If you're staying the night and want something nicer, I like Walkers and Juliano's. Other dinner choices are Cafe Italia, which I think is wonderful and is cheaper than the first two. All of these places are downtown, so I recommend staying at the Clock Tower Inn.

    In Great Falls, I really don't know much for food. But if you love kitschy drinking fun, please do yourself a favor and go to the Sip n Dip. It has mermaids, and Pat playing the piano. It's amazing.

    I hate to be negative, but there is NOTHING in Shelby. It has 3,000 people. I think there's 12 restaurants in the whole town. It's a rough place for 'hounds.

    4 Replies
    1. re: GirlyQ

      Thanks GirlyQ. I didn't mean to imply we were necessarily looking for chow in Shelby. Just that we were going to head north on the Insterstate. Although now we're thinking more of going over to Glacier NP and then either returning to Interstate 15 or just proceeding north from the west side of Glacier NP up into BC and then over to Alberta.

      Thanks again.

      1. re: GirlyQ

        Not a food rec, but I have to comment re Clock Tower Inn (Best Western.) That's been my go-to place forever until a couple of years ago when I found it to be a scary locale. Downtown around there is getting crazy-creepy at night. The parking garage and layout is a magnet for vagrants and the scary stuff that goes on downtown. I'm an ex-NYC dweller, so if it frightens me.... I hope that's enough of a caution. It's a, but the Holiday Inn Express is an option, and so is the C'mon Inn. Downtown is just cruddy at night.

        Re: food, if notfatfrank is in Blngs any nights beside Sun/Mon: do get a dinner at Cafe De Camp.

        1. re: holdthecow

          I was just walking around downtown last night, and I was bar crawling, so it was in the early AM hours, and I didn't find it frightening. But to each their own, maybe it was really sketchy a few years ago.

          Cafe DeCamp is a great rec, but know that they are doing renovations right now, and so the place they were last I heard is really small, so go later.

          1. re: GirlyQ

            Cafe De Camp is definitely small, but they're transitioning to a new space which is good news - I hope! - for all of us. I do like the feel of the current location.

            As for the downtown issue, if you're walking north on 27th, or anywhere near Best Western, around the Federal Bldg and the Courthouse... too many things going on in the doorways. I'm not used to seeing security guards around bldgs at night in Montucky, but those bldgs downtown have them now. Too many dark labyrinth parking structures.

            Enough about the bad stuff, the good stuff is in some pretty decent restos in Blngs. : ) I was there 10 days ago and was told that there's a new place of some sort opening around there, or Montana Ave/27th area. Has it opened?

      2. We were just in Billings and enjoyed downtown -- sitting outsdie at the Montana Brewing Company and a treny meal at Q Cuisine. The downtown is small, but what there is of it is safe and inviting. I wouldn't wander off too fat, though.

        1 Reply
        1. re: dcbbq

          Some good responses here, thanks to all. Not too worried about hanging around in sketchy neighborhoods because we're now in our 60s and pretty much don't do it. Although when I was a mere lad of 18 I used to hang around the streets in Washington DC (hometown) and Baltimore. I'm a firm believer that those who walk and act with confidence are way less likely to encounter problems. This is backed up by experience as the only people I know who have ever been victims of street crime are more "retiring" looking. Not small, just not exuding confidence. This is also backed up by police/FBI studies.