Regional cuisine/restaurants in Utah, Montana, Idaho?
August 1, 2009 6:32 PM   Subscribe

I'm a big fan of foods and restaurant chains that are region-specific (think Moxie soda, whoopie pie, Petro's, and Maid-Rite). I'm taking a roadtrip through Montana, Utah, and Idaho next month. What should I check out?
posted by unknowncommand to Food & Drink (17 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Well, you could buy an Idaho Spud candy bar.
posted by Kangaroo at 7:04 PM on August 1, 2009

Right now? Anything huckleberry. Huckleberry season in Idaho is bliss. Especially huckleberry ice cream, if you can find it. Just trust me on this one.
posted by teamparka at 7:15 PM on August 1, 2009 [1 favorite]

Pastrami Burger!
I've never had one, but it sounds amazing.
posted by bzbb at 7:15 PM on August 1, 2009

Utah has fry sauce.
posted by elsietheeel at 7:17 PM on August 1, 2009

When we lived in Moscow, ID the local ID/WA awesome chain was Zipps--famous for delicious halibut sandwiches (" . . . come in just for the halibut!"), sun tea, and waffle fries. Also, in that part of the west you can ask for "fry sauce" with your fries anywhere and get a pink mayo-based dip that is yummy.
posted by rumposinc at 7:23 PM on August 1, 2009

OMG. Seconding Zip's. Do not miss. Try the Belly Buster. (If you eat meat.)
posted by teamparka at 7:27 PM on August 1, 2009

P.S. Sorry, not to be irritating and be Miss Overposter, but Zip's is not immediately easy to find online, so here's a link.
posted by teamparka at 7:30 PM on August 1, 2009

It depends where you go in Montana - but Mackenzie River Pizza is a staple in most larger towns (Pesto Lodgepoles!). If you make it to Great Falls you must have the onion rings and green river soda from Burger Master. Anywhere you go will have a local micro brew or two or twelve (Moose Drool is the best of them all, according to me). Taco Treat is also a local chain, loved by everyone. I wish I could buy their hot sauce out in NYC. Pickle Barrel - delicious sandwich chain. And of course, the huckleberries!
posted by Unred at 7:39 PM on August 1, 2009

Arctic Circle is an excellent fast food chain in that area. They claim to be the inventors of fry sauce, and I frequently crave their lime rickeys.

Pastrami burgers from Crown Burger and Apollo Burger, as mentioned by bzbb, are indeed awesome.

Training Table cheese fries, with or without the dipping sauce, are a thing of beauty.

Grandma Sycamore's bread is a really tasty white sliced bread, I haven't found it or anything similar outside grocery stores in Idaho and Utah.

I think Creamies ice cream pops are a Western thing. Banana and chocolate mint are my favorite.

This article was mentioned in the NYTimes article about pastrami burgers. Most of the foods mentioned are just good burgers or ice creams or other standard fare, but some are actual regional specialties.

A "scone" in Utah is fried dough, like Navajo fry bread. Can't get much better than fried dough.

And with that, you've done the impossible: you've made me miss Utah.
posted by doift at 8:00 PM on August 1, 2009

Mark's In and Out (no relation to In n Out Burger) in Livingston, MT. Malts, flavoured soda, cheap good burgers with fixins to order, excellent onion rings, and tots! I tried the chicken sandwich and the veggie burger, and both were awesome.

On summer weekends, they have rollerskate carhops.
posted by Sallyfur at 8:17 PM on August 1, 2009

Idaho, and Boise in particular, is full of mom and pop fast food stands like the Chow Now. Also, Boise has a prominent Basque community so you might want to try some of their food: Gernika is nice.
posted by Jess the Mess at 8:57 PM on August 1, 2009

Pickle's Place, home of the Atomic Burger in Arco, ID. Make sure to also stop by the Experimental Breeder Reactor-I at nearby Idaho National Laboratory.
posted by Etaoin Shrdlu at 12:31 AM on August 2, 2009

Seconding doift's recommendations for scone-based cuisine in Utah. Brief history of "Utah Scones": Early Mormon pioneers from England in the desolate west adapted native flours and Mexican ovens to something like the "scones" they were craving. Of course, it turned out totally different, but definitely awesome. Something you can only get in Utah. A good place to start for someone on a roadtrip would probably be local fast-food chain Sconecutter. (Warning-- cheesy "Everything is better on a Scone!" jingle plays on splash-screen. Actually it is kind of charming.)

In Utah, I was also very fond of Betos. Ten years ago it was a cheap, clean local Mexican restaurant. Restaurant is perhaps too kind a term. Think of it as a permanently fixed Taco truck. Loved the breakfast burritos-- they were the size of a large thermos, and something about the potatoes and eggs and carnitas and onions and spices mingling together on their grill surface gave the whole thing a kind of critical mass of taste fantastic-ness.
posted by seasparrow at 3:43 AM on August 2, 2009

Seconding Mackenzie River Pizza - Bozeman, Montana has one.
The Pickle Barrel is a sandwich shop in Bozeman which also has other locations.
There used to be a greasy spoon type place on Main, and I know they had other locations in Montana, but I can't recall the name, and the Bozeman location has become an "Asian grill" (wtf).
posted by desjardins at 6:31 AM on August 2, 2009

Well, if you're in Missoula, go to the Big Sky bottling plant out west of town. Free samples (tip the barkeep), yummy beer.

In Hanksville, UT there's a burger joint (stanley's? can't recall) built on to the side of the gas station at the south end of town.

And if you get as far south as Mexican Hat, UT in the evening, the Mexican Hat Lodge has some fantastic swingin' steaks. Gotta see it to believe it.
posted by notsnot at 7:27 AM on August 2, 2009

While in Utah,

Definitely go to Cafe Rio for some great casual Mexican. Get their shredded-pork salad.

For hamburgers:

The Training Table: Casual dining where you order over phones at each of the tables.
Crown Burgers: Fast food, but a higher caliber than your regular fast food restaurant.
Hires Big H: Car hop style burger place.

Only go to Artic Circle for the fry sauce; then take it somewhere else where the food's actually good. It's really hard to choke down their hamburgers.

For ice cream:

Spotted Dog Ice Cream: Ben and Jerry's alternative local to Utah
Leatherbys: Dining style ice creamery.
posted by metacort at 11:10 AM on August 2, 2009

Response by poster: You guys are awesome. We went to Sconecutter, Betos, and Pickle's Place (and the EBR-I was absolutely amazing). We had fry sauce and huckleberries (fresh, pie, milkshake), and are still hoping to track down some spud candy and pink frosted cookies. Your suggestions were spot-on, and I wish we had the time to try them all!
posted by unknowncommand at 10:08 PM on August 23, 2009

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