Indulge in a growing number of options for food and drink
FOOD & DRINK EVENING OUT STORY & PHOTOS BY JUSTIN FRANZhere is no doubt about it, something is stirring in downtown Kalispell. For the first time since I arrived in the Flathead Valley three years ago, the core of the area’s anchor community is vibrant. And that’s a good thing for anyone looking for a cold drink and a good meal, otherwise known as the perfect evening out.
Working in downtown Kalispell and living in Whitefish, I often head north just after 5 p.m. But on a recent weekday, my girlfriend and I decided to spend an evening in Kalispell’s downtown. We weren’t disappointed.
Our first stop was at the most prominent new business on Main Street, the Kalispell Brewing Company. Opened earlier this year by husband-and-wife team Cole Schneider and Maggie Doherty, Kalispell’s first brewery in about 60 years (the original Kalispell Malting and Brewing Company closed in 1955) is well on its way to becoming one of the state’s premier craft breweries. What’s unique about Kalispell Brewing is they serve every beer in a style-specific glass. My recommendation? The Snowslip Stout.
After downing our drinks before last call, we headed over to Hop’s Downtown Grill for some dinner. Hop’s also has a nice beer selection and a solid menu that makes claim to the best burgers in Montana. That’ a pretty bold claim, especially in a state that prides itself on its beef, but the brie and bacon burger is pretty spectacular. The black bean burger is also sure to please.
There are plenty of other top-notch eateries in town. Brannigan’s Irish Pub has amazing handcrafted beef pasties that make for a perfect meal on a cool fall day. Make sure you get a side of gravy and some dipping fries. If you’re looking for a quick bite, When in Rome Pizzeria, just across the street from Brannigan’s, has some of the best slices in the Flathead Valley. Another underrated gem of Kalispell’s food scene is Thai Palace, which features out-of-this-world curry. Scottibelli’s, which features some fantastic traditional Italian food, is another perfect stop on a cool autumn evening.
After a hardy meal, no evening is complete without a stop at Sweet Peaks Ice Cream across the street from the brewery. These folks started in Whitefish and have recently expanded to Kalispell and Missoula – one taste of their offerings will show you why.
If you’re looking for a little evening entertainment or a nightcap, North Bay Grille has a great bar and fantastic atmosphere. There’s also a fine menu, so consider stopping there for dinner as well. The same goes for Split Rock Café, which occasionally features some great live music. Lastly, take a trek to the north end of downtown, past the railroad tracks, to Moose’s Saloon. This is a local institution, famous for its pizza, and you’re sure to run into people from every walk of life. It’s a perfect spot to call it a night.