In Downtown Bozeman, there is a keen focus on keeping things local. Even with the city's rapid growth, you won't see many chain or big-box establishments here, and especially not downtown. Prioritizing local is what gives downtown Bozeman its distinct character, and this value makes its way into the cuisine as well. Downtown Bozeman restaurants are focused on utilizing ingredients from local and regional purveyors whenever possible – from grass-fed meats to goat cheeses, from wild huckleberries to farm-grown greens.
Below are five of the many dishes you'll find in downtown Bozeman that make the most of Montana's bounty. Bear in mind that these are just a few of our favorites – there are so many to choose from!
The owners of Little Star Diner go above and beyond by bringing in a large portion of the herbs and vegetables used in their restaurant from their own farm. Beyond that, all other produce is sourced from the best of the area's organic growers. These delicious little sour cream donuts are baked in-house using organic grains and flour from Montana. They're crisp on the outside, fluffy on the inside, dusted with powdered sugar, and served with Flathead Cherry jam – the perfect appetizer to a weekend brunch.
One of our favorite date night spots downtown is Blackbird Kitchen, which crafts woodfired pizzas that showcase many local, farm-fresh ingredients. Blackbird's "shishicorn" pizza uses whole milk ricotta from Amaltheia Dairy as a base for fresh corn, cherry tomatoes, shishito peppers, and cilantro – all sourced from nearby farms. Simply, quality ingredients matched with a homemade crispy, woodfired crust make this pizza shine.
If you want to taste several of Montana's local meats in one dish, 14 North's Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf has you covered. This meatloaf is made with 6 different types of meat: beef, chorizo, elk, bison, and venison, wrapped in bacon. Accompanied with smashed potatoes, seasonal vegetables, and a mushroom demi-glaze, this hearty dish will give you a true taste of Montana.
At Cafe Fresco, all of their many styles of pasta are made from scratch using local Montana grains. The Spaghetti Carbonara is no exception, tossed with prosciutto di Parma sauteéd in white wine and garlic, and made with Golden Valley Hutterite eggs, pecorino romano, and fresh parsley – a simple Italian classic made local. Order a personal dish or a plate to be served family-style with a bottle of wine.
Known for its lovely outdoor patio and extensive wine list, Plonk also showcases local wild game with its Ginger Braised Rabbit Sugo. This dish offers a taste of local meat outside of the commonly-seen elk and bison in the area. Saucy Montana rabbit is served over wild mushroom risotto, thinly sliced pickled apple, and Grana Padano cheese.
Because the fresh, local ingredients don't end at dinner, consider grabbing one of our favorite desserts as well. Open Range plates a rich, decadent cheesecake made with a graham cracker crust and topped with bright Flathead cherries. And though it's not a dish per se, Sweet Peaks Ice Cream is not to be missed. Their huckleberry ice cream features fresh huckleberries, picked near Libby, Montana, and their honey cinnamon ice cream boasts honey from an apiary outside of Missoula, Montana.