There’s no dearth of good food around Big Sky.
Down on Highway 191, Buck’s T-4 Best Western (just south of the Big Sky turnoff, 406/995-4111, 6–9:30 p.m. nightly, reservations recommended, $23–49) serves some of the best dinners around. Buck’s specializes in wild-game dinners; try the wild boar stew. A cheaper way to go is eating off the bar menu ($10–20); an open-faced steak sandwich goes for $12.
Also at the highway, Rainbow Ranch (406/995-4132), although devastated by fire when we visited in spring 2008, plans to rebuild and continue serving meals. If they are open, it’s well worth a visit.
Another good dinner spot is halfway up the hill at Lone Mountain Ranch (406/995-2782, 7–9 a.m., noon–2 p.m., and 5:30–8:30 p.m. daily, dinner reservations required, $20–30). The views from the comfortable Lone Mountain bar are especially seductive after a few times around the cross-country ski trails. Also offered here is a sleigh ride to a family-style dinner, cooked on a wood stove in a remote cabin ($85, reservations required).
For lunch or a takeout dinner, try the deli in the Country Market (Meadow Village, 406/995-2314). They make delicious soups, sandwiches, and salads. Also in the Meadow Village, La Luna (406/995-3280, 11 a.m.–3 p.m. Mon.–Fri. and 5–9 p.m. Mon.–Sat., $10–12) is a very popular place for Mexican- and Thai-inspired food in a casual setting. The (brand-new in 2008) brewpub, Lone Peak Brewery (406/995-3939, 11 a.m.–8 p.m. daily) serves lunches and an oatmeal stout named “Hippie Highway.”
Between Meadow and Mountain, in the Westfork area, the Blue Moon Bakery (Westfork Plaza Mall, 406/995-2305, 7 a.m.–10 p.m., $5–12) serves soups, pizzas, and large tasty sandwiches in addition to bread, bagels, and breakfast pastries.
Out on Highway 191 at the Big Sky turnoff, the Bugaboo Café (47995 Gallatin Rd., 406/995-3350, 7–10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m., and 5:30–9 p.m. Tues.–Fri., 7 a.m.– 2 p.m. and 5:30–9 p.m. Sat., 7 a.m.–2 p.m. Sun., $9–23) has good food and a relaxed environment. For lunch, try a flank steak sandwich ($8.25); dinner options run the gamut from gourmet mac and cheese to grilled halibut.
Up on the ski hill, Huntley Lodge has a fancy dining room, but happy hour at Chet’s Bar (also in the lodge) is more fun.
About five miles south of Big Sky on Highway 191, Western atmosphere abounds at the Corral Bar Steakhouse Cafe (42895 Gallatin Rd., 406/995-4249, 4–10 p.m. nightly, $11–37); stop by the bar if you’re not up for dinner.
Just across the highway from the Corral Bar, dinners at the 320 Ranch (205 Buffalo Horn Creek, 406/995-4283, dinner nightly, $12–28) is worth a stop for good Montana-style steak, trout, and wild-game dinners with a few little gourmet twists, such as a honey-Dijon sauce on the Rocky Mountain oysters.
The Half Moon Saloon, three miles south of Big Sky on Highway 191 (45130 Gallatin Rd., 406/995-2928), is a comfortable place to stop for a beer. The smoked and barbecued baby back ribs are the house specialty, and Montana’s best bar bands are booked on the weekends.
© W.C. McRae & Judy Jewell from Moon Montana, 7th Edition