After a cold day stomping around in the snow, skiing clean lines or skating loops around a frozen pond, there’s little that gets the blood flowing again like a hearty meal.
While our growing season is a little shorter than elsewhere in the country and our landlocked nature makes a great seafood meal somewhat hard to claim, there ain’t nothing Yellowstone Country does better than beef. Behold, the top places to grab a burger (and likely a beer) in Yellowstone Country:
With burger joints abounding in Yellowstone Country’s “big city,” it’s hard to pick just one. However, take it from the locals and head to Burger Bob’s, which was voted “Best Burger in Bozeman” in 2013’s Best of Bozeman Awards. With eight beef burgers to choose from—including the infamous Cardiac Arrest Burger, piled high with four kinds of cheese, sautéed mushrooms and bacon—there’s definitely something for each burger lover in your group.
Though we here at Yellowstone Country HQ would like to give this award to the infamous Livingston drive-in, Mark’s In and Out, they are unfortunately closed for the winter season (but if you can wait until March 15, you’ll be in luck) and we’d feel terribly if we sent you wide-eyed with burger fever only to come up short.
The good news is that the list of great burger spots in Livingston is a long one, so we’ll heartily send you over to the infamous Rib & Chop House on Main Street. Plus, your server will write his or her name upside down on your table’s parchment paper, which is more impressive once you spend the rest of the dinner trying to replicate the trick yourself.
Cruising down Highway 191, on the way from Belgrade to Big Sky, right before you enter the Gallatin Canyon, is a well-hidden burger joint called Stacey’s Old Faithful Bar and Steakhouse. Not known by many outside the immediate area, Stacey’s is a true locals’ spot. Taste an authentic bison burger in the dining room or eat at your own pace in the barroom while playing a competitive round of shuffleboard with a local.
There are beef burgers and there are bison burgers, but for a real treat, head to the Slippery Otter Pub, in West Yellowstone, to try their infamous elk burger. Yellowstone Country has one of the largest elk herds in the continental US, so leaving Montana without trying some of our signature game would be like missing out on a New York slice while visiting the Big Apple.
If you ask any Manhattanite where they’d go for a bite to eat in town, they’ll more than likely tell you Sir Scott’s Oasis. A bit different than some of the other places on this list (don’t worry, you can still wear jeans), Sir Scott’s attracts burger addicts and steakhouse fanatics alike with their larger-than-life size portions.
After a hard day of skiing and riding, sometimes you don’t want to wait until you get to a restaurant to have a delicious meal. Enter: the Big Sky Burger Bar, located directly at the base of the resort, in the center of the Mountain Village (so close you can ski right to it). Extra points if you’re hardcore enough to bring your burger on the lift (because, hey, who needs a break when the powder’s good?).
If you find yourself in Three Forks after a day of backcountry skiing at Buffalo Jump State Park or Lewis and Clark Caverns, take a quick detour to the Willow Creek Café & Saloon. Decked out with faded floral wallpaper, mounts of elk, deer and game birds, bullet holes in the tin ceiling tiles and Amish style tables and chairs, the Willow Creek Café & Saloon also serves some of the best burgers in the western part of Yellowstone Country. And, for you wine drinkers out there, in a state dominated by microbrews and a bit of local beer snobbery, the wine list at the Willow Creek Café & Saloon will make you one happy customer.
A tiny town nestled just east of Three Forks, Logan manages to dish up a mean burger to its residents and visitors alike, while also winning the unofficial award for having the best restaurant name. Behold, the Land of Magic Dinner Club, housed in a real log cabin, where you won’t get many (or any) frills. You will, however, be dazzled by the deer mounts that line the walls and they do serve one lean, mean burger.
Though it’s only open from May to September, we had to include The Beartooth Café in our roundup. Wooden tables line the outdoor walkway, which makes for a fun, community style eating experience. Even in the height of the summer season, tables can be procured in less than 15 minutes. Of course, the burgers are superb and, for those hungry like a bear, we’ve also heard great things about the nachos.
What’s your favorite burger joint in Yellowstone Country? Leave us a note and tell us if we got it right.