Savor the Daylight
After a long, cold winter, when the sunshine finally outpaces the rain and snow, the people of Bozeman embrace the summer season en masse. Shirtless runners, grandmas in flip-flops, and barefoot kids spring up like wildflowers in an alpine meadow. The sun is here and we need to savor these precious moments during our short summer season. Why not multitask and savor the sun while you savor a meal?
Bozeman has rigid laws on sidewalk use, making outside seating limited downtown. If you’re able to snag one of these coveted tables, you can watch the parade of trucks pulling drift boats and sun-kissed pedestrians making their way through town.
Bacchus Pub – 103 W. Main
Ted’s Montana Grill – 105 W. Main
Bacchus and Ted’s are adjacent to each other at the Baxter Hotel, on arguably the busiest corner in downtown Bozeman. Ted’s menu includes steaks and chicken made more ways than you can imagine; the Bacchus offers a more casual selection, with several Irish dishes.
Nova Cafe - 312 E. Main
For a generous breakfast you won’t soon forget, hit the Nova. Their sidewalk tables are mostly shaded, keeping you and your farm-to-fork meal cool. Nova serves lunch as well, and breakfast all day for those who like to sleep in.
La Tinga – 12 E. Main
Truly authentic Mexican fare with excellent, affordable daily specials, La Tinga is a hot spot for a quick bite and Main Street real estate. Expect to share the family-sized table with a stranger; use the opportunity to make a new friend.
Plonk - 29 E. Main
Plonk is the place to go if you can order a $12 cocktail with a straight face. Their giant wine selection and tasty cheese plates are Bozeman favorites. In addition to sidewalk seating, they’ve got a cozy back patio for a quieter meal.
Want to work on the tan while you feast? These venues offer sunny places for hungry people.
Sola Café – 290 W. Kagy
Sola, on the south side of town next to the Museum of the Rockies, offers fresh soups, salads, sandwiches, and daily specials. The also have a full dinner menu. Their baked goods are irresistible, whether you’re looking for a sweet to start the day or something to top off dinner. The sidewalk eating area faces south and gets sun-baked even on cool days, so bring your shades and hat.
Starky’s Authentic Americana – 24 N. Tracy
Starky’s re-opened this spring at a new location with a fresh flair. In addition to their trademark deli sandwiches, they now serve a variety of soups and salads, as well as dinner. The wide-open patio has unobstructed views above and to three sides; agoraphobics beware.
Cruising your bike for Friday afternoon cocktail hour or a lazy weekend lunch is a summertime staple in Bozeman. These venues offer a casual environment with a relaxed local vibe.
Crystal Rooftop - 123 E. Main
If a cold can of PBR or icy vodka-lemonade is your style, head up to the Rooftop. The atmosphere is laid back, there are great happy-hour specials, and they serve inexpensive chicken, burger, and steak options.
Pickle Barrel – 809 W. College
This is a favorite post-hike stop for giant sub sandwiches. With college out, the scene is fairly mellow and parking is easier to find. It’s also a great spot for an afternoon ice-cream treat.
Off Main Nooks
The arteries off Main Street lead to additional favorite eateries. Don’t miss these unique options just because they’re off the beaten path.
Fresco Cafe – 200 N. 7th
If you’re looking for that perfect outdoor-bistro atmosphere, Fresco Cafe is the place. Their tasty paninis make a great lunch and fresh Italian dinners bring in a trove of regulars. Facing Lamme, the patio vibe is both neighborhood and urban at the same time.
Dave’s Sushi – 115 N. Bozeman
Is cold sashimi or sake more your persuasion? Dave’s Sushi prepares a delicious and creative spread (e.g., “Tuna Mon” or “Daddy Long-Legs”), which can be enjoyed at cozy sidewalk tables or on the deck beside the restaurant.
Cateye Cafe – 23 N. Tracy
This walled-in patio provides an intimate location for a cool breakfast or lunch date. There’s often a wait for their coveted breakfast menu, and their hearty lunches include salads and gourmet sandwiches. Try the Brie BLT.
Plenty of Seating
When the weather’s just right, it seems like all of Bozeman is eating at the same time. These restaurants offer plenty of room for you and your crew.
18 Miles to the Border – 131 W. Main
The patio at 18 Miles is spacious and family-friendly, designed to accommodate both small and large groups. The occasional “street party” includes live bands, activities for children including piñata whacking, and of course food and drink. This summer’s street-party schedule is 6/19, 7/17, and 8/21. Ole!
The Garage – 451 E. Main
The Garage also boasts a large patio, and it has a sun shade to help mitigate the UV onslaught. Their trademark license-plate menus offer burgers, sandwiches, and salads. Pick from a handful of Montana-made brews as well as PBR on draft for the macrobrew lover.
Want more green and less pavement? No problem. These places offer a soothing scene for your afternoon or evening meal.
The Emerson Grill – 207 W. Olive
With fine Italian plates and a reputation for using locally grown food, the Emerson is always a treat. Enjoy your antipasto misto on lush grass under the shade of towering pine trees.
Santa Fe Reds – 1235 N. 7th
The patio at Red’s is a surprising little sanctuary complete with garden and water features. Huge crowd tend to gather on weekends; enjoy a top-shelf margarita during the wait.
To take a break from downtown, or if you happen to find yourself on the west side of town when hunger strikes, you’re still in luck.
Chances Bar and Grill – 2711 W. College
Giant steaks, clever appetizers, and great beers on tap make Chances worth a stop. Its outside seating is not the most scenic, but then again, the daylight hours are short and their happy hours are long.
Wee Bee’s Cafe -407 S. Ferguson
Wee Bee’s combines fine dining with a casual atmosphere; their second-floor patio gives way to beautiful views of the surrounding mountains. The coffee bar and gelato alone make Wee Bee’s worth a visit.
The Bay Bar and Grille – 2825 W. Main
Looking to escape the heat all together or holding your wife’s purse at the Gallatin Valley Mall? The Bay Bar and Grill is your reprieve. The Bay offers a full dinner menu and giant cocktail menu. This is a nice spot for lemonade or one with a kick.
Bozemanites aren’t the only ones who like eating outside. Check out these options in Belgrade and Four Corners as well.
Mama Mac’s – 81809 Gallatin Road, Four Corners
Sandwiches on generous slices of homemade bread are Mama Mac’s signature offering. They have a handful of picnic tables so you can enjoy the breeze while you dine. This is also a popular place to grab breakfast on your way to a float, hike, or climb in Gallatin Canyon.
Desert Rose – 213 W. Main, Belgrade
Savor hearty and home-cooked dishes for lunch or dinner. Their huge, covered patio is a great place to while away a hot summer day. Don’t miss the homemade potato chips.
Great View, Great Bargain, and God Bless Summer (and America)
Remember, summer livin’ should be easy—and cheap. You don’t need an established restaurant to enjoy a tasty bite and cold drink outdoors.
Legion Field at Hero’s Park - Gallatin County Fairgrounds, N. Black & Tamarack
Who needs the major leagues when you have the Bucks and the Spikes? This beautiful ballpark hosts our young Legion baseball team athletes. The snack bar is managed by volunteering parents and they cook a mean burger. Enjoy some chow and drink while taking in the best view of the Bridger Mountains with Old Glory waving in the foreground. Check out the game schedule at bozemanbaseball.com.