Not a Roadside Diner
On our 4-week road trip out west, Don and I had many a meal at cafes and diners, with vinyl booths and tile floors.
I do love small town eating, but I was ready for a new look... like Medieval, maybe!
The Big City!
We spent almost a week in Montana last September and this was our first stop in a city. The Main Street was classic and classy, with retro buildings, cute shops, nice cars and interesting looking people. But my eyes went straight to the Hotel Baxter sign!
We were sad to learn it is no longer a hotel, but they did have two dining options! Ted's Montana Grill had a great buffalo sign, but an expensive menu, so we went for the Bacchus Pub. They had a nice sidewalk cafe, but I was eager to get a look at the inside.
I was drooling over the ornate lobby with grand chandeliers, painted beams and dramatic mezzanine.
Clearly this historic hotel has been brought back to good use in recent years. Ted Turner owns the upscale restaurant and hotel rooms have been renovated into lovely condos. But to a person who adores staying in historic hotels... I was in pain knowing I could never spend a night here.
The whole style was more European than Western ranch, so it made me laugh to see the sweet buffalo staring down.
I felt for a moment like I was back in Texas.
The casual pub was bustling on Labor Day at lunch.
I loved the sort of Gothic feel of the place right away. We rushed to grab the only table that seemed to be left.
The Best Spot
Of course the coziest spot was already taken. Two young sisters were hovering over their coloring books at the table right in front of the fireplace. Actually our seats were more comfortable than the pews that went with their table.
I kept wondering who the girls belonged to. There must have been parents at another table. And then I became intrigued with how well behaved they were. And I loved the fact they were amused with coloring and not their own I-pads.
Other Little Faces
The most memorable thing about our lunch was enjoying all the little hooded faces staring down from the beams! These carved and painted heads are said to be the faces of real monks from a British Monastery.
It's a lucky thing these little guys are still around. The pub transitioned many times since it first opened. It was a Mexican themed cafe/bar at one time. It's lucky they didn't get remove the little monks. Maybe they just covered their caps with tiny sombreros.
Faces and Glass
I'm not totally sure if this British style pub was a part of the hotel when it opened in 1929. But I know the carved monks and the lovely stained glass have been here for a very long time.
I kept wishing there was a little history write up on the back of the menu. The staff looked too young to have much knowledge or interest in the bar history.
Beams and Faces
I obviously liked these characters. Each was different and I wondered if the staff had their favorites or even names for these guys.
I would have asked, but our cheery server was so energetic, she never stopped long enough to ask silly questions like, "Which monk do you like best." Instead, we just named her. Hummer seemed like an appropriate name. She flitted quickly from table to table, as effortlessly as a tiny hummingbird. And her expression almost gave the impression that she was humming as she worked.
On top of all the fun decor, the food was excellent. I could have ordered some real pub fare, but I was hungry for salad. My spinach salad was more hearty than any Shepherd's Pie! Don's Neptune Sandwich with tuna and shrimp salad (and fries) was hefty and yummy as well.
If we hadn't been on the road, we could have indulged more. A glass of wine would have made for an ideal lunch. After all, Bacchus is the God of Wine!
The Dining Blog
This is a blog about Dining Adventures. Sometimes, I talk about food. Below, you can read how this started.
On July 4th 2011, I set a goal to try 50 culturally diverse restaurants in one year! (I knew that was possible, living in the Houston area) I spent the year pulling in friends and family to join me, on some unusual dining adventures. I met some curious people, tried some scary foods and explored places and cultures I never would have otherwise. Even though I met my goal, I learned too much to end my adventures in dining. I have continued blogging about memorable dining adventures of all kinds, near and far... and all the discoveries and funny things I've learned along the way!
Locations and types of dining adventures, are listed further down.