Saturday Night in Small Town Montana
Last month, Don and I spent one night in the quiet community of Lewistown. We were disappointed to learn our hotel restaurant had closed, due to difficulties in keeping a good chef.
Then we were sad to learn our desk clerk at the hotel had no suggestions for dinner. (We declined her offer to share the soup she had heating in a crockpot) Then, much to our relief, a gentleman checked into the hotel who knew all about Lewistown!
The Local Drive In!
Duncan grew up in Lewistown and he had fond memories of The Wagon Wheel, (or is it the Dash-Inn? It seems to have 2 names) He was in town to attend some kind of function that included dinner, but he admitted he had already made a stop at the Drive In.
He seemed like a pretty decent guy as he talked about all the changes in the town since his youth. He almost seemed embarrassed that the places he wanted to suggest, were closed now. Duncan did light up when he described the burgers he loved, pressed and heated between 2 slices of white bread. He admitted no trip home would be complete without a stop for a couple of wagon wheels.
Waiting in Line
I was kind of glad there was a line of cars. It made the Saturday night outing more entertaining. Plus, we needed lots of time to study the menu. How could this tiny building house a kitchen that offered 19 different kinds of burgers? And besides burgers, they had shrimp and mini tacos, halibut sandwiches, fried chicken and turtle sundaes!
So Many Signs
There was more to read than just the menu! There were separate signs listing all the options for Smoothies and Cappuncino, Arctic Swirls and Flavor Burst Cones!
The Order Box
We could have easily been intimidated by all the bold messages. And I'm pretty sure we were the only customers who needed to read anything at all.
I love a place that is older than me. 1952 means this place is super old and I like the way they proudly announce it. We should all be that way. And I like their other sign trivia. One sign reminded us that it was our last chance for a Wagon Wheel stop in 26,000 miles. The sign included an image of the globe with arrows encircling. That amused me.
Eat in the Car?
Our order came fast and we pulled under the shelter where folks can park and feast. I ran back to the "walk up window" with a question for the young man using the little pressing machine (think panini) for the Wagon Wheels.
The friendly guy was sad to say they did not sell tee-shirts, even though he was wearing a nice purple "Dash Inn" shirt. I told him how excited we were to be trying Wagon Wheels for the first time and could I possibly take a photo or two?
His boss chuckled that O'Riley should clean some of those crumbs before the photo. We chatted while he tidied the machine a bit and then pressed the already cooked pattie between two slices of bread. He was a good sport while I clicked photos of him trimming off the crusts before removing the steamy wagon wheel. I said "Thanks, Riley!" and offered a tip. He corrected me politely and then laughed to let me know I'm not the only one who fumbles with his name.
We didn't end up eating in the car. We made the one-minute-dash to the hotel since Lewistown is pretty small. We took our bag to the room, where local Montana beers were chilling.
I'm glad to say we enjoyed the iconic Wagon Wheels and tots. It's so fun to find out about a food that locals love, from a local. On top of that I had a fun time with the locals who cooked our local treats! That was a pretty good dinner and experience for about $8.00!
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.