The Food Scene and Bozeman’s Choice Restaurants

photos by Zach Hoffman, by Jessica Lewis

Bozemanites are lucky to experience a combination hard to come by: a diverse food scene thriving in a small country town. Over the last decade, Bozeman has experienced a significant influx of out-of-state money; and while some argue it has stressed Bozeman’s small-town infrastructure, this influx has undoubtedly influenced the abundance and quality of eating, drinking, and cultural establishments for a town of Bozeman’s size.

While the delicious staples of traditional western food are available in and around Bozeman, there has been an emerging food scene creating new venues that showcase entrepreneurs and chefs whose visions and skills are creating trends in Bozeman and beyond. This increasingly diverse (and exceptional) food scene is catching the attention of food lovers like myself. There are also restaurants that have established a name for themselves and are Bozeman staples, so much so that many people travel back to these places woven into the fabric of Bozeman. From casual to fine dining, from pizza to Asian cuisine, you can find many culinary options. 

It’s that time of the year, and Bozeman has spoken. Can we have a drumroll please?   Here is the moment we’ve all been waiting for, Bozeman’s Choice Restaurant goes to…

#1 Dave’s Sushi
If you are looking for THE place for some fresh and outstanding sushi, then head on over to Dave’s Sushi. This obviously holds true as Dave’s Sushi has been voted Bozeman’s Choice Restaurant for three consecutive years...what an honor! This restaurant is Bozeman’s favorite laid-back sushi restaurant, with a friendly atmosphere and “hang-loose” Hawaiian vibe. There is guaranteed to be something tasty for anyone and everyone; appetizers, salads, noodles, sashimi, nigiri, temaki, specialty rolls (with fun and unique names), and some sweets. Dave’s Sushi has a frequently rotating variety of beer, wine and saki to keep your palates wet. Located off of Main at 115 N. Bozeman Ave, hours are Sunday-Thursday 11:00am-9:30pm and Friday-Saturday 11:00am-10:00pm.

#2 Montana Ale Works
Sure to be an eye-catcher for anyone visiting from out of town is the number two spot, Montana Ale Works, boasting a railroad freight house as part of its building. Here you can enjoy upscale comfort food featuring locally sourced produce, meats and cheeses. They proudly serve local and natural Montana beef and bison burgers, as well as steaks, salads, sandwiches, and many gluten-free options. Ale Works also supports the creativity of its chefs by offering an array of nightly chef specials and a great happy hour with seasonal small plates. Speaking of happy hour, Montana Ale Works offers an extensive selection of beers that includes 40 tap handles and weekly rotators. Open daily at 4pm, you will experience an energetic atmosphere, complete with exceptional service and hospitality.
#3 Seven
Coming in hot is Seven with the number three spot. Offering sustainably harvested fish, Seven focuses on authentic Japanese sushi. You can also choose from a variety of Japanese fusion appetizers and entrées. The entrées offer a little something for those of you who aren’t quite on the sushi train yet, so don’t let the sushi deter you from choosing Seven as a lunch or dinner spot! Seven offers a wide variety of beer, wine and saki and a rotating kombucha from its neighbor, Dean’s Zesty Booch. Seven is located in the historic Cannery District, which gives this restaurant a modern but casual feel. The hours are Monday – Saturday 11:30am to 10:00pm and Sunday - 4:00pm to 10:00pm

#4 Copper Whiskey Bar and Grill
 If whiskey is your thing, definitely make a stop at Copper Whiskey Bar and Grill. They stock an amazing selection of 125 whiskeys, specialty crafted cocktails and a delicious American Grill-themed menu. Some of the menu items include premium Montana beef steaks, juicy burgers (they even have bacon ground into the beef!), fresh unique salads, southern inspired entrees, and “the best gouda Mac and Cheese in the northwest.” Copper has a very cozy ambience from the moment you walk downstairs and are greeted by the host. They are open Monday – Sunday 4pm - 2am.

#5 Backcountry Burger Bar, Blackbird, Cafe Fresco and Sweet Chili
Last but not least, we have four restaurants tied for the fifth place spot: Backcountry Burger Bar (3B), Blackbird Italian, Café Fresco and Sweet Chili. Whether you are looking for a locally sourced burger and fries, wood-fired pizza, handmade pastas, or an authentic Asian entrée, none of these locations will disappoint.

If you have not visited  any of these restaurants, I highly suggest giving each of them a try! Or, if you voted for any of the above, continue enjoying your favorite dining spot!  I am constantly excited and inspired by the endless possibilities of dining experiences offered here. This is why I love my home, and why I am proud to make a name for myself here in Bozeman. The strong focus on food and art, partnered with sustainability and locality, is essential to Bozeman and its people. As Bozeman’s growing food culture clearly demonstrates, Bozemanites love their food! 

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