Once a mining town, Butte, Montana attracted workers from all around the world, from Ireland to Italy to China, each bringing their culinary traditions and techniques with them. As a result, the many restaurants in Butte reflect international influences and flavors. With its mixture of wholesome home-cooked fare and more upscale fine dining, here is a list of the top 10 restaurants in Butte every visitor must try.
Located in uptown Butte in the historic Bertoglio Warehouse — built in 1900 — is Casagranda’s Steakhouse and Guido’s Bar. The original warehouse closed down in 1975, but the building was given a new lease of life as a popular and much-loved restaurant. Casagranda’s is known for its steaks, which are a staple of their menu. They use specially seasoned, hand-cut, Rocky Mountain grown beef to create mouthwatering steaks that will have you returning time and time again. Other highlights from their menu include their savory pasta dishes, seafood plates and enticing desserts. Their menu is complemented by the many spirits and fine wines in Guido’s Bar. For a homey and welcoming dining experience, Casagranda’s will not disappoint.
Named after its location in the historic Uptown District of Butte, Uptown Café has been a firm favorite of Butte residents and visitors for the past 30 years. Opening its doors in 1985, Uptown Café continues to serve charming breakfasts, light lunches, and intimate dinners, and brings culinary creativity to the city of Butte. Must-try dishes include their Caesar salad, Mexican halibut, and their shrimp cocktail. Besides their regular menu, there are also daily specials plus a salad bar in the cafe. Service is friendly and exemplary, with waiting staff caring for every diner’s need. A visit to Uptown Café is guaranteed to be a dining adventure.
Providing the freshest baked goods in the whole of Butte is Great Harvest Bread. Owned and run by Butte residents Paula Plattner and Jennifer Giem, the culinary duo only use locally sourced wheat and other ingredients to create their premium goods. Their breads are baked fresh every morning, with the sweet cooking smells filling the store. For the last 30 years, Great Harvest Bread has been serving great tasting breakfasts and lunches to the people of Butte. Popular choices from their menu include their breakfast sandwich of egg and cheese, French toast, omelets, classic and signature sandwiches with a choice of fillings, salads, and their cheeseburger. For a healthy and wholesome option, Great Harvest Bread in Butte is one to visit.
Owned and run by Micalyn Sweedman and Christine Martin, the Hummingbird Café in Butte is a popular destination for both locals and newcomers. Personal favorites of the staff and regulars include the shared plates, such as the pesto tomato bread, the ‘Avo-No-Queso’ vegan quesadilla, and the Greek platter of homemade hummus and falafel. Other must-try options include their succulent pancakes, tantalizing bagels and delicious omelets. They also exhibit local artwork. With a wide range of hot and cold beverages, and a dish to suit every dietary requirement, it is no wonder that the Hummingbird Café features on every list of must-visit restaurants in Butte.
Bringing home-style cooking to Butte is the Montana Club. A lodge-style restaurant, the atmosphere of the Montana Club is homey and welcoming. The menu consists of classic American dishes but with a contemporary and creative twist you might not expect. Must-try dishes from their menu include the charbroiled pork chops topped with caramelized onions, mushrooms and bleu cheese, the Southern-style breaded beef steak with scratch-made bacon gravy, and the pan-seared chicken medallions topped with candied pecans and mushrooms and drizzled with a spiced honey sauce.
Famed far and wide for their renowned ‘wop chop’ pork chop sandwich, the Freeway Tavern is a must-visit when in Butte. A popular spot for Butte native Evel Kneivel, the restaurant features many photographs and memorabilia of the patron. Owned by ‘Muzzy’ Ferroni, the Freeway Tavern reflects his Italian heritage in the menu, and the tavern has been a popular destination for both locals and visitors for more than half a century. During lunch, there is rarely an empty seat to be found. Other delectable dishes from their menu include their sizzling hot fried chicken and their ‘jojos’ fried potato wedges. The Freeway Tavern is the place to go for comfort food and the traditional taste of Butte.
Another staple in Butte is Sparky’s Garage Bar and BBQ Grill. What was once a garage has now been transformed into a quirky restaurant; however, elements of its former life still remain, with vintage road signs, old pinball machines and even a 1949 Chevrolet pickup truck dotted around the restaurant. Sparky’s Garage serves up traditional American cuisine such as burgers, barbecue and prime ribs, smoked brisket, Southern-fried chicken or catfish, and pulled pork. Their barbecue sauce is homemade and comes in four different varieties. For a sweet treat, try their famous bread pudding. There is also a selection of microbrews and wines, with many of the beers crafted in Montana. With its vintage feel and classic fare, a trip to Sparky’s Garage will take you back in time.
Located in uptown Butte is the quaint Park and Main Café. All of their dishes are made from scratch using the finest and freshest ingredients. Popular choices from their menu include their breakfast sandwich, ham and egg quesadilla, corned beef hash, and of course, pancakes. They also have daily specials, which can include sun-dried tomato, basil and mozzarella frittata, pepper and onion smothered steak, or French toast with a side of bacon and eggs. A wide variety of coffees and speciality drinks are also available along with seasonal drinks; there is always something new to try. With approachable and helpful service, a trip to the Park and Main Café guarantees to be a unique dining experience.
Serving the people of Butte for more than 80 years is Pork Chop John’s. Starting out in the early 1920s selling pork patties from a cart on the corner of Mercury and Main Street, John Berklund moved his business into the Doyle Hotel in 1924. The success of Pork Chop John’s continued to grow and a Butte delicacy was born. Although the Doyle Hotel is gone, the restaurant remains today, and it is still a firm favorite in Butte. What makes the restaurant so famous is their pork chop sandwich – three and a half ounces of premium boneless pork sirloin, which is breaded, battered, and cooked to perfection. Other items on the menu include traditional hot wings, chicken nuggets and ice cream. There are two locations for Pork Chop John’s, both of which offer daily specials.
A new addition to Butte’s restaurant circuit, which opened in March this year, is Park 217. Promoting itself as a fresh take on fine dining, Park 217 is locally owned and serves both international and local cuisine. Must-try dishes from their menu include the NY strip steak with roasted garlic mashed potatoes, grilled rib-eye with twice-baked potato, and house-made burger topped with applewood smoked bacon in a brioche bun. They also serve daily specials such as duck confit with arugula and green apple, seared duck breast served with wild rice, hand-breaded beef tenderloin in homemade beer batter, and grilled porterhouse pork chop in an apple cider marinade. Housed in a historic building and with ambient classic wooden and stone decor, Park 217 is destined to become a top restaurant in Butte.