I’m embarrassed to admit how excited I was when the new HuHot opened north of town. It wasn’t the idea of Genghis Khan-influenced food or watching it being prepared in a counterclockwise motion that excited me. It was the idea of having somewhere new to go in Kalispell.
With all the growth in the valley, Kalispell is still seriously lacking places to eat out. This was proven when I showed up to HuHot at 6 p.m. on a Thursday, expecting a slim number of Mongolian fans and myself to be in attendance, and was shocked to find I was at the end of a 30-minute wait. According to my waitress, “This is the slowest night we’ve had this week.” I can’t imagine the possible rumbles over a table at Famous Dave’s when it opens later this year. People are scrambling for diverse and different places to go.
I will admit that I am one of the people looking forward to the development of the north side of town, and I welcome the few restaurants it will bring. The drive to Whitefish, dodging construction cones, is worth the trip when you have more dining choices. But what I would love to see more eateries in Kalispell, especially a few more with open patios.
After six months of being wrapped in Montana’s winter coma, patrons will flock to a place with outdoor seating. Imagine a day in July. The 90-degree day has given way to a dry 72-degree evening. The still blooming lilacs sweeten a southern breeze. It’s 9 p.m. and the sun has yet to dip below the tree line. These are the evenings made for patio sitting. And just to take things to the next level, a band in the corner cranks out some mean rock-a-billy while swing dancers set their shoes on fire.
Maybe the idea that a restaurant here needs a gimmick or fill a niche to attract a crowd is a mute point. Kalispell residents are so starved for places to dine that they will convoy in mass to any new establishment. And I’ll be first in line; maybe I’ll camp out the night before, to fulfill my hankerin’ for some slow-smoked Famous Dave’s barbecue.
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