News & Features

The 2018 Food Issue

Showcasing the region's marquee meals, premier chefs and far-flung culinary corners

Every February, when days are cold and the nights are still long, the Flathead Beacon turns its attention to the warming communal culinary tradition of breaking bread with our neighbors. Over the past few weeks, we have learned from the premier chefs of the Flathead Valley about what works and what doesn’t in the foodie world while crowdsourcing our readers’ favorite meals and profiling new arrivals to the region’s culinary scene.

We talked to locals lending helping hands to those in need and interviewed meat mavens about how to prepare their favorite cuts.

This week, we celebrate the finer things in life and learn that perhaps the best thing about a great meal isn’t the food on the table but the people around it.

Bon appetite, from our family to yours.


Shiro Maguro, or peppered albacore, from Wasabi Sushi Bar in Whitefish on Jan. 26, 2018. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

Zen and the Art of Sushi

Local sushi chefs discuss their affinity for fresh fish and the alluring atmospheres that make dining with them unique

By Tristan Scott

In traditional circles, the high art of sushi isn’t taken lightly — top chefs train for decades, and good sushi restaurants have customs all unto their own. Across the U.S., examples of the Japanese culinary discipline’s pervasive Westernization abound, introducing personalized flourishes to a craft steeped in tradition.

Although one might expect to encounter a sushi desert in this far-flung corner of Montana, the Flathead Valley is home to a roster of notable exceptions, standing out as an oasis of sushi shops all with their own distinguishing characteristics, eclectic menus, skilled chefs, and deference to quality.



The BLT at Desoto Grill. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

Your Favorite Meals

Reader-submitted dining recommendations, stretching from Hot Springs to Eureka and everywhere in between

By Myers Reece

We asked readers a simple question: What’s your favorite meal when you go out to eat? The objective wasn’t to conduct a contest, but rather to provide a forum to showcase and celebrate readers’ tastes and the region’s eclectic culinary opportunities — and maybe inspire people to try something new.



Jeremy Plummer shows his favorite cut of beef, a choice quality rib steak, at Lower Valley Processing on Feb. 1, 2018. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

The Perfect Steak

Local masters of everything meat divulge their personal preferences on cuts of beef, how to prepare it and where best to find it

By Molly Priddy


As long as people have populated the land we now call Montana, they’ve hunted and eventually domesticated animals to grow this precious protein.

And while it’s not necessary anymore for Flathead Valley residents and visitors to procure their own meat through hunting, many of the basic traditions surrounding a good steak remind us that no matter how busy the world gets, sometimes all you need is a good cut of beef and a fire.



Latitude 48 executive chef Melissa Mangold, pictured on Feb. 1, 2018. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

Rising in Degrees at Latitude

With a new executive chef and a rebooted menu, Latitude 48 Bistro sweetens its disposition

By Tristan Scott

Tmaintain footing among the upper ranks of the region’s top dining establishments, Matt Carlin knew it was time to ditch some old concepts at Latitude 48 Bistro in Whitefish, where he works as the general manager, and do something fresh.

Enter Melissa Mangold.



Tim and Dana Phillips, owners of Hop’s Downtown Grill on Feb. 2, 2018. on Feb. 1, 2018. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

New Kids on the Block

New eateries pop up across Northwest Montana, while old favorites get new owners

By Justin Franz

Seth Black spent 17 years making a name for himself in Denver’s burgeoning culinary scene, working at some of the city’s most popular restaurants — Bones and Aubergine Café to name a couple. But a few years ago, Black and his wife Riley had an urge to move away from the hustle and bustle of urban life and enjoy a slower pace. Seth had a place in mind: his hometown of Libby.



Volunteers deliver food to the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. Photo by Kathryn Hayes |

Local Park Guide Rallies to Feed Hungry Families

Glacier Adventure Guides operator Greg Fortin delivered 2,500 pounds of food to Blackfeet Reservation

By Andy Viano

Greg Fortin has been making his living for more than 15 years in Glacier National Park, operating Glacier Adventure Guides out of Columbia Falls and leading tours throughout the landscape, but 2017 was the first time, he said, that he asked those he considers the owners of the park for permission.