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Year in Review

Our Favorite Food Features of 2023

From the Royal Burger at Richwine’s Burgerville to the fresh-baked pies at Loula’s, here are few entrees, restaurants and local chefs we dished on over the last year

By Beacon Staff
Appetizers by Chris DiMaio. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

At the Flathead Beacon, we love food. We especially love local food and the chefs behind our favorite entrees, from cheeseburgers to international cuisine. Here are a few highlights from our cupboard of food features in 2023.

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At Richwine’s Burgerville, a Legacy of Good Food and Good Times

The family-owned Polson institution has been serving up delicious burgers for over six decades

The Bernie Burger from Richwine’s Burgerville in Polson. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

Life on Flathead Lake in summertime is, ideally, at its core about the same simplicity of experience that draws humans toward bodies of water all across America in the months of June, July and August. The air is warm, the sun is shining, and the water is cool. What more is there to think about? Read more

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Meet the Chef: Clayton McDaniel

A conversation with the Great Northwest Catering chef about his approach to cooking and tips for home cooks

Seared trout with beurre blanc sauce and smoked elk with huckleberry port sauce served with pave potatoes and roasted fall vegetables. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

At age 18, Clayton McDaniel graduated from the culinary arts and catering program at Flathead Valley Community College during the same year that he was supposed to graduate from Glacier High School. Read more

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A Tale of Two Chefs

Regarded as the most prestigious honor in the restaurant world, the James Beard Foundation has recognized two chefs working at the top of their game on opposite ends of the Flathead Valley

Foie torchon with pear chutney, vanilla parsnip puree, lapsang souchong gel, hoshigaki, parsnip coils, brioche and graham cracker crumble, by Chef Earl Reynolds of Stone Hill Kitchen in Bigfork on Jan. 29, 2023. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

It’s the last day of January in northwest Montana, the end of an interminable month whose days brighten in degrees of gauzy gray, when they brighten at all. At Stonehill Kitchen and Bar in Bigfork, big lofty snowflakes are drifting past the gable windows, softening the edges of the outside world. But it’s warm and gleaming in the kitchen, where right angles and sharp spotless surfaces intersect at strategic junctures that a station chef can read like a table assignment. Read more

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Big Pie Country

Pie season continues at a beloved Whitefish restaurant and bakery, where new ownership keeps the business within a family that embraces consistency and quality in dining

Pie from Loula’s Cafe in Whitefish on Nov. 3, 2022. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

Ski season and tourist season and shoulder season are all reliable markers of the passage of time in Whitefish, but downtown in the basement of the old Masonic Temple building where Loula’s Café is found, another season takes place. And it happens twice a year. Read more

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Meet the Chef: Les Kleinman

A conversation with Brooklyn Bagel owner Les Kleinman about bringing the New York bagel to Columbia Falls and keeping family traditions alive

Bagels from Brooklyn Bagel and Bakery in Columbia Falls. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

On a white tile wall of Brooklyn Bagel in Columbia Falls, hung above a table of napkins and utensils, are four black-and-white photos of New York City in a bygone era. A smiling older woman prepares food behind a counter. A young mother holds a baby in front of a storefront exterior donned with a neon sign that reads “Weissberg’s Improved Egg Cream.” A young couple poses on the city street outside of the restaurant. Read more

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Dish: Dave’s Gelato

Dave Restivo traced his Italian roots across the sea to a gelato stand and brought a passion for the frozen delicacy back to the Flathead Valley

A cup of strawberry gelato from Dave’s Gelato cart. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

Dave Restivo’s first brush with gelato came a decade ago. His great grandfather was born in the Italian region of Sicily, and Restivo was on a sojourn to trace his lineage across the Mediterranean countryside. His first stop after getting off the plane in Rome was at a little gelato cart. Read more

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Spirited Away

Whitefish Handcrafted Spirits serves up a homey atmosphere, elevated cuisine and top shelf spirits from their Evergreen location

Cocktails from Whitefish Handcrafted Spirits in Evergreen. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

After “What should I drink?” the top question that Clint Courtney hears at the bar he manages is “Why aren’t you located in Whitefish?” Read more

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Meet the Chef: Nora Batiz & Issac Incoronato

A conversation with the co-owners of Isling Chow about learning to love cooking and bringing new flavors to the Flathead Valley

Yaki Soba from Isling Chow, an Asian fusion food truck in Bigfork. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

Standing over the stove in the Isling Chow food truck kitchen, Issac Incoronato calls the dynamic duo of himself and Nora Batiz “partners in life, partners in kids, and partners in business.” Read more

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Dish: Stonefly’s Pies

The Stonefly Lounge, a longtime Bad Rock Canyon staple, serves up pies and vibes

Pies from the Stonefly Lounge in Coram. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

At 11 a.m., one of Coram’s beloved watering holes, the Stonefly Lounge, is filled with the savory scent of pies, fresh from the oven. It’s not what you might expect from an establishment known as a place to stop for a cheap drink and a free musical show after a day of adventuring near Glacier National Park, but that’s kind of the point. Read more

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Another World of Flavor

Perfect for stews, soups, and other fall dishes, mushrooms are a forgiving, nutrient-dense ingredient that can take on big flavor

Shawn McDyre of Sun Hands Farm holds a cluster of chestnut mushrooms in Kalispell. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

For Shawn McDyre, the path to enjoying mushrooms in a meal can be as simple as a good piece of bread, some Black Pearl King mushrooms and a few pantry staples. Read more

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Meet the Chef: Almaz Yussupov & Anel Tucker

A conversation with Hungry Hun’s Almaz Yussupov and Anel Tucker about living the ‘American Dream’ and bringing Kazakhstani food to the Flathead Valley

Hun Kebabs from Hungry Hun, a Kazakhstani restaurant in Kalispell. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

Approximately 6,078 miles from their hometown of Almaty, Kazakhstan, longtime friends and restaurateurs Almaz Yussupov and Anel Tucker are serving up fresh takes on Kazakhstani dishes at Hungry Hun, their new fast-casual eatery located in the Kalispell Center Mall. Read more

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Montana Craft Kitchen’s Holiday Appetizers

From office holiday parties to elevated après-ski, Chef Chris DiMaio’s unique seasonal appetizer combinations will be the hit of the season

Beef carpaccio with black garlic aoili, sundried tomato, kale, pickeled morels, and parmesan. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

The holidays and cold winter days are the perfect excuses to gather with friends, coworkers and family to eat, drink and be merry. It’s the season of evening cocktail parties, fireside wine tastings and après-ski nourishment, and no one can take that to the next level quite like Chef Chris DiMaio with Montana Craft Kitchen. Read more

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