Glasgow: Chef Scott Redstone raises the bar at the Durum Restaurant & Bar ($$, 406-228-2236, L/D Tues.-Sat.). It’s a classic Montana-style steakhouse named for a type of wheat grown on the Hi-Line. They’re known for their excellent pasta and battered walleye, and their wine-by-the glass selection with a decent selection of apps (garlic mussels, bacon poutine) lift Durum above the norm. Look for bar specials like their 2-for-1 burger and brew night. Sam’s Supper Club ($$, 406-2284614, L/D, Mon.-Sat.) began as The Club in the 1930s, when Fort Peck Dam was under construction. Sam’s has credible steaks, but locals love their chimichangas, served with a side of history. People from as far away as Malta, Wolf Point, and even Billings seriously rave about Eugene’s Pizza ($$, 406-228-8552, D). Eugene’s, a community mainstay since 1962, specializes in thin-crust pizza basted with a house-made sauce. But it’s much, much more than pizza. One highlight is their ribs smothered in Sam & Jeff’s Sweet Montana barbecue sauce made and now bottled onsite. They’re also proud of their half-cooked pizzas that they send across the West in the form of care packages. Soma dis Deli ($, 406-228-4700, L) is good for a light bite, sandwiches on rich bread, thick hearty soups, and many flavors of cheesecake by the slice.
Hinsdale: Stoughie’s ($/$$, 406-364-2132, L/D), a community gathering place complete with a screened front porch, is famed for huge burgers plated with hand-cut fries, prime rib on Saturdays, homemade soups, and tasty daily specials.
Malta: In a town not known for its dining options, locals tend to opt for the tried and true Great Northern Hotel’s ($$/$$$, 406-654-2100, B/L/D; breakfast only Sundays) restaurant. Mornings greet you with great omelets or great biscuits and gravy. Lunch and dinner give way to fresh ground burgers, hand-cut steaks, and the locally ubiquitous walleye. New on the scene is Ray Jay’s BBQ ($$, 406-654-2159, L/D). The pulled pork and brisket are meticulously rubbed, smoked, and slow-cooked by Ray himself, resulting in BBQ you won’t be afraid to share with your Southern relatives. Ray Jay a nickname he acquired in his younger days and his wife do all the work, sometimes with the help of their kids.
Saco: The Cabin Cafe ($, 406-527, 3353, B/L) is a proud little cafe in a proud little town that, like Saco, keeps reinventing itself. The cafe opened in 1950 as O’Brien’s (or O.B.’s) but became the Cabin Cafe when Chinook native Nena Malmend took over for her mother-in-law in 2013. Breakfast sandwiches and omelets are popular, and so are the juicy burgers with hand-cut French fries for lunch. Malmend gets her fresh beef from the Pay ‘N Save Meat Shop two doors down. harlem: KB’s Deli ($, 406-353-4435, L) has a terrific chicken salad sandwich, chili nachos, and homemade soup; seal the deal with a shake, malt, or ice-cream float.
Chinook: Looking for a cool summer-time snack break? The Creamery ($, 406-357-4260, Apr.-Sept.) ice-cream parlor has milkshakes, malts, soft-serve ice cream, banana splits, and more toppings than you could ever want. They also serve burgers two nights a week.
Havre: Dining options here are more diverse than anywhere else on the Hi-Line. For more than 30 years, locals have been heading to Uncle Joe’s ($$/$$$, 406-265-5111, L/D Tues-Sun) for supersized steaks, the onion blossom, and broasted chicken. Joe’s has two menus, one for finer dining downstairs (opens at 5 pm) and pub grub upstairs in the bar. Andy’s Supper Club ($$/$$$, 406-2659963, D) would fit right in an older Rat Pack movie, with its half-circle bar and red tuck-and-roll wall behind it, the huge saltwater fish tanks separating the darkened bar from the dining room, and spaghetti as a side starch. Andy’s reminds us of the Midwest steakhouses of our youth. Joyce (81 years old in 2015) and Jim have owned the joint for years, and have finally turned it over to their daughters, Dorothy and Judy. Although not so Irish, a little more roguish is Murphy’s Irish Pub ($$$, 406-265-4700, L/D). Murphys diversifies the menu which changes twice a year by adding beef or chicken Asian dishes, gyros, and similar menu items. But never fear; they still serve pasties, a wide selection of Irish whiskeys, and micro beers. For a pizza pie, meatball sandwich, and fresh pasta specials prepared with care in their kitchen to enjoy at home, on the road, or in your motel, it’s Nalivka’s Original Pizza Kitchen ($/$$, 406-265-4050, L/D Tues.-Sun.). It’s take-out or delivery only, and no credit cards are accepted. Their famous cannelloni Florentine, lasagna, spaghetti with meatballs, and soups go out frozen.
Hingham: At Hi-Way Bar & Quick Stop ($, 406-397-3266, L/D) you can treat yourself to inexpensive, good eats while marveling at your luck for finding such a bargain in the middle of seemingly nowhere (see Best Bars).