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"Best of Bozeman"
The Tributary, Bozeman¹s alternative newspaper, presents the Best of Bozeman winners for 2004. By Lucia Stewart
 
  Best Cup of Joe
From hot steamy coffee to a cup of yerba mate, whatever your pleasure in the morning, afternoon or evening, The Leaf & Bean has just the caffeinated rush for you. “I think their coffee tastes the best and I like the comfortable feeling I get when I stop there on my way to work,” said local Samuel Bergman. From live music to a triple shot espresso, there is always something brewing at The Leaf & Bean.
1st: The Leaf & Bean
2nd: Rocky Mountain Roasters
3rd: International Coffee Traders
Runner-up: Daily Coffee Bar
 
  Best Breakfast
If mornings are not right without the home fries, bacon and stack of pancakes, Main Street Overeasy is the place for you and your AM appetite. “They make a hell of a blueberry coffee cake and always have great service and great breakfast,” said local Ben Rainey. Start your day right.
1st: Main Street Overeasy
2nd: Cateye Cafe
3rd: O’Briens
Runner-up: Soby’s
 
  Best Lunch
A good midday lunch can make all the difference in the rest of your day and Bozeman says, La Parrilla is the place to do so. “There are so many reasons,” said local Cathy Ebelke on why she voted for La Parrilla. “Affordability, the quality and the variety. And most importantly, the friendliness of the staff.” Take in some afternoon sunrays while dining on the deck.
1st: La Parrilla
2nd: The Garage
3rd: Main Street Overeasy/Community Food Co-op
Runner-up: Frank’s Custom Catering
 
  Best Pizza
With hot cheese oozing off the thick doughy crust, dripping with toppings to satisfy any pizza craving, MacKenzie River Pizza is the most satisfying in Bozeman. “I like it for the variety you can get there that you can’t get at many other places,” said local Lora Morgan. “It’s kind of unique.” With a vibrant atmosphere and pizza some folks dream about, MacKenzie River lives up to its reputation.
1st: MacKenzie River Pizza Co.
2nd: Colombo’s Pizza & Pasta
3rd: Cosmic Pizza
Runner-up: Rosa’s Pizza
 
  Best Burger
Make it a 1/2 lb or 1/4 lb, Burger Bob’s is the Best Burger in town. Bozeman agrees about how much they enjoy sitting in the window, eating that one-of-a-kind burger and watching life on Main Street. “I like the size and the way that they prepare them,” said local Susan White. “They grill them, I can choose my own condiments to put on them and I like the flavor. It’s just a lot better then all other burgers.” Now try eating one without making a mess.
1st: Burger Bob’s
2nd: The Garage
3rd: Montana Ale Works
Runner-up: Fuddruckers of Bozeman
 
  Best Sandwich
Load it up, made especially how you like it, Pickle Barrel’s sandwiches are craved for during that afternoon lunch break and topped-off with a scoop of that well-loved ice cream. “Above and beyond, they have the best sandwiches,” said local Kim Goodwin. For all those Dragon Slayers and Bobcat Specials, you know where to go.
1st: The Pickle Barrel
2nd: Frank’s Custom Catering
3rd: Community Food Co-op
Runner-up: Starky’s Deli
 
  Best Steak
For many people the sound and smell of steaks cooking on the grill is one of life's sublime joys. Slice it thick, season it perfectly and cook it just right, for a prefect tender steak isn’t an easy task to master. But Sir Scott’s Oasis has perfected the art. “Oasis is the only steakhouse in the valley,” said local Pete Johnson. “I don’t know anyone who competes with them. It’s one place you go in and order dinner and you know what you’re going to get. With the rest of them, the steak is almost like a side dish.” Please pass the steak knife.
1st: Sir Scott’s Oasis Steakhouse
2nd: Mint Bar & Grill
3rd: Montana Ale Works
Runner-up: Land of Magic Dinner Club
 
  Best Dessert
If you’ve never had a sweet tooth before, beware, for the Sweet Pea Café and Bakery may change all that. “Their deserts are incredibly beautiful and taste so decadent,” said local Julie Willard. “They look good and taste good. That’s what I love about them.” From espresso cakes and tangy tarts to delectable muffins and cinnamon rolls, the Sweet Pea Café and Bakery has given Bozeman one gigantic craving for their sweets.
1st: Sweet Pea Café and Bakery
2nd: Moo Casa Ice Cream
3rd: The Leaf & Bean
Runner-up: John Bozeman’s Bistro
 
  Best Asian/Sushi Restaurant
Many people questions fresh seafood here in Montana. But by the number of votes on the ballots, Bozeman is a sushi-loving town, particularly of Dave’s Sushi. “It’s the best for the friendly staff and the good food,” said local Marty Podolsky. “It’s my favorite,” said local Arkinda Cearley. “I eat there a lot.” Fish tails up!
1st: Dave’s Sushi
2nd: I-Ho’s Korean Grill
3rd: Rain
Runner-up: Jadra’s in Looie's
 
  Best Splurge Restaurant ($20/person and up)
For those special occasions or just because you haven’t put on that sexy dress and handsome tie in months, John Bozeman’s Bistro is the place to indulge. With a friendly, professional staff, and a wine list that complements their incredible menu, it’s no wonder Bozeman dines in style at the Bistro. “Their food is little more exotic than what we typically get in Bozeman and very flavorful,” said local Kathy Tanner. “The combination of that along with it being expensive made it my favorite splurge in Bozeman.”
1st: John Bozeman’s Bistro
2nd: Looie’s Down Under
3rd: Boodles
Runner-up: The Savory Olive
 
  Best Inexpensive Restaurant (less than $10/person)
If you are digging in the couch and under the car mates for enough change to eat, La Parrilla is the place to go. “They have great food and it’s pretty well priced,” said local Lucy Costello. Also voted best lunch in Bozeman, we know where to find our friends at lunch when it’s time to buy the ski pass.
1st: La Parrilla
2nd: Naked Noodle
3rd: The Garage
 
  Best Restaurant Outside Bozeman
As the warm summer evenings settle, taking a short drive to dine outside of Bozeman can be a treat. And Bozeman agrees, Sir Scott’s Oasis is worth the journey. “I’ve had impeccable service and top notch food,” said local Seth Glessner. “I can tell they take the time and effort to make sure their product goes out great. As a local chef, I look for that in a restaurant.” Is the gas tank full?
1st: Sir Scott’s Oasis Steakhouse
2nd: Mint Bar & Grill
3rd: Chico Hot Springs Resort
Runner-up: Montana Rib and Chop House
 
  Best Restaurant for Kids
If getting rambunctious and rowdy is a theme of going out to eat, then Fuddruckers is the place to take the little ones. In Fuddruckers “there is a play area for them,” said local Jennifer Bierman. “I have little kids and it’s the only place they can run around.” And for the rest of Bozeman, have you seen the movie “Super Size Me?” McDonald’s?
1st: Fuddruckers of Bozeman
2nd: McDonald’s
3rd: MacKenzie River Pizza Co.
Runner-up: Burger Bob’s
 
  Best Restaurant Service
If loathing the hour it takes to get your coffee or iced tea, and waitresses seem to always be too busy to say hello or get you a fork, then Main Street Overeasy is the remedy. There are many reasons local Bill Poupart voted Main Street Overeasy for best service. “I have been going there for a long time since I work downtown,” said Poupart. “The food is consistently good all the time, they have the best wait staff out of anyone downtown and great value.”
1st: Main Street Overeasy
2nd: John Bozeman’s Bistro
3rd: Montana Ale Works
Runner-up: MacKenzie River Pizza Co.
 
  Best Romantic Dining
If Lady and the Tramp amorous dining is the spice that you need, then Bozeman’s classic Looie’s Down Under has the table, candle and the plate gourmet spaghetti just for the two of you. “It’s the atmosphere,” said local Peyton Holmes. “It’s quiet and darker down there. It’s a little more subtle.” Mi Amour…
1st: Looie's Down Under
2nd: Boodles
3rd: The Savory Olive
Runner-up: Sweet Pea Café and Bakery
 
  Best Bar
Not an easy category to win, since a bar could be considered a living room to some. The combination of many characteristics converged to claim Montana Ale Works as once again, the Best Bar in Bozeman. “They have a great atmosphere,” said local Emily Walton. “It’s not smoky and a good group of people hang out there. It can be casual or not so casual, you can play pool, there is always good music and good service.” Cheers!
1st: Montana Ale Works
2nd: Rocking R Bar/Plonk
3rd: The Robin
Runner-up: Zebra Cocktail Lounge
 
  Best Bar Service
We all know how much we dislike the rude, blunt and too-cool-for-you bartenders. But at Montana Ale Works, there is no discrimination of service for that cute girl standing next to you. “They always have good service when I go there,” said local Robin Evers. “They are always right on top of things.” Excuse me, may I have another?
1st: Montana Ale Works
2nd: Plonk
3rd: Boodles
Runner-up: Rocking R Bar
 
  Best Local Entertainment
Bozeman, especially in the summer, is thriving with local talent and entertainment. From theatre to comedy to music, you can always find something going on. And the Best of Bozeman is the Equinox Theater. “They bring in the best outside shows with great talent,” said local Jill Barker-Finkel. Local Joe Dalton agrees, “They do a lot of original productions and they probably have more live entertainment and stage productions per year than other venues of the same category. It’s not expensive for the amount of entertainment you get.”
1st: Equinox Theater Company
2nd: Zebra Cocktail Lounge
3rd: Johnny Steele
Runner-up: Shakespeare in the Parks
 
  Best Place to Meet Singles
OK, Bozeman. We know you are a town full of active, adventurous people. Can’t we find a better place to meet singles than in the depths of a dark bar? Does it take a little liquid courage to get ya’ll to talk to singles. Well, if anyone has any better places, many responses on the ballots would like to know. But until next time, Bozeman says to check out the Zebra Cocktail Lounge.
1st: Zebra Cocktail Lounge
2nd: Montana Ale Works
3rd: The Robin
Runner-up: Rocking R Bar
 
  Best Place to Propose
Planning the moment may take months. Finding the ring may take a year, but finding the place is simple, for Bozeman agrees that the mountains is the place to bend one knee (in hopes 15 other couples aren’t there too.)
1st: The Mountains
2nd: Peet’s Hill
3rd: The “M”
Runner-up: Hyalite
 
  Best Place to Break Up
You met them at the Zebra as a single and now you break up with them there. This seems to be some sort of bizarre cycle. Hmmm, Bozeman, you are a little odder than we thought. At least you will have a drink to console yourself readily available.
1st: Zebra Cocktail Lounge
2nd: Main Street/Public
3rd: Home
 
  Best Place to Hear Live Music
Although the ceilings may be 8 feet high, the Zebra Cocktail Lounge is the place to bust a groove on the dance floor to live music in Bozeman. “It is the only place I go see live music,” said local Paige Meyer. “They put more of an effort to bring in something more than just Bluegrass.” With diverse acts from reggae and punk to DJ’s and hip-hop, the Zebra draws the crowd (and the singles).
1st: Zebra Cocktail Lounge
2nd: The Leaf & Bean
3rd: Sweet Pea Festival
Runner-up: Music on Main
 
  Best Radio Station
Supported by Bozeman and brought to you by local Bozeman DJs, KGLT once again dominates the radio waves in the Gallatin Valley. “I like the variety,” said Kasey Anderson. “I don’t like turning on a radio station that will play the same type of music.” Diverse programming is an attribute of KGLT. You never know what you’re going to get, but Bozeman knows it’s going to be good.
1st: KGLT, 91.9 FM
2nd: KMMS, the Moose 95.1 FM
3rd: NPR, Yellowstone Public Radio 106.7 FM
Runner-up: KISS, 96.7 FM
 
  Best Radio DJ
Known for her humor and voice, Elle Fine gets the crown for the best DJ in the Gallatin Valley. “She has an awesome voice,” said local Seth Glessner. “It’s really eloquent. I love hearing her. Everyone at Ale Works and Looies want to bring her back.” Just doing fill in these days for other DJs at the Moose, her voice is a trademark that Bozeman loves.
1st: Elle Fine fills in for the Moose, XL Country, 100.7, 103.5, and does the Sunday Almost Acoustic Show, 9-1pm on the Moose
2nd: Michelle Wolfe, the Moose, Weekdays 2-6pm
3rd: Chuck Farley, the Moose, Weekdays 10-2pm/Colter Langan, the Eagle, Weekdays 6-10 am
Runner-up: Kitty and Clarence, KGLT, every Wed. 9-12pm
 
  Best Art Gallery
If in the mood to peruse fine art galleries, Bozeman locals are most often found at Chaparral Fine Art. On the first block of Main Street, the two story gallery displays a diversity of mediums, from paintings to rugs to sculptures. “I like the variety,” said local Amber Conger. “I also like the ambience and the atmosphere there.” Happy browsing.
1st: Chaparral Fine Art
2nd: Emerson Cultural Center
3rd: Artifacts Gallery
Runner-up: Visions West Gallery
 
  Best Grocery Store
Eating well is important in such an active town. Town and Country Foods is not only the best place to shop, Bozeman says, but with so many votes, probably a place to see friends. “They have a wide selection of natural and organic food,” said local Anne Thoreson. Local Jennifer Bierman agrees, “They carry organic, which is important.”
1st: Town & Country Foods
2nd: Community Food Co-op
3rd: Heebs
Runner-up: Albertson’s
 
  Best Outdoor Gear Shop
With mountains, rivers and rocks outside our backdoors here in Bozeman, our gear is an important part of our lifestyle. And Northern Lights, now with two locations, is the place to find everything you are looking for. “I can usually find what I want there,” said local Kevin Butler. “That is important.” And local Jon Olson puts their map section above and beyond others. Happy Trails.
1st: Northern Lights Trading Co.
2nd: Barrel Mountaineering
3rd: Bob Ward Sporting Goods
Runner-up: Round House Ski and Sports Center
 
  Best “Big Box” Store
For those of you who actually like the convenience of buying everything at one place, Target has it all, says Bozeman. But there were more votes calling the big box stores names that we can’t print. This is the G-rated version, but the favorite of the Tributary was “Miss Kitty’s.”
1st: Target
2nd: Costco
3rd: Wal-Mart
 
  Best Place to Buy Jewelry
For that special someone or if you’re a shoes-match-your-earrings kind of person, then Benjies has just what you are looking for. “It’s the most affordable and has the biggest selection,” said local Arkinda Cearley. So next time you feel like indulging in something that goes bling-bling, you know that place to go, as they say, inconveniently located on East Mendenhall.
1st: Benjies
2nd: Miller’s Jewelry
3rd: Miss Zula’s
Runner-up: Gem Gallery
 
  Best Bookstore
Want to browse for hours and lose yourself in the world of words, then the Country Bookshelf is the place to escape to. Local Marilou Turrentine shops there because “it’s locally owned, which is a dying breed today.” The atmosphere of a bookstore is like a good couch, it has to be comfortable. And the Country Bookshelf is just that.
1st: Country Bookshelf
2nd: Barnes & Noble
3rd: Vargo’s Jazz City & Books
Runner-up: Borders Books & Music
 
  Best Music Store
Music is an important part of the Bozeman’s lifestyle and Cactus Records, once again, is the best music store in town to find those beloved tunes. The CD’s are there, the groove is always on and folks are always quick with suggestions. “They have all the local bands and it’s more like a local feeling than big giant music stores,” said local Aaron Shulte. “And I like the vinyl in the basement.” Happy indulgence in the beats and rhythms.
1st: Cactus Records
2nd: Hastings Books Music & Video
3rd: Music Villa
Runner-up: Borders Books & Music
 
  Best Furniture Store
If you’re looking for a new bed frame, since you never had one before, or a couch, since your guests won’t even sit on yours anymore, then Gallatin Valley Furniture is the place to find it all. With professional designers there to help pick out the bed frame to match the couch, Gallatin Valley has the selection Bozeman agrees is the best in the valley.
1st: Gallatin Valley Furniture
2nd: Conlin’s Furniture
3rd: Bozeman Furniture
Runner-up: Montana Expressions
 
  Best Ski Area
Loyalty is a factor of where Bozeman skis. Or maybe it’s the fact that the Bridgers are constantly looming overhead, luring like a siren to venture to their slopes. But nonetheless, Bozeman is a diehard lover of Bridger Bowl. “It’s close and not as expensive,” said local Betsy Garrigues. “It has that small town feel rather than the whole resort snotty feel. It’s the local resort and everyone is comfortable skiing there.” Now let’s all dream of powder.
1st: Bridger Bowl
2nd: Big Sky
3rd: Moonlight Basin
Runner-up: Bohart Ranch Cross-Country Ski Area
 
  Best Auto Repair
For those of us who don’t know how to repair the cars we drive, a trustworthy mechanic is always highly valued. For those billowing black smoke or lurching down the road, Straightaway Motors is the place to go. “I like locally owned stuff,” said local Katie Lineberger. “They are really nice to me and treat me well.” Local Tammy Minge agrees, “Pete, the owner, takes good care of me, my car and all my friends.”
1st: Straightaway Motors
2nd: Farr Automotive Specialists
3rd: Avalanche Auto Repair
 
  Best Florist/Nursery
Succulent smells and vibrant colors of flowers can always brighten anyone’s day, and Langohr’s Flowerland is the place Bozeman says to go. “That is the florist that I choose,” said local Lucy Costello. “They do a good job with their arrangements.” From a lily to a bird of paradise, Langohr’s has the variety to freshen anyone’s taste.
1st: Langohr’s Flowerland
2nd: Cashman Nursery
3rd: Country Flowers
Runner-up: Floral Gallery
 
  Best Car Dealer
Ahh, the smell of a new car without the embedded dirt and dog hair. If you are in the market, Dick Walter Motors is the best place in Bozeman to search out that new ride. “He’s the best,” said local Norm Mulder. “He is a good community man and knows what he’s doing. He lives up to everything he says he’s going to do. I have a new truck coming from him soon.” Vroom, Vroom.
1st: Dick Walter Motors Inc.
2nd: Ressler Chevrolet Cadillac Toyota
3rd: Billion Chrysler Dodge
Runner-up: Aspen Motors
 
  Best Beauty/Day Spa
Pampering oneself for a day or an hour can often feel like a lifetime of pleasure. From the end of your toes to the tip of your nose, Sage Spa Salon will invigorate and rejuvenate you beyond your imagination. “I spent a day there with a group of friends and they were thoughtful to a T,” said local Emily Walton. “They bought a cake from Sweet Pea Café for us. They are polite, professional and fun while being down-to-earth women.”
1st: Sage Spa Salon
2nd: Montana Body Care & Day Spa
3rd: Soucie Hair Salon
Runner-up: Bozeman Hot Springs
 
  Best Elected Official
For keeping Bozeman on it’s desired path, Steve Kirchhoff is Bozeman’s first choice for their favorite elected official. The former mayor and current city commissioner is known throughout the community for trying to manage growth, and has been an advocate for “preserving Bozeman’s identity.” Obviously people like what he’s done!
1st: Steve Kirchhoff
2nd: John Vincent, current city commissioner.
3rd: Marcia Youngman, former mayor & current city commissioner
 
  Best Local Celebrity
Best Local Celebrity A renowned public figure and well-loved individual in downtown Bozeman, Steve Cirracialo is Bozeman’s Best Local Celebrity. Steve can often be found helping out downtown business owners by sweeping store front sidewalks and cruising the strip on his cool bike, with brooms, cleaning supplies and a friendly greeting. Often referred to as the “Main Man,” Steve was nominated among the ranks of Ted Turner, Warren Miller, Jack Horner, Peter Fonda and the likes—and Steve won!
1st: Steve Cirracialo
2nd: Dennis Quaid
3rd: Michael Keaton
Runner-up: Ted Turner
 
  Best Place For People Watching
We are all guilty of it. We all love to do it, so why deny it. Watching people is often a favorite pastime, and Bozeman agrees that the congregation of the best and most hilarious people is in Downtown Bozeman. So next time your bored, grab a cup of coffee and watch the local entertainment…ourselves.
1st: Downtown
2nd: the Mall
3rd: Sweet Pea Festival
 
  Best Weekend Getaway
Need to slip away for a weekend to put your feet up and forget about life? Well, not too far away lies a place we all fondly know, Chico Hot Springs Resort. Matt Ferguson likes Chico for a combination of things. “The hotel itself is nice but has a low key feel to it. It has a great restaurant, great bar with bands on Friday and Saturday nights, of course the hot springs and you don’t have to go that far to get to a really cool place.” Ahh, even the thought sounds nice.
1st: Chico Hot Springs Resort
2nd: Yellowstone National Park
3rd: Potosi Hot Springs
 
  Best Local Scandal
Although this is a “scandalous” question, it is rather interesting to see what people around Bozeman like to gossip about, and yes, our Mayor Cetraro is a hot topic. He was noted for his new Hippos Pub and questionable violations of city code, as well as his questionable expenses turned in from his 2003 trip to Utah. I guess it’s not always easy to be in the public spotlight!
1st: Mayor Cetraro
2nd: Former MSU assistant football coach Joe O'Brien’s methamphetamine charges.
3rd: City Commissioner Jennifer Smith Mitchell's DUI/missing meetings.
 
  Best Use of Taxpayers Dollars
Although many people responded to this questions with, “Give me my money back!” the majority agreed that school improvements and better teacher salaries were the most important way to spend our local tax dollars. It’s refreshing that this curved ahead of road maintenance. Phew, better quality education for the future of our country or a wider 19th Street? Schools won!
1st: Schools/Education.
2nd: Street Maintenance
3rd: Downtown Improvements
Runner-up: New Library
 
  Best Place to Take Out of Town Guests
Always wanting to impress the out-of-towner with how great Bozeman is, it’s decided that Yellowstone National Park is the place to go to capture the flavor of what the Bozeman area is truly like.
1st: Yellowstone National Park
2nd: Hyalite- all over
3rd: Museum of the Rockies
Runner-up: Chico Hot Springs Resort
 
  Best Thing About Bozeman
The category we all here in Bozeman agree on, in some form or another, for we would not have found our home and place here in this stunning valley if it weren’t for the mountains. Whether it’s the 8ft of powder, the accessible playground, the trail system, views, outdoors or not being California, the thread of commonality rings true through a majority of the votes. It is the mountains, all five ranges visible from our backyards, which keeps us Bozos happy and here. Doesn’t that put a smile on your face?
1st: Mountains
2nd: People
3rd: Downtown/ Main St.
Runner-up: Scenery
 
Posted with permission from The Tributary Magazine. The Tributary Magazine is published on the first of every month and is available by subscription or available for free pickup at locations througout southwestern Montana. For more information call 406-585-0712 or e-mail trib@montana.com.


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