Tag Archives: Yellowstone National Park

Pizza and Beer Joint a Fine End to Yellowstone Adventure

Backpacking through the sulphurous mists of Yellowstone National Park

Backpacking through the sulphurous mists of Yellowstone National Park

When you’re located on the doorstep of the world’s oldest national park, it kind of makes sense that you’ve been making pizza here since the primordial days of 1953.

Such is the case with K-Bar Pizza, an unvarnished bar and restaurant on a dusty street in equally unpretentious Gardiner, Montana, at the northern entrance of Yellowstone National Park.

After a full day of hiking or geyser touring, it’s nice to appease your appetite and slake your thirst with a pie and pint. K-Bar offers some nice salads and an impressive selection of beers on tap from Montana microbrewers such as Bozeman Brewing, Bitter Root Brewery and Neptune’s Brewery (I go for the latter’s charged-up latte stout).

Pretty much everyone orders the thin-crust pizza; sorry, no burgers. This keeps the cook at the back busy tossing dough high in the air, loading it with typical toppings and then firing it into the oven. Our medium Crazy Woman—featuring alfredo sauce, sausage, garlic black pepper and red pepper flakes—is a generous amount for two.

The Crazy Woman—The PIZZA, not the eater!

The Crazy Woman—The PIZZA, not the eater!

Nothing fancy, but at the end of a week-long Yellowstone backpack fuelled by dehydrated fare, it hits the spot. It’s certainly better than any of the cafeteria offerings in the “villages” scattered through the park.

K-Bar Pizza
202 Main Street, Gardiner, Montana
Monday to Thursday 4 pm-9:30 pm, Friday 4 pm-10 pm, Saturday-Sunday 11 am-10 pm

Fuelling Up For Yellowstone National Park Adventures

Waiting for Mexican truck-food goodness at Taqueria Las Palmitas in West Yellowstone, Montana

Waiting for Mexican-truck goodness at Taqueria Las Palmitas in West Yellowstone, Montana

In many resort towns, the help tends to be young, transient and somewhat unreliable. But at Running Bear Pancake House, in West Yellowstone at the western entrance to Yellowstone National Park, the waitresses are certainly experienced, efficiently handling two spacious rooms full of tourists while maintaining a relaxed banter with the customers.

“Looks like you got a bit of sunburn on your neck,” says one to a blistered eater. “Boy that looks good, hon. Would you like some more steaming coffee, and should I pour out what’s left in your cup?”

This is not to say they don’t work hard. My server says they wore pedometers one summer and discovered they walked nine miles a day waiting tables.

Given it’s a pancake house, I follow the theme, albeit with a twist. My pancake sandwich ($8.75) features two voluminous, somewhat gummy cakes swallowing  three strips of bacon and topped with an over-easy egg in lieu of syrup. Nothing fancy, just a basic breakfast in a comfy setting. With all those carbs roiling around my stomach, I need to look for a nine-mile hike.

Carbo loading at Running Bear Pancake House in West Yellowstone

Carbo loading at Running Bear Pancake House in West Yellowstone

Running Bear Pancake House
538 Madison Avenue, West Yellowstone, Montana
Daily 6:30 am-2 pm and 5 pm-9 pm
Running Bear Pancake House on Urbanspoon

In an old-fashioned tourist town like West Yellowstone, it’s nice to see a fairly new trend. I’m talking about the taco truck. Sure, it’s a take on the ages-old Mexican taco stand. But it offers something the road tripper in me loves: cheap, casual, good food, usually family run.

Taqueria Las Palmitas certainly meets all these criteria. The four-year-old seasonal business serves up paper plates full of tasty burritos, enchiladas, quesadillas and the like to customers who retreat to a handful of picnic tables. My three double-shelled tacos (asada/steak, carnitas/fried pork and pastor/spicy pork), doused with a pungent salsa, hit the spot, for less than $5.

Tasty tacos at Taqueria Las Palmitas

Tasty tacos at Taqueria Las Palmitas

But it’s the family aspect that blows me away. Yes, owner Carlos has family helping run the place. But when I mention a very similar-looking taco bus in Dillon, Montana, he says, “That’s my brother’s.”

Carlos is certainly running a Mexican food truck business.

Carlos is certainly running a family Mexican food truck business.

“So, who’s the better cook?”
“I am. But he’d probably say he is.”
I’d say you can’t go wrong either way.

Taqueria Las Palmitas
21 North Canyon Street, West Yellowstone, Montana
10:30 am-10:30 pm
Taqueria Las Palmitas Mexican Food on Urbanspoon