Very Tasty Times Part 3

Food for thought as Red Lodge soars
Alastair Baker
News Editor
Thursday, November 8, 2018

Photos by Carmen Levick
The Carbon County Steakhouse served a Cowboy Coffee Rib Eye, a 14oz. cut seasoned with a touch of coffee rub then finished with a coffee and rum demi glace.

Wild Table served up its in-house smoked trout ("Montana lox") and roasted baby squash with blossoms, feta cheese, zataar vinaigrette. The restaurant’s suppliers include Shoshone River Farm, Jacqueline at the old flower farm, and Montana suppliers.

‘Taste our Place’ is a new program under the Made in Montana brand and seeks to connect ag producers with restaurants and promote establishments serving food made from locally sourced ingredients. Just recently the Department of Commerce came through Red Lodge to promote the program and to sample and experience the Foodie Revolution taking place. Here are the final two restaurants they visited, The Wild Table and Carbon County Steakhouse. 

As the food tour of Red Lodge wound down Jan Stoddard, Bureau Chief, Industry Services & Outreach, with the Dept. of Commerce, commented on how “Wonderful it is to see people talk about their passions.”

Stoddard was referring to the restaurant owners visited and “the stories from them and managers, and even chefs, of how they leveraged their vision for incorporating healthy Montana ingredients into a successful business.”

“Their determination is so admirable,” said Stoddard.

At Carbon County Steakhouse Stoddard was impressed by “an incredible coffee rubbed steak” that is the restaurant’s signature dish since its inception nearly 20 years ago. 

Bonnie Ples, General Manager of Carbon County Steakhouse, said, “That’s our Cowboy Coffee Rib Eye, a 14oz. cut seasoned with a touch of coffee rub then finished with a coffee and rum demi glace.”  

Ples talked of the owner Tom Kuntz being aware of local produce almost 20 years  before the present interest when he’d get his steaks from the Lazy EL Ranch.

Now the restaurant carries beef and pork from Gallagher Natural Beef of Clark, Wyoming and Shoshone River Farm in Cody, Wyoming.  The business also gets a lot of herbs from Sysco via a farm in Laurel.

“Even as larger distribution goes, we are able to get produce locally and fresh,” said Ples who thought the visit was “excellent.”

“Sherry Weamer (Exec Dir. of the Red Lodge Chamber of Commerce) did a great job getting us to be a part of this,” said Ples. 

Sheena Ernst, owner of Wild Table, was equally buoyed up by the visit.  

“This was an excellent visit planned by the Chamber. I think it is good for my business, for the local producers and for Montana by bringing awareness to what individuals are trying to do by sourcing locally, keeping business within the state and taking advantage of the wonderful products we have here,” said Ernst.

“I hope it continues to grow and blossom,” said Ples of the foodie wave. “I’m excited about the enthusiasm, and excited to see the community on board and it does take more than one restaurant to push that out there, you need a unified force pushing for Red Lodge's economy.”

“I hope it draws people from Billings and Cody and from elsewhere to experience our food scene,” said Weamer. “Bringing in the ag component and making their lives easier by creating these hubs they are talking about will produce some action from it. It’ll keep Red Lodge out there. We have a lot of talent in town.” 

Red Lodge Mayor Bill Larson added it is “a great tribute to our Chamber and CVB to get those people here.” 

“When you see our restaurant owners shopping at the farmer’s market it is a real tribute to our restaurants,” said. 

“From our experience, we felt that community members were embracing new restaurants and new food offerings. During our tour of local restaurants, we would always find a mix of locals and visitors,” said Stoddard.  “In talking with Red Lodge residents, we found an overwhelming support for these new restaurants.”

“Red Lodge sounds like a place you can come home to,” said Stoddard. 

The group visited eight venues over a two-day period: Regis Café, Carbon Fork, Carbon County Steakhouse, Red Lodge Ales, The Wild Table, Honeys Café, Prerogative Kitchen and Pom Italian Eatery.



Upcoming Events

  • Thursday, May 23, 2019 - 7:00pm
    Meets every Thursday, 7 p.m. – 8 p.m. at the Red Lodge Area Community Foundation, 122 S. Hauser. It is open to all. 425- 1755.
  • Thursday, May 23, 2019 - 7:00pm
    Clarks Fork Group meets at St. Joseph’s Catholic Hall, north end of Montana Avenue, Thursday at 7 p.m.
  • Friday, May 24, 2019 - 7:00pm
    Rock Creek Group meets Tuesdays and Saturdays at 8 a.m. and Wednesdays and Fridays at 7 p.m. at Calvary Church, 9 N Villard, Red Lodge.
  • Monday, May 27, 2019 - 7:00am
    *American Legion Carbon County Post 17 Memorial Day schedule, May 27 7 a.m. Breakfast at Red Lodge Café 8:30 a.m. Memorial Service at Belfry Cemetery 9:30 a.m. Memorial Service at Bearcreek Cemetery 10:30 a.m. Parade through Red Lodge.  10:15 a.m. Meet at the corner of 14th and Broadway. Following parade there will be a lunch  at the Red Lodge Elk’s Lodge 11 a.m. Memorial Service at Red Lodge Cemetery 1:30 p.m. Parade in Roberts followed by Memorial Service at Roberts Cemetery. For further information contact Kenneth Beggs, Commander Carbon County Post 17 at   *The Clarks Fork American Legion Post 71 and the Joliet VFW Post 5748 will be doing Memorial Day services Monday, May 27. Rev. Robert Reed of the Joliet Baptist  Church will be the Speaker of the day.   The schedule for the day will be: 9 a.m. Services at the Gebo Cemetery. 9:30 a.m. March through Fromberg Main St. 10 a.m.   Services at Rockvale Cemetery 11 a.m. Services at Joliet Cemetery 11:30 a.m. March through Joliet Main St. A potluck lunch will be held at the  Joliet Community Center following the services.  Everyone is welcome to come. Any veterans who would like to help who haven’t been contacted can show up at the Gebo Cemetery at 8:45 a.m. Memorial Day or call Rich Pierce at 962-3320 or Jody Stene 962-3779.  
  • Monday, May 27, 2019 - 7:00pm
    Joliet Group meets at the Community Center Monday at 7 p.m.
  • Tuesday, May 28, 2019 - 7:00pm
    Now Group meets at the Bridger United Methodist Church, 222 W. Broadway (west entrance of church) Tuesday at 7 p.m.

The Carbon County News

Street Address:

11 N. Broadway, Red Lodge, MT 59068

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 970, Red Lodge, MT 59068

Phone: 406-446-2222

Fax: 406-446-2225

Toll-Free: 800-735-8843

Open: Monday-Friday, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.