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ummertime in Missoula means hot weather, floating the river, backyard barbecues, hoping for no wildfires and, of course, the Indy’s annual Best of Missoula. This year’s edition—our 19th, if you’re keeping count—marks another record-breaker, as it’s our biggest yet at more than 100 pages. But while we’re pretty proud of how it turned out, the real credit goes to you. Yes, you. After all, each of these winners was voted on by our readers. All we did was tally the votes and write quippy summaries about why each honoree is so outstanding.


So, before you flip directly to see if your buddy took Best Bartender or your favorite guitarist was named Best Musician, take a moment to celebrate your hard work. Even better—you can celebrate with us. Consider this your formal invitation to join us Thursday, July 11, from 5 to 8:30 p.m. at Caras Park for our Best of Missoula Party. Admission is free, and there’ll be food and drinks and live music from the Lil’ Smokies (this year’s Best Band) and the BoxCutters. We look forward to seeing you there.

photo by Cathrine L. Walters

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[best of missoula]

ARTS ARTS && ENTERTAINMENT ENTERTAINMENT Best Art Gallery Dana Gallery Every First Friday gallery night, downtown is milling with people in search of what’s hot. The Dana Gallery is always on that list, without exception, and the mob of people bottlenecking the doorway proves it. Here’s why: Gallery owner Dudley Dana puts together well-groomed exhibits from his Young Guns show, featuring emerging artists, to his Icons of the West show, which last year offered a grand prize of $5,000. The exciting Collectors Resale Show unearths pieces from coveted artists such as Rudy Autio, Walter Hook, Ansel Adams and Jay Rummel. And the gallery taps into the excitement of “Antiques Roadshow” by offering its own art and antique event during which locals bring their household objects to be appraised. And doesn’t everyone love to know just what their old stuff is worth? Dana Gallery: 246 N. Higgins Ave., 721-3154, Finalists, Best Art Gallery 2. Monte Dolack Gallery: 139 W Front St., 549-3248, 3. Missoula Art Museum: 335 N. Pattee St., 728-0447,

Best Band Lil’ Smokies Lil’ Smokies plays parking lots and parks, dives and concert halls—they don’t care! The laidback bluegrass band knows its stuff, though, which is why it has shared the stage with Canyon Rangers, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Keller Williams and Greensky Bluegrass. Last July, the band won a contest to open up for Steve Martin and his band at the Osprey ballpark. But one of its oddest gigs was being the backing band one night for the Cigarette Girls burlesque troupe. Sexy bluegrass? That’s what the Lil’ Smokies do. The group is known for its expert fingerpickin’, its bold energy and a deft fusion of newgrass and traditional. When the beloved band gets rollin’ there’s always a mad dash for the dance floor. Lil’ Smokies: Finalists, Best Band 2. Tom Catmull & the Clerics: 3. Reverend Slanky:

Best Local Musician Tom Catmull In a track off the 2009 album Glamour Puss, Tom Catmull croons one line in particular that we’ve never been able to shake from our heads: “Are we in love and is it over yet?” The question is posed to some mysterious musical inspiration of the female variety, but were Catmull to ask

Missoula, the answer would come from a sea of swing dancing and beer-fueled cheers. From private weddings to the packed confines of the Union Club, this town has once again given this perennial star of “unpopular country” one of its highest honor. No, Tom. It ain’t over yet. Tom Finalists, Best Local Musician 2. John Floridis: 3. David Boone:

Best Photographer Chad Harder The Indy and its readers have long cherished the winner in this category, but a recent story

really put Chad Harder’s grace, perseverance and talent into perspective. The former Indy and Montana Headwall photo editor, who moved to Alaska in March, wrote a Headwall feature article that chronicled in grisly detail how he almost lost his hand during a freakish rock climbing accident while on assignment. Luckily, Harder came out of that harrowing experience in one piece, and with his humor and drive intact, but it wasn’t easy. He went through numerous surgeries and months of grueling rehab. In a way, that ordeal serves as a reminder of how a lot of Harder’s stunning photography is a product of his dogged determination no matter how effortless he always makes it look. Finalists, Best Photographer 2. Dax Photography: 3. Mike Williams Photography:

STAFF PICK BEST BANDS YOU’LL NEVER HEAR AGAIN The arguing was good-natured but earnest: Is “Vomit Cop” or “Traumaboner” a better band name? We may never know, but what’s for sure is that we’ll never see the likes of them again. At Rock ’n’ Roll Lotto, musicians threw their names into a drawing, and an esteemed local music authority randomly assigned them into bands. Everyone from Argentinean flute players to punk rock bassists were forced to play together. After a few weeks of practice, the show, featuring the eight bands that managed to stay together, was held at the VFW on Feb. 23. It could have been awful. But freed from the bonds of being serious or permanent, the bands cut loose, cliques were smashed and an excellent time was had. The show brought together people of nearly every stripe of local music, and injected life into the late-winter doldrums. The best band name was never decided. What was unanimous was that Rock Lotto must happen again.

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[best of missoula]

Thank you, Missoula, for choosing Blue Mountain Clinic and Dr. Ravitz six years running! Come see why for yourself.

Jeff Medley

Best Writer James Lee Burke

There’s more to our care than you might think

James Lee Burke has long been considered among the best crime fiction writers of his generation. It just so happens that the tireless author lives part of the year in a modest home outside of Lolo. His Montana surroundings play a prominent part in the esteemed author’s latest novel, Light of the World, in which his longtime Louisiana-based protagonists Dave Robicheaux and Clete Purcel pick up a case in Big Sky Country. The book is already receiving rave reviews—something about as surprising as Burke’s steady place atop this category. James Lee Burke: Finalists, Best Writer 2. Mark Gibbons: 3. Jamie Rogers

Best Movie Theater Wilma Theatre Going to the movies was once a glamorous experience in and of itself. Mid-century theaters were lavishly decorated and included balconies and comfy seats. Watching a film at the Wilma is like stepping back into those days, with the added benefit of beer, wine and specials on popcorn, plus the option to see indie flicks we aren’t likely to catch anywhere else in town. Wilma Theatre: 131 S. Higgins, 728-2521, Finalists, Best Movie Theater 2. Carmike Cinemas: 3640 Mullan Rd., 541-7467, 3. The Roxy: 718 S. Higgins Ave., 728-9380

Best New Band Shakewell Shakewell understands two things: “If there’s no tambourine, your band’s too green.” Also, “If there ain’t no conga, your funk’s all wronga!” This skin-tight, sixpiece dance/funk outfit started lighting up stages from Missoula to Hamilton (if the sticker above the urinal in

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photo by Cathrine L. Walters

the Bitter Root Brewery men’s room is to be believed) in 2012, and came out of nowhere to take third place in Sean Kelly’s Top of the Mic competition this spring. Their juggernaut toward world domination continues unabated as they cause rumps to shake and backbones to slide at every sweaty show. Interesting factoid: In the hallowed history of the Indy’s Best of Missoula poll, no band has ever repeated in this category. Shakewell: Finalists, Best New Band 2. TIE: The BoxCutters: The Hasslers: 3. The Codependents:

Best Actor/Actress Jeff Medley Jeff Medley has been acting for a few years in Missoula, but recently he got some attention for being an impersonator. In his original production, Won’t You Be My Neighbor, he reenacted an entire Mister Rogers album with great humor and respect. He also, in an avant-garde twist, impersonated local artist Jack Metcalf at Metcalf ’s own exhibit. Medley’s done everything from Shakespeare to Rocky Horror to the dark Crime in A Madhouse, where he played a creepy doctor. His lanky presence and his precise and often humorous possession of his characters makes him one of the most fun-to-watch actors around. Finalists, Best Actor/Actress 2. Rosie Ayers 3. Robin Rose Rice

Best Artist Monte Dolack Monte Dolack’s colorful, nearly dreamlike natural landscapes have made him a favorite in the West. His comedic paintings of wildlife—for instance, fish lounging on couches—have induced chuckles for decades. His work appears on beer bottles and license plates. And it’s not unusual for real people to see themselves in his art. The most recent license plate from the painting “Placid Lake Sunset,” shows

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[best of missoula] a woman and her dog in a canoe paddling on the peaceful waters, which a local woman recognized as being an image of herself. If there were a visual soundtrack to Missoula—a, um, “paint-track”—it might be Dolack’s landscapes. Monte Dolack, Monte Dolack Gallery: 139 W. Front St, 549-3248, Finalists, Best Artist 2. Courtney Blazon: 3. Kendahl Jann Jubb:

Best Dancer Heather Adams Downtown Dance Collective founder Heather Adams helped teach Missoula a valuable lesson this spring: A ban on dancing is nothing but a recipe for revolt. Somewhere between the ballet lessons and Tango Night, she managed to squeeze in a stint as choreographer for Missoula Community Theatre’s production of Footloose. Given Adams’ tireless efforts to keep Missoula moving, we’d bet our other left foot she’s the type no dance-hating tiny town reverend would want to cross. Heather Adams: Finalists, Best Dancer 2. Kali Linder 3. Joy French

Best Filmmaker Andy Smetanka Last year Andy Smetanka raised over $32,000 on Kickstarter to make an animated film about World War II called And We Were Young. Smetanka is known for a lot of things—writing, teaching, delicious coffee-making—but his distinctive silhouette films, in all their blazing colors and fairytale charm, are something to behold. Smetanka has been on a roll in recent years, showing up with a short film at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival and as an artist-inresidence for a time at Missoula Art Museum. He even made a titillating animated pornographic short that screened at Seattle’s Hump! Festival. (Genitals aside, it was the Dutch clogs that really made it great.) His carefully cut silhouettes—complicated planes, trees, soldiers, weapons, etc.—and his frameby-frame work with a Super8 camera make him one of the hardest-working filmmakers around. Andy Smetanka: Finalists, Best Filmmaker 2. Doug Hawes-Davis: 3. TIE: Gita Saedi Kiely: Paige Williams:

FASHION FASHION&&BEAUTY BEAUTY Best Cosmetics Skin Chic By some estimates, a woman who regularly uses lipstick will consume about 4 pounds of it in her lifetime. Want another stat? Your skin absorbs about 6080 percent of what you put on it. Plus, tests show

that cheap drugstore brands of make-up contain lead. So if your routine involves regularly “putting your face on,” it seems like a good idea to use the quality stuff. Skin Chic stocks high-quality mineral make-up, which lets us get dolled up worry-free. And when it comes to special occasions, we prefer to trust our faces to steadier hands than ours. Skin Chic also offers professional application for special events like weddings and prom. Skin Chic: Southgate Mall, 541-8464, Finalists, Best Cosmetics 2. Smooch Cosmetic Boutique: 125 E. Main St., 541-1600, 3. Dillard’s: Southgate Mall, 721-3100,

Best Day Spa Sorella’s Day Spa There’s no better place to get gussied up than Sorella’s. If you need to cover up those jagged nubs that you call fingernails, Sorella’s nail technicians will leave you with a manicure that would do even J. Lo proud. Or if it’s stress that’s sapping your mojo, get a deep-tissue massage from one of Sorella’s seasoned therapists. Wrap the day up with a facial and it’s easy to see why locals consistently select Sorella’s as their favorite place to chill out and get beautified. Sorella’s Day Spa: 207 East Main St., 721-3639, Finalists, Best Day Spa 2. Cedar Creek: 216 W. Main St., 543-0200, 3. Bella Sauvage: 629 Woody St., 541-9032,

Best Jewelry Rockin Rudy’s They say that heart jewelry is only purchased by men, for women, and usually on Valentine’s Day. Break the trend and get something a little different, or blow him/her out of the water and get something really different. Rockin Rudy’s has the essential eclectic array of accessories for every eccentric in your life. But don’t let fancy words scare you away; a simple necklace, made by a friend of a friend of a friend, can also be found among the diversity of rings, neckwear, bracelets and earrings. With prices hard to beat, it’s time to start taking stock for the next birthday/anniversary/random gift. Rockin Rudy’s: 237 Blaine, 5420077, Finalists, Best Jewelry 2. Barney Jette: 228 N. Higgins, 721-1575, 3. One Eleven: 111 N. Higgins, 541-7376,

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Thank you

[best of missoula] Best Kids’ Clothing Whippersnappers If you have a child, it’s a dangerous thing to enter Whippersnappers. The clothing store, which recently joined with the funky toy and candy store, Twist (now called Whippersnappers with a Twist) is a hotbed of cuteness. Not just cuteness, but stylish cuteness in a way that large brands just can’t pull off. According to one of the employees, owner Peggy Roark has really high standards for what goes in the shop. She has a selection of Montana-made clothes from designers like Mouse & Pea and Simone. She prefers organic material. Some shoes squeak so you can tell where your child is (a mechanism that can also be easily removed, thank goodness) and, for those of us who think girls’ clothing generally looks like Pepto Bismol throw-up, she offers plenty of non-traditional colors for both genders. The shop has also added a consignment section, which showcases some pretty sweet outfits that often go for $5 or less. Whippersnappers: 127 N. Higgins, #B, 728-7400, Finalists, Best Kids’ Clothing 2. Kid Crossing: 1940 Harve Ave., 829-8808, 3. Children’s Place: 2901 Brooks St., 728-2152,

Best Women’s Clothing Betty’s Divine Being stylish in Missoula’s four seasons requires a certain amount of creativity. Luckily, the ladies and gents of Betty’s Divine venture out in this weather, too. We love Betty’s for its stock of avant-garde, ofthe-moment tops and dresses by boutique designers, but we also appreciate the well-made, highly practical stuff we’ll wear again and again, like a locally screenprinted Hide and Seek hoodie or stretchy Texture brand pencil skirt with zippered pocket in the front. Betty’s Divine: 521 S. Higgins, 721-4777, Finalists, Best Women’s Clothing 2. Dillard’s: Southgate Mall, 721-3100,


3. Cloth & Crown: 329 N. Higgins, 542-2626,

Best Men’s Clothing Dillard’s Missoula fashion is an ever-shifting tableau of sportcoats, flannels, running shorts and shortsleeved v-necks. Style changes with every unpredictable turn in Rocky Mountain weather, and Dillard’s is there to make sure sporting slick threads is not only affordable but comfortable too. Dillard’s: Southgate Mall, 721-3100,

Missoula. We are honored by your vote for Best Nonprofit. Watson Children’s Shelter

Finalists, Best Men’s Clothing 2. Betty’s Divine: 521 S. Higgins, 721-4777, 3. Desmonds: 129 N. Higgins, 728-8233,

provides a safe, nurturing home to children who have experienced abuse, neglect, abandonment or family crisis. We deeply appreciate your support!

Best Lingerie Victoria’s Secret They say it’s what’s on the inside that counts, and Victoria’s Secret knows that quite well. Vicky’s Secret’s friendly staff don’t mind that sometimes it takes a while to find just the right fitting bra and comfortable yet cute pair of underwear. You might be dressed professionally on the outside, but if you have, say, some leopard print and lace going on underneath your blouse, well, that’s your secret. Victoria’s Secret: Southgate Mall, 721-1811,

Experience a virtual tour and learn how you can help at You can also visit us on f.

Finalists, Best Lingerie 2. Bella Donna: 208 N. Higgins, 549-4000, 3. Adam & Eve: 1401 W. Broadway, 549-4688,

photo by Cathrine L. Walters

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[best of missoula] Best Men’s Haircut, Best Women’s Haircut Boom Swagger Salon There’s a reason that Boom Swagger has earned a fiercely loyal clientele and the top slot in our Best of Missoula haircut categories for three consecutive years. Among the salon’s many highlights is its cadre of creative and personable stylists. They are experts on fashionable trends, yet respect client idiosyncrasies—such as your refusal to chop off that rattail that you’ve cultivated for way too long. Boom Swagger offers hair artistry at its best, designed to suit the Garden City’s quirks. Boom Swagger Salon: 204 S. 3rd St. W., 830-3192, Finalists, Best Men’s Haircut 2. Hair Headquarters for Men: 216 E. Main St., 728-4247, 3. Shear Art Salon 2412 River Rd., 214-3112, Finalists, Best Women’s Haircut 2. Canvas Studios: 429 Madison St., 926-1440, 3. Tangles: 275 W. Main St., 728-0343,

Best Shoe Store Hide & Sole Dansko? Check. Birkenstock? You betcha. Red Wing? Uh huh. Hide & Sole is another perennial favorite among our readers. That’s because the downtown shoe store is locally owned and stocked with a

Blaque Owl

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screaming selection of quality footwear selected to suit the needs of those of us who live and play in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains. From footwear to protect your toes while traversing the most extreme conditions to slippers designed for fireside lounging, Hide & Sole has you covered. We especially like that the store returns the love it receives by holding weekly drawings in which customers can earn as much as $75 off of a pair of sturdy new shoes. Hide & Sole: 236 N. Higgins, 549-0666, Finalists, Best Shoe Store 2. Dillard’s: Southgate Mall, 721-3100, 3. Montana Bootlegger Southgate Mall, 721-3451,

Best Tattoo Parlor Blaque Owl Getting inked is one of the more intense exercises in trust. But clearly Missoulians feel comfortable and confident in the hands of the artists at Blaque Owl. That’s not surprising, given the passion the 2year-old downtown parlor puts into each piece of original artwork. Our bodies are their tapestry, our desires their inspiration. Blaque Owl: 307 N. Higgins, 543-0688, Finalists, Best Tattoo Parlor 2. American Made: 234 W. Front St., 721-3830, 3. Painless Steel: 1701 S. 5th St. W., 728-1191,

photo by Cathrine L. Walters

[best of missoula] Best Thrift Store Goodwill Walking through Goodwill’s overstocked aisles it feels as if the sprawling store has everything one could ever need to build a cozy nest. It’s got clothes, of course, but it also sells things like blenders, bookshelves and CDs, blankets, beach towels and stuffed animals. Missoula already loved Goodwill for its eclectic selection at affordable prices. Now that the thrift store is moving to a larger space on Reserve Street this summer, that love for the nonprofit will surely grow. Goodwill: 2300 Brooks St., 549-6969, Finalists, Best Thrift Store 2. Secret Seconds: Multiple Locations, 549-1610, 3. Bargain Corner: 200 S. California St., 543-4926

Best Eyewear Uptown Optical An Indy staffer who shall remain nameless once snapped the bridge of her glasses in half during a college incident involving beer and a cement floor. She taped her glasses together and rode her bike posthaste to the nearest eyeglass shop, which happened to be Uptown Optical. There, a friendly technician refitted our staffer’s lenses into a stylish pair of Armani frames and charged an astonishingly affordable clearance price. It was a few years ago,

Misty’s Tanning & Ultimate Salon

photo by Tommy Martino

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[best of missoula] but we still remember how much Uptown Optical saved the day. Uptown Optical: 111 N. Higgins, #107, 327-9988, Finalists, Best Eyewear 2. Specticca: 319 N. Higgins, 549-5700, 3. Rocky Mountain Eye Center: 700 W. Kent St., 541-3937,

Best Hairstylist Anna Wong, Shear Art Salon Anna Wong from Shear Art Salon showed up on the poster of last February’s Off the Rack fashion show with peacock wings and, as you would expect, really nice hair. Her personal bold style helps locals feel like they’re celebrities at a high-end New York hair studio. Wong’s YouTube videos show a cross-section of clients who sport everything from popprincess hairdos à la Taylor Swift to edgy faux-hawks with a heart shaved into the side of the head. There’s an air of MTV coolness—okay, the old MTV—to everything she touches. Anna Wong, Shear Art Salon: 2412 River Rd., 214-3112, Finalists, Best Hairstylist 2. Katt Ahlstrom, Canvas Studios: 429 Madison St., 926-1440, 3. Anna Henry, Canvas Studios 429 Madison St., 926-1440,

STAFF PICK BEST FAKE TWITTER ACCOUNT This past year, a spate of faux Twitter handles popped up to parody a handful of prominent state figures. Among our favorite fugazis was one billing himself as KimJongEssman. The trickster took aim at Senate Majority Leader Jeff Essman by linking the Republican’s allegedly tyrannical ways with North Korean dictator Kim Jongun. One tweet from KimJongEssman accompanied an “I am sinistar” YouTube video featuring an animated demon saying, “Run, run, run coward,” and growling. KimJongEssman would have won this category, but the account has been removed, leaving us only with cached pages and our second favorite faux handle, PrezEngstrmsBrd. The photo accompanying that account certainly looks like University of Montana President Royce Engtrom’s well-groomed chin, but the account surely isn’t linked to the man himself. One tweet: “Anyone ever tried Neither has R...#professionallookinprez.” Despite the fact that PrezEngstrmsBrd and other faux handles use (or used) what would generously be called questionable humor, we see them as mostly an entertaining reprieve from the seriousness of public business, and look forward to what will likely be a slew of faux accounts to come.

Best Tanning Salon Misty’s Tanning & Ultimate Salon Maintaining a killer tan year-round can be tough in Missoula, where the sun remains elusive for a good six months out of the year. That’s where Misty’s comes in. It has seven tanning beds and a stand-up tanning booth, each of which allows clients to bask in sunshiny warmth for varied time intervals. Misty’s sells unlimited tanning packages, and offers price discounts to University of Montana students and faculty, meaning that nurturing the bronzed god inside and out, even in February, has never been easier or more affordable. Misty’s: 3101 S. Russell St., 543-0717, Finalists, Best Tanning Salon 2. Brown Sugar: 1220 SW. Higgins, #3, 541-4441, 3275 N. Reserve St., #B, 830-3013, 3. Rayz of Light: 1575 Benton Ave., 543-0205,

FOOD FOOD && DRINK DRINK Best Appetizers The Silk Road The appetizers at The Silk Road are like valedictorians—high achievers. You want pork Schnitzel? You get pork schnitzel with lemon and cognac cream sauce. Craving fries? Well, here’s some house-cut potatoes tossed in Berberé salt and Creole remoulade. The revolving menu of rich and creamy, spicy, sweet, salty, fried, nutty or pickled foods makes eating feel like an art. Those who shy away from pretentious eateries soon learn that for all the artistry put into these appetizers, the cleverness never outweighs the scrumptiousness. Ivy League? Yes. But as indulgent as dropping out of school for a trip around the world. The Silk Road: 515 S Higgins, 541-0752, Finalists, Best Appetizers 2. The Red Bird: 111 N. Higgins, 549-2906, 3. TIE: Jakers Bar and Grill: 3515 Brooks St., 721-1312, Tamarack Brewing Company: 231 W Front St., 830-3113,

Best Asian Food, Desserts Mustard Seed The Mustard Seed’s double-whammy of a win here should serve as a warning for future customers: As difficult as this may be to achieve, make sure to leave some room after dinner so you can eat dessert. That means not stuffing yourself silly on the ginger halibut, shrimp Osaka and bong bong chicken. That means maybe not eating the Asian-glazed pork ribs and General Mustard’s chicken. After all, once your server brings by the dessert tray and temps you with any number of housemade treats, including the famous Chocolate in Three Acts, you’re going to want to make an order. Granted,

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[best of missoula] this is all easier said than done, but you can do it. Patience, Grasshopper. Mustard Seed: Southgate Mall, 721-7444, Finalists, Best Asian Food 2. Sa Wad Dee: 221 W. Broadway, 543-9966, 3. Iza: 529 S. Higgins, 830-3237, Finalists, Best Desserts 2. Bernice’s Bakey: 190 S. 3rd St. W., 728-1358, 3. Big Dipper: 631 S. Higgins, 543-5722,

Florence Coffee Company

Best Bakery Bernice’s Bakery Few things in Missoula turn oversleeping into regret faster than the sight of a picked-over pastry case, particularly when that pastry case belongs to Bernice’s. Show up late and you risk missing out on a cinnamon twist, a blueberry cream cheese croissant or that delicious buttermilk muffin. Sure you’ll still have options, because let’s face it: There’s always something yummy to munch on here. But Bernice’s is the bakery that never sleeps. Shouldn’t that make you, by extension, the customer that never sleeps in? Bernice’s Bakery: 190 South 3rd St. W., 728-1358, Finalists, Best Bakery 2. Black Cat Bake Shop: 2000 W. Broadway, 542-9043, 3. Le Petit Outre: 129 S. 4th St. W., 543-3311,

photo by Cathrine L. Walters

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[best of missoula] Best Breakfast The Shack There are few places we’d rather be on a Sunday morning than The Shack. Its menu has a sweet side that features banana bread French toast, cinnamon rolls and huckleberry pancakes. The savory side, meanwhile, includes signature dishes such as the chorizo and egg burrito, a plate of Angus steak and eggs, and the always-yummy farmer’s omelet. Because we have a tough time selecting from one side of the menu or the other, we usually order one savory and one sweet, making for an immensely filling and also greatly pleasing experience. The Shack: 222 W. Main St., 549-9903, Finalists, Best Breakfast 2. Paul’s Pancake Parlor: 2305 Brooks St., 728-9071, 3. Hob Nob: 531 S. Higgins, 541-4622,

Best Budget Lunch, Best Place to Eat Alone Taco del Sol After a long night hopping around the fine drinking establishments in Missoula, it’s necessary to replenish vital nutrients. Refried beans are a nutrient, right? Anyway, on those kinds of mornings that turn into early afternoons, you might also be short on cash and feeling a little surly. Thank goodness Taco del Sol is a great place to eat alone and on the cheap. Their spicy Mission burrito will have you feeling better in no time. Taco del Sol: Multiple locations, 327-8929, Finalists, Best Budget Lunch 2. Five on Black: 325 N. Higgins, 926-1860, 3. The Bridge Pizza: 600 S. Higgins Ave., 542-0002, Finalists, Best Place to Eat Alone 2. The Bridge Pizza: 600 S. Higgins, 542-0002, 3. Caffe Dolce: 2901 Brooks St., 830-3055,

Best Coffee Florence Coffee Company Whether it’s shaking off a hangover on the drive down to Lost Trail or just snagging a noon-hour caffeine kick, we appreciate that blast of fresh-ground coffee fragrance from Florence’s window. The family-owned coffee company started up back in 2003, and has since built up its Montana empire to nine locations statewide. Don’t let the lines fool you. The service at Florence is as prompt as the coffee is piping hot. Plus, there’s nothing like a muffin top (they bake ’em sans stump) to brighten the day. Florence Coffee Company: Multiple locations, 546-3538,

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Finalists, Best Coffee 2. Break Espresso: N. Higgins Ave., 728-6666, 3. Black Coffee Roasting 1515 Wyoming St. #200, 541-3700,

STAFF PICK BEST SWEET TASTE OF THE BIG EASY It’s no secret we love doughnuts in all their forms. But only one particular kind of doughnut can transport our imagination to a seat at the Cafe du Monde in New Orleans’ French Quarter: beignets. These puffy fritters, made out of a fried choux paste, originated with French cooks in southern Louisiana. Beignets are so beloved that Louisiana designated them the official state doughnut in 1986. Fortunately, we don’t have to hop on a plane to get our fix. Cafe Zydeco on Brooks Street offers a full menu of Cajun-style cuisine, from crawfish omelets to shrimp étouffée. On weekend mornings, though, it serves up freshly fried, powdered-sugar-dusted beignets that are the real deal. And of course, beignets just wouldn’t be right without cafe au lait, so make sure to get a cup of Cafe Zydeco’s house-blended chicory coffee.

Best Delicatessen Tagliare On a recent Wednesday morning just before lunchtime, the smell inside Tagliare would make our Italian grandmother blush with pleasure. Tagliare owner Cheryl Bregen is from New Jersey and, as such, has her finger on the pulse of how to make old-world favorites, including pastas from scratch, which Tagliare sells retail to customers who cook it up at home. Tagliare isn’t stuck in the past, however. Bregan sells a host of innovative sandwiches, including the “Megadeath” loaded up with hams, mozzarella and pepperoncini, and topped off with Tagliare’s signature spicy vinaigrette. Tack on dessert offerings, such as the Italian sponge cakes with hazelnut filling, and it’s easy to see why the deli has earned its place as hands-down the best in town. Tagliare: 1433 S. Higgins, 830-3049, Finalists, Best Delicatessen 2. Worden’s Market & Deli: 451 N. Higgins, 549-1293, 3. Good Food Store: 1600 S. 3rd St. W., 541-3663,

Best Burger, Best Fries Five Guys Burgers & Fries In 2010, Five Guys staged an upset in the Best Burger category when it tied for first place with the long-entrenched and much-loved Missoula Club. In 2011 and 2012, the Mo Club regained its meaty

[best of missoula]

Desperado Sports Tavern

crown. This year, however, Five Guys clawed its way back to the top to take the win outright, an accomplishment that comes with significant bragging rights. Five Guys’ bravado will no doubt be bolstered by the fact that Indy readers this year also voted it their favorite place to get fries. The double win marks an ascent that proves Five Guys is no one-shot wonder. It’s got the wherewithal—and the flavor—to reign as the Best of Missoula. Five Guys Burgers & Fries: 820 E. Broadway, 830-3262, Finalists, Best Burger 2. The Missoula Club: 139 W. Main St., 728-3740 3. Red Robin: Southgate Mall, 830-3170, Finalists, Best Fries 2. Iron Horse Brew Pub: 501 N. Higgins, 728-8866, 3. James Bar: 127 W. Alder St., 721-8158,

Best Ice Cream/Frozen Yogurt Big Dipper The Big Dipper’s myriad explorations in sweetness keep us coming back. One recent discovery blew our minds: “super deluxe” Elvis Ice Cream. It’s composed of peanut butter, banana, chocolate chips and chocolate-covered bacon. Are you kidding? We thought they couldn’t get any better than the refreshing mango habanero sorbet. But the Dipper constantly leaves those of us with adventurous palates daydreaming about what it will come up with next. Big Dipper: 631 S. Higgins, 543-5722, Finalists, Best Ice Cream/Frozen Yogurt 2. U-Swirl: 1220 SW Higgins Ave., 926-1967,

photo by Tommy Martino

3. Cold Stone Creamery: 3275 N. Reserve, 549-5595,

Best Milkshake Uptown Diner Who knew time travel was possible without a flux capacitor? Anyone who’s braved a bit of brain freeze at the Uptown Diner will confirm nothing shakes off the years faster than a milkshake. A few sips on a straw, a chunk of Oreo on the spoon and you’re suddenly back in grade school, when summers meant freedom and household chores paid off in enough allowance to ride a cool wave of milk and ice cream to childhood bliss. You won’t wind up riding a hoverboard, but Uptown’s shakes at least prove that time is far from linear. Uptown Diner: 120 N. Higgins, 542-2449, Finalists, Best Milkshake 2. Big Dipper: 631 S. Higgins, 543-5722, 3. Butterfly Herbs: 232 N. Higgins Ave., 728-8780,

Best Mexican Food El Cazador Since Alfredo Hernandez opened El Caz in 1995, the Mexican restaurant has built a reputation as the place to go in Missoula for authentic Mexican cuisine. That word-of-mouth buzz is built atop heaping portions and savory meals, such as the burrito cazador, filled with top sirloin strips and topped with tomato, green onions, guacamole and sour cream. We especially appreciate that El Caz serves a basket of warm tortilla chips with each meal, equipping patrons with the tools necessary to fulfill the inevitable urge to clean one’s plate. El Cazador: 101 S. Higgins, 728-3657,

Missoula Independent Page 17 Best of Missoula 2013

[best of missoula] Finalists, Best Mexican Food 2. Fiesta en Jalisco: Multiple Locations, 728-1323, 3. El Diablo 1429 S. Higgins Ave., 728-9529,

Best Pizza, Best Chef Biga Pizza, Bob Marshall The recent special at Biga Pizza featured local Diamond Bar brats boiled in PBR, shaved red and green cabbage, and barbecue sauce. A few weeks back, chef and owner Bob Marshall offered a pizza with oven-roasted, locally foraged morel mushrooms, goat cheese, fresh herbs, mozzarella, garlic and olive oil. We could go on, but you get the idea (and, if you’re like us, are already getting hungry). Marshall and Biga own these categories year after year because of the day-in, day-out servings of such creative, delicious and Missoula-centric food. Biga Pizza: 241 W. Main St., 728-2579, Finalists, Best Pizza 2. The Bridge Pizza: 600 S. Higgins, 542-0002, 3. MacKenzie River Pizza Co: Multiple Locations, 721-0077, Finalists, Best Chef 2. Abe Risho, Silk Road 3. Pearl Cash, The Pearl

Best Restaurant, Best Restaurant Service The Pearl Classic French cuisine elevates simple, rustic ingredients like potatoes and game into something sublime. The French-inspired Pearl excels in this, with a menu that reads like Anthony Bourdain’s wet dreams, from “tender herbed rabbit, baked with mustard and bread crumbs, served with crispy parmesan polenta” to “fresh salmon grilled to perfection and glazed with mustard, tarragon and caper butter.” With the curated wine list and impeccable service to back it up, it’s no wonder The Pearl is a mainstay among fine dining in Missoula. The Pearl: 231 E. Front St., 541-0231, Finalists, Best Restaurant 2. The Red Bird: 111 N. Higgins, 549-2906, 3. The Silk Road: 515 S. Higgins, 541-0752, Finalists, Best Restaurant Service 2. The Red Bird: 111 N. Higgins, 549-2906, 3. Jakers Bar and Grill: 3515 Brooks St., 721-1312,

Missoula Independent Page 18 Best of Missoula 2013

Best New Restaurant Five on Black This Brazilian-inspired restaurant opened a few months ago and continues to see lunchtime customers line up from the sidewalk to get a taste. Once inside, the staff guides you through a simple five-step process that includes picking a meat or protein, type of rice, side item, sauce and other toppings, all of which go into one big bowl. It’s quick and easy, and once you find a table you get to dive in for a mix of tangy and savory tastes. It feels experimental, like when you put all the random stuff in your refrigerator together, but without the risk of a flavor clash. Five on Black: 325 N. Higgins Ave., 926-1860, Finalists, Best New Restaurant 2. Plonk: 322 N. Higgins, 926-1791, 3. Riverside Café: 247 W. Front St., 728-6655,

Best Family-Friendly Restaurant Montana Club A few special occasions each year call for taking your unruly gaggle of munchkins into public, cramming them into the plush booth of some fine dining establishment and praying to the heavens that you can make it through supper without someone tossing an epic fit. For these special occasions—last day of school, ballet recital, Tuesday—head to the Montana Club. You’ll find a robust kids-menu, fair prices, courteous staff and, if that epic fit erupts, a well-stocked bar. Montana Club: Multiple locations, 543-3200, Finalists, Best Family-Friendly Restaurant 2. Red Robin: Southgate Mall, 830-3170, 3. Burns St. Bistro: 1500 Burns St., 543-0179,

Best Restaurant Wine List, Best Romantic Dining Red Bird Whether you’re looking for Montana formal—jeans and a “nice” shirt—or a straight-up black tie affair, the Red Bird can’t be beat. With bottles and glasses of wines Old World and New in their casual wine bar, and the private candlelit tables in the restaurant proper, you’ve been a good significant other for suggesting a night in the old Florence building. If you’re staying casual, take your glass out by the fireplace. For the fancy, don’t skip dessert as your hearts race and you become intimate… with the delicious, ever-changing fare. The duck paté is enough to share for two, and some of the wines from unexpected places are expectedly delicious. The Red Bird: 111 N. Higgins, 549-2906, Finalists, Best Restaurant Wine List 2. Plonk: 322 N. Higgins, 926-1791,

Missoula Independent Page 19 Best of Missoula 2013

[best of missoula] 3. The Pearl: 231 E. Front St., 541-0231, Finalists, Best Romantic Dining 2. Pearl Café 231 E. Front St., 541-0231, 3. The Keep: 102 Ben Hogan Dr., 728-5132,

Best Outdoor Dining, Best Seafood Finn & Porter It can be tough to find fresh seafood in an oceanless state. Finn & Porter proves the exception to that rule. The fine-dining establishment’s oyster bar is unlike anything else in Missoula and the restaurant’s selection of fresh fish, one that includes ahi tuna, roasted Columbia River salmon and Alaskan halibut, also provides a welcome treat for locals who crave quality seafood. The restaurant’s idyllic dining environment accentuates the Finn & Porter experience. It’s hard not to feel grateful while enjoying a good meal on Finn & Porter’s deck overlooking the Clark Fork. Finn & Porter: 100 Madison St, 728-3100,

Five Guys Burgers & Fries

Missoula Independent Page 20 Best of Missoula 2013

photo by Cathrine L. Walters

Finalists, Best Outdoor Dining 2. Iron Horse Brew Pub: 501 N. Higgins, 728-8866,

[best of missoula] 3. Old Post: 103 W. Spruce St., 721-7399, Finalists, Best Seafood 2. TIE: Jakers Bar and Grill: 3515 Brooks St., 721-1312, Sushi Hana: 403 N. Higgins, 549-7979, 3. The Depot: 201 Railroad St. W., 728-7007,

Best Salad, Best Supermarket, Best Vegetarian Food, Best Fresh Produce Good Food Store Two o’clock on a Saturday afternoon is serious business at Good Food Store. This is when the store is packed with folks out to do their grocery shopping and try the cheese samples. Besides a handy bulk goods section, where one can get as much or as little of that trail mix or black rice as they need, there’s a produce section stocked full of organic veggies and greens, and bushels of fresh fruit. From aisle to aisle, shelves to freezers, customers can find just about anything to keep their bellies full and healthy. This year the store expanded its take-out section to include a hot bar with tantalizing offerings like rotisserie chicken and homemade-style mac and cheese. The vegetarian crowd will be pleased to know the new offerings include plenty for them to choose from, like spinach lasagna and spicy tempeh, while still offering access to its revered salad bar. It’s clear from the amount of categories GFS sweeps that it’s just about one-stop-shopping for Missoula-area foodies. Good Food Store: 1600 S. 3rd St. W., 541-3663, Finalists, Best Salad 2. Biga Pizza: 241 W. Main St., 728-2579, 3. Iron Horse Brew Pub: 501 N. Higgins, 728-8866, Finalists, Best Supermarket 2. Orange Street Food Farm: 701 S. Orange St, 543-3188, 3. Rosauers: 2350 S. Reserve, 721-5430, Finalists, Best Vegetarian Food 2. Five on Black; 325 N Higgins Ave., 926-1860, 3. Sa Wad Dee: 221 W. Broadway, 543-9966,

Finalists, Best Fresh Produce 2. Farmers’ Markets: Downtown/Seasonal 3. Orange Street Food Farm: 701 S. Orange St., 543-3188,

Best Sandwich Shop Doc’s Gourmet Sandwich Shop





Monday thru Thursday Expires 12.31.13 Must Present Coupon Not valid for Golf League

Expires 12.31.13 Must Present Coupon Not valid for Golf League

Doc’s bills itself as the local “cure for what ails you.” Maybe those medicinal properties lie in the whimsy of the menu, with its roundup of famous “Doctors” ranging from Spock to Phil to Seuss. More likely it’s the tasty, homey nature of everything on that menu that provides a universal remedy. Any place that offers a specialty “hangover stew” and a free cookie on the side is definitely doing some heavy lifting toward healing humanity’s ills. Doc’s Gourmet Sandwich Shop: 214 N. Higgins, 542-7414, Finalists, Best Sandwich Shop 2. Tagliare Delicatessen: 1433 S. Higgins, 830-3049, 3. Dan’s Soup and San 2730 S. Reserve St., 549-7263,

Best Steak Lolo Creek Steak House The closest thing most of you will get to eating a freshly hunted animal in a cabin in the woods happens on a hill in Lolo. Forget dinner and a movie— Lolo Creek is your start and finish line. Steak and lobster tail and the rustic ambiance are a good start; the satisfaction of a good cut from a good source should keep you smiling through the finish. Lolo Creek Steak House: 6600 Highway 12 W, Lolo, 2732622, Finalists, Best Steak 2. The Depot: 201 Railroad St. W, 728-7007, 3. Jakers Bar and Grill: 3515 Brooks St., 721-1312,

Best Retail Beer Selection Orange Street Food Farm Deciding what beer to grab when on the way home from work can be a daunting task at Orange Street Food Farm. With a selection ranging from basic domestics like Hamm’s and PBR, to Montana craft beers from the likes of Harvest Moon and Bayern, to the latest regional selections like Oregon’s Deschutes, we want to try a little of everything. Fortunately (or maybe to our detriment) the Food Farm’s college-budget-friendly pricing means we nearly can. Orange Street Food Farm: 701 S. Orange St, 543-3188, Finalists, Best Retail Beer Selection 2. Worden’s Market & Deli: 451 N. Higgins, 549-1293,

Missoula Independent Page 21 Best of Missoula 2013

[best of missoula]

Megan O’Dell, Loose Caboose

3. Pattee Creek Market: 704 SW. Higgins, 543-8143,

Thanks! to everyone who voted for us.

60 MEDICAL PROVIDERS • 19 SPECIALTIES Lean on us for all your healthcare needs!


Missoula Independent Page 22 Best of Missoula 2013 3. Old Post: 103 W. Spruce St, 721-7399,

Best Retail Wine Selection Worden’s Market & Deli

Best Coffee Hut, Best Baristra Loose Caboose, Megan O’Dell

Here’s a tip for the next time you sit down across from a date and pop open a nice bottle of wine to mark the occasion: Don’t sniff the cork. The cork, for you rookies, is actually meant to be examined. You want to make sure it’s in one piece and not moldy, because if it is the bottle could be of low quality. Needless to say, you will find no bum corks at Worden’s. The venerable downtown market and deli stocks a staggering array of vino and is staffed by some of the most down-to-earth and knowledgeable experts this side of a French vineyard. And if you need additional help in avoiding any more rookie mistakes, we’re sure they’ll hook you up. Worden’s Market & Deli: 451 N. Higgins, 549-1293,

Sometimes it’s the little things that make all the difference for a business, and Loose Caboose does so many little things—and big—right that it’s no wonder it’s named Best Coffee Hut. One thing that impressed us was the very straightforward and friendly notice that explained how badly the business gets dinged by credit card fees, and how customers could pay any way they wanted, but to please consider buying a pre-paid drink card that, oh, by the way, provides you one free beverage. That’s just smart. You know what’s also smart? Writing your customer’s name and preferred drink on the back of each loyalty card, so that regulars get personally greeted. Barista Megan O’Dell, who’s worked at Loose Caboose for four years, hardly needs those cards, though. Her service has generated a loyal following, one that she says keeps coming back because she “listens to what people say and what people want.” And if they’re not sure what they want, O’Dell recommends The Marlowe, an espresso with white chocolate, caramel and coconut. Loose Caboose: Multiple Locations, 728-0833,

Finalists, Best Retail Wine Selection 2. CVS: 1914 Brooks St, 728-1380, 3. Good Food Store: 1600 S. 3rd St. W, 541-3663,

Best Wings Desperado Sports Tavern

CARING FOR YOU SINCE 1922 406.721.5600 • 800.525.5688 WESTERN MONTANA CLINIC.COM

photo by Tommy Martino

This is a new category for Best of Missoula, but local connoisseurs have long known the Despo serves up the best basket of wings in town. Those connoisseurs also know that the so-called Sissy Sauce does not make you an actual sissy. It just means you have tastebuds because, holy mother of hot sauce, anything but the Sissy will light a fire in your mouth. For many of you, that heat is exactly what puts Desperado atop this category. For the rest of us, it’s the meaty wings and the thought that someday we’ll graduate beyond the Sissy. Desperado Sports Tavern: 3101 S. Russell, 549-9651 Finalists, Best Wings 2. Buffalo Wild Wings 2615 Radio Way, 829-9464,

Finalists, Best Coffee Hut 2. Florence Coffee: Multiple Locations, 546-3538, 3. Lighthouse Espresso: 1900 W. Broadway, 541-828, Finalists, Best Barista 2. Lexi Klenow, Florence Coffee Company 3. TIE: Jenny Fawcett, Burns St. Bistro Lisena Brown, Le Petit Outre

Best Convenience Store Grizzly Grocery Perhaps this category should be renamed “Most Convenient Store.” Grizzly Grocery lies a

Grizzly Property Management, Inc. 715 Kensington Suite 25B 542-2060


BEST BOWLING ALLEY Finalist: Best Karaoke Bar Bowl Dog Lounge in Westside Lanes!

Thanks, Missoula!


Since 1995, where tenants and landlords call home.

Finalist 6 years in a row!

KIDS.... BOWL FREE ALL SUMMER... IT'S NEVER TOO EARLY TO SIGN UP FOR A BOWLING LEAGUE! 1615 Wyoming St. • 721-5263 9am-2am • Mon-Sun •

Celebrating our 20-year anniversary!

Loan & Liquidation Company 20

Best of Missoula


Thank You, Missoula, for voting us #1 17 years running

434 N. Higgins Ave. Missoula • 542-6606 Missoula Independent Page 23 Best of Missoula 2013

[best of missoula] mere five blocks from the southwest corner of the UM campus, but they really are a fully tricked-out grocery store squeezed into a Kwikee Mart footprint. Fresh produce, daily-made deli sandwiches, a killer beer and wine selection and keg sales are just a few of the store’s offerings. They also have espresso and Le Petit bread. Grizzly Grocery is a local grocer that probably has what you need for the larder, saving you from having to travel to the big scary supermarket across town. Grizzly Grocery: 447 Hill St, 721-2679, Finalists, Best Convenience Store 2. Ole’s on Orange: 923 N. Orange St, 721-2170 3. Noon’s Multiple Locations, 543-7092

Best Liquor Store Grizzly Liquor Pappy Van Winkle bourbon shows up in a couple of television shows, including the New Orleans HBO series “Treme” and the FX series “Justified.” In a 2012 Atlantic Wire article Jen Doll called it the “bourbon everyone wants but nobody can get.” At Grizzly Liquor, you can get Pappy and other tough-to-find bourbons like Buffalo Trace and George T. Stagg,

Cheryl Nickey

Missoula Independent Page 24 Best of Missoula 2013

which is why the store gets calls from people from Washington, Louisiana and everywhere in between. Also of note is the display of Montana-made products, including Willie’s Moonshine—which sits next to a row of Mason jar goblets made by Redneck Glasses—and the growing selection of artisan booze from distilleries around the state. Grizzly Liquor: 110 West Spruce St, 549-7723, Finalists, Best Liquor Store 2. Krisco Liquor: 1300 S. Reserve, 549-7242, 3. Magic Diamond: 2230 Brooks St., 542-8761

Best Pizza Delivery The Bridge Pizza It’s a lazy Sunday afternoon and you can’t bring yourself to leave the house. Don’t worry. You don’t have to starve. With a quick phone call, you can have a feast delivered to your door. Whether you’re hankering for a soppressata, roasted pepper and feta with red sauce pizza or mushroom and scallion pizza with white sauce, be assured that The Bridge uses quality ingredients and delivers every day of the week, even Sunday. The Bridge: 600 S. Higgins, 542-0002,

photo by Tommy Martino

[best of missoula] Finalists, Best Pizza Delivery 2. Zimorino’s: 1250 W. Broadway, 541-7437, 3. Pizza Hut: Multiple Locations, 721-0149,

Best Caterer Two Sisters Not only did 2013 usher in a sixth consecutive Best of Missoula win for the gourmet grandmasters at Two Sisters, but this spring also marked the seventh year since sisters Beth and Susan Higgins established Missoula’s go-to catering operation. It’s also the 21st anniversary for their original headquarters, the Two Sisters Cafe on the eastern fringe of Glacier National Park. Don’t expect the celebrations to distract these women from their lip-smacking pursuits, though. From offering Thanksgiving advice to serving up a Southern-inspired Mother’s Day brunch, Two Sisters is a tireless and tasty nod to what hard work—and a little coconut cake—can accomplish. Two Sisters: 111 N. Higgins, 549-3005, Finalists, Best Caterer 2. Bravo!: 224 N. Higgins, 541-4900, 3. Burns St. Bistro: 1500 Burns St., 543-0179,

Best Waiter/Waitress Cheryl Nickey, Jakers Winning Best of Missoula is becoming old-hat for Cheryl Nickey. But you know what’s not getting old for this two-time honoree? Making people feel welcome while dining at Jakers. Nickey, who says she’s been waiting tables “my whole entire life” and working at Jakers for a decade, takes great pride in being calm, interacting with her customers and making sure that people leave her restaurant happy. That last part is particularly important. When asked if she has any pet peeves, she says it’s when someone ends a meal unsatisfied. Rest assured, that almost never happens when she’s working the table. Finalists, Best Waiter/Waitress 2. Tony DeSantis, Mustard Seed 3. Jason McMackin, Burns Street Bistro

GOODS & SERVICES GOODS & SERVICES Best Auto Repair Kent Brothers When walking into Kent Brothers’ Fourth Street garage, it becomes clear why the shop does so well in our Best of Missoula competition every year. The shop walls are covered with music listings and posters advertising community events blanket the counter. The decor testifies to the shop’s active engagement in Missoula, as a financial contributor

to area nonprofits and simply as a community booster. What’s more, Kent Brothers mechanics get to know their customers by name and their rigs inside and out. “If we have one mantra, it’s that our customers are our personal friends,” says shop owner Eddie Joy. “It’s the kind of work that the only way you can do it is with trust.” Kent Brothers: 127 S. 4th St. W, 728-1747, Finalists, Best Auto Repair 2. Blue Ribbon Auto: 450 Cedar St, 543-4612, 3. Unique Auto Service: 1414 Montana St, 728-3144,

Best Bank/Credit Union Missoula Federal Credit Union

MI S SSO K NEco-friendly U A LA H Cleaners T "Missoula's Clean Spots"


The push to bank locally hit Missoula long before the “too big to fail” era. And with preemption comes great benefits. At Missoula Federal Credit Union, you’ll find interest-free bike loans, affordable mortgages, manageable credit lines and the keenest staff you’ll ever see in the same building as a vault. Did we mention their newest offices are LEED certified? Like, recycled-jeans-as-insulation eco-conscious. Just sayin’. Missoula Federal Credit Union: Multiple locations, 523-3300, Finalists, Best Bank/Credit Union 2. First Security Bank: Multiple locations, 728-3115, 3. First Interstate Bank: Multiple locations, 523-4200,

960 E. Broadway 728-1919

146 Woodford St. 728-1948

Best Big Box Store Target During our last visit to Missoula’s best box store, we went there with the intention of buying only laundry detergent, cleaning supplies and toothpaste. However, with its endless aisles of what feels like everything under the sun, Target has a tendency to suck us in. It didn’t take long before we landed in the toy section, fondling the squirt guns, eyeing the Settlers of Catan board game expansion sets and palming a small “knobby ball,” one that bounces nicely and is easy to catch. At the end of our shopping trip, we were weighted down with not only what was on our original list, but also locally brewed ale (Target sells Big Sky, Bayern and Kettlehouse in its grocery section), a bottle of vitamin B complex, two new T-shirts and the knobby ball, which, for $2.99, we simply couldn’t pass up. Target: 2420 N. Reserve St, 543-4000,

Blue Mountain 251-3344

Racquet Club 251-3356

Downtown 317-1960

Finalists, Best Big Box Store 2. Costco: 3220 N. Reserve, 721-1535, 3. Walmart: 3555 Mullan Rd, 829-8489,

Missoula Independent Page 25 Best of Missoula 2013

[best of missoula] Best Book Store The Book Exchange There’s nothing like inhaling that “old Kindle smell,” amirite? No? Well, if you prefer to get away from a screen and spend an afternoon on a comfy seat in a brick-and-mortar store, The Book Exchange offers a well-curated selection of good, old-fashioned books, from graphic novels to kids’ tales, trade paperbacks to an extensive collection of books from local authors. And college students take note: The Book Exchange often has texts that are required by university courses, often for a great deal. The Book Exchange: 2335 Brooks St, 728-6342, Finalists, Best Book Store 2. Fact & Fiction: 220 N. Higgins, 721-2881, 3. Barnes & Noble: 2640 N. Reserve, 721-0009,

Best CDs and Music, Best Store for Gifts Rockin Rudy’s Whimsy is a powerful factor in gift-giving. It makes birthdays, Christmas and anniversaries unpredictable, light-hearted and fun. While an inflatable deer mount or a Dammit Doll might not be the most useful possession, it’s surprising what some people put in the “must have on a desert island” category. Rockin Rudy’s may not have it all in the literal sense, but they come darn close. Plus, those endless rows of CDs are guaranteed to contain the perfect tunes for even the oddest musical tastes. Rockin Rudy’s: 237 Blaine, 542-0077, Finalists, Best CDs and Music 2. Ear Candy Music: 624 S. Higgins, 542-5029, 3. Hastings: 2501 Brooks St, 542-1077, Finalists, Best Store for Gifts 2. Butterfly Herbs: 232 N Higgins Ave, 728-8780, 3. The Artists’ Shop: 127 N. Higgins, 543-6393,

Best Dry Cleaner, Best Laundromat The Green Hanger Doing laundry can be an obnoxious chore, but it feels more like a relaxing experience in the freshsmelling Green Hanger, where soap and wi-fi are free and the vending machine sells candy for 75 cents. Bring your laptop to get some work done, and you’ll have your chore done in what feels like no time. Want to save even more time? Just drop off your clothes and the Green Hanger staff will dry clean your buttondowns and slacks or dresses and blouses. The Green Hanger: 146 Woodford St., 728-1948, 960 East Broadway, 728-1919,

Missoula Independent Page 26 Best of Missoula 2013

Finalists, Best Dry Cleaner 2. Missoula Textile: Multiple locations, 543-5171; 3. Fresh Natural Cleaners: 1132 SW. Higgins, 542-8100, Finalists, Best Laundromat 2. Sparkle Laundry: 812 S. Higgins, 721-5146 3. Mullan Station Laundromat: 3420 Mullan Rd, 721-5989

Best Furniture Store Wagner’s Wagner’s is Missoula’s only dealer of Stressless™ chairs, definitely the most righteous recliners ever to come out of Norway. But the family-owned Missoula institution is also so much more. Wagner’s is celebrating its 60th year, having grown from its modest Front Street beginnings into a sprawling showroom perched on the hill at 39th Street, offering a seemingly endless selection of first-class furniture for every room in your house. Wagner’s: 916 SW Higgins Ave, 728-3214, Finalists, Best Furniture Store 2. The Living Room: 2610 S. Reserve, 721-1340, 3. Furniture Row: 3411 N Reserve St., 728-3420,

Best Hobby/Craft Store Treasure Chest Every time we walk into the Treasure Chest, we feel compelled to create, build and play. Paints, beads and model airplanes line the store’s shelves, as do baking supplies, craft paper and small yet burly off-road vehicles (they’re toys, but look like they could handle the harshest terrain). The Treasure Chest is equipped to satisfy the most experienced craftsperson. It’s also capable of assisting novices. The hobby shop offers a wall of magazines that itemize lessons on crafts, including ornament and necklace making, floral arraignments and faux finishes, among others. And the Treasure Chest’s staff seems especially eager to offer tips. “We’re doing fairy gardens this summer,” says clerk Judy Donovan, pointing to fairy teapot homes and a small sleeping fairy figurine. It’s a magical place, indeed. Treasure Chest: 1612 Benton Ave, 549-7992 Finalists, Best Hobby/Craft Store 2. Michael’s: 2850 N. Reserve, 542-0128, 3. Jo-Ann Fabric & Craft: 1900 Brooks St, 543-5244,

Missoula Independent Page 27 Best of Missoula 2013

[best of missoula] Best Lodging Doubletree Hotel For those visiting Missoula or looking to book a “staycation,” here’s how you do it: Call the Doubletree and ask for a riverside room. This means you’ll have a pristine view of Mount Sentinel, the Clark Fork and, more often than not, an angler casting flies from the rocky shore. Then, ask to make a reservation at the hotel’s Finn & Porter restaurant for one night during your stay. This sets you up for an evening of fine dining and exquisitely prepared cocktails, all just a few steps from your room. The Doubletree offers the sort of accommodations that help make Missoula look so good to those just passing through. Doubletree Hotel: 100 Madison St, 728-3100, Finalists, Best Lodging 2. C’Mon Inn: 2775 Expo Parkway, 543-4600, 3. Holiday Inn Downtown: 200 S. Pattee St, 721-8550,

Best Motorcycle/ ATV Dealer Grizzly Harley-Davidson

White House Black Market

Missoula Independent Page 28 Best of Missoula 2013

To a certain subset of the population, nothing signals the approach of spring like the revving of a Sportster. Biker legend holds that a Harley engine’s putt-putt-putt is what a mother’s beating photo by Cathrine L. Walters

[best of missoula] heart sounds like to a fetus in the womb. We don’t know about that, but we do know that we can find all our necessary leathers, gear and shiny new bikes on display at Grizzly Harley Davidson. Grizzly Harley-Davidson: 5106 E. Harrier Dr, 721-2154, Finalists, Best Motorcycle/ATV Dealer 2. Kurt’s Polaris: 2904 W. Broadway, 541-3651, 3. Big Sky Motorsports: 2315 South Ave. W, 721-5341,

Best New Car Dealer Karl Tyler Ah, nothing beats the smell of a new car. Whether you’re sitting high and mighty above the ground in a new Chevy truck, or you’re low and luxurious in a new Caddy, that smell isn’t just the clean interiors. It’s the smell of victory, because you bought your new vehicle at Karl Tyler Chevrolet Cadillac. Standing by the hundreds of new and certified used automobiles on the lot are dozens of helpful salespeople who know more than you thought you needed to know about your big-ticket purchase. They help starving journalists like us realize why we need new wheels, and offer the deals to make it possible. Karl Tyler Chevrolet: 3663 N. Reserve St, 721-2438, Finalists, Best New Car Dealer 2. Bitterroot Motors: 3943 Brooks St, 251-2525, 3. University Motors: 3600 S. Reserve, 721-4920,

Best Used Car Dealer Lyman Motors Used Cars is one of the funniest movies ever, but it doesn’t exactly enhance the reputation of used car dealers. Mark Lyman is out to help change that. He opened Lyman Motors in 2009 with the goal of running a reputable car lot that offers square deals and excellent customer service. Lyman Motors also offers financing from several local financial institutions. They may not have a “mile of cars,” like the claim made by Roy L. Fuchs’ hapless daughter in the movie, but this Missoula success story is helping to erase that old stereotype. You won’t find a single plaid sports coat on this lot, just a great inventory of clean, reliable vehicles. Lyman Motors: 2900 S Reserve St., 728-0000, Finalists, Best Used Car Dealer 2. Bitterroot Motors: 3943 Brooks St, 251-2525, 3. TIE Karl Tyler Chevrolet: 3663 N. Reserve St, 721-2438,

University Motors: 3600 S. Reserve, 721-4920,

New Retail Store White House Black Market In 2008, Michelle Obama wore a simple black-andwhite, sleeveless floral-print dress while appearing on “The View” during Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. Michelle’s fans loved the outfit, which turned out to be a $148 White House Black Market dress. It flew off the racks, and launched the women’s clothing retailer into a new level of fame. Michelle’s dress isn’t in stock any more, but now local shoppers can find their own presidential style at the White House Black Market in Southgate Mall. White House Black Market: Southgate Mall, 721-1650, Finalists, Best New Retail Store 2. Naturalist’s Mercantile: 131 E. Main, 544-0227, 3. TIE Wild Out West: Southgate Mall, 493-1869, Rue 21: Southgate Mall, 549-2283,

You Can See It In Our Eyes

Dr. Sandy Sheppard and Staff thank you for voting us Best Optometrist, AGAIN. 700 South Ave. W. 549-4851

Best Adult Store Adam & Eve It’s hard to write this one without blushing, but we agree with our readers when they say Adam & Eve revs Missoula’s engines. Whatever your bedroom fascinations hold, the friendly and non-judgmental staff at Adam & Eve will find it for you. From romantic to down and dirty, it’s a favorite for Valentine’s Day, birthdays, wedding showers or weekend fun. We’re not licensed sexologists, but if you want to liven it up a little, or have any questions on how, where or why, look no further. Adam & Eve: 1401 W. Broadway, 549-4688, Finalists, Best Adult Store 2. Fantasy For Adults: 2611 Brooks St, 542-1801, 3. Adult Avenue: 137 E Main St, 543-3423

Best Pet Supplies PetSmart It doesn’t matter what kind of pet you have, PetSmart has you covered. The Reserve Street store offers cable knit sweaters for the small yet stylish pooch, aquariums for high-maintenance fish and hamster wheels for the adored rodent. It also sells treats to satisfy a variety of species, including parakeet snacks and tortoise bites, mealworms, which chickens love, and iguana food. The best part about PetSmart is that they allow you to bring your furry friends with you while you shop, better ensuring you’ll get exactly what they want. PetSmart: 2850 N. Reserve, 549-9188,

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Finalists, Best Pet Supplies


BEST WAY TO PAY YOUR TAB When it comes to paying down the brewery tab, every penny helps. Bayern Brewing dropped $400,000 last year on a German-manufactured bottle washer—the only one of its kind in the region—in an effort to keep Missoula’s landfill as devoid of glass as possible. For every brown, non-embossed bottle you bring in (think labels like Bayern, Big Sky, Great Northern, etc.), Bayern will pay five cents. For every Bayern six-pack carrier, the price goes up to 10 cents. Customers can even snag a waxed cardboard Ecopak, which holds up to four sixers worth of goods, for easier transport. If you drink as much or more at home as you do in the taproom, one week’s load can easily pay for the first round of beer. It also puts new meaning to the phrase, “One man’s trash...”

2. Go Fetch! Multiple locations, 728-2275, 3. Murdoch’s Ranch & Home Supply: 2801 W. Broadway, 549-2355,

Best Plant Nursery Caras Nursery Another win this year tells us the staff at Caras has as green a thumb as ever, efficiently dolling out the hydrangeas and geraniums and lilies to a garden-crazed public. But it seems Missoula’s go-to nursery is also quite adept at set design. Despite intense spring rains, Caras put together a stunning floral spread in Washington-Grizzly Stadium for the University of Montana’s 2013 graduation commencement. The sun came out, the students walked and Caras proved that its part in the community extends well beyond the greenhouse. Caras Nursery: 2727 S. 3rd St. W, 549-3242, Finalists, Best Plant Nursery 2. Pink Grizzly: 1400 Wyoming St, 728-3370 3. Marchie’s: 1845 S. 3rd St. W, 542-2544

photo by Cathrine L. Walters

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Best Ranch Supply Store Murdoch’s Ranch & Home Supply There are a few requirements to be a proper ranch supply store: Small resin farm animal toys must be on display up front, as must be the clear plastic bags filled with candies like red cherries, root beer barrels and circus peanuts. That stuff keeps the kids entertained while you go on to grab the essentials of Montana living, be it fencing, a new horse trough, cat food, a pearl-buttoned Western shirt or work boots. Murdoch’s has all this and more. Murdoch’s Ranch & Home Supply: 2801 W. Broadway, 549-2355, Finalists, Best Ranch Supply 2. Cenex: 4570 N. Reserve, 543-8383, 3. Ace Hardware: Multiple Locations, 728-3030,

Best Home Appliances Sears From air conditioners to vacuums, from electric mixers to water heaters, if it’s a home appliance, you know Sears sells it—and probably offers it in red. Their deliver-and-install teams are professional and friendly, and they sell a wide variety of top appliance brands, from Amana to Whirlpool. For all of these reasons, Indy readers have made the Southgate Mall anchor

[best of missoula] store their go-to provider of high-quality home appliances. Sears: Southgate Mall, 523-3200, Finalists, Best Home Appliances 2. Vann’s: Out of business 3. Best Buy: 2640 N Reserve St., 829-0409,

Best Home Electronics Best Buy It’s getting increasingly difficult to keep up with modern day electronics. It seems like just yesterday we were still watching DVDs (as opposed to streaming high-definition movies through our television sets), listening to CDs (instead of downloading digitally enhanced MP3 files to our iPods and iPhones) and reading trade paperbacks in the backyard hammock (and not scrolling through a book on our tablet device). Rest easy, old-timers. The blue-shirted army at Best Buy is up to speed on all the latest gear so you don’t have to be. Just let them know what you’re looking to do—or looking to do better—and they’ll hook you up. Ask nicely and they’ll even clue you in to some of the jargon the kids are using these days. Best Buy: 2640 N Reserve St., 829-0409, Finalists, Best Home Electronics 2. Vann’s: Out of business 3. Sears: Southgate Mall, 523-3200,

Best Store for Musical Instruments Morgenroth Your mom might have made you play clarinet in high school in hopes you’d learn some Mozart concertos, but you mostly remember having fun playing Reel Big Fish covers in pep band. You can head to Morgenroth to tune-up your ax, or find a new instrument to encourage your own burgeoning clarinetist, flautist or guitar player. Ska covers optional. Morgenroth: 1105 W. Sussex Ave., 549-0013, Finalists, Best Store for Musical Instruments 2. Electronic Sound & Percussion: 819 S. Higgins, 728-1117, 3. Outlaw Music: 724 Burlington Ave, 541-7533,

Best Toy Store Walking Stick Toys When you have a baby you’re suddenly all like, “I don’t want my baby to put nasty chemicals in her mouth or be exposed to radiation or wear something made in China.” And so you, who sometimes drinks Coke and has a cellphone clamped to your ear 24/7, goes to a place like Walking Stick Toys because you love your child that much. The locally owned toy store sells locally made and environmen-

tally friendly products that, aside from being good for your kids, will their kick-start their imaginations. We’re talking about truly magical things like dressup clothes, fantastically illustrated books, science experiment kits, well-crafted teething toys, wooden rattles, games, little trucks and school buses, and soft elvish dolls. You can also learn to make fairy and gnome accessories, which will have your little one thinking you’re the greatest, at least until they hit their teens. Walking Stick Toys: 829 S. Higgins, 543-1179, Finalists, Best Toy Store 2. The Learning Tree: Out of business 3. Target: 2420 N Reserve St, 543-4000,

Best Antiques Montana Antique Mall One Indy staffer recently ran into a bit of a problem. A tough-to-buy-for relative’s birthday had come and gone and still a gift could not be found. The answer? A lunchtime dash to the Montana Antique Mall, the one place in Missoula where you can find just what you need even when you aren’t sure what you’re looking for. The trip was a success, but a second perusal of all four floors turned up more hidden treasures: a leather coat, a portable Underwood typewriter, a pristine wooden bed frame. If it weren’t for work meetings, our staffer might still be in there... Montana Antique Mall: 331 Railroad St, 721-5366, Finalists, Best Antiques 2. Circle Square Second Hand Store: 519 N. Higgins, 549-3512, 3. Antique Market: 910 S 3rd St W, 542-5078

Best Auto Detailing Grizzly Detail Say your band returns to Missoula after a threeweek tour of the Midwest, and your Econoline’s interior is so profoundly trashed and skanky that you’ve decided to just burn it down as a sacrifice to the road gods. Put down that gas can, friend, and pilot your rig to Grizzly Detail. This veteran-owned outfit is truly about the details. They offer a range of services from a quick Bob’s-your-uncle to a noroach-left-behind, full-bore spit shine from the engine to the carpets, leaving your precious touring rig spanking clean, with absolutely no sign of the Milwaukee Creamed Corn Incident. Grizzly Detail: 1345 S 3rd St W., 728-8263, Finalists, Best Car Detailing 2. Blue Ribbon: 1450 Cedar St., 543-4612, 3. Southside Auto: 1721 Dearborn Ave., 549-9301

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Best Bail Bondsman Devildog Bail Bonds You had the strongest urge to climb into the super-sized silver shoe that towers above Brooks Street’s southernmost end. Law enforcement decided that wasn’t such a great idea. Next thing you know, you’re appearing in court and a judge is setting bail. This isn’t the first time you’ve tried this stunt, so the judge sets the bail higher than you can afford. That’s where Devildog bondsman Joel McGlynn comes in. In exchange for a fee and collateral, say jewelry or a car title, he’ll promise the judge that you’ll attend your next court date, enabling you to get sprung and still make it in time for work the next day. “I just try to get things done as soon as possible,” McGlynn says. Devildog Bail Bonds: 542-8456’ Finalists, Best Bail Bondsman 2. Earl Rowe: 728-0844 3. Brad Your Bondsman: 888-222-2570

Best Camera/Photo Store The Dark Room

The Dark Room

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photo by Cathrine L. Walters

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then Montana has a novel’s worth of photos around every turn. From memory cards to all-natural lens cleaner to a vest for all those odds and ends, The Dark Room’s shelves have everything you’ll need to capture those images cleanly and crisply. Want to give a snapshot that

[best of missoula] 1890s Kallitype look without just using an Instagram filter? The Dark Room also hosts workshops to improve your skills beyond the viewfinder. And if you’re looking for inspiration, check out the downstairs gallery to see what new novels local shooters are “writing” these days. The Dark Room: 135 N. Higgins, 549-1070, Finalists, Best Camera/Photo Store 2. Yellowstone Photo: Out of Business 3. Best Buy: 2640 N Reserve St., 829-0409,

Best Car Wash Happy Days Sure, it can be a nice summer errand to run to a self-service car wash and hose down the ol’ Subaru, but you’re missing out on a destination of an errand: Happy Days car wash gets it done faster, typically cheaper and you don’t have to lift a finger. Pull on up to the track and let the good-humored dudes and lady dudes take care of your car washing, drying and more than a cursory wipe-down for you. There’s nothing like getting something done without doing anything at all. Happy Days: Multiple Locations, 728-5527 Finalists, Best Car Wash 2. Dazzlers: 2610 Radio Way, 728-6262 3. Splash: 2050 Cooper St, 721-3743,

Best Computer Repair Shop Computer Central Dealing with any computer-related problem often seems to be relegated to going through a mind-numbingly long phone call with some customer service rep reading off a screen. It doesn’t have to be that way. Computer Central offers an easily accessible downtown location, fair prices and a staff of knowledgeable experts adept at troubleshooting and maximizing your computer’s performance. No “Press 1 to hear more options” required. Computer Central: 136 East Broadway, 542-6540, Finalists, Best Computer Repair Shop 2. First Call: 616 S. Higgins, 721-4592, 3. Recompute: 1337 W Broadway St., 543-8287,

Best Florist Bitterroot Flower Shop Whether you forgot Valentine’s Day was coming up or you’re looking to add the perfect dash of color to your wedding, Indy readers recognize Bitterroot Flower Shop time and again as a floral savior. But Bitterroot clearly isn’t satisfied just slinging daffodils

and orchids for eager gift-givers. Last summer, the shop began donating $1 to a local charity for every recycled vase customers brought in. The effort has brought in modest sums, but has helped benefit other Missoula staples like the Missoula Food Bank and the Poverello Center. A bouquet of roses isn’t the only way to get in the giving spirit. Bitterroot Flower Shop: 811 S. Higgins, 542-0309, Finalists, Best Florist 2. Habitat Floral Studio: 211 N. Higgins, 543-0967, 3. Garden City Floral: 2510 Spurgin Rd, 543-6627,

Best Head Shop Piece of Mind All the cool kids like to talk about what local farm grew their salad greens and the name of the cow that ended up being their cheeseburger. But forget “Know your farmer.” How about “Know your glass pipe artist”? At Piece of Mind, the first two cases of pipes are stocked full of jaw-dropping examples of local work. Each artist’s name even appears next to his or her work. Store manager Sarah Exum says she takes great pride in working with a stable of artists, most of whom are based in Missoula but also reside in Dillon and Bozeman. And if glass pipes don’t do it for you, don’t worry. The store has a little bit of everything— local or not—to satisfy your jonesing. Piece of Mind: 123 W Main St., 830-3206, Finalists, Best Head Shop 2. Atmosphere Smoke Shop: 115 West Main St., 728-4420, 3. Mellow Mood: 630 S Higgins Ave, 728-0777,

Best Home Accessories House Design Studio One of the hardest chores in life is picking out something memorable and creative for a wedding gift. We don’t think we’re overstating this. Sure, you can go through some box store registry and get your friend a blender, but good luck having that make an impression. No, we want to get something beautiful and distinct—and that’s why we head to House Design Studio. When it comes to decorating a new home, House has a little bit of everything for all kinds of styles. We’re partial to the Jensen chair from Dwell Studios as a lounge-worthy centerpiece to any room, and the store’s own line of handcrafted wood coffee tables, bookshelves and benches. Perhaps the reason we like shopping here for wedding gifts is that we get so many great ideas on how to spruce up our own pad. House Design Studio: 133 N. Higgins, 541-6960, Finalists, Best Home Accessories 2. Target: 2420 N. Reserve, 543-4000,

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[best of missoula]

Liquid Assets

3. Red Rooster: 333 N Higgins, 543-7777,

Best Lawyer Paul Ryan Leave it to a native Missoulian to handle all your criminal and personal injury needs in court. Paul Ryan has been practicing law here for 20 years, six years in his current form as the reassuring face of Paul Ryan & Associates. “We fight till we get it right,” he says, adding that it’s not just one person that makes a stellar defense team possible. “We have a great staff; it’s not just me, it’s a bunch of us making it happen.” Paul Ryan: 218 E. Front St, 542-2233, Finalists, Best Lawyer 2. Shane Vannatta: 3. Milt Datsopoulos:

Best Pawn Shop Liquid Assets Step right up, step right up, get yourself a fancy new banjolin, and how about a vintage 12gauge to go with it? Well now, you’ll need a safe, so take your pick, and try not to knock over the reasonably priced fly rods. That’s right, folks, not only can you buy your way to full-blown Missoula citizenship, you can sell it off, too. That’s the beauty of a pawn shop, of course, but with Liquid Assets you’re getting a good deal on both ends. Maybe you need to sell a guitar to pay for gas and food while shooting a tour documentary, or you just want to try your hand at the dobro one more time. Lucky you, it’s all within reach behind the pretty

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photo by Cathrine L. Walters

neon sign. Liquid Assets: 434 N. Higgins, 5426606, Finalists, Best Pawn Shop 2. Riverside Pawn: 1300 Clark Fork Dr, 728-7296, 3. 1st Interstate Pawn: 3110 S Reserve St, 721-7296

Best Property Management Company Garden City Property Management Renting an apartment is often the first big step to adulthood and independence. At Garden City Property Management, the friendly staff is helpful to newbie renters and quick with repair requests. Signing a six-month lease sometimes comes with bonuses like a free Costco membership and newspaper subscription. A place of your own and a Costco card? Sounds pretty grown-up to us. Garden City Property Management: 422 Madison St, 549-6106, Finalists, Best Property Management Company 2. Grizzly Property Management: 715 Kensington Ave, 542-2060, 3. Bitterroot Property Management: 414 W. Broadway, 549-9631,

Best Real Estate Agent Mindy Palmer It’s easy to gush when talking about Mindy Palmer. She’s stylish, for one. But that’s just the

[best of missoula] surface. Once you get to know Palmer, you realize that she’s a straight shooter and after working in the Missoula real estate market for 15 years, she knows what’s up. Palmer and her husband and business partner, Steve Palmer, hosts a comprehensive website that’s chock-full of charts and text detailing the ups and downs of the local market, including home values and historic trends, posted alongside a wide selection of home listings. Palmer’s won this category every year since 2006 and remains undoubtably Missoula’s best real estate agent. Mindy Palmer, Prudential Montana: 239-6696, Finalists, Best Real Estate Agent 2. Anne Jablonski, Portico Real Estate: 327-8787, 3. Shannon Hilliard, Prudential Missoula: 239-8350,

Best Pet Care/Boarding Quick Paws At Quick Paws, canines of all ages and sizes will be contented. Indoor and outdoor play areas ensure Fido will be comfortable when he runs in circles, sniffs his friends and plays in one of Quick Paws’ kiddie pools, which are rolled out in the summer months. “You should see them playing with the hose and splashing in the pool,” says Quick Paws owner Charla Bitney. If Fido isn’t feeling high-energy, the pet-care facility hosts a “Takin’ it Easy” lounge, filled with soothing lavender aromas and classical music for older, smaller or more reserved dogs. Similarly, the operation will do home care for pets who enjoy a more private life. At the root of Quick Paws’ many options are the operation’s dog-loving staffers, who strive to get to know their charges. “It’s so important for us to build a long-term relationship with our clients,” Bitney says. Quick Paws: 1720 S. 3rd St. W, 721-1943, Finalists, Best Pet Care/Boarding 2. Pruyn: 2501 S. Russell St, 829-8150, 3. Missoula Pet Au Pair: 2500 S Garfield St, 493-0853,

Best Veterinary Clinic/Hospital Pruyn Veterinary Hospital When a local celebrity pet like Sunny the Trail Dog or Saul the Rockin Rudy’s cat gets sick, Pruyn Veterinary Hospital shines as Missoula’s pet world answer to LA’s star-studded Cedars-Sinai. Operating steadily since Dr. Minott Pruyn’s father Earl first opened it in 1949, the hospital tucked into a corner of the Brooks-South-Russell intersection is a Missoula landmark. Pruyn’s expert veterinary staff has provided medical, surgical and dental care for untold thousands of beloved pets. In fact, if you lined up every dog and cat Missoula’s favorite critter clinic has ever given medical attention, well, it probably would be hard to keep that many pets in any sort of line. Pruyn Veterinary Hospital: 2501 S. Russell St, 829-8150,

Finalists, Best Veteraniry Clinic/Hospital 2. Missoula Veterinary Clinic: 3701 Highway 93, 251-2400 3. Four Paws: 2625 Connery Way, 542-3838

HEALTH & WELLNESS HEALTH & WELLNESS Best Doctor/Health Care Provider, Best Health Clinic Eric Ravitz, Blue Mountain Clinic Just over 20 years ago, an anti-choice activist from Washington state firebombed Blue Mountain Clinic, destroying the facility and prompting a two-and-ahalf-year effort to rebuild. Well, the community threw its support behind BMC, and today the clinic is a fullfledged family practice. Eric Ravitz attributes that rebound to a “political edge that resonates in a community like Missoula, from doing aggressive outreach for reproductive health to not being beholden to a hospital corporate management command.” Ravitz is also pretty sure Missoula named him top doc for another year because “I listen well and am down to earth.” His best guess why both got top billing? Excellent, competent care. Eric Ravitz, Blue Mountain Clinic: 610 N. California St, 721-1646, Finalists, Best Doctor/Health Care Provider 2. Lar Autio, Western Montana Clinic: 500 W. Broadway, 721-5600, 3. Jennifer Mayo, Western Montana Clinic at Community Campus Physicians Building No. 3, 2835 Fort Missoula Road, 721-5600,

Offering quality care for your pets, at reasonable prices, at times convenient for you Featuring

‡Medicine, Surgery and Dentistry for Small Animals and Exotics

‡Animal Convenience Care with Extended Evening & Weekend Hours ‡Boarding, including Special-Needs Boarding ‡Rehabilitation Services

Winner Best Veterinary Clinic Finalist Best Petcare/ Grooming

24-Hour Emergency Service 406-829-8150 • 2501 S. Russell Street

Finalists, Best Health Clinic 2. Western Montana Clinic: 500 W. Broadway, 721-5600, 3. Cost Care: Multiple Locations, 721-5531,

Best Alternative Health Care Provider Christine White, Black Bear Naturopathic Christine White focuses on root causes rather than symptoms, which is kind of what we’ve all been talking about when it comes to health care, right? According to Elizabeth Axelrod, White’s coworker, that’s exactly what patients are looking for when they show up at Black Bear Naturopathic. Axelrod describes White, who is the owner and director of the clinic, as warm and “intelligent and knowledgeable about the endocrine system.” White has designed the clinic to be professional but still feel homey rather than doctor office-y. And the fact that White collaborates with Axelrod on her patient cases means you get a first and second opinion all in one visit. Christine White,

Missoula Independent Page 35 Best of Missoula 2013

[best of missoula] Black Bear Naturopathic: 2204 Dixon Ave, 5422147, Finalists, Best Alternative Health Care Provider 2. Heather Ellsworth, Mountain Sage: 725 W Alder St, Ste 1, 593-7073, 3. TIE Dallas Seaber: 3031 S. Russell Street Ste.1 728-1600 Mindy Opper, Red Willow: 825 W. Kent St, 721-0033,

Best Chiropractor Anthony Lambert Anthony Lambert has a quick, disarming wit, and is well known for his community involvement and undying positivity. But most importantly, the chiropractor tends to his patients—from full families to pregnant women to newborn babies—with the kind of sympathy one hopes to get from a person whose hands are cracking your neck. Lambert, who wins this category for the sixth time in a row, sometimes seems to have a third-eye power for knowing your exact level of stress and tension. Call it magic, but it’s really just a matter of a man keenly in-tune with the inner workings of the body. Anthony Lambert: 1290 S. 3rd St. W, 541-9355, Finalists, Best Chiropractor 2. Scott Matz, Matz Family Chiropractic: 1519 S. Reserve, 552-4014, 3. Ivan Van Eerden: 225 Hickory St, 541-6400

Best Dentist Annette Dusseau Put your unfounded dental fears at ease— Missoula’s Family Dental Group is here. With long

Annette Dusseau

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hours, good music and an eco-conscious office, the dentists in Southgate Mall have Missoula in mind. “I had this guy, he said coming to see me as a dentist is like going to a supper club where the food’s not very good but the floor show makes it worthwhile,” Dusseau says. Missoula’s favorite dentist says she tells weird stories and does her best to make visits fun. The mom-and-pop-style business (her husband keeps the books) gives a personal touch to the whole office, not to mention the obvious kinship: “We’re a bunch of friends working together to do the right thing.” Annette Dusseau: Southgate Mall, 5412886, Finalists, Best Dentist 2. Ike Heaphy: 712 Kensington Ave., 543-8347, 3. Susan Tiede: 3020 S Reserve St, 541-7334 ,

Best Optometrist Sandy Sheppard Sandy Sheppard has two passions: optometry and theater. She attends every local drama production that she can, and Sheppard also puts her money where her mouth is by providing a constant stream of funding to the arts scene. When it comes to work, our readers’ favorite optometrist is in a class by herself, turning what could be a mundane process into upbeat, personal visits. One softball player related how he went to Sheppard complaining of his difficulty in getting a bead on long fly balls that came his way in the outfield. She produced a baseball, held it at arm’s length, and trotted across the room toward the patient to determine the point at which he could focus. Now that’s a flair for the dramatic. Sandy Sheppard: 700 South Ave, 549-485, Finalists, Best Optometrist 2. Jeffery Lebsock, Costco 3220 N Reserve, 542-0191

photo by Cathrine L. Walters

[best of missoula] 3. Kim Everingham, Rocky Mountain Eye: 700 W. Kent, 541-3937,

Best Massage Therapist Fenesa Dilworth, Mandala Massage Journalists go to great lengths in order to uncover the truth. They comb through reams of public records in the bowels of the courthouse. They beat the pavement talking to dozens of sources. They work the phones for hours to get side-stepping officials to talk on the record. In the case of Best of Missoula, they take the time to schedule a 60-minute massage with three-time Best Massage Therapist winner Fenesa Dilworth to learn first-hand what makes her so popular. ( We know, it’s a tough job, but we do it for you.) Since heading out on her own earlier this year and opening her own business, Dilworth has continued to grow her clientele with offerings in Swedish, deep tissue, sports and relaxation massage. She takes the time to learn about your specific needs and problem areas, works those areas (and others) with the perfect amount of pressure—never painful but effectively releasing tension—and, afterwards, talks in detail about how you can personally take better care of your body. We don’t have enough room here to list all of the benefits of spending time with Dilworth—the hot towels, the essential oils, the warm and inviting setting of her downtown office—but it’s certainly clear why she’s voted, once again, as our readers’ favorite. Fenesa Dilworth: Mandala Massage, 126 East Broadway, Suite 23, 529-8726,

Samantha Schmidt, third from left in the first row, and the Alpine team

photo by Cathrine L. Walters

One of Missoula’s best. Thank you! Our booksellers are excited to help our friends and customers find new worlds to explore, new authors to fall in love with, and to keep our community surrounded with wonderful Montana stories. Downtown or on campus, we can’t wait to see you soon! 22o N. Higgins Missoula, MT 406-721-2881

Fact & Fiction


Missoula Independent Page 37 Best of Missoula 2013

Missoula Independent Page 38 Best of Missoula 2013

[best of missoula]

Fenesa Dilworth

Finalists, Best Massage Therapist 2. Sophi Lewis, Dillard’s Salon: Southgate Mall, 721-3100, 3. Kathleen Priske, Sorella’s Day Spa: 207 E. Main St, 721-3639,

Best Physical Therapist Samantha Schmidt, Alpine This University of Montana grad must have been an easy pick for Missoula’s many movers: Samantha Schmidt handles everyone “from the ultra-gardener to the high-performance professional rock climbers,” she says. “I think people deserve to live a life of painfree movement.” Schmidt uses pilates and yoga, along with traditional techniques, to get people going again, and fast. “With that tool basket I’m able to tackle the toughest of the tough,” she says. Since 2006, she’s been impressing and de-stressing those in need of her services at Alpine, which just opened a third location

photo by Cathrine L. Walters

downtown where Schmidt now works. “Alpine is very unique,” she says. “My colleagues, we all push each other to take it to the next level.” Samantha Schmidt, Alpine Physical Therapy: 5000 Blue Mountain Rd, 251-2323, Finalists, Best Physical Therapist 2. Brace Hayden, Alpine Physical Therapy: 5000 Blue Mountain Rd, 251-2323, 3. Jill Olsen, Peak Physical Therapy: 1940 Harve St, 542-0808,

for voting us one of the best! Please join us as we celebrate, by taking

20% off all ROSES. And, enjoy the annual Rose Show at Southgate Mall this Saturday, July 13th.

Best Personal Trainer Tom Mackenroth, Peak Health & Wellness Tom Mackenroth is at the top of this list yet again, which means it’s no secret that Missoula’s best personal trainer takes things to a personal level. The former Spokanite has been at The Peak six years now and specializes in sport-specific training as well as

Missoula Independent Page 39 Best of Missoula 2013

[best of missoula] strength and agility. As the assistant fitness director at Missoula’s biggest workout facility, he sees a good number of people and they obviously leave satisfied. Tom Mackenroth, Peak Health & Wellness: 3000 Blue Mountain Rd, 251-3344, Finalists, Best Personal Trainer 2. Taylor Selig, Gold’s Gym: 2425 Central Ave #100, 549-9181, 3. Laura Bender: 113 W. Main St, 728-4395,

Best Yoga Instructor Jennifer Hoover, Hot House Studies have shown that practicing the Indian discipline of Yoga can alleviate maladies from asthma to schizophrenia. The musculoskeletal benefits are welldocumented, and the synchronization of spirit, mind and body can help us reach our potential as enlightened human beings. Plus, it’s hard not to look hot in those shorts. Literally. Hot Yoga is a fast-growing segment of the venerable meditation discipline, and hordes of Missoula students are joining in to get their moksha on. Their favorite instructor this year is Jennifer Hoover, owner/instructor at Hot House Yoga. Hoover draws on the Hatha, Aruveda and Iyengar styles to teach her healing Corepower Hot Yoga to adults and children. When the student is ready, the teacher shall appear at 127 N. Higgins. Jennifer Hoover, Hot House: 127 N. Higgins;, 529-4091, Finalists, Best Yoga Instructor 2. Brian Baty, Inner Harmony: 214 E. Main St, 581-4093, 3. Celeste Ambrose, The Women’s Club: 2105 Bow St, 728-4410,

NIGHTLIFE NIGHTLIFE Best Bar, Best Bar Food Charlie B’s Charlie B’s has been a lunchtime staple for blue- and white-collar Missoula folk alike for years. Time seems to stop just inside that understated door, long enough to enjoy a slow pint and one of those famed Dino Cafe catfish po’ boys. By the time the sun sets, all those attorneys and journalists (yeah, that’s us) seated at the bar have morphed into pool sharks and longtime Charlie’s regulars. There’s not much difference between their faces and those immortalized in black-and-white photos along every patch of wall. Charlie’s would likely be one of Missoula’s best-kept secrets—if we weren’t all so eager to share a great thing. Charlie B’s: 428 N. Higgins, 549-3589 Finalists, Best Bar 2. James Bar: 127 W. Alder St, 721-8158,

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3. Top Hat Lounge: 134 W. Front St, 728-9865, Finalists, Best Bar Food 2. James Bar: 127 W. Alder St, 721-8158, 3. Iron Horse Brew Pub: 501 N Higgins Ave, 728-8866,

Best Bar for a Stiff Pour Al’s and Vic’s This is a whiskey bar and never is that more apparent than on Mondays and Tuesdays, when double wells go for just $3.25. But the beauty of this venerable establishment is that, no matter what you need to quench your thirst, your stiff pour comes with a relaxed vibe and authentic feel. We can raise a toast to that. Al’s and Vic’s: 119 W. Alder St, 728-4804 Finalists, Best Bar for a Stiff Pour 2. Charlie B’s: 428 N. Higgins, 549-3589 3. James Bar: 127 W. Alder St, 721-8158,

Best Beer Selection Rhino The Rhino offers wine and an excellent liquor selection, but it’s clear when bellying up to the expansive wooden bar that it’s really a paradise for beer nerds. The 50 individual taps, set on the wall in full view of the drinker, stretch nearly the distance of the room, and offer everything from classics like Blackfoot Brewing’s Single Malt IPA to the latest sour ale concoction from New Belgium. We’re particularly fond of Taster Tuesday, when 7-ounce taster glasses are $1.75, which lets us sample plenty of varieties while still being able to walk out of the bar unassisted. Rhino: 158 Ryman St, 721-6061 Finalists, Best Beer Selection 2. Tamarack Brewing Company: 231 W. Front St, 830-3113, 3. Old Post: 103 W Spruce St, 721-7399,

Best Bloody Mary The Last Run Inn (Snowbowl) Western Montana gives us plenty of reasons to ski. Most have to do with powder days, of course, or our proximity to some super fun, technical terrain. At Snowbowl, however, the Last Run Inn offers the kind of motivation that even the most apprehensive downhiller can’t resist: the liquid kind. The name of this revered local Blood Mary mix—“Sheer Hell”— might seem intimidating for those who haven’t been slogging up Point Six for out-of-bounds lines. But

[best of missoula] picking kids up off the bunny hill all day is heroes’ work too, and warrants just as much right to a salty, tangy glass of the good stuff. The Last Run Inn: 1700 Snow Bowl Rd, 549-9777 Finalists, Best Bloody Mary 2. Tamarack Brewing Company: 231 W. Front St, 830-3113, 3. The Rhino: 158 Ryman St, 721-6061

Best Margarita, Best Happy Hour, Best Bartender, Jakers Bar & Grill, Joscelyn Gleed, Joscelyn Gleed has worked at Jakers for three years and covered almost every corner of the restaurant. She started in the kitchen, then began working tables as a server and now tends bar in Missoula’s most popular Happy Hour spot. What makes Jakers so popular? Well, the easy answer is two-for-one specials every day from 4 to 6 p.m. and 9 to 11 p.m. (and extended to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays). Dig a little deeper and it could be the margarita menu, which includes the decadent Cadillac, featuring Don Julio Resposado, triple sec and sweet-n-sour on the rocks with a side shot of Grand Marnier. Or perhaps it’s the house infusions, like the recent cucumber cooler, which Gleed makes herself. Gleed says the most popular drinks are Jakers’ margaritas and mojitos, but she hesitates to name her specialty. She doesn’t hesitate, however, to name her personal drink of

Al’s and Vic’s

photo by Cathrine L. Walters

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[best of missoula] choice. “Crown and 7, double tall, two limes,” she says. Now you know how to tip the best bartender in town. Jakers Bar & Grill: 3515 Brooks St, 721-1312, Finalists, Best Margarita 2. Iron Horse Brew Pub 501 N Higgins Ave, 728-8866, 3. TIE El Cazador: 101 S. Higgins, 728-3657, James Bar: 127 W. Alder St, 721-8158, Finalists, Best Happy Hour 2. Finn & Porter: 100 Madison St, 542-4660, 3. Tamarack Brewing Company 231 W. Front St, 830-3113, Finalists, Best Bartender 2. Tony DeSantis, Mustard Seed 3. TIE Claud Alick, Golden Rose Donnie Morey, Flipper’s

Best Martini Finn & Porter

Best Casino Flipper’s

There was a big kerfuffle a few months back in the Indy letters section about the term Montuckey and whether it’s insulting, funny, stupid or truthful. The combo of Montana and Kentucky evokes redneckness, though most people using the term are from all walks of life and use it fondly. The Montuckey-tini at Finn & Porter is a good example of adoration for the term. It’s made with Woodford Reserve Bourbon and Grand Marnier with a healthy squeeze of orange juice. And it’s a martini, so it’s naturally a good thing. The riverside restaurant wins this category each year, in part because it adds to the menu on a regular basis. Strawberry Fields uses Missoula’s own Quicksilver vodka from the Montgomery Distillery and the Saucy Sailor includes spiced rum. Our recommendation for caffeine fiends: Go with the espresso martini because sometimes just plain coffee won’t do. Finn & Porter: 100 Madison St, 728-3100,

Flips underwent a bit of a home makeover in the last year. The bar removed that awkward floating wall that used to stand next to the door, opening the space up and making those banks of keno machines seem more a part of the whole. While we mourn the loss of the old jukebox, Donnie’s still there with a handshake every time you enter. The specialty burgers still rock, the machines still pay out when you’re lucky, and if it’s really your night, every pitcher of Roscoe’s you buy will come with a winning ticket... for a free pitcher. Flipper’s: 125 South Third St. W, 721-4895

Finalists, Best Martini 2. James Bar: 127 W. Alder St, 721-8158, 3. Montgomery Distillery: 129 W Front St, 406) 926-1725,

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Finalists, Best Casino 2. Silver Slipper Lounge & Casino: 4063 Highway 93 S, 251-5402 3. Diamond Jim’s 1605 S Russell St., 541-6711

Best Karaoke Bar Lucky Strike Unless you are very confident, a libation or two is necessary for a fun karaoke experience. At Lucky Strike, fishbowl drinks come in plastic beach buckets—and you know those instantly lighten up any stodgy crowd. Lucky Strike’s karaoke stage includes a dance floor, and we’ve seen groups bust out dancing while their buddies belt out heartfelt renditions of Garth Brooks songs. Just remember you don’t

have to be on-key to have fun. Lucky Strike: 1515 Dearborn Ave, 549-4152 Finalists, Best Karaoke Bar 2. Bowl Dog Lounge ( Westside Lanes): 1615 Wyoming St., 721-5263, 3. VFW: 245 W. Main St, 728-7749

Best Microbrewery, Best Brew Kettlehouse There’s been plenty brewing over at the Kettlehouse in the past few months—pun intended. Owner Tim O’Leary opted to move the Myrtle Street brewing operation next door and split the company into three, thus ensuring the continuation of taproom culture beyond the state’s 10,000barrel production cap. And up at the Northside, Khole’s token Cold Smoke recently provided the base for a new “sour series,” small batches of Missoula’s favorite brew amped up with special ingredients like pepper and strawberries and aged in bourbon barrels. Just when you thought beer couldn’t get any tastier... Kettlehouse: 602 Myrtle Street, 313 N. 1st St. W, 728-1660, Finalists, Best Microbrewery 2. Draught Works: 915 Toole Ave, 541-1592,

[best of missoula] 3. Big Sky Brewery: 5417 Trumpeter Way, 549-2777,

Best Place to Dance Union Club

Finalists, Best Brew 2. Big Sky IPA 3. Big Sky Summer Honey

Booty dancing to EDM music has its place, but a little old-fashioned two-step or swing isn’t out of style, either, judging by the packed weekend nights at the Union Club. Missoula favorites like Tom Catmull and the Clerics and Russ Nasset and the Revelators often take the stage to get feet moving. It helps that the bartenders never break a sweat while serving a crowd that’s sometimes three-deep at the bar. Union Club: 208 E. Main St, 728-7980

STAFF PICK BEST USE OF A CUCUMBER Right around the time Best of Missoula was heading to press, local meteorologists warned of a potential heat wave that could be the worst since the early 1890s. We’re talking triple digits, possible power outages and increased fire danger. We’re talking the need to tube the rivers, take cold showers and, if you’re smart, visit Missoula’s latest libation station, Montgomery Distillery. The mixologists at this gorgeous Front Street tasting room can whip up an array of artisan cocktails, but none is quite as refreshing on a sweltering summer day as the Cucumber Cooler. Composed of Montgomery Distillery’s own Whyte Laydie Gin, muddled cucumber and tarragon, simple syrup, lime and cucumber soda, and garnished with a slice of cucumber, it’s an easy to drink, instant cool-down. It’s also our new favorite way to chill out.

photo by Cathrine L. Walters

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When only the best will do.

Finalists, Best Place to Dance 2. The Badlander: 135 W. Broadway, 549-023, 3. Top Hat Lounge: 134 W. Front St, 728-9865

Best Place to Hear Live Music Top Hat Lounge Before they won a Grammy, the Lumineers played at the Top Hat on a cold winter night. At one point the band jumped onto the dance floor and busted out a tune to the delight of the modest crowd. Another act, Fred Eaglesmith, played to a sitdown audience while March Fourth, the wild Portland marching band, created a circus-like chaos during its performance. The new, remodeled Top Hat, with its long tables for eating and drinking, still seems to capture the spirit of a live music venue ready for anything to happen. Top Hat Lounge: 134 W. Front St, 728-9865,

Finalists, Best Place to Hear Live Music 2. The Wilma Theatre: 131 S Higgins Ave, 728-2521, 3. Union Club: 208 E. Main St, 728-7980

Best Pool Table The Palace Lounge With new acoustics in place and a shiny new floor, there’s never been a better time to bring in your stick for some serious reassessment of how you play pool. With some of the only regulation-size pool tables in town, get ready to throw your bar rules out of the window—you’re going to want a ball in hand now and then. That said, the tables are flat, the competition is varied and you never have to wait long to get on a table (if you can manage to beat that drunk dude that keeps bragging about “that time in Vegas”). Plus, Monday nights offer free pool, cheap PBR pitchers and local DJs spinning until you’ve spun yourself silly. The Palace Lounge: 147 W. Broadway, 542-5295

Chef Ryan Boehme | 541.4900 | 224 N. Higgins |

Dinosaur Cafe

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photo by Cathrine L. Walters

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Sports are all about forming an allegiance to a team and rooting for that team through thick and thin. When it comes to local sports bars, Indy readers are firmly waving the giant foam finger for The Press Box. At this point, the venerable East Broadway spot is a dynasty akin to the 1980s Edmonton Oilers, Red Auerbach’s Boston Celtics and the 1947-1962 New York Yankees. Unless, of course, you don’t care for those teams. Then The Press Box is more like the 1970s Pittsburgh Pirates, Phil Jackson’s Chicago Bulls and, well, you get the idea. The Press Box: 835 East Broadway, 721-1212, Finalists, Best Sports Bar 2. Tamarack Brewing Company: 231 W. Front St, 830-3113, 3. Desperado Sports Tavern: 3101 S Russell St, 549-9651

Best Bar DJ Kris Moon Kris Moon grew up in Sidney listening to radio stations playing pop and buttrock. But the omnipresent Missoula DJ launched himself into the center of electronic music when he moved to Seattle. He spearheaded Seattle’s Laptop Battle, which is now an annual event, and he’s hosted electronic music clinics. These days Moon kicks out jams at the Badlander’s Absolutely night every Saturday to the glee of sweaty dancers and cocktail swillers. Everybody wants to be a DJ, but Moon’s the real deal, and humble enough not to say so. Kris Moon: Finalists, Best Bar DJ 2. Aaron Traylor: 3. Will Deschamps, Boy Burns Bridge:

Best Bar to Hook Up Stockman’s Failed Pick Up Line No. 328: “I’m glad I brought my library card because I am checking you out!” Nearly every little ranching and farming community in Montana has a Stockman’s Bar, but Missoula’s version is not the place where cattlemen meet up to trade grunts and pound boilermakers. Stocks is Ground Zero for the Spring Break crowd. With a slogan like “Liquor Up Front and Poker in the Rear,”


Finalists, Best Bar to Hook Up 2. The Badlander: Ryman and Broadway, 549-023, 3. Charlie B’s: 428 N. Higgins, 549-3589

Best Poker Game The Oxford Leave it this historic drinking establishment— reportedly first opened in 1883—to master the art of another sin (no, the old brothel is on the Northside). We’re talking poker, and while you better be up on your varieties (dealer’s choice on game style), you’ll never meet a friendlier or more forgiving bunch of gamblers. No high-stakes hustlers to be found here, just a handful of friends and strangers trying to master the art of the poker face, or pretending they already have. It’s a cheap buy-in, happens most nights and shouldn’t be hard to find a seat. The Oxford: 337 N Higgins Ave, 549-0117 Finalists, Best Poker Game 2. Stockman’s: 125 West Front St, 549-9668 3. Silver Slipper 4063 U.S. 93, 251-5402

Order Online



Best Sports Bar The Press Box

Thanks for voting for us Ztown!

how could this category go to any other establishment than Stock’s? Stockman’s: 125 West Front St, 549-9668


Finalists, Best Pool Table 2. TIE Al’s and Vic’s: 119 W. Alder St, 728-4804 Flipper’s 125 S 3rd St W 721-4895 3. Union Club: 208 E. Main St, 728-7980



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PEOPLE & MEDIA PEOPLE & MEDIA Best Athlete Jordan Johnson Oh, well, this is awkward. On one hand, Johnson is the star quarterback of the ever-popular University of Montana football team, making his comeback this fall after a year away from the team. On the other hand, that year away involved a highprofile and polarizing legal case in which Johnson was accused of sexual assault but acquitted. Perhaps there’s no such thing as bad publicity. Perhaps this is a vote cheering a young man who persevered through a brutally public court case. Perhaps it’s just about celebrating cat-quick scrambling ability, onfield leadership and the one player many in Griz Nation feel can return the team to national prominence. In any case, Johnson wins this year over last year’s winner, recently graduated UM point guard Will Cherry. Finalists, Best Athlete 2. Will Cherry 3. Jordan Tripp

Best Journalist Matthew Frank We were sad to see our award-winning comrade Matthew Frank depart the Indy this winter. For the past few months, Matt’s been heading up a pilot news project at UM’s School of Journalism, putting

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[best of missoula] years of solid investigative tact to good use delivering stories on environmental science to rural communities statewide. Science Source took Matt hundreds of miles east to Fort Peck, where he pieced together how a growing Bakken oil boom is impacting the reservation. But no journalist ever really leaves the newsroom. That’s probably why Matt still pops in now and then to keep abreast of the latest scoops and maintain a freelance byline. We may not see him bouncing on that posture ball anymore, but we’re as proud of him as the community clearly is. Finalists, Best Journalist 2. TIE Betsy Cohen Gwen Florio 3. Jamie Rogers

Jordan Johnson

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Best Meteorologist Mark Heyka, KECI “If you don’t like the weather in Missoula, wait 15 minutes.” It’s a tired saying, but it must have a source. All urban legends, at least the ones we’ve decided to listen to, point to it somehow originating from Mark Heyka, KECI’s chief meteorologist and overall amicable dude. He’s part forecaster, part entertainer, and with that face how could you get mad if a sudden rainstorm dampened your evening and he didn’t quite catch it (though this rarely happens anyway). The Kansas native is a lively asset to our NBC affiliate and will outdo your iPhone weather app any day. Finalists, Best Meteorologist 2. Erin Yost, KPAX 3. Russ Thomas, KPAX

photo courtesy of Todd Goodrich

[best of missoula] Best Politician John Engen Indy readers select John Engen as their favorite politician every year, yet we still find it easy to praise him. There’s a lot to talk about. For instance, his staff has to practically force him to take vacations. Left on his own, Engen will keep a break-neck schedule filled with putting out political fires, ensuring municipal priorities are implemented and presiding over what seems to be an endless stream of community events, including Pet Fest’s Wiener Dog Dash. It doesn’t matter where you hang in the Garden City, odds are you’ll find the affable mayor presiding over some event. Finalists, Best Politician 2. Jon Tester 3. Ellie Hill

Best Radio Personality, Best Radio Station Tracy Lopez, The Trail 103.3 Missoula salutes 103.3 FM for another year, indicating that those long hours of contemporary and classic rock are a much-appreciated soundtrack around these parts. The voice of The Trail herself, Hood River native Tracy Lopez, has been around long enough to know the beat of this town and what tunes will bring it out in stereo. From boosting local bands and shows to cranking out podcasts like the new adventure-based “Trail Less Traveled,” The Trail isn’t just part of the community. It’s also the musical score.

STAFF PICK BEST SAVIOR OF AN OTHERWISE HOPELESS MONTANA LEGISLATURE On April 9, Rep. Duane Ankney choked back tears while delivering a speech on the floor of the Montana House. The Republican from Colstrip hadn’t planned to address his colleagues, but as they deliberated the merits of continuing to keep a toothless law on the books that equated gay sex to bestiality, he simply thought to himself, “Enough is enough.” What followed was the type of powerful speech usually reserved for an Aaron Sorkin drama. Ankney’s voice shook as he announced to his colleagues that his daughter is a lesbian. “To say she is any less of a person, or she is a criminal for her lifestyle, really upsets me. And for anybody that would feel that way—upsets me,” Ankney said, pointing at the other lawmakers. “I don’t think God thinks any less of my daughter than he does of any one of you in here.” Nine days after Ankney testified, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock signed Senate Bill 107 into law in the Capitol Rotunda, finally striking the hateful language from record. Gay rights advocates distributed Tshirts featuring a photo of the unlikely ally with his walrus mustache and 10-gallon hat, marking a fitting honor for one of the few bright spots in another frustrating legislative session.

photo courtesy of Duane Ankney

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[best of missoula] Finalists, Best Radio Personality 2. Aaron Traylor, Zoo 107.5 3. Craig & Al, KYSS 94.9 Finalists, Best Radio Station 2. KUFM 89.1: 243-4931, 3. KBGA 89.9: 243-6758,

Best TV Newscast, Best TV Personality KPAX, Jill Valley The local CBS affiliate has long stood by a simple tagline: “Fair. Accurate. To the point.” As effective as that tagline has been, here’s another one that sums up the overall news team and especially longtime anchor Jill Valley: “Class.” For approximately 22 minutes every weekday evening, Valley leads the sort of professional and personal broadcast becoming of a much bigger market. Missoula is lucky to have her. Jill Valley, KPAX: Finalists, Best TV Newscast 2. KECI: 3. FOX: Finalists, Best TV Personality 2. Mark Heyka, KECI 3. Heidi Meili, KECI

Best UM Professor Garry Kerr There are only so many classes at the University of Montana where you end up eating worms. But in Garry Kerr’s Food and Culture class, sampling the dried, spicy Mexican snack worms is just de rigueur. Kerr has traveled extensively, and always manages to impart memorable nuggets of knowledge and a great sense of humor in his classes. He’s been at the head of this class, er, category for years. Finalists, Best UM Professor 2. Garon Smith 3. Mehrdad Kia

Best Blog Dig This Chick Being a parent is tough work. There’s no guidebook, no specific right or wrong way, no day off from being Mom or Dad. It’s not until you’re in the thick of an all-night vomiting session that’s destined to infect you just as soon as you’ve finally showered and put the kid(s) back down, or you’re slogging through one of those dreadful days when your patience is nonexistent and it’s still too early to pass the time with the television, that you realize how badly you need a friend—someone with a little perspective, the rare soul who fully understands the everyday rigors of raising little ones but has a preternatural tendency to accentuate the brightest moments of that process. Local blogger Nici Holt Cline provides that virtual elixir via Dig This Chick with daily rumination on fam-

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ily life in Missoula. It’s optimistic, conscientious, earnest and full of stunning photography. For many parents, it’s exactly what they need to help survive another day. Finalists, Best Blog 2. 3.

Best Website Missoula Events Once again, the brainchild of Colin Hickey and Molly E.H. Bradford wins this category for a community events calendar that’s both simple and thorough. The color-coded events help you seek out arts, music, sports, education and other areas of interest with ease. The duo has expanded its model to Boise, Bozeman, Madison Valley and the Flathead. What next? The world? Outer space? If these mad scientists have their way, the universe will be color-coded in no time. Missoula Events: Finalists, Best Website 2. Missoula Independent: 3. Make it Missoula:

SPORTS & RECREATION SPORTS & RECREATION Best Bike Shop Missoula Bicycle Works It can be a little embarrassing if you’re not good at minor bike repairs. But the folks at Missoula Bicycle Works never snicker at helping us keep our trusty road ponies in good shape, with services like flat repair, tune-ups and complete overhauls. They’ve got credentials, too: Missoula Bike Works is the state’s only Shimanobrand service center, plus each mechanic is a graduate of the Colorado Springs-based SRAM Technical University. The service is just part of it. Missoula Bicycle Works also stocks an array of necessary gear, rentals and dreamy new bicycles, all of which helped it break away from the peloton and win in a town that surely knows its cycles. Missoula Bicycle Works: 708 S Higgins Ave, 7216525, Finalists, Best Bike Shop 2. Big Sky Bikes: 809 E Front St, 830-3195, 3. Bike Doctor: 1101 Toole Ave, 721-5357,

Best Bowling Alley Westside Lanes There’s something special about that stretch of floor between you and 10 shiny pins. A ball moist with sweat. Strange patchwork shoes. Greasy pizza and light, bubbly beer. The toss. A strike! The eruption of cheers from your friends. Westside Lanes is like nostalgia that hasn’t gone to dust yet. It’s where people go to hang out together—not on Twitter or

[best of missoula] Facebook but face-to-face like in a beautifully awkward John Hughes movie. Authentic bowling alleys are hard to come by these days, but we’re lucky to have one right here. Westside Lanes: 1615 Wyoming St, 721-5263, Finalist, Best Bowling Alley 2. Five Valleys Bowl: 1515 Dearborn Ave, 549-4158

Best Fly-Fishing Shop Grizzly Hackle For all of the romanticism and iconic imagery associated with anglers in western Montana, it’s one damn difficult hobby. For every photo-worthy whopper we’ve ever caught there have been two or three other endeavors where we’ve returned talking about how nice it was just to be outside and on the river. Baloney. You want to hook something and the fine folks at Grizzly Hackle can help in a variety of ways. Gear? No problem. Flies? Yep, and they’ll tell you which ones work best where and why. Guides? You bet. It’s worth a visit to avoid any frustration next time you hit the water. Nobody actually believes any of that “It was just nice to get out there” stuff anyway. Grizzly Hackle: 215 W. Front St, 721-8996, Finalists, Best Fly-Fishing Shop 2. Kingfisher Fly Shop: 926 E. Broadway, 721-6141,

Peak Health & Wellness

photo by Cathrine L. Walters

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Bob Ward & Sons

3. Missoulian Angler Fly Shop: 802 S. Higgins, 728-7766,

Best Golf Course University Golf Course This is a bittersweet victory for the nine-hole Griz course. While it’s some of the largest green space available in an established neighborhood, that may soon change if the new Missoula College campus makes its home there. But now is not the time for local politics. Look outside! It’s a beautiful day to play a round! Or play around in the adjacent parks (perfect for winter disc golf practice). The UM course is the best in town—not too challenging, not too light, and you’ll be retracing the footsteps of champions. And perhaps cursing their names out of the sand traps. The University Golf Course: 515 South Ave. E, 728-8629, Finalists, Best Golf Course 2. Larchmont: 3200 Fort Missoula Rd., 721-4416, 3. Canyon River Golf Club: 1268 Bandmann Trail Rd, 721-0222,

Best Health Club Peak Health & Wellness Center Lolo Creek Steak House has been serving ranchers, hikers, bikers, vacationers, hunters, snowmobilers, fly fisherman, floaters, artists, writers, students and their families for over 15 years. We're just down the road, so visit for a uniquely Montana dining experience. US Hwy 93 & Hwy 12, 1/2 mile to our entrance

273-2622 •

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Let’s just say—you know, for the sake of this blurb—that you’ve recently decided to get back into shape after too many years of late-night nachos and excuse-laden laziness. And let’s just say—hypothetically, of course—that you know yourself well enough to understand that the only way to truly replace that six-pack of cold ones with six-pack abs is to sign up at a top-flight facility, decked out with top equipment and populated with elite personal trainers. If this sounds like you, you’re in luck. The Peak’s Blue Mountain complex boasts a pool, indoor basketball court, indoor track, full weight room and enough flat-screen TVs to put a sports bar to shame. In addition, the Peak’s new downtown location has even newer equipment, more workout classes and a giant airplane propeller-looking fan on the ceiling that

photo by Cathrine L. Walters

really helps distract you when you’re sweating through that last 30 minutes on the elliptical and ready to pass out. Not that that’s ever happened to us. Nah. Not at all. We’re just saying. Peak Health & Wellness Center: 5000 Blue Mountain Rd, 2513344, Finalists, Best Health Club 2. The Women’s Club: 2105 Bow St, 728-4410, 3. YMCA: 3000 S. Russell St, 721-9622,

Best Store for Paddle Sports Gear, Best Store for Mountaineering Gear The Trail Head Whether you’re a world-class ice and rock climber or a Gumby who wouldn’t know a jug from a nub, the folks at The Trail Head are ready to outfit you with gear and knowledge to prepare you for that dance with the headwall. What’s their secret to success? Simple: “We do the same activities as our customers,” says owner Todd Frank. The Trail Head’s cavernous store at 221 E. Front is a wonderland of top-flight gear for not only mountaineering and paddle sports, but it also sells shoes, canoes, camping equipment, sunglasses, books and maps, and tons of Patagonia and other brands of clothing. The store even has an espresso and smoothie bar if you just want to practice your crimp hold on a latte. The Trail Head: 221 E. Front St, 543-6966, Finalists, Best Store for Paddle Sports Gear 2. Strongwater: 612 S. Higgins, 721-2437, 3. REI: 3275 N. Reserve, 541-1938, Finalists, Best Store for Mountaineering Gear 2. REI: 3275 N. Reserve, 541-1938,

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3. Bob Ward & Sons: 3015 Paxson St, 728-3220,

Best Place to Get a Snowboard Edge of the World Snowboarding has been fully legit for quite a while now—probably from the moment they quit calling it “snurfing”—and Missoula’s shredders and carvers join local skateboarders at EOW to feed their need for speed. Missoula loves to support a store that supports its community, and EOW does that in spades with sponsorships and donations. “We like to be involved in the scene, to keep it fun,” says manager Chris Bacon, who is also the president of the Montana Skatepark Association. He adds that everyone who works at EOW snowboards. “I don’t get people who live here and don’t do winter activities,” says Bacon. Edge of the World: 618 S. Higgins, 721-7774, Finalists, Best Place to Get a Snowboard 2. Bob Ward & Sons: 3015 Paxson St, 728-3220, 3. Gull Ski and Snowboard: 2601 W. Broadway, 549-5613,

Best Sporting Goods Store, Best Store for Guns Bob Ward & Sons Need some CO2 for your paintball setup? Easy. Looking for a new disc to try on your way to Blue Mountain? Check. Feel like getting lost thinking about all the different ways you can use the varying degrees of tents and sleeping bags they have? You’re welcome. To complete your adventure (with proper licensing and tags), you’re in good hands in the gun department. The staff is knowledgeable for the lifelong and novice hunter alike, and the stock is topquality. Need we say more? Bob Ward & Sons: 3015 Paxson St, 728-3220, Finalists, Best Sporting Goods Store 2. REI: 3275 N. Reserve, 541-1938, 3. The Trail Head: 221 E. Front St, 543-6966, Finalists, Best Store for Guns 2. Axmen South: 5175 Highway 93 S, 251-3399, 3. Sportsman’s Warehouse: 2323 N. Reserve, 523-9000,

Best Store for Skis Gull Ski & Snowboard Glenn Gaertner has been managing Gull Ski & Snowboard for 30 years, and he figures his shop has been at the top of the—ahem—mountain for so long for five reasons: “We have the selection, the pricing, the customer service, the product knowledge, and we all ski.” Having basically the same crew year after year allows Gull to offer a consistency that might not be found in other retailers. Downhillers have been counting on Gull since they started up in 1952. The family-owned business continues to be a rock-solid resource for skiers and snowboarders who don’t want the hard sell. “We sell you what you need,” says Gaertner, “not what we’re trying to get rid of.” Gull Ski & Snowboard: 2601 W. Broadway, 549-5613, Finalists, Best Store for Skis 2. Bob Ward & Sons: 3015 Paxson St, 728-3220, 3. The Trail Head: 221 E. Front St., 543-6966,

Best Fly-Fishing Guide Stacy Jennings Stacy Jennings has had a lock on this category since its inception and some of you may wonder how, exactly, she separates herself from such a crowded field

STAFF PICK BEST HAPPY ENDING Minor league baseball tends to be ripe for the bizarre and outrageous—and that’s usually just each team’s whacky promotions. But one Missoula Osprey game last season ended in such unbelievable fashion that we made note to mention it a year later in Best of Missoula. The setup: Missoula led Helena 2-0 with two outs in the bottom of the 10th as Osprey pitcher Dexter Fowler faced Raul Mondesi Jr. with a runner on base. Mondesi managed to jack a home run over the left field wall, seemingly tying the game and causing Fowler to curse on the mound. But as Fowler and Osprey catcher Michael Perez tried to regroup, they noticed that Mondesi missed home plate at the end of his home run trot. After considerable confusion, the Osprey appealed the play and the umpire called Mondesi out. Osprey win, 2-1. We wouldn’t believe it if we hadn’t seen it. As luck would have it, the whole thing was captured on video (link: We like to think that it’s fortuitous games like this one that lead to special seasons. And sure enough, the local boys of summer went on to win last year’s Pioneer League championship.

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[best of missoula] in our little cast-crazy town. Here’s a hint: Jennings has offered a women’s fly-fishing clinic for 13 years and it sounds nicer than how you probably celebrated Mother’s Day. There’s coffee in the morning on-site, followed by beverages throughout the day and, in the afternoon, a catered lunch by fellow Best of Missoula winner Two Sisters. All that—plus, you know, expert instruction on how to hook a big one—for just $75. Stacy Jennings: 370-4027,

of an accomplishment: This marks the 40-person choir’s seventh Best of Missoula award in 10 years.

Finalists, Best Fly-Fishing Guide 2. Joe Sowerby: 370-2868, 3. John Herzer, Blackfoot River Outfitters: 3055 N. Reserve, 542-7411,

People joke about how much locals love their festivals. There are pet festivals and baby festivals, music festivals and food festivals. The River City Roots Festival is one of the few that actually takes over a good chunk of the downtown with a flurry of live music, art, sports, kids’ activities, food and general merriment. It’s the main stage, however, that draws the biggest crowds, with the likes of the Gourds, local favorites and last year’s funk-filled Robert Randolph and the Family Band.

UNIQUELY MISSOULA UNIQUELY MISSOULA Best Church Choir Holy Spirit The spiritual power of music cannot be overstated. The thrill and emotional ecstasy of voices joined together in song is one of those human experiences that transcend boundaries and ideologies. On Sunday mornings this joyful noise rings from the rafters at the Holy Spirit Parish Episcopal Church, when Holy Spirit Choir director Nancy Cooper leads her tuneful flock. Cooper is an accomplished organist who has performed at the highest levels at events in the United States, Canada and Europe. Even more

Finalists, Best Church Choir 2. United Methodist 3. Christ the King

Best Festival River City Roots Fest

Finalists, Best Festival 2. BrewFest 3. International Wildlife Film Festival

Best Leader of the Revolution Ellie Hill Missoula Democratic Rep. Ellie Hill isn’t one to let an injustice go. For example, during Montana’s 2013 legislative session, she ceaselessly pushed her bill to legalize “corner crossing,” which consists of crossing a piece of privately owned land to access public spaces. The bill died, but she’s pledging to continue to fight to ensure Montanans can reach some 1.3 million acres of

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public lands that remain inaccessible as a result of the existing law. Despite a similar setback during the last legislative session when it came to passing Medicaid expansion, Hill has vowed to make the law a reality, telling the Independent that if Montana Gov. Steve Bullock does not call a special session in to make that happen soon, she will work with others to put the issue on the 2014 ballot. In characteristically fiery style, Hill says that though she’s now pregnant with her first child, she has no intention of curbing her revolutionary activities. In fact, she intends to bring the little one with her to Helena during the 2015 session. “I’m bringing it with me to the House floor,” Hill says. Ellie Hill: Finalists, Best Leader of the Revolution 2. Yetta Stein 3. Traff the Wiz:

Best Nonprofit Organization YWCA Another perennial winner, YWCA is and will always be an important resource for women in Missoula. Not just women, but families and children too. And not just in Missoula, but around the United States, where shelter, outreach and counseling are available to anyone in need regardless of income. You can support their mission through volunteering, shopping at Secret Seconds (which has a new giant location downtown just around the corner) or by getting some classes in and spreading the message of nonviolence. Y WCA: 1130 W. Broadway, 543-6691, Finalists, Best Nonprofit Organization

2. AniMeals: 1700 Rankin, 721-4710, 3. TIE Humane Society: 5930 U.S. 93, 549-3934, Watson Children’s Shelter: 4978 Buckhouse Ln, 549-0058,

Best Place for Kids’ Fun A Carousel for Missoula & Dragon Hollow How long have you lived in Missoula? A lifetime? A decade? A couple months? Doesn’t matter. No matter how many times you visit A Carousel for Missoula and Dragon Hollow, there’s something new to discover—a new nook to hide in among the maze of swings and slides, a new horse (or dragon or eagle chariot) to ride on. We’re saying this as adults, and we’re being honest. Just imagine how cool this place is for a wideeyed little one. There’s a reason parents and kids return time after time—and why it wins this category year after year. A Carousel for Missoula & Dragon Hollow: 101 Carousel Drive, 549-8382, Finalists, Best Place for Kids’ Fun 2. Children’s Museum: 225 W Front S, 541-7529,

[best of missoula] 3. The Hub: 5055 Expressway, 541-1978,

Best Place for People-Watching Caras Park If you like watching people kayak, make out, smoke weed, spin fire, play music, eat hot dogs, walk hot dogs, ask for change or perform interpretive dance, then you’ll love Caras Park. But of course you already do! The star of Missoula’s greenbelt has room for thousands, as evidenced by summer’s weekly

events. Not to mention brewfests, Hempfest, Localfest, (your-event-here)fest bringing every crosssection of this town out of the woodwork. A little secret: Watching people who are watching people is very satisfying. They tend to let their guard down. Get off Facebook and do some real voyeurism! Finalists, Best Place for People-Watching 2. Southgate Mall 3. Farmers Markets

Best Place to Take Out-of-Towners Farmers Markets Farmers markets carry a certain cachet these days. The local food movement has compelled even our most apolitical family members to seek out

lunch/dinner in the park

STAFF PICK BEST CATEGORY WE FORGOT One thing that some people seem to overlook about Best of Missoula is that we have very little to do with it. Sure, we publish this big issue and design a fun cover and sell some ads and host a big celebration (July 11 at Caras Park, ahem), but it’s Indy readers who decide the winners of each category. If you don’t agree with one honoree, well, that’s on you. Just how democratic is this whole process? We even turn over the last line of our ballot to letting you suggest the Best Category We Forgot. In years past, this has provided the inspiration for new categories (like Best Bar Food and Best Wings in 2013) and plenty of laughs. This year’s submissions are no different. Everything submitted will be taken into consideration for 2014, but a few stood out. We could envision seeing things like Best Brunch, Best Burrito, Best Window Display and Best Local TV Commercial on a future ballot. Less likely would be Best Alley to Buy Drugs, but, you know, we do have a friend who’d like to know the answer. Best Make-out Spot has potential, as does Best Bar Bathroom—as long as it’s not the same answer. We’ll have to crunch the numbers on Best Accountant. And while we’re meticulously mulling over all of these options—and hundreds more—we’ll keep in mind another suggestion: Best Place to Pass Out.

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[best of missoula] fresh, organic produce at outdoor markets overflowing with colorful offerings. These days, the Missoula farmers markets have multiplied and extended their selections. When your relatives show up you can take them to peruse the produce while drinking coffee and eating pastries, breakfast sandwiches, brickoven pizza, homemade popsicles and tons of other sinful things. The bustle, vibrancy and community feel of the market is the best way to make a visitor envious or to entice a Missoula ex-pat home again. Finalists, Best Place to Take Out-of-Towners 2. The “M” Trail 3. Caras Park

Best Place to Walk Dogs Blue Mountain With 5,500 acres of mountain forest, Blue Mountain is one of the most diverse, complex trail systems in western Montana, and thousands of Missoula dog owners are hip to it. Dogs are allowed off-leash but must be under voice command. (“Buster, unhand that Schnoodle!”) Dog logs must be picked up and packed out. Your mutt can sniff and pee her way along 41 miles of trails that will take you to incredible vistas of the Bitterroots, the Sapphires and the Rattlesnake Mountains. If you have the stamina, trek the 11 miles to the top of Blue Mountain and you can see the twinkling lights of Lolo and Missoula on a clear summer night.

River City Roots Fest

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photo by Cathrine L. Walters

Finalists, Best Place to Walk Dogs 2. Bark Park 3. Riverfront Trail

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Bom proof