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Whether sightseeing at Yellowstone National Park or hiking one of the highest peaks, you will have an appetite. The good news is that you won’t go hungry for long.
Founded in 1880, Gardiner still maintains its original Old West feel. After a day of whitewater rafting or fly fishing, you can finish your evening at a traditional saloon.
You might be searching for an authentic Rocky Mountain experience, or maybe some bison burgers and local craft beers are more your style.
Regardless, you have plenty to choose from in Gardiner, Montana. With some of the best elk and bison burgers in the country, you certainly won’t starve. Let’s trek to the best restaurants in Gardiner, Montana, and see what tickles our taste buds.
Editor’s Note: Some of the restaurants in this article, as well as several others in the Gardiner area, operate seasonally. For the most up-to-date information on a certain restaurant, we recommend visiting its website or Facebook page.
Best Restaurants in Gardiner, Montana
1. Wonderland Cafe & Lodge
Address: 206 Main St, Gardiner, MT 59030
Located near Roosevelt Arch, the Wonderland Cafe & Lodge is a popular place for tourists to stay and dine. Wonderland specializes in farm-to-table cuisine, including ribs, burgers, and my all-time favorite: the Elk Chili. If you prefer something a little lighter, The Wonderland Cafe has a western-inspired avocado toast that will give you extra energy.
The cafe’s menu includes many vegetarian and gluten-free options as well. Into the 1900s, many referred to Yellowstone National Park as Wonderland. The Cafe & Lodge works towards keeping it a wonderland. Environmentally sound and sustainable practices are a priority.
Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Wonderland Cafe always has piping hot coffee and fresh pastries. You can grab a Montana craft beer or a glass of wine at night. Sip next to the fireplace indoors, or take it outside and gaze at the stars.
See Related: Best Breweries in Montana
2. Yellowstone Mine Restaurant & Rusty Rail Lounge
Address: 909 Scott St W, Gardiner, MT 59030
If you’re looking for the Western experience, the Yellowstone Mine Restaurant is a family-friendly dining experience with all of the Old West flare. It’s open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The breakfast buffet is a favorite among locals and visitors to fuel up before-park adventures.
The lunch and dinner menu at Yellowstone Mine Restaurant is smallish, but it packs a punch. You will find some of the best beef and bison burgers out there, as well as their tasty buffalo chicken sandwich. The kid’s menu is full of favorites, including grilled cheese and mini tacos.
But, my personal favorite is – you guessed it – Elk Chili. The lunch menu has a number of delicious options, including their charcuterie board, which has generous portions of Fra’mani soppressata, Busseto salami, assorted cheeses, fruits, and pickles.
Right across the way from Yellowstone Mine, you can find the Rusty Rail Lounge & Casino, where you can enjoy a full bar with specialty cocktails and microbrews and try your luck at video poker and keno machines.
3. Mountain Tacos
Address: 906 Scott St W #12, Gardiner, MT 59030
Mountain Tacos is the best Mexican food in town and is located at the heart of the Northern Entrance of Yellowstone National Park. You’ll find some of the yummiest Mexican food, and the fast and friendly service is a happy bonus.
Mountain Tacos is known for its quesadilla dish, the OMG!!! Quesa, and the enormous portions of authentic tacos, burritos, and nachos. But what I know Mountain Tacos for is the breakfast burrito.
You can choose the meat – sausage, chorizo, or jalapeno bacon – or no meat. Mountain Tacos has reasonable prices and a kid’s menu that includes cheese quesadillas, nachos, and tacos.
See Related: Best Places to Visit in Montana & Things to Do
4. Red’s Blue Goose Saloon
Address: 206 Park Street, Gardiner, MT 59030
The Red’s Blue Goose Saloon is reimagining the traditional saloon. The casual atmosphere includes an outdoor bar and a variety of food trucks. The food truck experience includes Bears Brew, Yellowstone Ice Cream, and Sagebrushes & Savages.
You will find various foods such as sandwiches, fries, locally sourced food, and tacos. If you need a boost, you will find a stocked coffee kiosk so you can grab and go.
The Red’s Blue Goose Saloon’s drinks menu is a big draw. I know when I need an adult beverage, the Huckleberry Vodka Lemonade is my specialty drink of choice, and there is a virgin option as well. The Red’s Blue Goose also serves Montana-made whiskey and Montana craft beer.
The Red’s Blue Goose Saloon is an outdoor venue that hosts bands and events, making the space lively and inviting. The kids can play fun yard games while you listen to your favorite music.
5. Grizzly Grille
Address: Grizzly Grille, 375 US-89, Gardiner, MT 59030
Authentic and warm, the Grizzly Grille is a family-owned business located near Yellowstone National Park. The staff is friendly and attentive and wants you to enjoy your meal. And the outdoor seating gives you a delightful view
Grizzly Grille serves unique food with an Asian influence that ranges from rice bowls to fish and chips to pulled pork sandwiches. Grizzly Grille also offers gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options if you have special dietary needs. It’s always hard to choose between the B.Y.O. Bowl or the Grizzly Po Boy, so I usually get both.
At Grizzly Grille, you can build your rice bowl and enjoy the sunset over Yellowstone. Or, order it online and take it back to your favorite spot. The Grizzly Grille is one of the most family-friendly restaurants in Gardiner and a great place to make Montana food memories.
See Related: Best Things to Do in Missoula, Montana
6. The CORRAL
Address: 711 Scott Street West, Gardiner, MT 59030
You never know when you may encounter an A-list star at The CORRAL. Dennis Quaid is known to frequent this guru of burgers while in Gardiner, Montana. All of the food on CORRAL’s exciting menu is farm-to-restaurant and organic.
This is the place to go if you are hankering for a hunk of meat. You can find burgers like traditional bacon cheeseburgers and their famous bison and elk burgers. Their Elk Burger was voted Best Elk Burger in Montana by USA Today.
The CORRAL is the longest-standing business in Gardiner and has used those decades of experience to provide quality service and offer an inviting atmosphere. The CORRAL serves up family-friendly options for food and has a drink menu with choices of draft or craft beer and wine. And the whole family can enjoy dining indoors or outdoors or grab it from the drive-thru window.
As part of the Western Sustainability Exchange program, The CORRAL locally sources sustainable foods and promotes Montana conservation.
7. Tumbleweed Bookstore & Cafe
Address: 501 Scott St W, Gardiner, MT 59030
Most small towns in America have hidden treasures waiting to be found. The Tumbleweed Bookstore & Cafe is tucked into the heart of Downtown Gardiner and serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I typically stop by the Tumbleweed Cafe on my way to work to get a cup of the best coffee in Montana and one of their famous breakfast burritos.
Special dietary needs are no problem at Tumbleweed. They have vegan, gluten-free, and vegetarian options on the menu. Whether you’re craving a wrap, salad, soup, or side dishes, Tumbleweed Bookstore & Cafe has it all.
Bookshelves are full of bound treasures that you can grab for traveling. Or, you can stay awhile and enjoy your coffee and pastry while you read. The indoor space smells like coffee, pastries, and old books. And the view outside is awfully pretty, too.
See Related: Best Family Vacations on a Budget
8. CinnaBear Bakery & Deli
Address: 401 Scott St W, Gardiner, MT 59030
A sweet-stuff tour isn’t complete without a stop at the CinnaBear Bakery & Deli. CinnaBear bakes hot bread, cinnamon rolls, and delicious pastries daily.
Their deli-style sandwiches are some of the best in Gardiner, Montana. The freshly baked bread and the best meats and cheeses create a tasty, filling sandwich. They also offer a delicious dish of homemade biscuits and sausage gravy.
You will find sweet, savory, and the in-between at the CinnaBear Bakery & Deli, which makes it hard to decide on what hits the spot.
My favorite sweet from CinnaBear is the Peanut Butter Buffalo crepe, while my savory side loves The Porker sandwich, which consists of bacon, cheddar cheese, spinach, and gravy.
9. Cowboy’s Lodge and Grille
Address: 303 2nd Street South, Gardiner, MT 59030
The Cowboy’s Lodge and Grille has that Wild West feel with all the chuckwagon goodness. It’s perfectly situated so you get a sideline view of the Yellowstone River while eating.
The comfort cuisines include hamburgers, steak, and even low-carb and gluten-free BBQ. My go-to is a side of Wildfire Mac & Cheese and The Dizzy Buffalo, a 1/2-pound buffalo burger topped with an abundance of cheeses at a reasonable price.
The Cowboy’s Lodge and Grille has a fun drink menu, too. The famous Cowboy Cooler in a Cowboy Boot is a seasonal drink specialty served in a 64 oz. cowboy boot for all to share. The top-notch staff are quick on their feet and keep the atmosphere warm and inviting.
See Related: Things to Do in Livingston, Montana
10. Iron Horse Bar & Grille
Address: 212 Spring St, Gardiner, MT 59030
The Iron Horse Bar & Grille is an after-hours hotspot that both locals and visitors enjoy. The watering hole has a breathtaking view of the expansive Rocky Mountains, and the welcoming environment makes it easy to stay well into the night.
The food at Iron Horse Bar & Grille includes Rocky Mountain trout, elk and bison burgers, pulled pork sandwiches, and, my favorite, elk nachos. Iron Horse also has a children’s menu for kids with simpler tastes, including cheeseburgers and chicken strips with fries.
Iron Horse has a full bar, so don’t forget to wash it all down with your choice from a variety of draft and Montana craft beer, as well as domestic and imported beers. They have a number of specialty cocktails as well, including Moscow Mule, Dark and Stormy, Fizz Hottie, and Jack Whiskey Punch.
The outdoor seating is undoubtedly worth it, but the indoor space is quite a sight to see, too. It includes local memorabilia, authentic historical photos, and mind-boggling oddities mounted on the walls and ceilings.
Editor’s Note: Some of the restaurants in this article, as well as several others in the Gardiner area, can be closed for the season. For the most up-to-date information on a certain restaurant, we recommend visiting their website or Facebook page.
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Kyle Kroeger is the Founder and Owner of ViaTravelers.com. He is a full-time traveler and entrepreneur. Kyle started ViaTravelers.com to help travelers experience a fully immersive cultural experience as he did initially living in Italy. He’s a converted finance nerd and Excel jockey turned world wanderer (and may try to get lost on purpose). After visiting 12 countries and 13 national parks in a year, he was devoted to creating and telling stories like he’d heard.
Plus, after spending more time on airplanes and packing, he’s learned some incredible travel hacks over time as he earned over 1 million Chase Ultimate Rewards points in under a year, helping him maximize experiences as much as possible to discover the true meaning of travel.
He loves listening to local stories from around the world and sharing his experiences traveling the globe. He loves travel so much that he moved from his hometown of Minneapolis to Amsterdam with his small family to travel Europe full-time.