At long last — a crack in the armor of the tyranny of 10th Avenue South! A new Starbucks has opened on the northwest side of Great Falls!

OK, it’s not a free-standing Starbucks — but it’s a legit SBX that can serve up my precious 10-shot iced espresso!

It opened yesterday inside the Albertsons on 3rd Street NW.

New SBX location inside Albertsons on 3rd Street NW!

New SBX location inside Albertsons on 3rd Street NW!

Now if I (or you) want to get a SBX beverage and you live or work or just happen to be on the NW side of town — no more driving across town — woohoo!

This brings to SIX the number of SBX locations in town:

Two free-standing stores — the first one at 10th Avenue South and 9th Street (opened in August 2005), the second opened last year at 10th Avenue South and 32nd Street.

One in the Barnes & Noble shop in the Great Falls Marketplace.

One in the Albertsons at 10th Avenue South and 23rd Street.

The new one inside the NW Alberstons.

And although I haven’t seen it, I’ve heard that there is one inside Target.

Yes, I do indeed love my SBX — and the awesome crew members that even surprise me during the holidays :-)

Category: around town | Tags: ,

Farewell, Moonshine Grill

Sad news — Shoot The Moon closed a few days ago. It was one of my regular “go to” restaurants in Great Falls.

It opened in early 2013, in the spot that used to be Macaroni Grill.

It was originally called the Moonshine Grill, but they changed the name to Shoot The Moon to avoid confusion with a Moonshine Grill in Texas.


The food was pretty good, the service was fine, the atmosphere was generally nice, and it was very clean.

My wife and I usually ate there once or twice a month, usually on Saturday afternoons, because it was never very busy — although in hindsight, I suppose that was not a very good sign.

The theme was pretty cool — Prohibition-era pictures and theme. And it was unusually clean and spacious. We almost always had great service; I saw lots of complaints about service on the KRTV Facebook page when the news broke, but we usually had very nice, polite, attentive service. The kitchen was a bit slow at times — even when there weren’t many other customers — but the food was above-average in most cases.

My biggest complaint actually had nothing to do with quality or service — it was the music. The music was almost always “modern” country or pop — how the heck does that reflect “moonshine” or Prohibition-era stuff? They should have been playing Tin Pan Alley music!

I also really enjoyed being able to draw on the butcher-block paper that covered the tables with crayons – fun!


And (sorry for the poor photo quality) I really loved this bison perched above the fireplace:


Our last visit — in mid-September — featured a large group of the Red Hat Society. We noticed some of them using the crayons to write or draw something. They were having a wonderful time, and on their way out, a couple of the ladies smiled at us and we exchanged pleasantries.

Once they were gone, I took a look at some of their handiwork:



In related news: the On The Border restaurant — same owner as Shoot The Moon, located in what used to be Tony Roma’s — also closed last week. We ate there once; it was meh, nothing special.

“Our Media Has Failed Us”

Wow. This is one of those “What the heck?” comments that just absolutely baffle me.

This person posted on the KRTV Facebook page:

Why is it that these days elections are seemingly kept quiet until the election has passed.We should be hearing from those that wish to govern US for weeks beforehand.This way WE can make A good and productive vote. I did not even know we had an election and I am disabled and watch TV all day long???These elections are as shady as the people in them. The only way to have an effective election is to have EVERYONE know the FACTS. OUR MEDIA HAS FAILED US once again.I guess WE are to only know the results of elections NOT the CONTENT nor INTENT. This is sad because there are 2 News stations in town. Ch 3 KRTV Great Falls and Ch 5 news.

Where to begin?

Well, first of all: dude, you’re ON FACEBOOK, which means that you have the ability to visit the websites of KRTV, the Great Falls Tribune, and KFBB, and read the many articles about the primary election and the candidates. You also have the ability to visit the Facebook pages of the news outlets AND the candidates that have profiles pages. You also have the ability to visit the websites of any candidates that have such.

Second of all: ALL media outlets in Great Falls have run articles over the last few months about the election. KRTV has aired several stories, the Trib has published several articles — including candidate profiles, and all of the information was posted online, too.

In addition, the City of Great Falls website has posted information about the election.

And this bit: “I did not even know we had an election and I…watch TV all day long???” Um…what were you watching?

If you think “OUR MEDIA HAS FAILED US once again,” you are just plain wrong. YOU have failed to pay attention.

For instance: KRTV aired and posted an article on July 1st stating that the filing deadline for the election was approaching. Last week, KRTV aired and posted an article telling people that there was just one week left until the primary election.


And here’s a screenshot of the Trib site showing some of the results for “candidate profile” search; the Trib did a good job with the profiles. Granted, the Trib hides stuff behind a paywall, but if the election is so important to Keith, then ponying up a few bucks for access shouldn’t be a deal-breaker. There is also the option of actually buying a dead-tree newspaper; I’ve heard that you can even have it delivered right to your front door.


The Burger Bunker

Remember a few years ago there was a “hot dog war” in Great Falls? There were three hot-dog themed eateries in town, all fighting for your hard-earned dollars. Sadly, the best of the lot — the Downtown Dog House — didn’t survive, and hot dogs overall seem to have been relegated to the bottom rung of the food-chain ladder in our fair community.

But! There’s now a battle of the burgers in Great Falls, of sorts. Several weeks ago, the Roadhouse Diner opened, and its star attraction is an ever-changing menu of tasty burgers and home-made fries. It’s a kick-ass place, full of energy, good cheer, and delicious food — although I think their breakfast offerings are even better than the burger menu.

The Burger Bunker

The Burger Bunker on 2nd Avenue North

And about two weeks ago, the Burger Bunker officially opened, and it is good, good stuff. It’s in the community rec center on 2nd Avenue North, in the space that used to be the Good Eats restaurant (which is relocating to the Columbus building next month).

The Burger Bunker is a military-themed restaurant, and the menu reflects it, with burgers called the Panzer, the Malmstrom, the B-52, the Desert Fox, and such.

Mack is the usually the guy who will greet you and take your order — super friendly, big smile, and always ready with a quip or joke.

Of course, I always opt for a plain cheeseburger — with bacon, if available — and I am happy to say that the Burger Bunker delivered a direct hit (get it?). I’ve been there (don’t laugh) four times since they opened, and have been very satisfied each time. In fact, the burgers have actually gotten better on each visit. My wife really enjoyed the Panzer — it’s basically a Reuben squeezed into a burger.

The french fries aren’t quite as good as the burgers, unfortunately — they are OK, but not great. Certainly passable, but make no mistake: the star attraction is the burger. That’s in contrast to the Roadhouse Diner, where the burgers are great, but the fries are phenomenal.

Also of note: they have something called a “cooler” on the menu — never heard it called such, but it’s basically a thin milkshake in your choice of cola, root beer, etc. I’ve had a cola cooler on each visit, and it is absolutely heavenly.

Another bonus: the Burger Bunker is open from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. Monday-Saturday. AND you can have it delivered, via Cafe Courier. In fact, on my last two visits to the Bunker, they were doing more delivery business than in-house business — at one point, they had two Cafe Courier drivers in there picking up orders.

Overall: hell yes, get down there and try a burger.

Also: read what Vernon had to say.

Burger Bunker: Website. Facebook.

And now for the pictures:








Just discovered a few days ago that my (awesome) Droid Turbo can create animated GIFs — here’s one featuring a few photos from things I’ve seen on the job in the last couple of weeks.


I also learned that my Turbo also has some fun video-editing tools — one of which I applied to this brief clip from a recent trip to the dog park:

KFC: The Bucket Is Back

I’m happy to report that the new KFC on the west side of Great Falls that opened a few weeks ago is off to a good start.

Kentucky Fried Chicken in Great Falls re-opened in June 2015.

Kentucky Fried Chicken in Great Falls re-opened in June 2015.

I boycotted KFC in Great Falls about two years ago after far too many encounters with surly employees, dirty stores, and being told that they were out of chicken (!).

In April 2014, both locations closed, and while a lot of people in town seemed upset that they wouldn’t be able to chow down on the Colonel’s famous herb-n-spices, I heard from TONS of people who echoed my sentiment about dirty stores and poor service.

But after two trips to the (literally) new and improved west-side store since it re-opened, I can tell you that both the service and the cleanliness have skyrocketed.

On my first trip, about two weeks after it opened, I had to wait about 15 minutes to place my order — the place was PACKED. But the staff was very friendly, the store looked spotless, and the food was good.

Went again last night, and the crowd was smaller, but the service was again great — lots of smiles from the staff, and quick service.

The redesigned lobby is pretty nice — a little generic, but fine. And how ’bout that lounge seating (shout-out to Dana Joe!).

Granted, with only a few weeks under its belt, it’s not too surprising that the store looks pretty clean and the crew is friendly — but it’s a very good indication that the owner took all of the negative feedback from a couple of years ago to heart, and is working to make the store live up to the standards that customers expect and deserve.

Some cool retro advertising inside; it’s a shame the new “Colonel Sanders” in TV commercials is so poorly-done; whether it’s intended as parody, homage, or whatever, the (gifted) Darrell Hammond just isn’t striking the right tone.

One nice touch: store employees are sporting black shirts with the Colonel on them — the shirts call him “The Original Celebrity Chef.”

I also ordered a double-cheeseburger from the A&W side of the store, and it was pretty good, too.

I didn’t realize that they made their own root beer — I snuck a small cupful while I was waiting, and it was indeed very tasty. Might have to swing by later today for a root-beer float!

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