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.

Moonshine Grill Review

Ate at the Moonshine Grill on Friday night; overall, it earned a solid grade of “B+” from me, but didn’t score as well with Krista.

Moonshine Grill in Great Falls

Atmosphere: The layout is like it was when it was the Macaroni Grill – one large, cavernous room. Great visuals, but when you’re eating, it just seems a bit too…open. Maybe a few partitions strategically placed might make it seem a bit more cozy? Not tall partitions – maybe even just waist-high. Best feature for me was the mini-bison perched on top of the fireplace!

The overhead music wasn’t quite right – some modern pop, a few 70s tunes (including Barry White – w00t!) – but definitely didn’t fit with the “moonshine” and retro theme the restaurant is aiming for. Their Facebook page says:

A locally owned and operated grill that celebrates the end of Prohibition with savory entrees, delectable desserts and spirits that take you back to 1933. The Moonshine Grill offers a retreat back into the days following Prohibition. Savory steaks, fresh seafood, Bourbon inspired dishes and of course delectable desserts. The drink menu will take you back to the days of the speakeasy with creations that will temp you to explore new territory.

Bison at the Moonshine Grill

Not sure what kind of music would fit – maybe this?

We showed up at around 8:30 pm – it was pretty busy, lots of tables full, but we waited less than five minutes to be seated.

Service was great – our waitress Shannon was spot-on and cheerful.

Appetizer was fried mozzarella cheesesticks – they were quite good, although not quite as good as the ones at The Montana Clubs.

Cheesesticks at the Moonshine Grill

Dinner for me: 16-ounce ribeye, rice, and baked potato. Steak was delicious – tasted very similar to the one served up at The Montana Club, good flavor, juicy, got some spice, cooked just right. Rice isn’t something I usually get too excited about, but the rice was very good – super-fluffy, if that makes sense. Baked potato was…well, a baked potato – pretty standard.

Ribeye at the Moonshine Grill

For Krista, it wasn’t quite as good: she LOVES shrimp, so she ordered the half-ribeye and the shrimp. Her steak was over-cooked, and the shrimp was, in her words, “massacred.” Rubbery and hard – second-worst shrimp she’s had in Great Falls.

And that seems to fall in line with what I’ve heard some friends say about the Moonshine Grill: all agree that the beef is very good, but the seafood has left some folks disappointed.

As for entertainment: crayons! Yep – I got to indulge my creative side once again and produced this masterpiece:

Overall: I can’t wait to try it again – but it might take some convincing to get Krista to give it another chance! Next time, I’ll have to test-drive one of the burgers.

Exit Macaroni Grill

Didn’t see this coming: the Macaroni Grill in Great Falls is closing. Only ate there once – was standard fare, nice decor, but nothing too exciting.

Some of the comments on the KRTV Facebook page are puzzling – several of them are upset that without Macaroni Grill, there’s no Italian restaurant in Great Falls. Um…how about Rikki’s? I love their baked cheesy ziti! And of course there’s the usual calls for Olive Garden and Hooter’s and such.

So apparently it will be replaced by a non-chain restaurant called the Moonshine Grill…can’t wait to give it a shot when it opens in January…will be interesting to see how it stacks up against my current fave, the Montana Club.

Macaroni Grill closing

Seems like just yesterday that the rumors began about Macaroni Grill coming to town…and by “yesterday” I mean – holy cow, more than five years?