Ever since I arrived here in 2002, it has annoyed me when people complain that we don’t have any good restaurants – by which they mean national chain restaurants (the ones most commonly cited are Olive Garden and Chili’s). Too many people – often out-of-staters, such as my fellow Airmen – somehow seem to think that not having an Olive Garden means that Great Falls is a backwater hole not worthy of being called a city (or town, or community); as if the lack of a Chili’s somehow relegates Great Falls to second-class status.
I call “bull” on that: Great Falls has some wonderful places to eat – restaurants, cafes, diners – so it simply isn’t true that there are no decent restaurants. Just a few examples based on my recent dining history: baked potatoes at Jaker’s; French Dip and clam chowder at the Halftime Sports Bar; steak-n-eggs breakfast at Good Time Charlie’s (best value in town, too!); apple pie at Tracy’s Diner; prime rib at the Bar S; bison-burger at Bert & Ernie’s.
But having said that, I’m glad to hear that Chili’s is coming – it was my favorite place to eat back in my previous life in another state. Not having a Chili’s in Great Falls was never a “negative” for me, but having one here will be a “plus.” I can’t wait to tear into one of their steaks and the chips-n-queso!