Since the boys were small, I made it a point to take them to college campuses whenever we were traveling. The goal was to see them for myself (big PAC-10/12 and WCC guy), but also for them to “catch a vision” about what they may want to look for in a school. Small? Big? Public? Private? And so forth.
That didn’t change when I gained two daughters, the lovely Jackie and Bella Haning, when their mother and I got married. I wanted to take them to schools as well. See something new, different, go on tours, see big and small towns and so on.
On one such visit with Jackie, we took a trip out to see Nate in Helena (go Saints) for his ROTC dinner, we added tours to the University of Montana and MSU to see if Jackie was interested in going to school in Big Sky country. Turns out, she loves it and we shall see…but she may end up a Bobcat!
The scheduled trip into Bozeman was snowy, bitter cold, and gray. I think we loved it. As I like to do, I check to see where we should eat when on these trips and the beautiful Bozeman was no exception. I happened to be watching Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives a couple of weeks prior and one of the episodes I watched had Guy in Bozeman, eating at a couple of restaurants that I figured we HAD TO try.
We met up with two of Nate’s buddies from EC, Tyler who came up from Butte and plays football for the Montana Tech Orediggers, and Brody who went out to Bozeman to play football for the Bobcats.
We decided to get a late breakfast at the Storm Castle Cafe. The busy and fun cafe-style atmosphere was great, but frankly the food was nothing special. Guy played it up pretty nice, or maybe we simply didn’t order the right things off the menu.
After our makeshift college tour on the MSU campus, we decided to hit The Roost Fried Chicken on the way out of town which was also featured on Fieri’s show. Now this was something completely different.
The Roost Fried Chicken was started by a family who moved to Bozeman, as they say, for the trout fishing, and decided to bring their traditional fried chicken recipe (and Tennessee restaurant family heritage) with them. They are winning.
The table ordered fried chicken and waffles, a chicken sandwich, and their take on a Nashville “Hot” chicken. I love fried chicken, but I am pretty sure I have never had chicken, or waffle, this good, ever.
The waffle was a yeasty light that had a little sweet tucked into the Belgian batter. It wa perfect. They served a side of honey-pecan butter that its simple description doesn’t do the taste justice (how did they get those pecans in there??). The chicken crust was light and yet crunchy, and the most perfect saltiness and intense flavor you think all fried chicken should have. The meat: tender, flavorful, and juicy.
They have sides of collard greens, slaw, mashed potatoes, fried okra, and a delicious bacony macaroni and cheese. They also proudly serve the lightest, and the buttermilkiest biscuit I may have ever had (and I make some pretty good biscuits!). They make 8 different sauces (I almost feel I should write a whole post just on the Alabama white) for your chicken, fries, or even biscuit and I need to emphasize that these were some of the very best sides I ever had but…the CHICKEN and WAFFLES, is why you come.
So next time you are taking your kid on a college tour in Bobcat country, or passing through to get to Yellowstone, or spending time on the river all day for the world class trout fishing nearby, or even visiting some brilliant ski area, make sure you stop by and either grab lunch or dinner there, or get a bucket of their chicken to go. We were so full, we sent a BUNCH of food home with those “poor” college boys.