Meet three Missoula chefs and their creations

Dining out—a tidy table, a perfectly cooked and artfully designed meal, and of course no dishes or cleaning up…all for you. What’s not to love about treating yourself to a meal? Even with the vast spread of choices available, it’s easy to scurry off to your favorite place for the same thing, every time. Let’s venture out and meet three Missoula chefs who are eager to tantalize your taste buds:

The Iron Griz 

Tucked behind its garden on South Avenue at the edge of the UM campus is the Iron Griz, a culinary gem with a view that reveals the sprawling green of fairways—perfection to a tee! 

Inside, Chef Jesse Mayer is busy preparing exquisite dishes that embrace a garden-to-table experience. He shares his favorite seasonal dish with us—South Street Garden Sauté. Inspired by his Southern culinary experience, Jesse’s signature entrée is centered around freshly picked garden vegetables, the central theme to many menu items as ingredients are harvested daily. The lightly seasoned, sauté vegetables are paired with the whole grain farro in a charred tomato butter sauce. The dish is topped with colorful and edible flower blossoms, a choice that reflects Jesse’s love for pops of color in cuisine. 

Chef Jesse said it’s his dream come true to be able to return to his favorite town with the freedom to prepare his own creations and the unique ability to use fresh garden produce cultivated just steps away from his kitchen. After spending 17 years in the food industry, his seasonal garden-inspired menu is something he’s proud of for its fresh and flavorful selections. Coming soon to the menu are creations made with fresh eggs from its own Welsh Harlequin ducks and honey from the UM beehives.

Visit the Iron Griz any day of the week between 11 a.m. and 10 p.m. at 515 South Avenue E., or visit to see what special dining experience you want to join in on. 

Montana Club

True to its name, Montana Club customers are the biggest influencers to the value and home-style cooking found on the unique menu of this popular hometown restaurant. One signature dish of note is the Jack Daniels Sirloin, which, according to head chef of 19 years Adam Belarde, “exemplifies who we are.” 

“It starts with the foundation of Montana appetites—a quality prime-grade center-cut sirloin steak. The made-from-scratch (as all entrées are) Jack Daniels whiskey mustard sauce, which was created by one of our other chefs, [then] topped with locally sourced Daily’s thick-cut bacon. I’ve sautéed mushrooms, onions, and fresh garlic tucked into the crown of bacon, then garnished with blue cheese crumbles,” said Adam. 

Chef Adam’s emphasis on teamwork is what makes for the Montana Club’s varied menu selections, each with original customer-tested, made-from-scratch recipes. 

“There’s nothing average about the unique ability to experiment with our locally sourced ingredients. With no corporation to answer to, our passionate chefs are encouraged to be creative, which is reflected in the custom nightly chef specials. …Custom flavors, quality ingredients, a good value, and healthy portions are what make us so unique and so appreciated by our Montana customers.” 

Dine at either Montana Club location, 4561 N. Reserve St. or 2620 Brooks St., any day of the week and visit to learn more. 

Reel Flavors

Owners Mike and Kayleigh Bales are the creative chefs behind the wheel of this food truck and catering business, which can be found at various locations around the Missoula and the Bitterroot valleys.

Their most popular signature dish (aka the hungry crowd-pleaser) is the Fricken Thai Chicken, an Asian-inspired grilled sandwich on a sourdough roll, and their most popular catered dish is their unique spin on the classic fish and chips. 

With more than 30 combined years in the hospitality and restaurant business, this dynamic team loves providing their customers with the tastes and flavors they crave. By taking a classic barbecue recipe as inspiration, Mike created a delicious taste combination featuring homemade aioli, chili sauce, coleslaw, and chicken served on toasted sourdough bread.

“This sandwich is what our customers want and appreciate. I’m just happy that I was able to find the right combination to meet their expectations,” said Mike. 

“We have low overhead so we can keep our prices low, and with Kayleigh and I doing all the work, our dream of living in Western Montana, doing what we love to do and enjoying our happy customers coming back so often, is very rewarding.” 

Follow the food! Want to know where Reel Flavors is? Check out their location on Facebook to see where they’ll be next and to inquire about catering options.