Historic Restaurants of Billings, A Taste of the Magic City’s Past

By Stella Fong, Published by Arcadia Publishing and the History Press

Billings exploded when the railroad arrived, and good food was here to stay. Montana Avenue anchored the first establishments serving oysters, chop suey and steaks. Modern comfort arrived with the Northern Hotel and never left. Locals sipped, savored and swung at the Skyline, Bella Vista, Elmo and Windmill Supper Clubs from the 1930s to the 1960s. Entrepreneurs debuted the Level 3 Tea Room, La Toque, Bruno’s and New Moon Café. Beef still reigns at the Rex, Jake’s and Bistecca at the Granary. Writer Stella Fong testifies why names like Yegen, McCormick, Schaer and Honaker have persisted throughout Billings’s culinary history.

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Contents of Historic Restaurants of Billings:

Foreword, by Greg Patent – James Beard Award–winning cookbook author for Baking in America and thebakingwizard.com

1. In the Beginning: Looking Deliciously to Billings

2. The True Fairy Tale of the Northern Hotel and the Golden Belle

3. Dining and Dancing: Elmo Club, Skyline Club, Windmill, Stock Exchange and Others

4. The Luzon Café: The Leading and Most Popular Café in Billings

5. The Stockman: “Where Men Meet Men”

6. The “Chop Suey” of Billings Chinese and Asian Restaurants

7. Drive-ins and Diners: Food and Fun

8. Where’s the Meat: Steakhouses and Other Carnivorous Emporiums

9. James Honaker of La Toque and Bistro Enzo

10. Marie Halone: Changing the “Foodscape” with Level 3 Tea Room

11. Carl Kurokawa: A Loud Passion for Food

12. Walkers: Bill Honaker, Mike Callahan and Randy Holbrook

13. Mike Schaer’s Montana Avenue: Creating a Taste of the Old Chicago Neighborhood

14. Cafés and Bakeries: Where Memories Are Created and Women Meet Women

About the Author:

Stella Fong writes, cooks and plays in Billings, Montana. For sixteen years, she has called Montana’s Trailhead (once also known as the Magic City) home after relocating from San Diego, California. Fong shares her love of food and adventure through her contributions to Yellowstone Valley Woman Magazine, Big Sky Journal, Blue Water Sailing, Western Art and Architecture, and Magic Magazine. Online, her blog postings and stories can be found at thelastbestplates.com, lastbestnews.com, vinography.com and stellafong.com. Her articles have also appeared in Cooking Light, Fine Cooking and the Washington Post. Through her food and wine classes she teaches for the Montana State University–Billings Foundation, she continues to bring flavor and knowledge. For years, she taught cooking classes for Sur La Table, Williams Sonoma, Gelson’s Super Market, Macy’s Cellars and Great News! Cooking School.

Books available online:  https://www.arcadiapublishing.com/Products/9781467117586