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Missoula’s Worst Kept Secret Restaurants

This is a photo of a cheeseburger from the Oxford in downtown Missoula
This cheeseburger from the Oxford, a late night downtown Missoula staple. Photo by Dream Yang.

Missoula is a place full of busy storefronts, college-aged hooligans and people doing yoga in weird places, but it is also a place with a variety of locally made, unique food options.

Every fine eating establishment listed below has one major thing in common: they’re all horribly kept secrets. Nearly every local Missoulian could, and might, direct you to any of these places. However, you may not find them on your own.

But, thankfully, you’ll never have to ask for direction if you follow the advice here:

The Oxford:

This is one of the worst kept secrets in Missoula. Just about every drunk college student has stumbled in here and devoured a cheeseburger during a night of debauchery. Make no mistake, a burger at the Ox is the absolute best drunk food, but it is also a terrible secret. Seriously, Oxford, get better at secrets.

Bernice’s Bakery:

Bernice’s Bakery is a staple of every Missoulian’s diet. All of the food is house-made and they offer a simple, extensive espresso menu. However, the downtown Missoula staple that I’d like to point you to is their basil pesto croissant. They’re amazing right off of the shelf or warmed up. Bernice’s Bakery is quaint, delicious and a terribly kept secret.

Notorious P.I.G:

Here’s a tip to keep your restaurant a secret: don’t name it after one of the most prolific rappers. Notorious P.I.G.’s menu is full of barbecue classics, but they often get overlooked being right next the Tamarack. According to their website, Notorious P.I.G.’s twist on St. Louis barbecue is what sets them apart. If I’m still recommending things for you to try, I would tell you to get a brisket sandwich and mac n’ cheese and to be generous with the sauce.

Pie Hole:

The perfect way to conquer midday hunger, as everybody obviously knows, is with a slice of pizza. Might I direct you to Pie Hole to try their Slice of the Day or my personal favorite, the potato bacon. The atmosphere of the restaurant is open, artsy, and a little grungy, and every slice of their pizza is awesome. And if you get hungry for a midnight snack later, they’re also open until 3 a.m., which is ideal in a college town.

Masala:

Finish up your day of dining with one of the worst kept secrets in Missoula, Masala. Masala originated as an Indian food cart, with the help of Kickstarter they became a full-fledged restaurant. Their menu is straightforward and offers several curries daily. Basmati rice, coconut chickpea curry and spicy coconut pork is my personal favorite collaboration to date. The beauty of Masala’s menu, though, is that you can pair basically anything together and you can’t go wrong.

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