The Massive Metropolis of Missoula

I first visited Missoula a few years ago, before I knew that the doctor who would fix my SI joint dysfunction practiced there. It’s a charming little college town, population of around 70k. This post won’t be helpful to everyone, but I wanted to toss it out here for those who might find it relevant. Several folks have been asking questions about traveling to Missoula, as they either have upcoming appointments with Dr. Beck, or they hope to. Can they just eat at the airport? Will there be long lines?

 

So when I was there earlier this week, I snapped a few photos to give folks an idea of what to expect. I arrived at the Missoula Airport at about 4:50 on a Tuesday afternoon, and here’s what I found.

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This is the post security-checkpoint bar in the airport. You can order food from Jedediah’s, the restaurant downstairs (that is, if it’s open.)

 

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According to Jedediah’s winter hours, they should’ve been open.

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But alas, they were closed. I suspect business was slow so they decided to lock’er up early.

 

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Other than those two places, the only other place to get food is here. It’s upstairs post-security, near the Delta “terminal.” They serve hot sandwiches and coffee and such.

 

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And Jedediah’s wasn’t the only place to close up shop early. The gift shop was also closed.

 

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I returned to the airport to come home at around the same time the following day — around 4:30 p.m. Jedediah’s and the gift shop were both open. And here’s how the rest of the downstairs looked.

 

The mad rush for luggage at baggage claim:

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The list of impending arrivals and departures:

 

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The long check-in lines:

 

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And the line for going through security. I am TSA pre-certified and they didn’t have that lane open. But they did give me a laminated strip of paper that said I didn’t have to take my shoes off 🙂

 

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I’m not saying the airport can’t get busy, but I’ve been there about eight times and there’s never been more than about 10 people ahead of me. Reportedly, the very early flights in the morning are when things can get gnarly (which is to say it’s no big deal to those of us who live in large cities.)

 

This is by no means a well-rounded post about Missoula. But I wanted to offer two culinary recommendations. First, I love love love the Italian restaurant, Ciao Mambo. Delicious Bolognese and they have gluten-free pasta (which is a must for me.)

 

Second, I adore Five on Black, which is kind of a Brazilian Chipotle, if you will. The guy who started it got the recipes from the owner of a food truck in Brazil. It’s cheap, everything on the menu is gluten free, and the people who work there are awesome. I went straight there when I landed in Missoula, and it was the last place I went before I headed home.

 

The menu is quite simple. You get your choice in five different categories:

 

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These are their tiny delicious cheese rolls. I always get two.

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I usually get mixed greens with a little brown rice, chicken, coconut sweet potatoes, spicy coconut sauce (which isn’t very spicy — I’m a wimp), and then chunky tomato vinaigrette, a lime wedge and cilantro. (This time I also got some Farofa, which is a toasted cassava flour mixture.)

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There are two locations in Missoula, and they are opening up shop in Denver and Boulder soon. I’d eat here often if there was one in my city. Bon Appetit!