Take the Clark’s Fork

Saturday Dec. 31st, 2011

Clark’s Fork restaurant is a short walk from my office on 1265 Stoneridge Drive, and now a familiar haunt. I’m always taken by the bright and spacious entryway and the clean spare lines of the dining areas. The motif is a direct reflection of the restaurant itself: food quotes from the notes of the Corps of Discovery a.k.a The Lewis and Clark Expedition, accompanied by beautiful photographs of the quote’s subject. The calm greens and whites really convey a sense of freshness and welcome.

Look to your left, then up. The day’s menu is displayed above the counter where you place your order and is in reality a projection of a PC display. The lunch menu comes on at 11AM and breakfast is served all day. Delectable baked goods are available for sale along with bottled drinks if you’re in a real hurry, or you can order a   Grab & Go meal and it comes in a bag with everything necessary to enjoy.

However, make the time to dine in. The attentive and friendly staff will greet you when you enter, and they’re always ready with a suggestion if you’re stumped on what to order. There are booths and tables to choose from as well as a long counter by the window where you can sit alone or join a friend along one of the bump outs that make visiting easy while you eat.

The breakfast menu choices are many: wraps filled with egg, potato, ham (or bacon or sausage) with sausage gravy or eggs, potato, salsa and cheddar, biscuits and gravy, cinnamon roll French toast and whole wheat flapjacks. The offerings include traditional egg dishes as well – two egg combos with toast, red potatoes, sausage, fresh fruit plate, flapjacks or French toast. There are great breakfast pastries to choose from too: caramel rolls, nut rolls, chocolate croissants, cinnamon rolls, apple rolls and ham and cheese croissants are all waiting to be heated for devouring. Breakfast ranges in price from $3.95 to $7.50.

Deli (cold) Sandwiches offerings include Clark’s Deli Special with a combination of salami, ham, and turkey; Turkey Pesto, The Hamstack, The Green Field, chicken salad, tuna salad, and a Create Your Own. Hot sandwiches include Garden Chicken, Chicken Basil, Toasted Eggplant Parm, The Reuben and a Chicken Caesar Wrap. All sandwiches are served with a pickle and organic blue corn chips. Gluten-free bread is available for an extra 75 cents. I’ve tried their gluten-free bread and is nice and tender with a fine crumb; it stays together well as toast and as a sandwich, too. Remember they have an open kitchen, so anyone with severe allergies or celiac disease needs to keep that in mind. The sandwiches, hot or cold, range in price from $6.95 to $7.75.

Try an Organic Burger made from grass-fed beef from Sweet Grass County Montana. It is served on ciabatta with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle and the organic blue corn chips. Lunch combos include burgers with fries, half a sandwich with soup or small salad bar, or soup and small salad bar. If you’re dining in you’ll be served your sandwich on a plastic plate by the staff wherever you are sitting; they will bring the tableware too. You can add on a cup of soup, a
small salad bar, fries, sweet potato fries, or the beverage bar to any of your lunch orders.

The salad bar sports twenty-five offerings all freshly prepared and regularly refreshed during the day. There are a selection of greens, chopped vegetables, olives, hard-boiled eggs and the like. The sneeze guard has little signs above the items telling you the benefits of each. The dressings are at the end in large bottles. I can’t pass up the house dressing which is a lemony creamy vinaigrette that is full of body and flavor. Top your salad with cheese crumbles or sunflower seeds. You’ll find the soup bar nearby. They offer three freshly made hot soups every day, Chicken Noodle being a permanent item. I’ve enjoyed Pumpkin Bisque and Tomato Basil and when I say enjoy, I mean it. Soup and salad at Clark’s Fork is a sure bet. If you get it to go you get a cardboard box with integrated lid for salad and a foam go cup with lid for soup. Ordering in, you’ll get two plastic bowls on a tray. You then help yourself to the salad bar and soup. My only wish is for ceramic plates and bowls because the high quality of the food deserves better than plastic ware.

Drinks are a help yourself beverage bar with the usual fountain drinks and iced tea with free refills for $1.50, or you can get brewed coffee or tea. Clark’s Fork also offers bottled water, V8 juice, NAKED juice, Gatorade, apple or orange juice and milk or chocolate milk, and prices range from $1.00 to $3.95 depending on how exclusive your taste. There are espresso drinks, too!

Clark’s Fork offers free Wi-Fi and has two conference rooms and can provide catering both on and off site. You can also reserve the entire restaurant for private parties in the evenings.

One more thing. Clark’s Fork packed a terrific “Grab & Go” for the Warriors and Quiet Waters Yellowstone Park trip this September. Twelve of us, including six wounded veterans, enjoyed hearty sandwiches, an apple, a cookie and a bottled beverage while parked on the side of the road looking at buffalo. Unforgettable. Thanks, Jeff and Suzy.

Clark’s Fork is owned by Jeff and Suzy Riggs and is located on 1262 Stoneridge Drive in Bozeman. Call them at (406) 522-0550 or check them out on the web at www.ClarksFork.com for daily menu specials. Hours are Monday- Saturday: 6:30 am- 3:00 pm and Sunday: 7:30 am- 3:00 pm. Five spokes.

Stacey Alzheimer wishes to thank Larry for his assistance. She can be found across the street from Clark’s Fork at Theraputika Massage.