December 2008

Hello Bear "Montana's Grizzly Bar and Restaurant"

Author: kate hanzalik | Photographer: john brackett

At Montana’s Restaurant & Grizzly Bar on Kitty’s Landing Road in Bluffton, patrons can enjoy a delectable menu of steaks, chops, pastas, seafood, lighter fare including salads, sandwiches and soups, and a Cub Menu for kids every single night.

For chef Todd Rackliff, a Maine native who brings a lifetime of New England cooking to Southern cuisine, it’s all about local ingredients. All of the shrimp, oysters and vegetables are purchased from local purveyors in Bluffton. And he is known for whipping up some mean dishes: Grouper Your Way is the restaurant’s most popular item, according to assistant general manager, Bryan Hansen, who knows firsthand how delicious it is. “Broiled, grilled, fried…the grouper is out of this world. Fantastic!”

Creole shrimp over jalapeno cheddar grit cakes and collard greens is another delectable dish; and locals are abuzz over the pork ribs, too, said Hansen. “Fall-off-the-bone tender ribs brushed with our bold BBQ sauce and served with sweet potato fries. How can you go wrong?”

And while Friday night’s prime rib special is the restaurant’s bestseller, meat lovers have options throughout the week. “Saturday night we have a wild game special—bison filet, bison short ribs, elk meatballs,” said Hansen. “Tuesday’s we do ‘T-Bone Tuesday.’ That’s starting to get a nice little following…$16 for a 14-ounce T-Bone.” A brunch buffet runs every Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Choose from any of the desserts such as Bananas Foster, Papa Bear Ultimate Brownie, or Caramel Apple Napoleon, described as “stewed apple compote layered between thin, crispy pastry dusted with cinnamon, sugar, and smothered in caramel sauce.” Hilton Head Ice Cream is also available.

“It’s a slow time in the economy, but our sales are trending upward,” said Hansen. “And as long as we continue to offer a great product at a reasonable price, we’ll keep driving traffic.”

Stellar happy hour and live music
In a word, the bar is lavish. Beers from around the world, an excellent wine list, and wicked happy hour specials are all elements of a lovely evening. “We have quite possibly the best happy hour in Bluffton,” said Hansen, “4-7 p.m.…$2.50 wells, $3 house wines, $1.50 drafts. And then every night after 7 p.m., we do different things to promote what’s going on: Monday night’s draft beers and $1 vodkas for Monday night football. Saturday we do happy hour all day for college football games; and on Sunday, after the brunch, at about 1 o’clock with NFL kickoff, we do $1 [Michelob] Ultras.”

The restaurant hosts live music Wednesday through Saturday, with performances by guitarist, Buddy Owens, from Savannah.

Camp, only better
A motif that screams, “I’m someone’s camp in Montana,” features an impressive collection of stuffed deer and raccoon mounted on high mahogany ceilings, a running waterfall that divides the bar and the dining area, twelve flat screen TVs and soundproof walls. All in all, Montana’s is about 4,000 square feet of impeccable space; the serene ambiance and casual vibe is truly like no other, and the wait staff and management become your best friends by the time the night is over.

Private parties can rent out the Buffalo Room for anniversaries, birthdays, receptions and more. It seats about 35 people and features a flat screen TV with a computer connection for slideshows and videos. The restaurant itself is good to fit 200 people and is available for private rental.

Catering: A popular option
Catering has become a hugely popular part of business for Montana’s, and word of mouth has people ordering pork in droves—pulled pork, pork butt, smoked pig. With several offsite jobs each month, the staff is skilled at serving parties of 200-250 with a top-of-the-line rotisserie smoker.

“We want to reach out and become a part of the Bluffton community. We want to cater to whatever needs people have. We just want to be a part of the community and do what we can to improve it,” said Hansen.

Montana’s Restaurant & Grizzly Bar is located at 16 Kitty’s Landing Road, Bluffton, SC. Open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday through Saturday; open early Sundays for Brunch, 9:30 a.m.-10 p.m. (Full menu available all day.) For more information, call (843) 815-2327.

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