We left Coeur d’Alene around 1:30, and made our way to Montana. The GPS said it would take about 2 1/2 hours to get to Missoula, but we didn’t account for the time zone change, and we’d lose an hour. An hour into our trip, we pulled over at a rest stop in St. Regis, ID. The landscape of green trees against the bright blue skies was just stunning.
At roughly 4:00, we crossed over to Montana, and we followed the GPS to the city center.
Their city center was actually a flat area, so we decided to just find a place to eat. The first place we went to (Notorious P.I.G.) closed at 4:00, so we Yelped another place, and discovered Double Front, a chicken restaurant that has been cooking in Missoula for over 50 years.
The history of Double Front was not always a chicken restaurant and is actually over 100 years old. Per the website:
The Double Front was built in 1909, with no alley or back door and so was properly named with a front door at 122 Alder St. and another at 121 Railroad St. In the early years between 1909 and 1920, the building was used mostly as a pool hall.
After 1920, during prohibition days, the building became a residence and rumor has it some bootlegging may have occurred. In 1934 and 1935 when beer and wine became legal again, the residence changed to a bar and was owned by the Mangan family. It was that year that chicken was first served at the Double Front.
Managers over the years included Elmer Shea in 1948 and George Austin in 1952. After an auto accident which took Mr. Austin’s life in 1959, the Double Front was run by the estate until 1961, at which time the Herndon family bought the cafe and started remodeling the building. Although big changes in appearance have taken place over the years, the quality of our chicken has remained the same. All chicken is cooked to order, and it’s always fresh, never frozen…because the best takes a little longer – just as it did in 1935!
The chicken was cooked to order, and it actually took longer than they anticipated. For our trouble, the waitress said we were being offered an appetizer on the house. We told her to suggest something, and she said their breaded fried mushrooms were popular.
The mushrooms were fantastic, and so was the chicken. It was definitely worth the wait. We ordered the white meat chicken dinner, which was 2 whole breasts, with the wing attached, fries and pickles for $13.00. Stephen and I decided to share the dinner, and we added a side order of cole slaw for $3.00. There’s no sales tax in Montana, I guess. Our meal with 2 beers and a diet coke came to just $24.50! Wow, what a bargain.