Breaking the Fast
Delicious beginnings to kick start your day
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. So, why not wake with the sun and do yourself a favor to take in the flavors of some of Billings’ best hot spots for breakfast. The Tastings Team hit the town in search of different places that served up hearty and delicious ways to start your day. What they found was a mix of flavors that are sure to satisfy all kinds of palettes.
MEET THE TASTINGS TEAM
The dynamic duo of Kim Hauptman and Darla Jones made up our breakfast Tastings Team. Both are on the go moms and community volunteers who know the value of a good hearty breakfast. The pair visited three different places in search of delicious breakfast beginnings. They found flavors that hit the spot at the homey Red Rooster Café, the Western-themed Stirrup Café in the Dude Rancher Lodge, and Montana Avenue’s historic McCormick Café.
THE TASTINGS TARGETS
The Red Rooster is where “The rooster only crows when he has seen the light.” This homey place owned by Misty and Kenneth Miller located on Broadwater Avenue and 15th Street West provided a sense of home. Sheer curtains concealed the commercial windows, rooster themed plates graced the wall, and Gerber daisies in canning jars adorned the tables while more intimacy was presented with counter seating. Homemade preserves from rhubarb jelly and Saskatoon berry syrup to raspberry jam were offered for sale along with homemade pies, three-layered cakes, and other homemade treats. On this morning, the Tastings Team chose to sample the Red Rooster Omelet and the Breakfast Burrito.
The Stirrup Café sits anchored in the iconic Dude Rancher Lodge. Dark wood and brick from the original St. Vincent Hospital housed the Western-themed dining room with a low-pitched roof decorated in modern cowboy chic. Burnt orange color mugs arranged on the tables explode color into the room. The rustic mica metal chandeliers hanging from above and windows banking two sides of the room brighten the room with light. Here, the Dude Rancher Combo and ‘Our FABULOUS Caramel Roll’ provided a breakfast of champions for the Tastings Team.
The final stop was McCormick Café, “Where Locals Eat!” The café opened more than a decade ago, preserving the historic charm of the building’s metal ceilings and brick structure. The large front room offered views onto Montana Avenue. More seating was found in the back along with space for meetings and gatherings. After ordering from the counter off the large black board, the TASTINGS team settled at a table and sampled The Toucan, Oxford French Toast, Parisian Crepes and Granola Parfait. (The Toucan was owner Cara Schaer’s favorite while the French Toast was her husband, Mike’s preference.)
THE RED ROOSTER
The Red Rooster Omelet came stuffed with house-made turkey sausage, onion, mushrooms, spinach, cheddar cheese and ripe avocado served with fruit. The Breakfast Burrito came with two scrambled eggs, hash browns, sausage and cheddar cheese all rolled up in a soft flour tortilla and smothered in homemade green Chile sauce.
THOUGHTS ON THE RED ROOSTER OMELET
“The sauce is spicy but not too spicy.” ~ Kim Hauptman
“The burrito is manly size that the guys would love. For a morning breakfast, this is beautifully presented.” ~Darla Jones
THE DUDE RANCHER
The Dude Rancher Combo served up standard breakfast fare for our team with two pancakes, an egg over easy and three long strips of crispy bacon. The food, served on a burnt orange-colored plate, came garnished with a leafy celery stem and an orange slice. The pair also sampled the sweet and savory Dude Rancher’s ‘Our Fabulous Caramel Roll’.
THOUGHTS ON THE DUDE RANCHER COMBO
“It’s wonderful. It’s served warm. It’s delicious.” ~ Kim Hauptman
“It practically melts in your mouth. It’s just so flavorful, full of early morning warmth and good flavor.” ~Darla Jones
At McCormick Café, the team nibbled on an array of breakfast offerings from The Toucan and Oxford French Toast to Parisian Crepes and Granola Parfait. The Toucan served up country white bread topped with scallion cream cheese spread, mushrooms, onions, eggs, tomato, bacon and mozzarella cheese served with fresh fruit. The Oxford French Toast was filled with bananas and the café’s signature Heavenly Spread and then battered, grilled and topped with fresh strawberries and powdered sugar. The Parisian Crepes were served up with a raspberry filling. And, last but not least, the Granola Parfait offered vanilla yogurt served with the restaurant’s house made granola topped with strawberries.
THOUGHTS ON THE TOUCAN
“I like that it is different. I like pizza for breakfast!” ~ Kim Hauptman
“If I closed my eyes and did not know what time of the day it was, this tastes like a luscious pizza.” ~Darla Jones
THOUGHTS ON THE OXFORD FRENCH TOAST
“This is good. I have never had French Toast with a filling.” ~ Kim Hauptman
“Yum, I love this.” ~Darla Jones
THOUGHTS ON THE PARISIAN CREPES
“These crepes are not too sweet.” ~ Kim Hauptman
“The tang gives it the right zing. It keeps you coming back for more.” ~Darla Jones
THOUGHTS ON THE GRANOLA PARFAIT
“I like the crunch of the granola and the nice creaminess of the yogurt.” ~ Kim Hauptman
TASTINGS TEAM OVERALL FAVORITES
Hauptman chose The Toucan at McCormick Café and the house-made turkey sausage at Red Rooster Café.
Jones’ favorite was The Parisian Crepe at McCormick Café
TASTINGS TEAM FAVORITE AMBIANCE
Red Rooster Café – “This place is smaller and quieter.” ~ Kim Hauptman
Stirrup Café – “This is Western Montana. It is cozy and I like the décor. We took our kids here for years so there are fond memories.” ~Darla Jones
WHERE TO FIND THE TASTINGS TARGETS
McCormick Café, 2419 Montana Avenue in Billings, mccormickcafe.com
Red Rooster Café, 1500 Broadwater Avenue, Suite #1, redroosterbillings.com
Stirrup Café at the Dude Rancher Lodge, 415 N. 29th Street, duderancherlodge.com