Montana’s loves meat. They smoke it, they grill it, they BBQ it. They’ll cook up any bloody slab of chuck for you to chew on and chase down with a frosty, ballsy brew. I can still feel my testosterone levels boiling as I write this. My mouth is still watering from residual rib-flavour in my greedy maw. Licking saliva and sauce from the side of my mouth, I am reminded of my primal, carnivorous origins. When you’re at Montana’s, you better be ready to sink those ravenous, predatory teeth of yours into some thick, juicy grass-fed farm animals. After having a hearty, heaping pile of pork at Montana’s, I feel like buying a Stetson hat, visiting a slaughterhouse, and biting into a leather belt or something. ARGHH.
Ahem. Sorry about that.
I really do like Montana’s. Like I said, they’re a pretty good investment for your money if you’re in the mood for a meaty meal in a Western-themed cookhouse-style restaurant. Being from the dry, dusty prairies of Alberta, it’s also nice to stop into a place that brings me back to my beefy red-neck homestead. Alright, so maybe I spent most of my time indoors in front of a screen, and maybe frozen-ass Edmonton isn’t exactly the Wild-West, but it’s nice to see some cowboy crap from time to time. (Not that kind of cowboy crap).
Another thing I always loved about Montana’s is their paper table-spreads for you to colour on with crayons. I’m not sure how this began.
Maybe I’m missing out on a crucial detail of western-watering-hole history, but I never really considered crayons to be very Buffalo-Bill. But what do I know? Bill may have been a Crayola fan. Or maybe that’s where Billy the Kid got his name. The guy may have just loved colouring or something, like a little kid.
During a recent visit, I was a little worried when I entered to see that their tables weren’t covered with these wonderful canvases of creative opportunity.
Had Montana’s gone Green? Had my favourite feature of this meat-slingin’ saloon gone the way of the musket?
Nah, I just had to ask. Thankfully our hostess accommodated my request, and even seemed delighted that someone had mentioned it. While we waited for our food, I had the opportunity to do some Latrine Scene scribbles! (I guess I’m not quite ready for designing T-shirts).
At any rate, our food was delicious, and our server was fantastic. She even scribbled her name onto our table with a crayon, just like how it was done in the old-country. When she placed that bone-bucket onto our table I felt like a true wrangler ready for a cup of six-shooter skink and some son-of-a-gun-stew.
On my way to the restroom, I noticed they had some pretty cool art here, both contemporary and old-timey. A framed picture stating “I LIKE PIG BUTTS & I CANNOT LIE” hangs across from what looks like an original prototype for the Wheel of Fortune Game Show.
Alright, before I get more carried away, It’s time to talk about the restroom.
First of all, I love the signage. What better silhouette to use for a shitter than that of an animal you may have just eaten. What, they don’t serve Bull here? What a load of.. nonsense.
I’ve been pretty hard on establishments for the condition of their restroom doors, but here I feel the rough-around-the-edges look seems to add to the presentation at Montana’s. To be honest, I can’t even tell if that faded paint is intentional or not.
My only criticism is that the M isn’t really that visible inside this busy contrast of colours. I had no problem reading it, but right before I got here I watched a lil’ ol’ cowgirl almost walk into the wrong stable.
Inside, my initial impression is good. Looks clean. Smells clean. The floors aren’t sticky or slippery. To my right, I see the urinals, hanging rather closely to the stall.
I’m not really a huge fan of urinal-traps. You know the ones. Those cubby-holes where you’re stuck if another guy comes in. Unless you want to sneak past him awkwardly and maybe cop a feel on your way out.
But if he doesn’t look like he’s into the whole Brokeback Mountain thing, then please exercise your best Men’s-room etiquette, and avoid such interactions.
Inside the stall, we have a lot of space. Excellent for wheelchair access. You could probably even fit your horse in here, but he might not be happy about it.
One thing I notice about the stall-door is that it opens very wide. I’m not going to deduct points or call this a true design flaw, though. Even though it does open all the way toward the wall, blocking the urinal-prison, you’d have to be a complete jackass to swing it open that far.
However, it is a little interesting that you could conceivably trap someone in this space, if you were some sort of sick, mischievous pervert. Thankfully, I only know about a baker’s-dozen city-slickers who match that description, and they tend to make their own food.
The sinks are clean. Great job on keeping yer chew in check, partners! Looks like you kept the lid on until you left. As for the two ECOLAB Nexa Manual Soap Dispensers (1250ml each), one is a little worse for wear. Some cowboy was a little too eager for the finish.
There are also two paper towel dispensers to dry your dukes after losin’ yer lather down the poison well. As you know, I appreciate any place that has enough paper to go around, and this one’s fully stocked. Yeehaw.
The last thing that’s visibly noticeable about this restroom is the wallpaper. Or, tiles. Or.. whatever this is.
Up close, it looks like the graffiti is actually part of the design concept. After inspecting this “ink” for way longer than what most people would consider normal, I have to conclude that the latrinalia is intentional.
But why? I don’t really see how it goes with the rest of the restaurant. It’s some sort of weird, construction / industrial template. I guess they wanted to make sure that we are doing men’s business in a man’s world. In this here latrine, we leave our Lincoln skins at the door and get shit done the raght way.
One of them looks like someone was trying to do campaign work for Sarah Palin, but couldn’t quite get the spelling right. And the other one is a caution sign with a subtle yet appropriate warning. Very clever, guys.
The toilet paper in this place was at a healthy level, and the smell wasn’t what you’d expect for a restaurant that probably empties unhealthy colons on a consistent basis. Overall, I’m impressed.
If your saddle is feeling stiff or your wagon is feeling wobbly after the long-haul north in Nanaimo country, I reckon it be best for you to check into Montana’s and warm yer travellin’ heart with something that’ll stick to yer ribs (and probably the inside of their toilet bowl, too). Make sure you wash your muck forks.
You done right by us, Montana.
Toilet Paper Rating: 4/5