The Tasting Panel magazine

March 2015

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18  /  the tasting panel  /  march 2015 CREATIVE DINING Guests arrive by helicopter at the Gallatin River Lodge. A Helo Runs Through It THE GALLATIN RIVER LODGE IN BOZEMAN, MT, A FOOD AND WINE DESTINATION by Kia McInerny PHOTO COURTESY OF GALLATIN RIVER LODGE "I nitially, the business plan was to create a small destination fly-fishing lodge," explains Steve Gamble, owner of Gallatin River Lodge in Bozeman, MT. The quietly luxurious inn on a private trout pond offers creative dining and a discriminating wine list personally selected by the owner. At 20, Steve Gamble had been cooking for three years when he developed a "small but nice" wine program at an exclusive Big Sky lodge. During visits to his aunt in Napa, he nurtured his interest in wine, and in 1999, he opened GRL. Once Steve had the chance to acquire an all-beverage liquor license, rare due to restric- tive laws, "I knew I had to ramp up the food and beverage aspect, and open the restaurant to the public." Steve's wine list is based upon friendships with winemakers from such names as Pine Ridge, Cakebread, Gipsy Dancer and Von Strasser. "Our guests come from every state and different countries. A lot of our customers are really impressed with our list, especially realizing that ours is a fairly small operation." Pairings might include Kenefick Ranch's Sauvignon Blanc with the lodge's signature walleye cakes, followed by a tenderloin with Shafer 2009 Hillside Select Cabernet. How do the "helos" fit in? During long summer evenings on the dining terrace, it's not uncommon to hear the whup-whup of a small helicopter landing on the lodge's hay meadow. All heads lift, listen and watch as new arrivals are shown to their table. And the lodge offers a special sky-tour of the valley, with dinner and overnight stay—a savory adventure in wine, food and sport!

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