A Visit to Pinky's Cafe Livingston, Montana

The Breakfast Delights of Pinky's Cafe: A Taste of Montana's Finest

Nestled on the windy street of one of Montana’s most picturesque landscapes, in the charming little town of Livingston—a town that boasts not only breathtaking views of the Yellowstone River and the Absaroka Mountain Range, but also a remarkable culinary scene—among the many of the towns renowned restaurants—including Anthony Bourdain Favorite, The Second Street Bistro, and a New York Times America’s Best Restaurants 2023, Campione Roman Restaurant—is Pinky’s Café. As a local favorite, Pinky’s manages to hold its own among America’s best.

                Pinky’s Café is almost exclusively a breakfast joint, opening at seven-thirty every morning and closing at twelve-thirty in the afternoon, and if you are unable to get there before nine you are very likely going to be waiting a little while for a table. I walked in early, a few minutes after they opened, and that was a great time to get there because the restaurant filled quickly. Pinky’s Café has a modern Montana atmosphere: the dining area is comfortable and neat; there is a row of two tops along the left wall, and a built-in wood bench running the length of the dining room, and to the right a short row of booths, and the tables and booths are underneath a small gallery of local wildlife and outdoor photographs displayed on the restaurant walls. I sat in the rear of the restaurant, on a stool nearest to the door of five bar stools facing the prep area, where I ogled as the staff hand squeezed every glass of orange juice ordered, which was surprisingly captivating. The most notable thing for me about eating at Pinky’s was how strikingly friendly the staff were, everyone was incredibly outgoing and open, it genuinely felt good just to be there.

Pinky’s Café has been known in the community for quirky owners and one or two of their famous dishes (the chef known as “Pinky,” sold Pinky’s Café in 2014, and today the menu is no longer cluttered with peculiar dishes), and although those days at Pinky’s are in the past, and remain, for the time being anyway, warm memories of longtime Livingston residents, the restaurant continues to be a favorite for locals and tourists alike. The most popular options today include Eggs Benedict (The Classic), Florentine, and the Waffle and West Coast Benny’s. I had the Florentine, and it was good, everything that Eggs Florentine should be, but I should have gotten a modified version of the Waffle Benny—the hard part for me is thinking about asking for the altered options.

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, because beyond breakfast equipping us with all of the possibilities of the encroaching day, for me there is something warm and romantic about the morning that allows breakfast to bridge the space between our routines and the dreamlike. It is difficult for me though, to find a breakfast spot that I might frequent, because not only do I not eat pork (most breakfast joints, and Pinky’s Café is no exception, love to offer your choice of meat between: bacon, sausage, and ham (pork, pork, and pork[1]), but breads are a short term solution to an all-day problem, they give the illusion of being filling while also being heavy in sugars, and along with pork, bread[2] found a niche in breakfast. So, I have to be creative; but Pinky’s Café makes every effort to accommodate, unfortunately it is not always possible.

My favorite thing about Pinky’s Café is that they place a strong emphasis on sourcing ingredients locally, and their commitment to farm-to-table foods will make or break a local spot for me. Pinky’s menu absolutely highlights Montana’s seasonal produce and locally raised meats, and what truly sets Pinky’s Café apart is its commitment to the community, and their dedication to ensuring each guest feels like family each and every visit.

                Pinky’s Café in Livingston, Montana is a gem that has captured the heart and soul of Montana through its cuisine, every dish a testament to Montana’s rich culinary traditions and their devotedness to using local, fresh ingredients. Anthony Bourdain also visited Pinky’s Café during his first trip to Montana highlighted on his show No Reservations (season 5, episode 17), and he was lucky enough to meet Pinky and explore the celebrated dishes no longer on the Pinky’s Café menu. Although things change, and Pinky’s Café may not be the quirky Montana hangout that it once was, you can still very much feel the presence of the rustic Montana experience that the locals talk about, and the tourists explore when you are sitting at the café and near locals telling stories about their favorite fishing spots and the evening that they wrestled a bear. Whether you are looking for a warm, welcoming atmosphere or a taste of authentic Montana, Pinky’s Café has it all. If you are spending a few days in town, make it a point to stop by and enjoy what only Pinky’s Café can offer on your next visit to this beautiful part of the world.


[1] There are too, perfectly adequate alternatives to pork meats. Turkey bacon is better than it sounds, and both beef and chicken sausages are better than pork sausages, but for whatever reason few restaurants make the effort.

[2] Ah, the abundance of breakfast breads! Muffins, scones, cinnamon buns, toast, orange rolls, strudels, butter biscuits, doughnuts, coffee cakes, streusel, French toast, morning buns, English muffins, etc., etc., etc.

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