A food essay about the Rocks Tasting Room in Big Sky, Montana by James Bonner

Discovering Big Sky's Hidden Gem: The Rocks Restaurant


I didn’t know what to expect of Big Sky, Montana, I’d only heard that it’s a resort town and that the whole place is more or less a private getaway for celebrities. Many have homes in the nearby Yellowstone Club. It’s only an hour and a half from where I’ve been living so I made a day trip to Little Big Sky. I walked into ACRE Kitchen on Town Center Avenue, Big Sky’s “town center.” An expected delivery hadn’t shown so they had to close early. I was disappointed because ACRE markets itself as a health-conscious restaurant that uses only organic and natural ingredients. An ACRE Kitchen employee directed me to The Rocks, which was a block or so away across from the Fire Pit Park.

The Rocks was packed, there wasn’t a single available seat, even just for one, so I sat waiting and reading. Eventually, I sat at the bar and browsed the menu, it wasn’t at all what I was in the mood for, most of the menu was a variety of flatbread pizzas; I like to step out of my comfort zone so that I might fully experience the experience and, who knows, maybe change my life as I know it. 

I ordered Noelle’s Fireweed Old Fashioned, a drink I would never otherwise order, and it was good, I think I may have been happier ordering a beer, but I wanted to “live in the moment,” and I had never had Fireweed before. I almost ordered the Margarita Flatbread. I almost always order the Margarita when it’s available on a pizza or flatbread menu. Instead, I ordered Taco Flatbread.

I waited a while for the flatbread, I wasn’t bothered at all by that, I had the time to spare, and I had explored what I thought at the time was most of the town, it wasn’t, and If I’d known that I may have been more anxious for my food but I was enjoying sipping on my Old Fashioned, sitting on the swivel chair that faced Fire Pit Park, and watching the wind rustling through the leaves, that would, on occasion, breeze in through the open garage-style door and fill the small restaurant with the fresh summer air.

The Taco Flatbread was placed in front of me on a wooden cutting board, there was no plate or silverware (I liked that), and it looked incredible, and tasted even better. It was undoubtedly the best flatbread that I have ever had. I was picking pieces of it up off the board, off the bar, off my jeans, and the floor (not really off the floor), it was messy, especially when eating off of an awkwardly shaped, thick cutting board. The Taco Flatbread had cumin chicken, cilantro, queso fresco, green Olives, pico de gallo, and corn tortillas, it was amazing. I’m glad I didn’t order the Margarita flatbread, and that I tried the Taco Flatbread, however, I can’t stop thinking about how amazing the Margarita Flatbread might be.

The Rocks is a bar aptly named—much like Big Sky—a third of the bar/restaurant was filled with more alcohol than I’d ever seen in a room that size, my disappointment was curbed, and then some. I will be going back to the Rocks, especially since it’s only an hour away, and the flatbread only set me back $16, it was well worth that, even if Noelle’s Fireweed Old Fashioned was $15. In the meantime, I’ll be dreaming about Margarita Flatbread.


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