By Katie Thomas EBS Contributor

BOZEMAN – On a recent Thursday night, locals meandered into Squire House, downtown Bozeman’s newest dining establishment, nestled in the Element Hotel. The long-awaited eatery occupies the southeast corner of a lot that stood empty from 2006 to 2015 while various concepts for new structures were considered by developers.

Luckily, what came to fruition on East Mendenhall includes Squire House, a distinct and engaging new restaurant and full bar. Opened in late August by M&M Restaurant Group, Squire House serves dinner seven nights a week, and will soon be expanding to include lunch and brunch. While Squire House is located within the Element Hotel, it is a separate entity and welcomes locals and visitors alike.

The menu is straightforward yet inclusive, and accommodates a broad variety of pallets. The truffle toast appetizer is a soft and creamy presentation of brioche heaven, accented with bright orange salmon roe. Next came the beets and greens salad, a divine mixture of red and golden beets with smoked crushed almonds over mixed greens tossed in a tangy vinaigrette. The scallops au gratin, served in a brandy-gruyère-parmesan sauce, nearly puts one over the edge for the simple bliss of the flavors.

Vegetarian diners will be happy to know that the ratatouille and quinoa dish is a flavorful and filling choice, not to mention beautifully presented, with vivid yellows, greens and scarlet surrounding the sweet red quinoa. On the other end of the spectrum, the flat iron and frites entree was incredibly satisfying—tender steak, crispy fries, and more of the perfect vinaigrette-dressed greens.

Somehow dessert was managed after all this. We chose the strawberry-rhubarb shortcake and the beignets, which went down even better with coffee and one last glass of garnacha.

The space in which these culinary delights were enjoyed has a warm and welcoming vibe. Everything from the Parisian bistro tables and subway tile to the hammered metal flatware lends Squire House a classy, Western feel with a modern European twist. In addition to the bar, dining room and Squire Room (a separate space for large parties), an outdoor patio provides a dusky summer ambiance for as long as the season allows.

Co-owner Michael McGough, a self-described “Bozeman refugee” with an extensive background in the Bozeman restaurant industry including the Baxter Hotel, hopes to establish a place where travelers can mix with locals in a salon-type atmosphere, with high-end comfort food and excellent service.

Although McGough appreciates an international flair, he also takes pride in Bozeman history: “The name ‘Squire House’ is a nod to the location,” McGough said, referring to what residents recognize as the longtime site of Kenyon Noble Lumber & Hardware, founded by Squire Kenyon in 1889.

Squire House is a fine addition to Gallatin Valley’s eclectic offerings of restaurants. Whether you’re in search of such festive cocktails as the Squire Fizz (gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, egg white) and the Hello You! (mezcal, raw honey, rosemary elixir) or a full-on dining extravaganza, Squire House should be at the top of your list.

Call (406) 577-2773 for reservations, or drop in to 25 E. Mendenhall from 5:30 p.m. to midnight.