By Katie Thomas EBS Contributor
BOZEMAN – Lovers of eggs Benedict will happily note that a newly opened restaurant in downtown Bozeman serves up this breakfast classic into the afternoon hours. At Little Star Diner, a shining gem of an eatery tucked into a new space in an old neighborhood, the good times roll from open to close.
Little Star Diner is Bozeman’s newest breakfast and lunch destination. Opened in early September by husband-and-wife team Charley Graham and Lauren Reich, Little Star Diner is a gourmet yet relaxed spot for genuinely local food in an upscale atmosphere.
A mini-farm in Bozeman, Montana? Absolutely. Reich has been in the business of small, restaurant-oriented market gardens for years. Her Star Pudding Farm has developed to the point that it provides much of the food for Little Star Diner. What can’t be grown on-site is purchased from small, family-run operations, including pork from the Shields Valley, beef from Cardwell, trout from Paradise Valley and chicken from Wilsall. All breads are made in-house with locally grown grains.
At a recent breakfast for two, the fried egg sandwich and eggs Benedict were must-haves, as were the ricotta doughnuts.
The sandwich, with cheddar and mizuna greens, absolutely hit the spot—aided in no small part by the addition of local bacon. Bright green basil sprigs and tiny red and orange cherry tomatoes brilliantly accentuated the Benedict, which was at once delicate and filling. As for the truly mouth-watering ricotta doughnuts served with applesauce and maple syrup? Let’s just hope those are never swapped out of the regularly and seasonally-updated menu. The same goes for the plum-and-raspberry mini pies.
Little Star Diner, designed by local architects at Pearson Design Group, is a pleasing, contemporary space with a rooftop garden and patio located on the east end of Babcock Street near Heeb’s East Main Grocery and Lockhorn Hard Cider. The stylish yet unassuming structure includes an open kitchen, counter seating and a spacious dining room, which is soon to be expanded to a ground-level outdoor patio as well. Although dinner is not offered, private catered events are, and booking the rooftop patio for a sunny soiree is a particularly worthy goal.
Before starting Little Star Diner, Graham worked at Blackbird Kitchen, where he ran the kitchen for five years. Reich is also familiar with the restaurant business—her grandmother owned a diner—so opening Little Star with Graham felt like a good fit. They set their plan in motion to open Little Star Diner about three years ago. “We wanted to do something that was basically fine dining, yet casual and fun,” Reich said.
“Our motto is something along the lines of, ‘Good food, no big deal,’” Graham said.
Yet good food is a big deal to some; it has become fairly common knowledge that the quality of food that doesn’t have to travel far is superior in every way. That may be why Little Star’s food tastes incredible, looks like an advertisement for decadent dining, and is presented well and at affordable prices. The concept of “farm-to-table” dining means many things to many people, and rarely has a local restaurant succeeded in making it so accessible.
Little Star Diner is located at 548 East Babcock Street and is open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. seven days a week.