In 2014, three good friends were hanging out in a living room in Bozeman, lamenting about the lack of good dining options in town. Over plates of cheese and fruit, they talked about their vision for creating the best seafood restaurant in Bozeman. In their mind’s eye, it had to be the kind of place they would all want to eat at. It should strive to be a top dining destination and feature a menu that showcases surprising and delightful flavors. So they decided to open their own seafood restaurant, and a year later, in 2015, Feast Raw Bar & Bistro opened its doors.
Feast’s journey from being an idea among friends to becoming one of the best Bozeman restaurants is a story about bringing together a community. It started with just a few people, but as it grew, more joined in because they recognized it was becoming something special. From its inception to now, this is Feast’s story about how they created the type of restaurant they always knew Bozeman needed.
Serving the Best Seafood in Bozeman
When Chef and Co-owner Steve Kuntz returned home to Montana from the West Coast, he launched a custom catering company, Montana Epicurean. His catering business focused on fine dining in rustic locations that delivered fresh, delicious cuisine. At the time, he co-rented kitchen space with another catering business run by Caroline Doern.
In that shared space, they would work together often and discuss how difficult it was to find high-quality, fresh, flavorful food from any of the best Bozeman restaurants—especially seafood. They recognized that there was an opportunity to offer an alternative. So they began discussing their idea with their good friend Nicholas Wickes. Nicholas had a career in Enterprise IT and not-for-profit work, but he had a passion for epicurean experiences and sound business ideas.
Nicholas reviewed the group’s finances and ran models to make the idea of operating a restaurant feasible. They soon realized that the concept for their seafood restaurant was possible. And that’s how it came together, with a small community of friends hanging out at each other’s houses, eating snacks, and developing a fantastic idea.
Fresh. Seasonal. Flavor: Feast’s Layered Approach to Creating Cuisine
Once the restaurant’s doors finally opened, Steve and the team worked diligently, establishing Feast as a unique bistro that serves the best seafood in Bozeman. In the beginning, Feast was only able to offer two to three seafood dishes. As word spread about the restaurant’s delicious seafood and unique flavors, they were able to expand their offering to serve four or five seafood entrees. Now, they run fish specials almost every week.
It’s not just about freshness and quality. Feast is passionate about their cooking style and how they prepare their cuisine. Feast Executive Chef Nikki Dupre is a master of creating seemingly simple dishes with multiple layers of flavor. With every plate she thoughtfully prepares, she marries ingredients together in a delicious symphony that is pleasing, exciting, and unexpected.
Seasonal produce and locally sourced ingredients are integral to Feast’s menu too. When developing the concept for Feast, Chef Kuntz recognized the value of supporting the community by lifting up local purveyors. These purveyors, like Cloud Nine Farm, Chance Farms, and Gallatin Valley Botanical, not only provide the restaurant with remarkable seasonal ingredients, but they also help make Feast’s meals extraordinary and keep guests coming back for more.
Giving Guests a Great Experience, Night After Night
For Chef Kuntz, Feast Raw Bar & Bistro is a restaurant for people who care about elevated food, flavor, and fresh, sustainably-sourced ingredients. Keeping guests curious and surprised is what draws patrons into the rustic elegance of Feast over and over. That, and a welcoming feeling prevails for all who dine here—knowing that you’ll be well taken care of is what guests cherish so much about the bistro.
People who visit Feast regularly all have a favorite dish. But don’t pigeonhole Feast in! On any given day, you can find Indian, Asian, and Mediterranean influences in their cuisine. Creating unique, surprising flavors and combinations was always part of the vision for the restaurant. This approach to the cuisine and guest experience has served Feast well and will continue to guide them into the next chapter of their story.
The Future of Feast
It has been several years since those first conversations among Steve, Caroline, and Nicholas. At the time, they were just three friends unhappy with the dining scene in Bozeman. Little did they know that they were the solution they were searching for. Their efforts have proven to be successful not only in their own eyes but also in the eyes of the public. In a recent reader’s poll, the community voted Feast Raw Bar & Bistro #1 in several categories, including best Bozeman restaurant and most inspired menu.
Even though Feast has come into its own, they continue to push to do better and refine their offerings. Not only do they strive to live up to their own high standards, they want to consistently exceed them.
Chef Kuntz reflects, “The journey has been really gratifying. It’s been awesome to see what was an idea in a living room turn into a driver for the community that not only supports the community in all the ways that it does, but it also gives guests a quality dining experience night after night.”