Gil’s Goods is situated in the same spot in Livingston where it’s namesake, the western curio shop “Gil’s Got It” operated for half a century. Gone are the shelves holding “Montana” salt and pepper shakers, agates and “rattlesnake eggs”. Today, exposed brick walls tower over a cluster of tables beside a pastry case stuffed with Danishes and croissants, while a huge refurbished garage door opens to ample sidewalk seating out front.
The look and feel of Gil’s Goods was a collaborative effort between interior designer Gigi Aelbers and owner Brian Menges. Their goal was to make a community gathering place that felt like it had been here for a long time—a place where people of all ages and stripes could eat delicious, yet uncomplicated, food in an unfussy but lovely atmosphere.
And, on any given day, it seems that much of Livingston’s community does gather at Gil’s Goods. Some might be drawn by the early morning scent of hot-out-of-the-(wood fired)-oven sourdough French toast bathed in a Madagascar vanilla egg batter before it’s slipped inside the cavernous, hand-built brick oven. Others might walk by at lunch and smell a “Dirty Shame” pizza—topped with hot sauce, local Hutterite chicken, onions, peppers and blue cheese—emerging from the same scorching bricks. (Incidentally, the oven also heats the water for the in-floor radiant heat.)
There’s quite a bit of name-dropping on the Gil’s Goods menu – Yellowstone Grassfed Beef, Willow Springs Ranch lamb, Bausch Family Farms potatoes, Hutterite chicken, Amaltheia Farms cheese, and more. Almost 100% of their ingredients, produce and protein come from local ranchers, farmers and producers and most are within an hour or two of Livingston. Gil’s Goods outsources a few things seasonally, but on any given day they can claim over 90% of the food on each plate is local. And what they don’t buy nearby, they make from scratch. House-made items include pancetta, bratwurst, Canadian bacon, sauces, gravy and all of the bread (sourdough, Vienna, baguette, hamburger buns).
A perfect day of eating must be topped off with dessert and Gil’s Goods makes exceptional pastries and sweets, although one of their best sellers is a non-conventional treat – chocolate covered bacon.
The one potential downside of Gil’s Goods? Once you step inside, you may not want to leave. Luckily, you don’t have to. The café is open from 7:00am until 11:00pm daily.