Yesterday afternoon I went out to 4 Corners to have a Friday lunch with my fiance Stephanie, a rarity since the drive out there is a bit inconvenient to do over a lunch hour. She has been telling me about this new food truck that everyone in the building she works in has been raving about called the Flat Top Grill. She wasn?t sure what was on the menu, but we went to see what all the fuss was about.
We almost missed the Flat Top?s small set up just south of 4 Corners on Gallatin Road, but luckily we spotted it and pulled into the large parking lot to the rear of the small trailer. As you can see in the picture, the Flat Top is very modern and inviting. The smells, though, coming from the inside where what got me excited. Stephanie and I decided to go with the smoked pork taco combo that comes with ?dirty rice? and a drink. Money was exchanged and we were handed our fresh home made sweet tea before taking a seat at the picnic table with anticipation for what would be by far the best BBQ pork I have ever tasted. The tacos and dirty rice were amazing in ways that I can?t write with words. Yet after talking with the owner, Ron Slade, I found the story of why he opened this small food truck in the first place to be the best part of the Flat Top.
I asked Ron if he had always wanted to open something like the Flat Top. My thought was that he was a chef who struggled to find work at a restaurant or lacked funding to open something of his own, but I was way off the mark. Mr. Slade told me how he had gone to school at MSU and, for years, ran a very successful design and architecture firm here in Bozeman. He had been satisfied and proud of his work, but his company took a big hit with the crash of the economy. He and his friend headed to the oil fields of Eastern Montana to get back on their feet. ?They took the kitchen trailer that is now called the Flat Top Grill with them. Ron made and sold food out of the trailer as supplemental income but before long was making some serious money providing food to workers. Moving the rig to Sydney Montana the trailer was a huge hit in that area as well. Bozeman is home to Ron, so it was only a matter of time before the trailer was hitched up and headed toward the Gallatin Valley. ?I started to wonder why I was working to get back into the design game. To serve my own ego? To justify my schooling? Shedding the design business was a cleansing process for me? says Ron. ?Transactions here (at the Flat Top) take 20 seconds instead of 2 years. You build something and get the clients feedback on it immediately. It?s the creative process that I love? he goes onto say.
Ron is from the south and cooking was always part of his family?s life. If the food Stephanie and I experienced was any clue, the food to come out of the Slade family kitchen must have been magic. I?m just glad some of that magic made it to Bozeman. We will be back very soon to the Flat Top Grill but my decision on what to order will be a difficult one. I want to try everything on the menu, but those tacos where so good that I really can?t imagine not ordering them? S?pose we?ll just have to make it a regular stop to get a taste of everything.
The Flat Top Grill
81770 Gallatin Road, Bozeman, MT.
Hours: Tues-Sat 11am-5ish