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Montana's: Pass the barbecue'

By Staff
CARVED TO ORDER – Ken Montana, left, serves Betty Barnett of Quitman a piece of brisket as employee Rodney Chatham looks on. Montana opened his first restaurant in Gulfport in 1988. He opened his third one in Meridian in August. Below, meats on the buffet at Montana's include ribs, top round beef, brisket and baked home all cooked to perfection. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Penny Randall / staff writer
Sept. 25, 2002
The wait is finally over, and Meridianites are making their way to Montana's Bar-B-Q and Seafood Restaurant to try out savory seafood, and smoked and barbecued meats.
Housed in the former Southern Pipe warehouse on Front Street, Montana's has a view of the railroad tracks and Union Station.
The rustic atmosphere is perfect for enjoying a buffet stacked high with meats and vegetables.
Two years in the making, Montana's opened in August to an eager and hungry public.
Specialties of the house
The restaurant is buffet-style with prices ranging from lunch at $6.75 to dinner at $8.95. On Friday and Saturday nights, the seafood buffet is $13.95.
Also on the buffet is hand-pulled pork, Cajun smoked sausage, chicken and fried catfish nuggets. The selection of vegetables is good. And there's a salad bar for those who want a lighter meal.
The Friday and Saturday night buffet includes shrimp and oysters on the half-shell shipped directly from the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The catfish is brought in from Mississippi catfish houses in the Delta and the meats are from Texas.
Expanded menu in the works
For those hungry patrons looking for a bigger menu, the wait will be short. Montana's plans to expand the buffet and add order-off-the-menu selections within three weeks.
The menu will include po'boy sandwiches, salads, skillet platters with shrimp pasta, Shrimp Etouffee and grilled chicken. Barbecue platters will feature ribs, chicken and pork. Made to order ribeyes, sirloin, prime rib and filets are also coming.
The Meridian restaurant, with 70 employees, is similar in size to Montana's other locations.
Ken Montana and his mother, Audrey Montana, opened the original Montana's restaurant in 1988 in Gulfport at the Old Landon Station Railroad. In 1992, the restaurant moved to Highway 49 and Airport Road.
A second restaurant was opened in Lake Charles, La., 1990. Scott Montana, Ken's son, runs that location.
In 1995, Ken Montana opened a restaurant in Pensacola, Fla.
Catering, lounge
The difference at the Meridian restaurant will be the on-site catering facility. The Front Street restaurant has a 400-seat room upstairs and a smaller banquet rooms downstairs. The main dining room seats 350-400 people.
Montana is also excited about the restaurant's lounge, which he plans to open within the next few weeks.

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