Friend Kathy did the driving, but I felt a bit tense, wondering what we would actually find in Molt. I didn't even know the name of the restaurant . . . would we find it? would there still be a breakfast served? But Kathy, who loves road trips that don't take you anywhere in particular, was cheerful about the adventure.
Molt was easy to find: drive north past Laurel for about half an hour. And we soon saw the restaurant was not only visible -- make a quick right on Wolfskill Road as soon as you hit town -- but very obviously in business as evidenced by the many cars (the only cars in town) parked around the building.
Molt is very small, and although there are a few buildings in current use, the nearest one to the cafe, besides the post office, was this house:
The moment we entered, I knew this was a really, really cool place. Bluegrass music, tons of people, plates piled high with delicious-looking food, walls lined with full shelves from the building's days as the area mercantile. So many things to look at, listen to, savor.
We stood in line for a few minutes, then saw two empty places at a table nearby. Four other people at the table were already devouring pancakes and eggs. With permission, we sat with them. And that's a really nice feature of this place: you get to meet other diners.
In fact, things got so friendly that our table companions asked if we'd like some soy milk, which they were passing around in a green metal beverage container and pouring into their coffee. One of their party was lactose intolerant. When we learned there was Bailey's Irish Cream liqueur in the container, too, we suddenly realized we shouldn't be drinking so much milk and we accepted the offer. I'll have to say that Bailey's really livens up a cup of hot chocolate!
It really livens up conversation, too. In between laughing and sipping our "coffee," we were told the hash browns were made from fresh potatoes, and that you get tons of food, so don't order too much. Apparently, they have very tasty pie, too, but I ordered a cinnamon roll to take out. (Don't do this yourself; I don't know what it would have tasted like if I'd eaten it right there, but it was plenty dry by the time I got home. Next time I'll take home a piece of pie.)
We found out that a lot of people drive here or cycle from Billings, which is about an hour away, and as we were eating I saw a young woman from Japan walking around taking photos like any tourist. Or, perhaps, she has a blog, too. But it's obvious this cafe's reputation has traveled far and wide.
If you arrive when the cafe opens at 8:30 am, there will be a huge crowd, but at our arrival time of about 10 am, the crowd was thinning considerably.
Do not expect fast service. This is a leisurely experience that should be savored as much as the food. For when our food did arrive, I suddenly understood exactly why that long-ago unknown person told me to "have breakfast in Molt." The ambience is terrific and you should definitely go if only for that, but the food!! Delicious!
Of course the photo does not do justice to my meal, but it gives you an idea of how high the food is piled on. Although you can see the English muffins and a corner of my omelet, the plate was mostly covered with hash browns, and I can highly recommend them.
A repeat customer told us that if you go during the week, there might be one other person sharing the room with you, and there won't be any live music, but it would be a good time to taste lunch items.
Another repeat customer summed up the entire experience: "You always leave with a pep in your step," Although I must add the disclaimer here that she was the one who had brought the, er, soy milk.
I didn't get much practical information about the cafe, such as when it opened ("a few years ago," according to our table mates) or when it is open for business. But just keep in mind that on Saturday, you should arrive between 8:30 and 10:30 to sample the breakfast menu. I believe someone said the cafe closes at 3 pm on Saturday.
Call the cafe to get answers to your other questions: 406-669-3857.
But whether or not you remember to call ahead, do visit Molt on a Saturday morning. I'll share my table with you!