We're starting to see some good news for Missoula's restaurants. A new Mexican restaurant just opened at Southgate Mall, a Montana coffee chain will be opening a location in Missoula, and a new food stop will be opening in the old Staggering Ox location.

But there may be another opportunity for Missoula to get a new restaurant thanks to a message that appeared on the digital reader board of the HuHot Mongolian Grill in Missoula. The restaurant closed in October of 2023 but now the building is available for lease.

We devised a few options that could boost the Missoula food scene. Have your own ideas? Drop them in the comments or message us on our app.

#1 A Seafood Restaurant

HuHot Mongolian Grill blue sky and clouds
Ashley, Townsquare Media

Sure, Montana is a ways from the ocean but that hasn't stopped Anthony's from opening locations in other land-locked places like Spokane, Couer d'Alene, or Boise. It doesn't take much imagination either when looking at the HuHot building to see it transformed into a seafood restaurant.

#2 Another Donut Shop

This is more about access than anything. Yes, Missoula has some great donuts, but Veera Donuts is nestled on the Hip Strip and Krispy Kreme is a little ways off the beaten path. Having a drive-through donut shop on this part of Brooks could give anyone headed to the Bitterroot some provisions for the road.

#3 Anything That's All You Can Eat

What better solution to inflation than an all-you-can-eat buffet? Remember the Sizzler? Golden Corral? I see an opportunity for a comeback.

#4 Olive Garden 

The mythical Olive Garden that Missoulians have been convinced would eventually make its way here. Maybe leasing the HuHot building would provide the ideal opportunity. Then again, the space might not be quite big enough.

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#5 Sonic or In-N-Out Burger or Culver's

Take your pick. If you ask Missoulians which burger chain they want you'll probably hear Sonic, In-N-Out, and if they're from the midwest (or Idaho, Utah, or Arizona) Culver's. Meanwhile, if you look at the map of Culver's restaurants around the country, it does look like Montana would complete the Culver's Midwest puzzle if it added a location here.

#6 Raising Canes

It's the chicken finger restaurant that Post Malone loves (like, he requested to have one built near his home in Utah). For those of us who don't need a sandwich with our chicken, how about chicken fingers and Texas toast to go (but yes, they do have a chicken sandwich if you really want one).

#7 Bring Back HuHot Mongolian Grill 

We admit it would be nice to have the HuHot Mongolian Grill back, but understand it was a difficult decision to close the flagship location.

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