I love pizza more than most people I know.
If you ask me, would I rather _________ (insert whatever social gathering you want) or eat a truly magnificent pizza, the pizza’s going to win almost every time. I’ve actually eaten pizza on five of the seven continents and tried versions of it baked by a Michelin star chef to my favorite Italian friend’s mother. After this many years, and that many calories… I’ve come to believe that I know a good pizza when I smell, see, and eat one.
A truly great pizza has several key things that make it great:
- The ratio of sauce to cheese to crust has to be correct
- The sauce has to have the right balance of savory and sweet
- The crust has to have just a slight crunch on the outside and a pillow-like softness on the inside
- The crust has to have the right color and little pieces of stray melted cheese on it
- The cheese has to be fresh and not look and taste like plastic
- Any toppings have to accent the whole flavor profile, not take it over
And when it comes to finding truly magnificent pizza… you usually discover the best ones in the most unexpected places.
And that’s the case with Biga Pizza.
We were on vacation, driving a two week loop from L.A. to Yellowstone, up through Montana, over to Coeur d’Alene and Spokane, and then back down to California. Halfway through our trip, we stopped into Missoula, Montana for a break and a visit with a group of our friends. One night we all went out on the town and were looking for some food when I found a listing for “Bob Marshall’s Biga Pizza.” We showed up about thirty minutes before they were going to close and out of respect, since there were eight of us, I asked if they were still serving. I used to work in an Italian restaurant and I know what it’s like when you’re trying to close and people come in to eat. A friendly man about my age who looked like someone I would have been friends with in college, motioned with his hands in a very East coast manner, and said, “Come on in. Please sit down! We’d love to serve you.”
From that moment on, I felt like I was at my Aunt and Uncle’s house. And to clarify, the Aunt and Uncle you love, not the ones who irritate you and you dread seeing because they smell funny and still think you’re twenty years younger than you actually are. The hospitality we were given was great. The friendliness, New York / New Jersey vibe… all of it was FANTASTIC. Here’s the man who welcomed us into the restaurant who I would soon come to find out was the owner, Bob Marshall:
So what about the food? As their website says, their menus are “innovative and traditional, locally sourced, seasonal and the pizzas are all handcrafted.” They have some of the traditional items, but you’ll also see amazing things like a Prosciutto & Fig, or a Sweet Potato, Bacon & Maple Chipotle pizza, not to mention beautiful salads, sandwiches, soups, and more. I’ll let some pictures do a little talking, then I’ll tell you an even more amazing thing about this place:
As if the food being OUTSTANDING wasn’t enough, when we were done eating, I walked over to Bob, and thanked him for serving us when I knew they were close to the end of their day. We got chatting and shmoozing. Bob’s a really nice guy. Really nice. I told him how impressed I was with both the food and the service, and also what I did for a living. He said, “You want a tour?” I said, “Absolutely!”
Bob then took ANOTHER twenty minutes to show me around, tell me about how he was originally from New Jersey, how he’d started this family business, how they’d grown and expanded, and I even got to see the new delivery kitchen they’d built. We talked about how he and the Missoula community had weathered Covid, how the pandemic had changed his business, what the future looked like, and what it was like to run a family business in the world today. Along the way, I also got to meet some of the other people who worked there and I want to take a second to give a big shout out and thanks to Michael, Grace, Phoenix, and Katie. Michael also took all the pics you see on this post. Thanks, Michael!
The thing I took away from my evening at Biga Pizza, besides a belly FULL of bliss, was that because we live in a fast-paced world of instant gratification, where everything is thrown at us a million miles an hour, we don’t take enough time to sit and talk with each other like we used to. But sometimes, on a cool evening, you find yourself in a Montana town, eating amazing food, and chatting with a nice guy like Bob Marshall, and you realize that there are still places in the world where a warm meal, a smile, and a hello, still mean a lot.
Biga Pizza is one of those places.
If you’re ever in Missoula, stop by and enjoy a truly delicious meal and remember what it was like to hang out with your cool Aunt and Uncle for a while.
Moonbird’s Helpful Info:
Location: Missoula, Montana
Address: 241 W Main St, Missoula, MT 59802
Phone Number: (406) 728-2579
Google Maps: Click here
Best time to visit: Anytime!
Hours: Mon – Sat: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m., Closed Sundays
Seasons: North America’s Seasons are: Spring: March, April and May, Summer: June, July and August, Autumn: September, October and November, and Winter: December, January and February.