Trimbo’s Off the Hook, Butte, Mont.
The first thing that comes to mind when I think about Trimbo’s is a lot of snow. There’s a reason for that. Butte, Montana is a very snowy city because of its northern location and its high elevation. As such, when I came through Butte on my way home from a game Eastern Washington (I had gotten the bright idea to drive to Cheney instead of fly to Spokane), I entered in the midst of a raging snowstorm.
That meant two things. First, I was going to have a long and difficult couple hundred miles ahead to what was then my home in Idaho. Second, Trimbo’s had better be worth the arduous task of getting it.
It certainly was. Nobody thinks high-quality pizza when they think of Montana, but Trimbo’s isn’t exactly the typical mountain pizza joint. In fact, the restaurant was started by two guys from the east who wanted to open their own pizza place and finally decided to go ahead and do it. Why they picked Butte, I’m not sure, but it’s obviously worked out pretty well for them.
What sets Trimbo’s apart is their commitment to fresh ingredients and the size of their meals. This isn’t Big Pie In The Sky, where one slice can feed a person, but their pizzas are a pretty good size and they pride themselves on including more ingredients at a lower price than their competition.
As far as the fresh ingredients, you wouldn’t think so, but it’s actually not that hard to get high-quality ingredients in the Rockies. California isn’t too far away, nor is Oregon, which leads to a good amount of quality at a price that isn’t too taxing and allows Trimbo’s to shine.
Where Trimbo’s really stands out is its calzones and strombolis. The difference between the two is that a stromboli has the pizza sauce baked inside the dough, while a calzone serves the sauce outside the dough and uses is it more for dipping. Either way works pretty well, but I’m definitely more a fan of dipping rather than having it inside, so for me, the best option was a calzone.
Trimbo’s offers 12 standard calzones, with the option to add as many toppings as you want to create your masterpiece. I just decided to go with a simple favorite, the New York, which includes ricotta and mozzarella, along with bioth marinara and ranch for dipping. OK, not too original, but I figured that if their ingredients are as good as they say, they don’t need a lot of toppings to have it taste good.
The choice was excellent. The dough gets baked to perfection and topped with plenty of oregano, which just happens to work perfectly on anything Italian. Even better, there’s oregano in the calzone itself, making for a flavorful experience on every bite. The ricotta adds a new texture to it, and of course, the mozzarella is nothing short of outstanding. With either sauce, or without sauce at all, this thing is totally worth the visit.
For the more creative, Trimbo’s features calzones with items like fried peppers, Canadian bacon or even anchovies. And again, if nothing appeals to you, you can always add more toppings. For the really big eaters, Trimbo’s offers the ultra-ridiculous Jumboli Challenge.
The challenge is a five-pound stromboli, stuffed with three meats, four vegetables and two kinds of cheese. Basically, it’s not for the people with small stomachs, and even if you can eat a lot, this could be really tough. You have an hour to get the job done, and they require reservations so they can have it ready for you. It’s that much food.
Challenge aside, quality is what makes this place great. Should you ever find yourself where I-15 meets I-90, a detour into the city is a good idea.
Time to go: Lunch/dinner. Trimbo’s also offers free delivery in Butte north of Interstate 90, if you’re staying there.
Wait during my visit: None, but the calzones and strombolis take a while to cook. They say you should allow 25 minutes for them to cook, and that’s probably accurate.
Location: Trimbo’s can be found at 43 East Park Street in Butte, Mont.
Cost: Regardless of ingredients, every calzone is $7.50 unless you start adding toppings. The biggest pizzas will be under $20.
Parking: It’s Butte. One lot is enough.
Specialty items: Calzones