ROUNDUP — When you think of America's best BBQ, Roundup might not be the first town that comes to mind. But Roundup suddenly has a reputation for mouthwatering food.
And a year ago, Backporch BBQ didn't even exist. Co-owners Morgan Belveal and Joey Campanella had different careers in Roundup, but they'd always had a dream of opening their own restaurant together.
"During quarantine, we moved back to Roundup and the first thing we noticed was we want to eat somewhere different. So, that got us thinking, okay, well, we should start a restaurant," said Campanella on Thursday.
And just six months ago, Backporch BBQ was born.
"In Southeast Montana, outside of Billings, it’s all just towns like Roundup. And a lot of them are eating French fries and burgers every night, and it’s not really, it’s delicious, but it’s not really good for us. There's not really many options," said Belveal on Thursday.
And just last week the dynamic dining duo got a surprise they could have never imagined.
They learned they were nominated for a James Beard award, selected by a committee that travels each state looking for America's best food. They're now one of 30 semifinalists from across the country.
"Opening a restaurant that grew as quickly as this one did and earning James Beard recognition in six months, we’re pretty excited to show that small towns in Montana can do this too. You don’t have to be in a city to have James Beard-nominated food," added Belveal.
Ever since the nomination customers have been showing up from across the state to see what this hidden gem is all about.
"We had a table from Bozeman come in. We’ve had people from Red Lodge come in. We have a lot of people that change their travel plans and sort of make the detour to come over here on their way to somewhere else. We have a lot of people that change their travel plans and sort of make the detour to come over here on their way to somewhere else," Belveal added.
Everything is made in house. From the 15-hour smoked pulled pork to the smoked ribs as well as homemade coleslaw, cornbread and sauces.
A restaurant making a name for itself both here and abroad, along the backroads of Montana.
"We’re really happy doing what we’re doing right here. We love it and we’re super thankful for the support we’re getting across the state," added Campanella.
- Viewer photos: Aurora Borealis
- Woman hit by car dies in Sun Prairie
- Recent obituaries on KRTV
- Blackfeet's first female police chief
- Coming Up: Events Calendar