Finally, at least in the Missoula restaurant world, there is some good news. Instead of telling you about another business closure, I'm happy to tell you about a restaurant opening. Not only that, it's all owned and operated by home-grown Montanans.

A few years ago a swanky new joint opened up in the heart of downtown Missoula. Since their doors opened, Pangea and Stave and Hoop have become a hot spot for locals and tourists alike looking for something a little different. With an upscale atmosphere, menu, and cocktails, they have quickly been gaining attention. Sadly, during construction and opening, they were in the midst of the pandemic and had to hold off on an official grand opening, until now.


On the heels of their success, the Pangea partners have announced their new endeavor "Elote". This new venture will be located inside the Southgate Mall,  where Red Robin, until recently occupied the space.

I spoke with the Pangea Restaurant Group Beverage Director/Partner, Kyle Riggs, about this exciting new Missoula dining option:

We have taken over the former Red Robin space at the Mall and in January will be opening a new concept.....Elote Modern Mexican. Hand-made tortilla, sizzling fajitas, with a full liquor license. killer margaritas and amazing luxury tequilas. We are also bringing back the casino that used to be attached when it was Arriba. It will be a fast-moving fun location serving lunch and dinner.  -Kyle Riggs

Kyle also sent me a copy of their menu. I can't share it here, but as the kids say, it looks "straight fire". The Margarita and other cocktails sound amazing. It's a super convenient location. And, in my opinion, it's going to be great bringing back some great Mexican food to the Mall, ironically in the same place where Ariba and Club Cabo once existed.

As I mentioned, this new venture from the Pangea Group is locally owned and operated by born and raised Montanans. It's great to see the local folks doing big things, and they are hiring. You can apply here. Kyle hopes to open the "Elote" doors by mid-January.

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Gallery Credit: Jesse James

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