Employing the ancient Aztec tradition of nixtamalization, we make our tortillas in-house with land-traced varietals of corn sourced from Oaxaca, Puebla, and other Mexican states. We use white olotillo, bolita belatove, and blue conico among others to create masa that can then be formed into tortillas, tamales, gorditas, tlayudas, tlacoyos, and panuchos, to name a few.
By avoiding preservatives, the tortilla becomes more than a vehicle for what’s inside the taco. It acts as an aromatic acrobat of earthiness, sweetness, sourness, and elasticity, which allows the tortilla to become a delicacy of its own.
In Mexico, they have a saying: sin maíz no hay país. Without corn there is no country. And that’s damn true. They are consumed at breakfast, lunch, dinner, and in the wee hours of the night. Tortillas are a birthright, and we want to constantly be born.
These nixtamalized heirloom corn tortillas are the backbone for our tacos, which host regional favorites like lamb barbacoa, cochinita pibil, and al pastor. Our menu is also flush with light and healthy shareable plates such as aguachile, ceviche, and salads, with fresh salsas and guacamole for dipping. We print our menus in-house as we’re constantly tweaking and adjusting our dishes as the seasons change.
While the food on our menu explores the 4 corners of Mexican technique and tradition, our spirits list and cocktail program is as equally devoted to the flavors, histories, and lore of the agave plant and how it can transcend time and space once distilled and poured into a glass. We juice our citrus fresh every day, and we’re continually passing around new ideas to create drinks that relocate us. From slow burners like the Negrete (mezcal negroni) to the Coyote (hibiscus margarita) to spiked horchata, we invite you to sip (or gulp) as long as you’d like.
In addition to working closely with Montana friends and farmers to source our produce and proteins, we’ve partnered up with Masienda, a purveyor who supports small-time Oaxacan farms by importing these beautiful varietals of corn. We strive to be students and stewards of such a diverse culinary tradition, and to challenge ourselves endlessly to keep learning and to keep creating.
As owner-operators, we (Tad Hilton & Philip Schaefer) began working together at Montgomery Distillery in downtown Missoula in 2013, creating cocktails, talking with guests, and collaborating in ways we never anticipated. Realizing we both wanted to offer a dining experience unique to Missoula, we had a little idea that turned into many long conversations, those conversations into learning how to write a business plan, and the plan into a thirst that led us all over the map of Mexico. We had no idea if anything would ever materialize, but we didn’t care and wouldn’t stop.
After 3 ½ years of reading, cooking, traveling, and organizing, we are finally able to take the “pipe” out of our “dream,” and are beyond humbled and thrilled to offer you The Camino: Mexican Kitchen & Agave Bar.