An experienced chef and Libby local has announced the completion and opening of his and his wife’s new Mediterranean, intimate restaurant.
The the “quality-filled and intimate” Black Board Bistro will open Wednesday, Dec. 21 at 5 p.m.
“It was always my dream that, once I became a chef, to come back to Libby and open my own restaurant,” executive chef Seth Black said.
Everything fell into place, Black said, when he moved back to Libby, the place he was born and raised, and found out that a space on Mineral was opening up.
The bistro is located in a 1923 house across the street from the Central School. With the help local artist, Tawnya Dinning of Tawnya Dinning Arts and after extensive renovations, remodeling and restoration, they are introducing an atmosphere that showcases the house’s history with a modern touch.
The Black Board will serve Mediterranean flavors and recipes, with some non-Mediterranean dishes from time to time, using as much locally-sourced meats, produce and other foods that they possibly can. As of now, they serve seafood from Seattle and Alaska, organic chicken, and they get all of their beef from Bozeman. They also have someone in Kalispell who helps them find unique wines from all over the world, and will serve craft beers.
Seth has cooked for over 7 restaurants in the Denver fine dining scene including the popular and award winning Bones, Aubergine Cafe, Clair de’ Lune, Somethin’ Else, LoHi Steak Bar and Basil Doc’s Pizzeria. He also worked with nationally renowned Chefs Sean Kelly, Frank Bonanno and notable Restaurateur, Mike Miller, who Seth credits to further advancing his knowledge and culinary creativity in his career. Chef Seth has been critically acclaimed and reviewed by notable food critics from The Westword and The Denver Post.
As a kid, Black admits he always struggled to sit still for very long and was very hyperactive, so I he knew that college wasn’t for him. However, he always watched cooking shows on television and that started to inspire him.
“The first thing that drew me in was seeing all these different places around the world and all of these different types of food that fascinated me,” Black said. “My mom noticed me watching it all the time and she said, ‘You should be a chef.’”
Before he knew it, he had moved to Denver and started working in a kitchen. From there, he went to culinary school at The Art Institute of Colorado, from which he graduated in 2000.
Black claims to have worked for one of the best Chefs in Denver, who specialized in Mediterranean foods of France, Italy, Spain, Greece Arabia and North Africa foods.
“The first time I had Arabic food, I fell in love with it,” Black said. “The flavors are incredible, the dishes are older than all of us put together.”
The inspiration for the place came from a chef he worked for in Denver, who had a small, intimate restaurant.
“I always liked that over a [big] place,” Black said. “In a small place you get to take your time more and cater to people and really raise the bar as far as the quality of food.”
With limited places in Libby for people to go for intimate, special occasions, Black wanted to do something for the community by filling that void. However, they want everyone to come and feel welcome.
“I feel like a lot of people see that it’s fancy, people automatically think it’s pretentious and you have to dress nice,” Black said. “I feel like it’s our home, I want people to come in here and relax and just enjoy their dining experience.”
Black met Riley, another Libby local, in 2013, and were married two years later. Riley, Lincoln County Public Health Nurse, RN by day and The Black Boards general manager by night, said she always had a passion for the culinary arts as well.
“Meeting [Black] was a happy coincidence, because I always enjoyed cooking shows as well and it threw me deeper into the culinary world than I ever expected to go,” Riley said.
The team hopes that with this place, to setting down and raise a family in Libby.
They expect to change-up their menu every month to keep people coming back and keep their food ever-changing and seasonally-based. Their hours are going to be 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday, and they’re planning on maybe expanding their hours in the summer.
The Black Board Bistro is located at 803, Mineral Avenue in Libby. For additional information, reservations and employment inquires, call 293-4505 or visit their website at theblackboardmontana.com.