Posted by Kacey (+3157) 10 years ago
Anyone know the basic recipe for Airport Inn pizza?
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Posted by Bill Freese (+477) 10 years ago
I had assumed the Airport Inn staff flew overnight to Italy to buy their ingredients in small town markets each morning. I'm so disappointed.
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Posted by Jim Birkholz (+196) 10 years ago
I had many a pizza there in the early 80s and loved them. I believe they used a lot of sauce. The one and only time that I ate there after the rebuild, the pizza didn't seem very good. But that could have been affected by my horror over the change of atmosphere. I still get sad/angry when I think of it. I also miss the taco pizzas that Crystal Pistol used to make.
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Posted by Dan Mowry (+1435) 10 years ago
I'm waiting for someone to tell me what Valley Distributing shopping list I need to load up on. I'm getting hungry!
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Posted by Bruce Helland (+596) 10 years ago
Not willing to do the research yourself? Thats were the fun lies.
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Posted by Kacey (+3157) 10 years ago
Gunnar,
Since you seemed to instantly have the d'uh cartoon, maybe you can tell us exactly which sauces, etc the Airport Inn uses.
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Posted by Dan Mowry (+1435) 10 years ago
"Not willing to do the research yourself? Thats were the fun lies."


If you mean sample slice after slice up at the Airport Inn? I'd love to! But, I don't think I could get away with driving across several States each day to do it (but I've contemplated it).

Then there's the subject of the Valley Distributing's embarrassingly bad website with no real info on it except the placeholding "lorem ipsum" text. Otherwise I'd probably start shopping online (if they were capable of that).

I nominate you, Bruce, to be R&D on the behalf of us ex-pats. It'll be rough but someone needs to go up there and start eating slice after slice and make their notes.
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Posted by Chuck Schott (+1282) 10 years ago
Does any one remember Clyde's pizza? It was that little shack next to Parker's Bar and man they made a great pizza 35 years ago. Yikes!

But now days you can't beat the Airport Inn Combination with a stick.
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+14303) 10 years ago
Now THERE is a blast from the past. I do remember that.
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Posted by Julie (+417) 10 years ago
I remember Clyde's Chuck! My brother Tracy Axelberg and I went there several times. Really good pizza!
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Posted by Gunnar Emilsson (+14871) 10 years ago
Author: Kacey Posted: 3/12/2010 9:01:47 AM From: - MT
Gunnar,
Since you seemed to instantly have the d'uh cartoon, maybe you can tell us exactly which sauces, etc the Airport Inn uses.


As usual in discussion threads, this question was answered by the second post to the thread by "Jimmie".....hence the "d'oh!"

I find it amusing that someone would want to make pizza exactly like the Airport Inn. While the Airport Inn pizza is okay, it is not much different than many pizzas you can get around Montana. For example, the Stagecoach (Stageline) pizza we get in Helena is very similar. Village Inn pizza is pretty similar too.

If you want Airport Inn pizza, why not go to the Airport Inn?

Now, if you want to start a discussion on how to make the very best pizza in the world, pizza that you cannot buy in Montana, I would be the first person to pitch in my 2 cents worth. But, tryin to clone Montana restaurant pizza, to that I say, what's the point?
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Posted by r mcdevitt (+27) 10 years ago
Amen!! I can not believe what many in Montana consider good pizza. It must come from the long cold winters needed for the added shelf life of frozen pizza dough.
BARTOLINO'S in St. Louis has long been one of my favorites. Fresh hand made pizza.
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Posted by David Schott (+15325) 10 years ago
I've eaten a lot of pizza in my time and I have the gut to prove it but I still enjoy an Airport Inn pizza when I'm back in near Miles City. Plus, who else cuts their pizzas that way?

You pizza snobs need to take your high-and-mighty pizza aloofness someplace else. Perhaps, www.imsoproudofmyculinarysmugness.com.
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Posted by Gunnar Emilsson (+14871) 10 years ago
Plus, who else cuts their pizzas that way?


Howard's Pizza of Great Falls and Helena for one....and Howard's Pizza tastes just like Airport Inn Pizza, too.
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Posted by Dan Mowry (+1435) 10 years ago
I think a couple of you are missing the point.

1. Some of us are not in MT.
2. Some of us like the AI pizza because it reminds us of home.

...same could be said of Crystal Pistol, Cellar, etc. Nostalgia and food often go hand in hand.

When I eat pizza here in Des Moines I have plenty of excellent pizza joints to chose from that certainly ride above the experience of what MC has to offer - but again, that's not the point.
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Posted by Kim (+44) 10 years ago
It's all about the nostalgia. Are there any Canadian Bacon and Sauerkraut pizza lovers out there? I feel bloated and sleepy (in a good way) just thinking about it. My husband made me a really good pizza a couple weeks ago. A crispy, cracker-thin crust topped with garlic olive oil, spinach, tomatoes, olives, feta cheese and spices.
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Posted by Levi Forman (+3710) 10 years ago
I think it's corned beef and sauerkraut now. Haven't tried it but it sounds good. I love their salami and green olive one. 2 things that I have always considered underrated as pizza toppings.
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Posted by J. Dyba (+1347) 10 years ago
The magic of AI is the family platter of finger-steaks. I've been all over the world and have only found one other place that served some finger-steaks like the ones at the AI.

Yes you can buy them from their source, as I have purchased several hundred dollars worth, but they are never quite the same as eating them at the Airport Inn.
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Posted by David Schott (+15325) 10 years ago
Yes you can buy them from their source

Now when it comes to their finger steaks I was under the impression that the Airport Inn makes those from scratch.
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Posted by mtgman (+93) 10 years ago
They do,Along with the pizza beef,And sausage.
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Posted by Dan Mowry (+1435) 10 years ago
Their finger steaks are a Universal good.
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Posted by Bruce Helland (+596) 10 years ago
The very best pizza is from my cousin's place in Fairview,MT the 'Powder Keg'

The dough is all hand made using 2 different kinds of flour, fresh eggs (not egg from a carton) and made fresh daily.

All 100% real cheese is used also.

Now, for Dan, the sauce. Again made fresh using 2 different brands of tomato puree (chosen for their slight taste and consistency difference) and his own blend of spices and seasonings.
Without revealing too much, some oregano, sugar, tyme,cumin,hot pepper sauce, etc.

To duplicate Airport Inn I would suggest starting with tomato puree and oregano and going from there.
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Posted by spacekace (+893) 10 years ago
Levi,
The corned beef and sauerkraut pizza is very very good!!! But, I am a fan of green olives on pizza as well, it could have something to do with the sour combo with pizza that I enjoy...

And...I thought A.P.I. got their fingersteaks from Quality Meats in Miles City... You can personally buy them from Quality Meats or I think Reynolds may have them as well... Does anyone know if this is true??? Or does the A.P.I. make them from scratch????
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Posted by mtgman (+93) 10 years ago
The airport taught miles city pack how to make finger steaks.
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Posted by David Schott (+15325) 10 years ago
That sounds about right. When I delivered for Miles City Pack I recall delivering lots of boxed beef (top round?) to the Airport Inn but not any finger steaks -- and not any ground beef or hamburger patties as they ground their own. I also recall delivering frozen onion rings. I don't recall what else we delivered. That was at the "old" (pre-fire) Airport Inn building.
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Posted by David Schott (+15325) 10 years ago
Oh, and I knew about the frozen crusts and canned pizza sauce from Valley Distributing not because M.C. Pack delivered it to the Airport Inn but because the owner of M.C. Pack had me stop at Valley in Billings one time and pick up some crusts and sauce for his personal use. He told me it was what the Airport Inn used. The sauce had an unusual brand name but I don't recall it anymore.
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Posted by Dan Mowry (+1435) 10 years ago
Think, David... THINK!
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+10508) 10 years ago
We just had pizza for lunch. The Airport Inn puts LOTS of cheese on their pizza and I think that makes it a bit different. That and the atmosphere. The occasional shout from the kitchen for Grandma, for instance.
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Posted by julieinmc (+515) 10 years ago
Thought I saw you there, Amorette! The finger steaks were very yummy today.
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Posted by Bob Netherton II (+1902) 10 years ago
I am officially jealous.
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Posted by Denise Selk (+1668) 10 years ago
The Airport Inn makes their own finger steaks. They are not supplied by Quality Meats of Montana (the "Pack").

The recipe/process is not the same between the two.

[This message has been edited by Denise Selk (3/13/2010)]
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Posted by julieinmc (+515) 10 years ago
David, was it Pinnochio? That was the brand they used to use at the Crystal Pistol.
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Posted by David Schott (+15325) 10 years ago
Could have been, Julie, but I don't remember for sure. It was 22 years ago. Hard to believe it's been that long.
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Posted by uno21 (+63) 10 years ago
I was up there the other night picking up a delivery pizza at the window and saw them opening a can of pizza sauce. I should have wrote the name down but didn't! Dang! But I was kinda disappointed that the sauce came from a can. In my little world they made their own sauce to make it the great Airport Inn pizza it is. But I got over it and downed the awesome goodness of a combination pizza! There is never going to be another pizza like the Airport's!
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Posted by Bob Netherton II (+1902) 10 years ago
Maybe they fix up their canned sauce.
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Posted by chuck johnson (+684) 10 years ago
TAVERN PIZZA IS THE BEST
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Posted by Tracy Walters (+300) 10 years ago
I agree the Airport Inn Pizza is best...maybe it is the 'home' syndrome spoken of early, but I've had pizza all over the US, and even overseas from Japan to Turkey, but I still remember Sausage, Mushroom and Black Olive pizza from the Airport Inn as the best...the family used to eat there quite a lot on Friday nights, and we kids each got our own pizza. It seemed huge at the time but I suspect it was probably not.

Also...I've asked my brother Tim (who worked there during high school) if they made their own Finger Steaks...I'll fill you in when the email comes.
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Posted by CS Hunt (+326) 10 years ago
Mama Stella's...mmmmmm
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Posted by Jerry Kimball (+4) 10 years ago
FYI ... The crust and cheese DOES come from Valley Dist but the sauce/ meats/veggies and all other ingredients come from Food Services of America and other local suppliers.

[This message has been edited by Jerry Kimball (5/14/2010)]
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Posted by Tracy Walters (+300) 10 years ago
Okay...the answer is back from my brother, the ex-Aiport Inn employee (albeit circa 70-72 timeframe), I also asked him about the sauce for the finger steaks:

"yes it was from scratch (still is as far as I know)... the sauce was sort of a sweet salsa, no heat (I like them better with tartar sauce)... I bet they still have it."
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Posted by Ang (+445) 10 years ago
I worked at the Airport Inn for three years, leaving them about 2 or 3 years ago. Here are the items they make themself... tartar sauce, ranch, cocktail sauce, steak sauce, the finger steaks are hand cut from beef tops, and hamburger meat is ground from what is not used in the finger steaks, the steak sandwhiches are also cut from the beef tops. A few other things that they make from beef tops... pizza beef, and taco meat. They also grind, cook, and season the pizza sausage as well. The pork chop sandwiches are hand cut. The roast beef is cooked and cut there, but the corned beef comes in pre cooked. The ribs are cooked and seasoned there also... Thats just right off the top of my head. As far as the pizza goes, the only ingredients that they make themself are the pizza beef and the sausage. Everything else comes pre made.
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Posted by Michele (+192) 10 years ago
I've been to 36 states and sampled around 3-4 pizzas a week average for the last 15 years. You name the location or restuarant and I've probably ate there. I have to agree as far as pizzas go the Powder Keg in Fairview is hands down the best!! It's well worth the drive and the wait but go very hunger as they are very filling. You too will start dreaming of the day you'll return for more. Second place is far behind.
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+14303) 10 years ago
I've been to 36 states and sampled around 3-4 pizzas a week average for the last 15 years.


That is a LOT of pizza.

[This message has been edited by Richard Bonine, Jr (5/15/2010)]
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6023) 10 years ago
I'm not going to go so far as to say that the Airport Inn's pizza is the best in the world. It's not. But it's delicious and unique. I miss it and wish I had a couple squares right now.

Call me an elitist, but I just wish sales were sufficient to facilitate real plates and silverware. Styrofoam and plastic is great for picnics, not so much for dining out.

Or maybe this has changed. It's been a few years for me.
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Posted by tax payer (+354) 10 years ago
The sauce for the finger steaks is ketchup, sweet pickle relish and a dash of worchestershire sauce. This tastes about identical to the sauce they use. I think years ago the cowbelles are the ones that came up with the finger steaks and got the airport inn to serve. Could be wrong....

[This message has been edited by tax payer (5/18/2010)]
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Posted by Tracy Walters (+300) 10 years ago
The fact they make their own sausage for the pizza is probably a big part of the unique flavor.

I really like that pizza!
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Posted by Kacey (+3157) 10 years ago
The Airport Inn has always served their food on metal type platters or plates. Still do. They give you paper plates if you order a family meal and are going to share it.
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Posted by Janet K. Klein (+90) 10 years ago
Tom Pettigrew, the father of Peggy Hill the present owner of the Airport Inn, was the person that come up with the idea for finger steaks. I do know that he Cowbelles have their own rendition of them as well. Many people have tried to come up with the recipe for the finger steaks, but they are never the same as what is done at the Airport Inn...the seasoning and the preparation is what makes it their own. I have tried to make them at home, as I have seen it done many times, but it never comes out the way they are at the restaurant. They are yummy! Now they have porklets...same order as the finger steaks, but made with pork...try them too...they are good!!

[This message has been edited by Janet K. Klein (5/20/2010)]
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Posted by Frank Hardy (+1437) 10 years ago
Oh Yeah!!

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Posted by Dan Mowry (+1435) 10 years ago
Boy, I'll tell you hwhat!
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