Ruby’s goes from burgers to bowls


Sue Zellick and her husband Jim stand outside by one of Ruby’s Rice and Noodle Bowls’ new menu boards.

Photo by Jenny Gessaman

Fall has brought a pop of color to Lewistown, and it’s not just the leaves. Ruby’s restaurant has gone from 100% Montana Beef to Rice and Noodle Bowls, a transition marked by a new menu and a new turquoise color scheme.

Sue Zellick, co-owner and manager, said the motivation for change was simple.

“The business plan no longer worked for us here,” she said.

Zellick explained the prices for local Montana beef rose to a point the Ruby’s could not afford to sell burgers. She and her husband looked around Lewistown for another niche in the restaurant scene, and, once she had an idea, Zellick spent the summer developing recipes.

“All of our sauce recipes are homemade, and they’re recipes I invented,” she said.

Those sauces are an integral part of Ruby’s Rice and Noodle Bowls. The menu works by having customers start with a kind of bowl, and then customize it by choosing noodles or rice, a kind of sauce and extra toppings.

Zellick said the restaurant opened Oct. 19 with an Asian flair to its menu, but added it will not be limited by that theme. A bowl of rice or noodles is a pretty broad concept, she explained, and could pull inspiration from a lot of places, such as Indian, Mexican and traditional American cuisine.

“We could do a spaghetti bowl, or a south-of-the-border bowl,” Zellick said.

While she’s excited about the restaurant’s new venture, Zellick admits it was a leap to change the business. The venue closed for just 18 days to redo its interior, exterior and deck, along with its menu signs.

Despite all of the change, Ruby’s did keep one menu item: milkshakes. Zellick said the flavor choice is down to five, but everything else about the drink is the same. The demand was just too great to remove the item.

“Lewistown really loves milkshakes,” Zellick laughed.



What is your favorite part of the Fair?