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A bite of nostalgia: Montana drive-in restaurant celebrates 70 seasons

Mark's In & Out
Posted at 12:57 PM, Aug 10, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-10 15:03:13-04

LIVINGSTON - It's 1954 and Dwight Eisenhower is president, poodle skirts are all the rage, and it's the first season of Mart's In & Out on Park Street in Livingston.

“I think the magic is that it's an original, it's like a classic car, there just aren't too many of them left," said Scott Black.

Scott Black and his brother, Mark Black, bought the restaurant in 1980 and that's when the name change from 'Mart's In & Out' to 'Mark's In & Out' came about.

"My brother and I bought it from the original owner, Mart Phillips. His first name was Mart, M-A-R-T, and my brother's first name was Mark, M-A-R-K, so when we bought it we just changed the T to a K and Mart's became Mark's," Scott Black said.

It's a subtle change and about as much change as the restaurant and its customers want to see.

“I think that's what people appreciate is that they can come here and get the same experience they had when they were kids or maybe the same experience their parents or grandparents had," Black said.

In the busy lunch line, seasoned regulars are ready for a taste of the familiar. That includes Ryan Gallatine, a Livingston native who worked at Mark's In & Out and now lives in Colorado.

“I worked there for four summers. I’ve been eating it since I was my children's age," Gallantine said.

Carl Jorgenson, who lived in Livingston for 12 years but now lives in Elk River, Minn., is waiting in line with his granddaughters as he drives them home to Washington.

"We're stopping where their mother used to work, Mark's In & Out, when she was a teenager," Jorgenson said.

Black promises it will taste the same in years to come, “Resist change. That's our motto."

Mark's In & Out is open seasonally through the spring and summer, from 11 a.m. to 8. p.m., although it is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.