As a family, we’ve been longtime visitors of the Rex as long as any of us can remember. When it was time to get together for a good steak, it had always been our go-to place. Like many others in the Billings community, we’ve always appreciated the iconic building as a little piece of the past that we could enjoy whenever we wanted to.
That’s why when the Rex closed down we really missed it. The more we thought about it, the more we thought that the Rex still had plenty of potential and we knew it.
So we decided to do something about it.
What we thought would be some quick updates, ended up a complete internal remodel. New venting, a completely new floor plan, and brand new decor — honoring our past and embracing our future. We can’t wait to reveal the new Buffalo Block at the Old Rex — or, as we like to call it: your new favorite steakhouse.
In the late 1800s, towns and cities in the United States faced a common problem: the inconvenience of unpaved streets and the pervasive mud and odor that went with them. In 1900, everything changed: the buffalo block, a cheap, water-resistant, and nearly-indestructible brick, was developed. Soon, settlements across the country were paved with them, and Montana Avenue and the town of Billings were no exception.
Although buffalo block remnants are fewer and further between now that we’ve long since adopted asphalt paving methods, we unearthed plenty of buffalo blocks on the old patio and scattered throughout the building when we began our remodel of the Rex in 2018. And one day, while doing a walkthrough of the renovation, our granddaughter saw a brick and said, “Well, that would be a cool name for a restaurant!”
“Hmm,” we thought. “She has a point.”
Not just because of those old paving bricks, but also because “Buffalo Block” seemed to capture decades of history, harkening back to the days of Buffalo Bill and when the hotel bar went by the name of “Buffalo Bar.”
To make a long story short, the name sort of just stuck.
So cheers to a new legacy — while honoring our rich history.