Jackson Hole’s dining represents all that is best about our valley: local fish and game; the hardscrabble ranching tradition of spurs and round-ups; the freshness of homegrown produce; and even a little foraging! Let us introduce you to the one-of-a-kind cuisine of this place we call home. Just think of it as a menu cheat sheet.
As you tour the Hole, you’ll no doubt notice open ranch lands and roving cattle grazing right beneath scenic vistas of the Tetons. Heck, you might even get stuck in a cow-crossing traffic jam. Jackson Hole’s ranching tradition is a proud one that dates back to the earliest permanent settlers of the 1880’s and 90’s. Many of these heritage ranches are still in operation, including Lockhart Cattle Company and the Mead Ranch – both have grazed their herds of cattle on valley grasslands for multiple generations. In an era of mass production, these family-run ranches retain a link to the cowboy way of life: contributing both to the wide open spaces of the valley and our restaurants’ ability to offer sustainably-sourced (and delicious!) meats. From juicy burgers to perfectly-seasoned filets, Jackson Hole’s many eateries prove that the western tradition of high-quality, lean beef is alive and well.
Best place to try locally-sourced beef: Snake River Grill, Local, Calico, Ignight, The Mangy Moose, Q Roadhouse, Rendezvous Bistro
Jackson Hole’s selection of wild game—whether it be bison, elk, or deer—is a perennial favorite with visitors. Taste these lean cuts of meat once, and you won’t soon forget the intense flavor. And the good news? Wild game contains less fat than traditional cuts of beef. We call that a win for your taste buds and your health. The elk, deer, and bison you may see as you explore our beautiful valley mostly graze on protected lands. The Wyoming Game & Fish Department issues small numbers of hunting permits every year to control herd sizes and prevent overpopulation. However, wild game hunters cannot sell their trophies commercially. Instead, the wild game you encounter on local restaurant menus has been ethically raised on farms in the Dakotas and elsewhere. Still, very few places in the world can offer native Wyoming game the way we can. Pony up to a table at one of Jackson Hole’s memorable steakhouses and go “wild.”
What to order?
Did You Know? A bull bison can weigh over 1000 pounds and yield up to 616 pounds of meat. Because bison can feed so many people, not to mention provide hides, teeth, and bones, they have long been sacred to Native American tribes.
High Altitude Hops
A good ski town is only as good as its locally brewed beer…and with multiple award-winning mico-breweries to call our valley home, we’d say we’ve got that one pretty much covered. Spread throughout the valley, Jackson Hole’s local breweries offer a range of excellent nosh opportunities, and are also on tap at most local saloons and restaurants. From crisp lagers to traditional stouts, nothing makes a better reward for the weary.
Sample local brews:
Sop up your pint of Zonker Stout with the Chorizo Peach Pizza at Snake River Brewing.
Slurp down the G-13 noodle dish while knocking back a 2×4 IPA at Thai Me Up.
Fittingly named, the Family Vacation Homestead Ale pairs nicely with the BBQ at Q Roadhouse Brewing Co.
Spirits for the spirited. Small-batch bourbon is brewed in the Big Horns by Wyoming Whiskey and poured in Jackson Hole watering holes. You can also uncork a bottle of Rendezvous Red from the Jackson Hole Winery after a long sojourn in the mountains.
Fresh Western Fish
Jackson Hole’s native Snake River Cutthroat Trout is a gorgeous, speckled fish with a red slash beneath its chin. Known to local anglers as a scrappy fighter, you’ve got to work hard if you plan on reeling in one of these babies! Many local restaurants serve dishes featuring trout that are native to the Intermountain West, whether from the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem or the Rocky Mountains. The best trout tastes incredibly bright and pure…must be from all that swimming in glacial runoff.
In the mood for fish?
Try the Blue Lion or the GameFish Restaurant in Teton Village.
Did You Know? Other species of non-native trout have been introduced to Yellowstone, including Rainbow and lake trout species. Park officials encourage fishermen to catch as many of these non-native species on Yellowstone Lake as possible in order to preserve habitat for the Cutthroat Trout.
Feast and Forage
Bears are at their most active during the late summer and early autumn as they load up on calories to fuel their long winter hibernations. Their preferred banquet food? Berries. Lots and lots of berries.
The tart-sweet native huckleberry is one local fruit that gets a lot of play in local restaurant recipes. If you haven’t been lucky enough to stumble on a huckleberry patch quite yet, look for glazes and cocktail mixers featuring these high alpine purple-blue berries. Indulge your sweet tooth with a scoop of Wild Huckleberry Ice Cream at Moo’s Gourmet Ice Cream, or toast the views with one of the famous huckleberry margaritas at Signal Mountain Lodge.
Feeding the Community
Jackson Hole’s local food scene isn’t all about valley grazers and whitewater fishermen. Plenty of dedicated farmers pull their bounty directly from the earth. A visit to one of downtown Jackson Hole’s Farmers Markets or the People’s Market in the summertime reveals the same appealing mounds of fresh fruits and vegetables that characterize the expanding organic food market. From purple carrots to yellow squash to russet beets, the farm-to-table movement is vividly alive in our valley.
Other local goods are sold at these markets as well, including buffalo jerky, cuts of meat, and jams. Every week, a different valley restaurant participates in bringing sample-sized delights to the browsing crowds. A little light fiddle music, a handheld pie, and mountain sunshine? We call that just another Saturday on the Town Square.
Restaurants that practice farm-to-table include Couloir in Teton Village and Local.
Did You Know? Wyoming has its own signature tomato! Grown in Big Piney, WY, “Wyomatoes” are big in both flavor and size. Locally, they are featured on menus at The Four Seasons, Snake River Grill, Il Villagio Osteria, and the Terra Café.
The World in the Western
Because of its exceptional beauty, Jackson Hole has lured chefs and foodies from all over the globe to its rugged western setting. This sparks the constant creative revision of traditional dishes and a cutting edge dining scene that rivals many urban locales of a larger size.
What does it mean to dine in Jackson Hole? We hope you’ll pull up a chair and find out.