Bite into Jackson Hole with these dishes locals love.
By Melissa Thomasma
HOME TO INTERNATIONALLY celebrated chefs and restaurants, Jackson Hole is a foodie community. But foodie doesn’t necessarily mean fancy. To many locals, myself included, favorite dishes are reliably delicious and keep me coming back again and again. And again. Go ahead and order elk or bison if you want to try something “Western,” but if you want to eat like a local, go for some of these area favorites.
No, Pearl Street Bagels won’t toast your bagel. So save yourself the humiliation and don’t even ask. (They argue they don’t have to toast because they bake their bagels fresh all day.) This bagelry, the first in Wyoming when it opened in 1990, boils and bakes its bagels in the East Coast tradition, resulting in the perfect bagel texture: subtly crisp on the exterior, irresistibly chewy within. Go for the Everything Bagel, encrusted with sesame and poppy seeds, crunchy nubs of garlic and onion, and a healthy sprinkle of sea salt. Pair it with house-made Mexican cream cheese for a hearty, slightly spicy treat. Open 7 a.m.–3 p.m. daily; 145 West Pearl Ave., Jackson and 5674 WY HWY 22, Wilson; 307/739-1218 and 307/739-1261, pearlstreetbagels.com
“Colorado might have a ‘smoke and a pancake,’ but here we go for a ‘waffle and a Corbet’s huck,” says Grant Bishop, PSIA National Team member and trainer at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. He’s demolished his share of the signature fresh-made waffles at Corbet’s Cabin, a cozy, ski-clad hut perched at the top of the tram. Corbet’s offers a few waffle topping combos; Bishop favors the timeless combinationof nutella and bacon. Open 9 a.m.–3:30 p.m.daily; Rendezvous Peak, Teton Village; 307/739-2688, jacksonhole.com/waffles.html
Locals love to end a day of skiing on Teton Pass with a heaping plate of Mexican street-style tacos at Streetfood, which is inside the unassuming Stagecoach Bar at the base of Teton Pass. Piled high with fresh cilantro, onion, house-made salsa, and lime juice, these handfuls of post-adventure bliss come with protein options; carne asada and al pastor are favs. “The al pastor has such great flavor, and the marinade we make in house creates a really tender bite,” says owner Amelia Hatchard. The secret ingredient? Sweet, zippy pineapple. Open 11 a.m.–9 p.m. daily; 5755 WY HWY 22; 307/200-6633, streetfoodjh.com
Once upon a time, there was a cook at Jackson Hole’s oldest independent brewery, Snake River Brewing, and he made wonderful pizza. He fell hopelessly in love with a beautiful server who loved cheeseburgers. In a bold attempt to win her love, he created the Cheeseburger Pie. It succeeded beyond his wildest dreams. They’re married with kids now, and the Cheeseburger Pie pizza has been on the Brewub’s menu for more than a decade. Topped with locally raised Mead Ranch ground beef, crispy bacon, two kinds of cheese, tomatoes, pickles, and onions, the Cheeseburger Pie is the perfect hybrid of two classic comfort foods. Open 11 a.m.–10 p.m. daily; 265 S. Millward St.; 307/739-2337, snakeriverbrewing.com
More than one local has claimed they could not survive without Persephone Bakery’s Cinnamon Brioche. “It’s a laminated pastry, like a croissant, so you get those amazing flakey layers, but it is rolled with plenty of cinnamon and sugar,” says Ali Cohane, the cafe’s owner (with baker-husband Kevin). The Cinnamon Brioche has been on Persephone’s menu since it first opened, and can now be found at both Persephone locations and at sister restaurant, Picnic. Pair it with a simple drip coffee, black, which won’t compete with the pastry’s sweet and spicy notes. Persephone Bakery Jackson: Open 7 a.m.–6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 7 a.m.–5 p.m. Sunday; 145 E. Broadway Ave.; 307/200-6708, persephonebakery.com. Persephone Bakery West Bank: Open 7 a.m.–3 p.m. daily; 3445 N. Pines Way Suite 102; 307/201-1944, persephonebakery.com. Picnic: Open 7 a.m.–3 p.m. daily; 1110 Maple Way Suite B; 307/264-2956, picnicjh.com
When locals grab breakfast on the go, whether we’re headed to find some backcountry powder or aiming for a lunker on an ice-fishing expedition, D.O.G.’s spicy Breakfast Burrito is our first choice. It’s loaded with scrambled eggs, potatoes, veggies, and cheese—all wrapped in a flour tortilla—and you can add meat, too (locals usually do). Most important, though, is to order “spicy”—and also not to expect a sit-down space. This tiny hole-in-the-wall restaurant on Glenwood (hence the name, Down On Glen, aka D.O.G.) has been strictly walk-up since it opened more than two decades ago. Open 6:30 a.m.–2 p.m. daily; 25 S. Glenwood St.; 307/733-4422
One the oldest restaurants in town, The Bunnery has been just off the Town Square since 1980. For nearly as long, it’s been serving O.S.M. (oat, sunflower seed, millet) French toast, waffles, and pancakes. You can’t go wrong with any of these, but it’s hard to beat a stack of O.S.M. pancakes topped with blueberries. Open 8 a.m.–2 p.m. daily; 130 N. Cache St.; 307/733-5474, bunnery.com
Nearly twenty years ago, long before his string of James Beard “Best Chef: Northwest/Mountain West” Award nominations, chef Jeff Drew of Snake River Grill had the idea to reinvent the retro dish steak tartare. But how? For two full weeks, Drew focused on nothing else. “I was like a bulldog with a bone.” he says. He finally landed on a Steak Tartare Pizza. Found on the menu under “starters,” this classic combination of raw steak, creamy aioli, capers, and red onions works as an after-adventure happy hour snack with a glass of wine or as a main dish. Local tip: Consider ordering two; it’s so delicious, it’s a difficult dish to share. Open 5:30 p.m.–9:30 p.m. daily; 84 E. Broadway; 307/733-0557, snakerivergrill.com
Some mornings absolutely require a generous helping of the Virginian Restaurant’s house-made Corned Beef Hash. (Many of these mornings follow late nights of too many house margaritas at the Wort or too many spins around the dance floor at the Cowboy.) The menu at this family-owned establishment hasn’t changed much over the past few decades. The corned beef hash is savory and tender, with just enough sear to add hints of crunch. Mounded atop perfectly crispy hashbrowns, it’s served alongside a couple of fried eggs and toast. It’s not a proven hangover cure, but it’s worth a try. Open 6:30 a.m.–2 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 6:30 a.m. –1:30 p.m. Sunday; 740 W. Broadway; 307/733-4330, virginianrestaurant.net JH