Taste of Jackson Hole:Pizza on the Deck at Calico

DISHING MAGAZINE

// By Melissa Thomasma
Guests enjoy the crisp fall weather on the deck of Calico Restaurant and Bar on Friday, Sept. 18, 2020.

Sit on the petunia-ringed deck at Calico Bar & Restaurant in the summer with some of its wood-fired pizza, and time slows down. (Although it does not quiet down thanks to the restaurant’s generous lawn where gaggles of kids constantly run and play.) The Italian restaurant has a lovely indoor seating area, but it’s the deck, built in 1971, that is iconic. In non-Covid times it has about two dozen tables, and it is covered by a white awning strung with festive lights. Even on drizzly evenings, it’s a delightful spot. 

You can order something other than pizza, but you shouldn’t. Every pie is hand-tossed and cooked in a 700-degree oven heated by hardwood from fruit trees like apple, peach, and cherry. The mozzarella cheese is house-made, and some of the greens and herbs on the pizzas come from Calico’s own garden, which is hidden at the back of the lawn where kids won’t trample it. The Ski Bum and the Godfather pies are among the most popular. The former is loaded with pesto, spinach (often from Calico’s garden), Canadian bacon, artichoke hearts, olives, tomatoes, pine nuts, and parmesean. Meat lovers love the Godfather, which is topped with imported capicola, prosciutto, pepperoni, and salami, house-made mozzarella, and basil (sometimes from Calico’s own garden). Open at 5 p.m. daily; 2650 WY-390, Wilson; 307/733-2460,
calicorestaurant.com

Calico’s History

Calico started its life in 1905 as a church in Mormon Row, an early homesteading settlement about fourteen miles north of downtown Jackson along the northeast crease of Blacktail Butte. Today Mormon Row is part of Grand Teton National Park and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Most of the twenty-seven families that homesteaded there had moved on by the late 1950s, and the church was abandoned. In 1966, ski bum Tom Jewell bought the building for $600, moved it to its current spot on the Moose-Wilson Road, and opened it as a restaurant and bar. In 1971, Jewell expanded and renovated. He moved the bar into the space that was formerly the church and added a dining room. Calico’s most recent facelift happened in 1995 when Jeff Davies bought the restaurant (he still owns it). In homage to the pizzeria’s original red-and-white gingham tablecloth vibe, the building was painted a bold rust tone, and the deck a balance of natural wood and bright white.  JH

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