The Best Food and Drink in Wyoming for 2019
December 20, 2018
The cuisine of Wyoming is rustic and full of surprises
The Best Food and Drink in Wyoming
Wyoming is home to wide-open expanses, stunning natural beauty, world-class ski resorts, and plenty of big sky. When we think of Wyoming, however, we tend not to think of it as a great culinary destination. It’s certainly home to some great restaurants and bars, though, and we’ve rounded up the Cowboy State’s claims to culinary fame as part of our second annual guide to the best food and drink in every state.
The cuisine of Wyoming tends to be simple and relatively rugged, true to its cowboy roots. Pan-fried steaks, biscuits, chili, and beef jerky — foods that feel right at home on the range — are the de facto state cuisine, but head to cities like Cheyenne and Jackson and you’ll find a wide variety of restaurants of every stripe, running the gamut from solid pizza, Chinese, and Mexican fare to top-notch Italian and great doughnuts and cupcakes. And, needless to say, there’s also no shortage of great steaks and legendary saloons.
Over the course of the past year we’ve honored everything from its best hot dogs and fried chicken to its best bar and craft beer in our comprehensive and wide-ranging lists and rankings, compiled through extensive research and with input from a wide network of site contributors, bloggers, journalists, and chefs. We’ve compiled these into individual slideshows celebrating the best food and drink in every state, and you can find our Wyoming gallery ahead.
Best Airport Restaurant: Jedediah’s at the Airport (Jackson Hole Airport)
Restaurants are scarce at Wyoming’s small airports, but at Jackson Hole, you’re good to go with Jedidiah’s. Commiteed giving customers “a fresh taste of the old West,” Jedediah’s has breakfast specials such as sourjacks (sourdough pancakes with bacon, ham, or sausage) and Road Warrior (an egg sandwich with bacon, ham, or sausage, Cheddar and Swiss cheese on a sourdough bread), as well as entrées such as sandwiches, hot dogs, burgers, wings, and more.
Best All-You-Can-Eat Deal: Bar J Chuckwagon (Wilson)
You knew that the best all-you-can-eat deal in Wyoming was going to involve a chuckwagon one way or another, right? Because of course it does. Located at the 41-year-old Bar J Ranch in Jackson Hole, this nightly dinner begins at 7 p.m. on the dot (when the dinner bell rings, of course), and guests can treat themselves to an all-you-can-eat meal of a choice of barbecue shredded beef, boneless chicken breast, a beef and chicken combo, barbecue pork ribs, or a grilled 12-ounce ribeye along with endless baked potatoes, biscuits, beans, applesauce, spice cake, coffee, and lemonade. The price ranges from $25 to $35, but a visit to Bar J isn’t just a meal, it’s an experience.
Best Bar: Million Dollar Cowboy Bar (Jackson)
Photo by Prairie S. via Yelp
The Million Dollar Cowboy Bar is as Wild West as it gets, complete with leather saddles atop their bar stools. The joint refers to itself as a “landmark watering hole,” which is hard to deny since you can’t miss the enormous glowing sign across the front of the building, topped with a neon cowboy riding a bucking bronco. Upon entering, guests are greeted by a giant grizzly bear before coming face to face with the largest selection of single-barrel Jack Daniel’s in the Northwest. The food at the attached steakhouse is great, and the live music is always entertaining, but there’s still nothing better than downing a drink at the bar of an old Western saloon — especially one that was the first in the state to receive a liquor license after the repeal of Prohibition.
Best Beer: 2x4 DIPA, Melvin Brewing (Alpine)
With a “stupid amount of hops,” Melvin Brewing’s 2x4 DIPA is danker than dank, and that’s a good thing. Clean and crisp yet intensely floral and citrusy, this 9.9 percent ABV beer has everything you could ever want from its style.
Best Brunch: Genevieve (Jackson)
This adorable log cabin located in downtown Jackson is a fairy tale of brunch come to life (if such a thing exists). In business since 2010, chef Joshua Governale’s menu focuses on classic home cooking with an eye for the eclectic, and he makes plenty of room for wild creativity. Snake River farms corned beef hash, Cajun eggs Benedict with house-made boudin sausage, huevos con chile verde, grits and eggs, and Belgian waffles are standouts on the breakfast menu, and from 11 to 3 additional offerings include a variety of salads, pappardelle with Snake River Farms pork neck ragù, and a locally sourced burger and fries.
Best Burger: Local (Jackson Hole)
One of Jackson Hole’s most popular restaurants, Local is primarily a steakhouse, which is always a good sign on a hunt for a great burger. And the burger here, made from a blend of different locally-ranched, house-ground beef, lives up to all great steakhouse burger expectations. Drop by at dinner and you’ll find one burger on the menu — topped with smoked Cheddar, bacon, tomato jam, lettuce, and pickles — but come for lunch and create your own burger from four patty options (custom-blended locally pastured and grass-fed beef; Montana buffalo; steak, which is a blend of ribeye, New York strip, and filet mignon trimmings; and veggie), with a wide variety of cheeses and other toppings.
Best Chinese Restaurant: Good Friends (Cheyenne)
Photo by Shannon P. via Yelp
Good Friends is a low-key, straight-ahead standard bearer of classic Chinese-American cuisine in Wyoming, the kind of place we all wish we had as a standby. Portions are large and prices are low, and regulars swear by the orange chicken, egg rolls, hot and spicy crispy beef, mu shu pork, and Sichuan shrimp. There are also a handful of Thai offerings for those looking for something a little different.
Best Chocolate Shop: Atelier Ortega (Jackson)
Chef Oscar Ortega is making some truly otherworldly chocolates at his Jackson chocolate shop. His truly artisanal chocolates come in classic flavors (Tahitian vanilla, walnut) and inventive varietals (oregano and Earl Grey tea). You don’t need another reason to eat chocolate every day, but this place sure gives you one.
Best Coffee Shop: Paramount Café (Cheyenne)
A great spot for coffee and art lovers, Paramount Café's espresso gold roast is custom-made for them with Brazilian and Colombian beans in addition to a secret aged bean. You can also get non-caffeinated drinks, as well as typical coffeehouse fare. They also have a "super secret menu" with blended drinks like the Vahizzle (vanilla and hazelnut latte), Super Saiyan (raspbery, hazelnut, and Ghirardelli chocolate), and Butter Beer (vanilla latte and Ghirardelli caramel sauce).
Best Cupcakes: Alla Lala Cupcakes (Gillette)
Photo by Christian P. via Yelp
Alla Lala Cupcakes serves as Gillette, Wyoming’s only cupcakery… and any wannabe cupcake shop owners would likely have difficulty competing with the shop’s quality and variety. With an impressive menu of inventive flavor profiles — such as rhubarb basil cake, grasshopper, and brown sugar pecan — competitors would surely have their work cut out for them!
Best Doughnuts: Delish Donuts & Coffee (Alpine)
Mini doughnuts are as fun to look at as they are to eat, and Delish Donuts & Coffee proves this. These fresh, made-to-order doughnuts are crunchy and crisp on the outside and beautifully fluffy and wondrous on the inside. Get them plain, dusted, or glazed. And if you’re lucky enough, you just might find a seasonal flavor!
Best Food Truck: Nipa Hut (Cheyenne)
A nipa hut (also known as a “bahay kubo”) is a little house found on the islands of the Philippines, so of course the Nipa Hut food truck looks like a little bamboo shack and serves Filipino food. Featured dishes include lumpia (beef or vegetarian with celery, carrots, garlic, onions, and cilantro), chicken or pork adobo (slow-cooked in sweet soy sauce, garlic, onions, ginger, and vinegar), empanadas, and sides of fried rice and pancit noodles.
Best Fried Chicken: Café Genevieve (Jackson)
The adorably quaint Cafe Genevieve, located inside a circa-1910 log cabin and in business since 2010, is a Jackson Hole destination. Chef Joshua Governale’s menu is Southern-influenced, with standouts including fried rockfish, smoked turkey leg with mole colorado, and elk sirloin, but don’t pass up the opportunity to try Wyoming’s best fried chicken, available either on a waffle during brunch or with mac and cheese during dinner. The chicken is dunked in batter before heading into the fryer, so the resulting fried chicken is coated in a shatteringly crisp crust that hides perfectly cooked chicken underneath.
Best Grocery Store: King Scoopers
Photo by Casey D. via Yelp
Wyoming’s capital city hosts just a few grocery stores, but reviews on Google, Yelp, and Foursquare indicate that King Soopers reigns supreme. A local review on Foursquare said, “Easily the best quality and widest selection (and most affordable!) of organic veggies in Cheyenne!”
Best Hot Dog: Weenie Wrangler (Cheyenne)
A little cart in a Cheyenne Home Depot parking lot, serving one of the best hot dogs in the West? Yeah, you heard that right. That’s because it’s run by a former fine-dining chef who’s committed not only to serving top-notch hot dogs and sausages with some seriously creative toppings, but also to serving some of the best wild game sausages around: think elk jalapeño Cheddar brats, bison brats, and “jackalope” sausage. The specials change daily, but don’t miss the opportunity to have your dog topped with pulled pork, bacon, and barbecue sauce.
Best Ice Cream Stand: Moo’s Gourmet Ice Cream (Jackson Hole)
Moo’s Gourmet makes hand-churned ice cream in traditional flavors and exciting departures like sour guanabana! Their standout, however, is their Huckleberry, which locals and visitors rave about.
Best Inexpensive Steakhouse: T-Joe’s Steakhouse & Saloon (Cheyenne)
Yelp/ Dilan A.
This Wild West-themed saloon, complete with swinging doors and mounted stag’s heads, is about as Wyoming as it gets. The menu is primarily comprised of bar food, sandwiches, and burgers, but its steaks and chops are beyond reproach. Slow-roasted prime rib costs $25, a 16-ounce rib-eye costs just $24, and a 14-ounce marinated rib-eye costs $22. All entrées come with your choice of two sides.
Best Pizza: Bella Fuoco Wood Fired Pizza (Cheyenne)
Bella Fuoco Wood Fired Pizza/Yelp
Bella Fuoco started as a food truck back in 2012, and two years ago owners John and Maria Kopper turned it into their dream restaurant in a house in historic Downtown Cheyenne. Today, they’re making fresh dough daily and turning out some astounding pizzas and breads in their old-school wood-fired oven. Try the weekly rotating chef’s special, design your own from 26 topping options, or try one of theirs, like the Veggie Galore, a red or white pie topped with onions, peppers, zucchini, olives, spinach, and mozzarella. There’s also a pleasing selection of appetizers, soups, salads, and a must-order weekly pasta special.
Best Mexican Restaurant: San Juan (Jackson)
There’s actually no shortage of decent Mexican spots in Wyoming, and the best of all is San Juan, formerly known as Sanchez. Owners Maria and Rigoberto Sosa, who hail from Guerrero, Mexico, and purchased the restaurant from its previous owners in 2014 after working there for 12 years, transformed the space from a taqueria into a full-service Mexican restaurant, taking over the adjacent outdoor seating area and acquiring a liquor license. Peek into the kitchen and you’ll see the Sosas, turning out tacos, enchiladas, tortas, quesadillas, with a wide variety of fillings, based on their old family recipes.
Most Expensive Restaurant: Piste Mountain Bistro (Jackson)
Yelp/ Merlin O.
You need to ride a gondola up to Piste Mountain Bistro in the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, but you’ll be glad you did if you can afford it. Start your meal with a $22 appetizer of Manila clams with pork sausage and green garlic, follow up with a $45 strip loin with oyster cream and root vegetables, and finish off with a $13 beetroot sponge cake.
Most Outrageous Restaurant Dish: The Hog Trough, Tasty Bones BBQ & Bakery (Cheyenne)
Tasty Bones is a great barbecue place in Wyoming, and their Hog Trough sandwich is pretty impressive. Two grilled cheese sandwiches serve as the buns, holding a half-pound burger patty topped with brisket, pulled pork, kielbasa, and coleslaw — all of which comes together in a sandwich that just might change your life.
Most Romantic Restaurant: Jenny Lake Lodge Dining Room (Moose)
Jenny Lake Lodge/Yelp
Located at the foot of the Grand Tetons, the Jenny Lake Lodge is an upscale AAA Four Diamond resort hiding inside a series of rustic-looking 1930s-era log cabins. Inside, however, it’s all sumptuous elegance (even though the log cabin vibe certainly carries over into the interior design). There are plenty of dining options on the property, but the crown jewel is called simply The Dining Room. Upscale and elegant, it boasts a five-course prix fixe dinner menu that changes nightly depending on what’s fresh, local, and in-season. Open annually from June to early October, it boasts high timbered ceilings, plenty of windows, large tables spaced far apart and topped with white tablecloths and flowers, and a rustic log cabin vibe.
Best Pancakes: Luxury Diner (Cheyenne)
This casual family diner has been in business for more than 30 years and serves top-notch renditions of classic country fare, like chicken fried steak, biscuits and gravy, and cinnamon rolls. And as can be expected, its pancakes are phenomenal. They’re golden-brown, plate-sized, and slightly crispy, and about as no-frills as can be; you can add chocolate chips, pecans, or blueberries, and that’s it. No matter; a little butter and syrup is all you need.
Best Pasta Dish: Squid Ink Chitarra, Glorietta Trattoria (Jackson Hole)
Yelp/ Jasmine C.
A Jackson Hole must-visit inside the Anvil Hotel, the warm and welcoming Glorietta is turning out some spectacular grilled meats (cooked on a grill located right in the dining room) and homemade pastas. It’s the squid ink chitarra, with house-made squid ink spaghetti, that’s the real showstopper here. Tossed with perfectly cooked rock shrimp, salumi, citrus, mint, and toasted bread crumbs, it’s a unique and perfect arrangement of flavors, that wouldn’t be unwelcome at a standout restaurant in a much larger city.
Best Restaurant for Breakfast: Eggington’s (Casper)
This warm and inviting Casper breakfast spot opens at 6 a.m. daily (7 on Sundays), and its menu is a solid mix of the classic and the unexpected, all prepared with high-quality ingredients and served in ample portions. You’ll find your classic eggs Benedict, daily breakfast quiche, chicken fried steak, create-your-own omelettes, triple-berry oatmeal, and fresh-baked muffins, but there also several Mexican-inspired dishes like a breakfast quesadilla, chile relleno topped with eggs and cheese, breakfast tacos, and tamales and burritos smothered in homemade green chili. There’s also a Breakfast Banana Split, which is a lot healthier than it sounds: It’s layers of low-fat fruit yogurt with granola, strawberries, blueberries, and bananas.
Best Sandwich: Egg Salad, Bread Basket Bakery (Cheyenne)
Photo by Kirby W. via Yelp
The Bread Basket is Cheyenne’s most popular bakery, baking fresh bread, rolls, and muffins early every morning. The folks here know to keep it simple and let the bread speak for itself. While only a handful of simple sandwiches are available, they’re nothing short of ideal versions of classic lunchtime fare. The egg salad sandwich, for example, is as fresh as can get, and just about perfect.
Best Soup: The Cheese Barrel (Casper)
Yelp/ Jessica A.
The Cheese Barrel is a Casper gem, serving breakfast and lunch fare like omelettes, biscuits and gravy, soups, sandwiches, and salads made from scratch with fresh ingredients. New England chowder and green chili are always available, but daily specials include potato soup, cheesy cauliflower, and cheese potato broccoli. Make sure you get some of their famous cheese bread on the side.
Best Steakhouse: Winchester Steak House (Buffalo)
Located at the foot of the Big Horn Mountains, this steakhouse looks like it could have been a set piece for a John Wayne movie. That said, it’s the best steakhouse you’ll encounter in the entire state, serving some of the best prime rib you’ll find anywhere, and it’s packed with locals most nights of the week. Steaks, which include New York strip, Prime sirloin, rib-eye, porterhouse, and fillet, are grilled over hardwood, and another favorite is pepper steak, chunks of grilled fillet with mushrooms, onions, and peppers. Nightly specials are also worth seeking out; their chicken pot pie, only available on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, is down-home perfection.
Best Taco: Carne Asada, Tacos El Taconazo (Cody)
Photo by John F. via Yelp
Named after “Buffalo Bill” Cody, the small town of Cody, Wyoming, located near the eastern edge of Yellowstone National Park, probably isn’t a town you’d imagine as having a standout taquería. But that’s the great thing about great tacos: They tend to pop up where you least expect them. Case in point: Tacos El Taconazo. With a clean and inviting dining room, a friendly wait staff, and a surprisingly expansive menu, the restaurant specializes in made-to-order carne asada, served in a flour or corn tortilla and topped with lettuce, tomato, cilantro, cheese, sour cream, and raw or grilled onions.
Best Thing to Eat: Chicken Fried Steak, Luxury Diner (Cheyenne)
Wyoming is a meat-eater’s state, and there’s no shortage of options when it comes to big slabs of beef and its countrified cousin, chicken-fried steak. The best place to try this country classic, one of Wyoming’s most beloved dishes, is at Cheyenne’s Luxury Diner, which got its start as a trolley car diner in 1926 and hasn’t changed much since then. Chicken-fried steak is the signature dish here: a fresh steak, pounded thin, breaded, deep-fried to golden-brown perfection, and doused in a thick and hearty country gravy. It’s gut-busting perfection, and ridiculously unhealthy. For more states, check out our ultimate guide to the best food and drink in every state for 2019.