After an amazing day in Yellowstone National Park, we headed back to civilization and our hotel in the small town of West Yellowstone, Montana. The West Entrance to the park is right on the edge of town, so the town serves as a hub for tourists wanting to explore the park but not camp in it.
We spent pretty much the whole day in the car, so by the time we got to our hotel at the Best Western Desert Inn right on the edge of town, we were ready to grab dinner and relax before getting to bed early so we could get up and get back in to the park early and hopefully see a little more wildlife.
We got back to our hotel a little after 6:00 and once we got settled, I started looking for something to eat. There were no breweries in town, so I started looking for bars that had a good beer list. I found two and the better reviews were for the one a few blocks away.
The Buffalo Bar is on US-20 west of the main downtown area. We decided to walk because it was a nice night and we just wanted a casual, laid back dinner and walking to the restaurant was the best way to do that.
It took about ten minutes to get to the bar and we were a little shocked to find it packed. There’s a large dining room and bar area as well as a casino area. All of the tables were full except for one large table near the door that hadn’t been cleared from the previous party. J wasn’t too excited about taking this table, but I was hungry and wanted to eat, so I moved all the dirty glasses and the checks from the previous party to the end of the table and started wiping it down.
Shortly after that, a waitress grabbed a bar rag to wipe the table down and took the rest of the dirty dishes away. She didn’t bring us menus right away though and that was almost enough to make us leave. We were already hungry and really just wanted to order. Read more…
For many, many years now, I have heard about this restaurant with an amazing view of the Grand Tetons from both my wife and her parents. J has always wanted to take me out west and if we ever did, we absolutely were going to stop for a meal at one of her favorite restaurants.
Dornan’s is an old family homestead in the unincorporated town of Moose, WY. Up until recently, they WERE Moose, WY, but there has been some new additions to the town near the entrance to the National Park.
The Dornan’s property is sort of a rustic resort. They have cabins available for camping, a chuckwagon for meals during the summer months, a restaurant overlooking the Tetons, a general store, wine shop, bike, canoe, and kayak rentals and more that I’m probably forgetting.
We slept in the day we staying in Jackson and decided to hit Dornan’s for lunch. This was a must-stop on our trip. J didn’t care about anyplace else that we ate at as long as we had at least one meal at Dornan’s.
We decided to skip the breakfast at the Chuckwagon and wait for the Pizza Pasta Company to open. The restaurant is on the north end of the property with a gorgeous view of the Tetons. There are two patios plus a large dining room with picture windows so there’s a view almost anywhere you sit.
The Pizza Pasta Company opens for lunch at 11:30. We showed up a little bit early and just walked down to the Snake River for some picturesque waiting. Once it got closer to opening time, we walked back and in to the restaurant. It looks like a place that would have table service, but, at least for lunch, ordering was done at a cash register near the kitchen. They then asked where you were planning on sitting and gave you a number to put on the table. Read more…
So, my first impression of the Grand Tetons? HOLY CRAP! I was amazed as we drive north out of Jackson towards the National Park and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. It really looked like a painting. I couldn’t wait to do some exploring, so even after a four hour drive, we decided to head straight in to the park to look around.
Our hotel for the night was back in Jackson. We had considered staying on the Idaho side of the mountain in Victor, but we found a cheap enough hotel in Jackson.
That, of course, worked out well because, wouldn’t you know, there was a brewery in Jackson that I wanted to make a stop at and since it was Father’s Day, J let me pick whatever restaurant I want (which actually isn’t much different than any other day :) )
Snake River Brewery & Restaurant is in downtown Jackson, but off the main square. It’s on Milward Street about three blocks south of US-89. The restaurant has a small barking lot behind the industrial looking building and there’s also street parking and municipal lots within walking distance.
We noticed some people waiting outside and were kind of bummed. It was getting late (for us…still on East Coast time) and a wait just going to cut it. We went in and found the hostess who said they had tables inside, but there was a wait for a table on the patio. We didn’t really want to sit outside anyway, so we gladly took that inside table.
The dining room at Snake River Brewery is on two separate floors plus another area off of the main dining room for families. We were seated in the lower section of the split level lower floor at a pub table overlooking the patio.
I grabbed the beer menu right away and was a happy to see a place that did a sampler. I still had a hard time deciding if that’s what I wanted to do or not though. The sampler is all eight of their beers on tap and, once again, no big, hoppy selections.
In the end, I decide to do it. I mean, it was Father’s Day. Read more…
As long as J and I have been together, she has talked about taking me out west to see the mountains and National Parks. She worked in Idaho for a couple of years after college and fell in love with the landscape.
Eight years later, we finally had the opportunity. We had to go to Salt Lake City for a wedding, so we decided to extend the vacation and drive up north in to the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Park.
After a gorgeous wedding at Blue Sky Ranch in Coalville, UT, we got up Sunday morning and said good-bye to every body before leaving the resort. Our plan was to make the four hour drive to Jackson, WY and spend some time in Grand Teton National Park before the sun went down.
We left Park City just before 11:00 and started heading east on I-80. The route we were taking got us off the highway just past the Utah/Wyoming border in the town of Evanston and wouldn’t you know it, Evanston has a brewery.
We stopped for lunch at Suds Brothers Brewery in downtown Evanston. The small brewery is on Main Street. It’s actually kind of easy to miss in this old downtown. The building only has signage in the window and looks very inconspicuous with metal siding and awning.
The website said the brewery opened at noon, but the “open” sign was already lit and there was a number of guys on motorcycles walking in as we found a parking spot in the angled street parking across the street from the restaurant. Read more…
The day of the actual wedding was pretty relaxed for me. The ceremony wasn’t until 6:00 and there was a charter bus that was taking us from the resort we were staying at to the ranch where the wedding was happening. After my solo lunch at the No Name Saloon, I had pretty much the rest of the afternoon to myself. J was heading back in to Salt Lake City with the bride to get her hair done, so I cranked the air as cold as it would go, closed the curtains, turned on the TV, and took a nice, long nap.
I was woken up around 3:00 by a series of texts from J. She was hungry. She hadn’t eaten since breakfast and she wanted something to eat before heading to the mother of the bride’s suite to get ready for the wedding. There was a pizzeria that was part of the resort and she asked if I’d order her something from there to have waiting when she got back.
Vinto is part of the Marriott Summit Watch resort on Main Street at the bottom of the hill in downtown Park City. This is the second of two locations for the wood fired pizzeria. They also have a location in Salt Lake City. This Park City restaurant opened in 2012.
They call the restaurant “casual” but it’s not like a Carrabba’s or an *gasp* Olive Garden. I would use the term casual loosely with this place. It plays much more of an upscale restaurant to the point that I actually felt like I was making the server’s life difficult by ordering “take away” pizzas even though they have stocks of cardboard pizza boxes sitting next to the oven.
The restaurant has kind of a modern chic. It’s not rustic Italian villa that a lot of fancier Italian places try to pull off. There’s also a large outdoor dining area covered by umbrellas to keep you out of the sweltering Utah sun. Other than a little wooden sign hanging off the side of the building, it’s hard to see what is hiding behind the exterior walls.
I actually called my order in from my room and since I was ordering one for J, I decided to order one for myself as well. The pizzas are all personal size. I had to give them a diameter, because they come in more of an oblong shape than the traditional round. It’s probably similar to a 12″ or so from a competing pizzeria. Read more…
The day of the wedding, the whole reason we were in Park City, I was on my own for lunch. J was a bridesmaid and had a lot to do before the 6 PM wedding. She started the day with breakfast with one of the other bridesmaids and a longtime friend at the Main Street Deli then went back in to Salt Lake City with the bride to get her hair done. That means I was on my own for lunch.
Not being one to pass up the opportunity to sleep, I slept in a little later than normal, but when I woke up, I was hungry. Our hotel was right on Main Street, so I really could walk to a number of places for lunch.
The place I chose actually came recommended from a friend. The No Name Saloon is on Main Street in historic downtown Park City. It’s a pretty traditional bar with a couple of different dining rooms and a great rooftop for outdoor dining. Since I was alone, I chose to just sit at the bar.
The Saloon was pretty empty when I walked in around 11:00, but is started filling up quickly as I was eating lunch. Most people were heading for the rooftop as it was a fabulous day in Northern Utah and the midday sun was not quite beating down on the resort town. Read more…
As we were driving around Salt Lake City, a random thought popped in to my head. Does Utah have In-N-Out Burger? I asked my question out loud and J said she didn’t think so, but she’d Google it. Turns out, Utah does have In-N-Out Burger and one of them wasn’t too far out of our way.
We had just eaten lunch at The Annex by Epic Brewing, but I didn’t want to miss the chance to finally get a chance to try the legendary In-N-Out Burger. There was a little bit of sightseeing in between meals, but in all honesty, they were too close together. I was stuffed.
There are 10 Utah locations of In-N-Out Burgers and half of those are in the immediate Salt Lake City area. We chose the Midvale location because it was closest to our route and wouldn’t be that far out of the way when we decided to head back to Park City.
It’s funny. We thought this location looked like it was in a really nice area. The restaurant is in a pretty heavy shopping district not too far from I-215. It sits on Union Park Avenue near a Walmart and The Family Place at Fort Union which I believe is some kind of shopping mall. Again, looked like a nice area, but when we told friends who live in Salt Lake where we went, they all looked at us like we were crazy for going to Midvale. I didn’t really get it…seemed like a really nice area to me. Read more…