The Best Restaurants in Jackson Hole, Category by Category
Looking to plan out your trip to a tee, or already in Jackson and trying to settle a rapidly escalating family debate on where to get dinner? Here’s a quick and easy guide to a few of the best restaurants in Jackson Hole.
A word on price: most restaurants in Jackson will run around $10-15 for an entrée. A few places might be a little less, especially at lunch, and a few places, like the Gun Barrel, might run you a little more.
Best Burgers and Fries: You can’t beat the Lift. Located near Snow King, the Lift offers an array of incredible burgers, and thick, crispy fries. They have fast service and while Jackson is full of top-notch burger joints, the burgers at the Lift are a little bigger than most and also seem to pack a little more flavor than most.
Additionally, I recommend ordering their nacho plate—a pyramid-shaped monument to the God of Carbohydrates on a platter twice the size of a normal dinner plate, dripping with guacamole, queso, and love. My taste buds and arteries still haven’t forgotten the experience.
Best Mexican—El Abuelito can’t be beat. While the Merry Piglets and Pika’s get more hype (Pika’s was even featured on the Food Network), El Abuelito has more authentic Mexican cuisine and bigger portions for your dollar.
Best Thai—Jackson is home to three or four good Thai restaurants, but my favorite is the Thai Plate. While its food is comparable to the runner-up, Bon Appe Thai, it wins on location—it’s located right between the Town Square and Gaslight Alley, so it’s a literal stone’s throw from the heart of Jackson. In the summer, you can eat outside.
Best Chinese—Chinatown is the clear winner in this category. Apart from serving what is probably the best Chinese food I’ve had in my life, it also boasts great service, a nice atmosphere, and the distinction of having burned down several years ago and risen, phoenix-like, from the ashes to serve gyozas and crab rangoons once more. In a town with more restaurants per capita than anywhere I’ve ever been, Chinatown is a local favorite—a distinction that speaks volumes.
Best barbecue—I’ve only eaten there once, but Big Hole Barbecue made an indelible impression on my taste buds. In every category you can judge a barbecue restaurant by (ribs, sauces, brisket, baked beans, mac and cheese, sides), Big Hole BBQ takes the cake. Bubba’s BBQ and Mo’s BBQ are also both great, but Big Hole is some of the finest BBQ I’ve ever had.
Best burritos: Burritos may seem like an oddly specific category next to categories like Thai and breakfast, and the truth is that I’m including it simply because I want to talk about D.O.G. Burritos. D.O.G. stands for Down on Glen (the road that the main DOG location is built on), and its owners deserve a Nobel prize for their perfection of the burrito-making art, specifically breakfast burritos. I don’t know what else to say about this place. Go try it.
Best breakfast: This one’s too close to call between the Virginian and the Bunnery. The Bunnery is a bakery and sit-down restaurant that typically closes in the mid-afternoon; my favorite things to get there are the hot chocolate and the salmon cream cheese scrambled eggs. The Virginian is also open only for breakfast; while it’s part of the Virginian motel, you can eat there regardless of where you’re staying. The Virginian is very affordable and has a great all-round variety of good breakfast food.
Best pizza—Pinkie G’s is probably the best-known pizza joint in Jackson, but I actually prefer the pizza at Sidewinders. Like the aforementioned Pika’s, they’ve been featured on the Food Network. They offer a variety of thin-crust pizzas, from standard pepperoni to Mexican carne asada pizza and even Thai pizza. You can also order giant pizza-stuffed pretzals—basically, order a big pretzel and get it stuffed with any of the ingredients used in their pizzas. (I usually request marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese, sausage, mushrooms, and bell peppers.)
Best bar—I’ll be honest—I don’t drink so in a lot of ways I can’t really speak for the bar scene in Jackson. However, that doesn’t stop me from diving into the food and the atmosphere at the bars, and I can tell you that the Million-Dollar Cowboy Bar is the real deal. You sit on saddles at the bar and can order anything from burgers to Rocky Mountain Oysters, a popular local delicacy so rare and difficult to obtain that a single bull can only provide two tiny bites of the prized meat.
Best views—Dornan’s is actually located in the town of Moose in Grand Teton National Park, so it’s about 20 minutes from downtown Jackson. What makes Dornan’s special is that you can eat on its roof, with the Tetons in all their glory right in front of you. The food is (in my opinion) mediocre compared to a lot of the offerings in Jackson, but the view is my favorite of any restaurant I’ve ever been to—and I’ve eaten baguettes in front of the Eiffel Tower and shoveled spaghetti in view of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
Best late-night food run—While it’s probably narrowly edged out by Sidewinders for best pizza, Pinkie G’s remains the most solid option for a late-night food option. While most restaurants in Jackson close early, Pinkie G’s stays open until after midnight and even provides delivery.
Most unique—the Pan-Asian blend of food at the Teton Tiger, coupled with its eclectic atmosphere, is my hands-down favorite restaurant in Jackson. They offer a mixture of primarily Indian and (a little) Thai food like curry, udon noodles, and roast duck; if you’re into spicy, they have options for the spiciest food that I’ve found in Jackson.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t address the winners of a few other important categories:
Best Chinese buffet for those who subscribe to the belief that a little food poisoning never killed anybody: Ocean City Buffet
Best restaurant for people who prefer to eat in an art museum while looking at elk: The Café in the National Museum of Wildlife Art
Best pterodactyl-themed bagel joint: Pearl Street Bagels
Best restaurant where I once ran into Harrison Ford and he gave my wife that trademark Han Solo sideways grin in a way that made me feel very threatened despite the fact that the man’s pushing 80: The Teton Tiger
So there you have it, folks–the best restaurants in Jackson Hole. To be honest, I’m only scratching the surface of the restaurant scene in Jackson—there’s a number of other great restaurants that deserve a mention: Cutty’s, the Blue Lion, the Local, the Wort, The Bird, the Gun Barrel, and many others. Even the Little Caesars that used to be located in the bowels of the Jackson K-mart was, inexplicably, the best Little Caesars I’ve ever been to. If you’re still in the stages of planning your trip to Jackson Hole, budget a little extra money to take advantage of the restaurants there. You won’t regret it.
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