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FEED ME! Dornan’s Pizza & Pasta with a view
JACKSON HOLE, WYO – Summer is here. I don’t write this because I had sweat dripping off my face hiking in shorts and a tank top on Sunday. Nor was it because I was riding my motorcycle to the grocery store wearing flip-flops on Friday morning. (I know it’s not the smartest thing to do, so you don’t have to bother warning me.)
It was on Saturday I knew summer had arrived. I was sitting on the deck at Dornan’s in a skirt and tank top, my legs scratched and caked with dirt and my hair doing its best impersonation of an electrocuted Labradoodle after a long day of skiing and bushwhacking in the Tetons.
One hand held a cold beverage while the other was forking Buffalo Bolognese ($15) into my mouth so fast I could chew every other bite. When it came time for a refill on my drink, I wandered inside to the bar and found myself next to a couple debating the age at which elk grow up to become moose. (The husband thought it happened at around three years; the wife thought seven.) “Moose live to be about 15 and they don’t reach maturity – turning black and their horns changing shape – until about half way through their lives,” she said. “That’s why there are more elk than moose around; most don’t live long enough to fully grow up.”)
Hello Jackson Hole summer!
In recent years, a growing number of eateries with great decks have opened, or existing restaurants have added decks. Still, as much as I love Pizzeria Caldera’s classic Napoletana Bistone pizza ($16) with tomato sauce, mozzarella, bison sausage, yellow pepper, onions, fresh sage, and the view of Town Square from its second-story deck, nothing can compare to the deck at Dornan’s.
True, the buffalo Bolognese was completely under-seasoned. However, from my seat adjacent to a sage meadow with the Snake River flowing nearby, I really didn’t care. The pasta was huge, included carbs, and I was eating outside in the sun with the Tetons towering overhead. And it seemed as if it included half a buffalo haunch. So, yes, it wasn’t bursting with flavor, but considering the price, the portion size, and the views, it was perfect. It also arrived within 10 minutes of my having ordered it at the counter. When you’ve just come out of the mountains, speed of food delivery is key.
This was my first time trying the buffalo Bolognese. I’m usually a pizza girl out at Dornan’s, though sometimes I just get the artichoke dip appetizer (around $9). Deliciously cheesy and bubbling over with bits and bites of artichoke hearts, the artichoke dip is a substantial meal for one if you can keep the greedy fingers of your fellow diners away from it, even if you’ve just finished an arduous hike or ski.
I didn’t regret ordering the buffalo Bolognese, until a Mount Owen pizza arrived for my friend. The shade of my jealousy matched the substantial amount of pesto on top of Owen’s thick, chewy crust. I appreciate a Napoletana crust as much as the next pizza lover, but there’s something to a crust that gently fights back when you bite into it.
Whether you’re in the mood for Teton views or a puffy-crusted pizza, no one in the valley does either better than Dornan’s.
Open daily; call for hours, 733-2415; 12170 Dornan Rd., Moose; dornans.com