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FEED ME! Big Hole Bagel & Bistro
JACKSON HOLE, WYO - The plan was to hit Sun Dog Café in Victor for a tasty breakfast before a Sunday of Teton Valley adventuring. But it turns out Sun Dog has closed. Quite a while ago. Not seeing any other apparent options while driving down Main Street in Victor, we continued on to Driggs. I knew that at least Pendl’s Bakery & Café there would be open. And there are plenty of worse places to eat than Pendl’s, which is in fact, one of my most favorite bakeries ever.
But my adventuring partner and myself were trying for a day full of experiences that were new to both of us. And Pendl’s was decidedly not new to me. Passing Big Hole Bagel & Bistro’s “Now Open!” sign, we did not hesitate to pull in.
“We’ve been open three weeks,” said the cheery waitress, whose use of the pronoun “we” on multiple occasions hinted that she might have an ownership interest. In the spot that was formerly Bunk House Bistro, Big Hole Bagel & Bistro bakes their own bagels, has a barista that knows how to pull solid (if expensive, $3 for a single; $3.50 for a double) espresso shots, and has a menu that includes a raisin bagel dunked in eggs, stuffed with cinnamon walnut cream cheese and served with a side of home fries ($8). Tell me that does not sound like the most delicious sugar coma ever.
As tempting as the Cinnamon Stuffed sounded, I went for the traditional Ham Eggs Benedict ($8.50). Because this is Big Hole Bagel & Bistro, it was a bagel rather than an English muffin underlying the mass of poached egg, ham and Hollandaise that arrived 15 minutes later.
Admittedly, I’m not a bagel connoisseur. I’ve worked my way through numerous “Best Bagels in New York” lists without being blown away. I dream of the nooks and crannies of a Thomas’ English muffin, not the relative flatness of bagels.
However, I think Big Hole does quite a fine job with their bagels, which they boil before baking on wood planks. These bagels are not glutinous gut bombs as others in the area might be. And they have no problems toasting them. A toasted bagel with plain cream cheese is $2; with flavored cream cheese, $2.50; with Nutella or peanut butter ($2).
Initially, I was disappointed by the look of the accompanying home fries. I like my home fries to be a little more interesting than plain potatoes. Mix in some onions or a couple of cubes of sweet potato for a little variety. Big Hole’s home fries are just potatoes. But, with the perfect mix of crunchy exterior and soft interior, they needed nothing else.
Where Big Hole bagels really shined was with its breakfast sandwich. Because BH bagels don’t have the density of osmium, when piled high with eggs, cheddar and bacon, the toppings do not come squishing out the sides. The bagel itself was the thing to squish.
They know their pancakes here too. If you order the Good ol’ Pancakes ($7), you get three. Derek ordered a side of one pancake ($2). When it arrived, its edges a beautiful crispy golden brown indicating a healthy amount of butter on the griddle when the batter was poured, I couldn’t imagine anyone eating three of them. Even if it was one of the best pancakes I’ve had outside the comfort of my own kitchen.
Big Hole sabotages itself in the pancake department though, serving them with maple-flavored syrup instead of real maple syrup. Charge $1 more and do the real stuff. Your pancakes deserve it!
Big Hole Bagel & Bistro is open 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., Thursday to Monday. 285 N. Main, Driggs, Idaho; 208-354-2245.