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FEED ME!: Betty Rock stands test of time
JACKSON, WYO – My first ever lunch in Jackson was at Betty Rock. It was 1997. Upon walking into the space – colorfully cute with psychedelic oil paintings by a local artist on the walls – I immediately decided I was going to make it my regular lunch spot. And it was. I probably had their TCP (Turkey Cran Pesto) sandwich four out of five weekdays.
Then, in 2002, the owners sold it, and it was remodeled. The new owner kept the name for a time, as I remember. Booths were added. The quirkily bright colors were repainted with suburban-home hues. I vaguely remember plastic plants.
Also, the menu was completely changed. An extensive variety of salads, sandwiches, and soups – not to mention killer baked goods – were replaced by the likes of meatloaf and chicken fried steak, served with sides of over-steamed, previously frozen green beans and carrots. Waitresses and waiters came to your table to take your order.
Thankfully, that version of Betty Rock had only a brief life.
As is the way of the valley’s restaurant scene, another eatery moved in. For the life of me I can’t remember what it was. It did not have the Betty Rock name though.
And then, one happy day in 2009, walking past the corner of Pearl and Jackson, I saw the old Betty Rock sign hanging out front again. Could it be? I walked in. Yes!
It was like a time warp. Same menu. Same vibe. Maybe not exactly the same colors, but close enough. One of the guys taking orders at the counter was even the same.
The best lunch spot in town was back! And back as much more than lunch. Betty Rock today is open until 9 p.m. every night but Sunday.
And Betty Rock 2.0 is improved over its 1997 to 2002 self. Old favorites have stayed, but Executive Chef Kyle Tranby isn’t afraid to experiment. For a time, Betty Rock did all-you-can-eat pizza nights. Tranby’s pies were the best in town.
Pizza is no longer on Betty Rock’s menu, but burgers using hormone and antibiotic free, grass-fed beef from the Durham Ranch outside Gillette, now are. They are the best burgers using fancy-pants beef around for the price. A 1/3-pound burger at Betty Rock is $7.95.
My favorite is still the TCP sandwich ($9) with house-cured turkey breast, dried cranberries, and a healthy dose of walnut-basil pesto. Betty Rock makes all of their own bread and the focaccia they use for this one is delicious on its own.
A couple of weeks ago, Tranby had a pork bahn mi as a special on the menu. As it was huge, I meant only to eat half of it and save half for later. Ten minutes after the sandwich arrived in front of me, the entire thing was gone. Evidently I wasn’t the only person to think it delicious. The several times I’ve been in since, it has still been up as a special. If it were to be added to the menu permanently, I would rejoice.
Betty Rock has always been rightfully known for its turkey chili ($3.95/$6.95). When I’m in a soup mood lately, I’ve been bypassing the chili for Betty Rock’s soup of the day. A recent red pepper soup was like liquid love, with just the smallest hint of spicy aggression.
The sandwiches, soups, and salads are available all day long. The baked goods, specifically the triple chocolate chip cookie, are usually gone by the late afternoon. You should not miss out on one of these.
Betty Rock, 325 W. Pearl Ave., 733-0747, www.bettyrock.com, open Monday – Saturday 10:30 to 9. Closed Sundays.