Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner: Where to Feed Any and Every Picky Eater in Jackson

By on December 20, 2017

The holiday season is pretty darn great. Homes are filled with joy, laughter and family and friends who have gathered together to celebrate … well, whatever it is they choose to celebrate. Holidays: We dig ‘em.

But the reality is that the holiday season is also filled with tremendous amounts of stress. There are people to please, presents to buy and bellies to fill.

That stress skyrockets when one of your holiday guests — whether invited or a party crasher — is of the extremely picky variety.

You know the kind. It’s your cousin who won’t eat, well, anything, or your best friend who’s taken veganism to the next level. She can’t sit on your couch — it’s leather — and she certainly can’t eat off of your tainted plates.

The very thought of feeding those particularly particular dining guests conjures up emotions you weren’t aware you could emote. But fear not, good friends. Should you have a holiday guest with some extra strong feelings about their food, we have the solutions on where to feed them in and around Jackson Hole.

We’re also tossing in an extra helping of etiquette, a guide to finding the best cookware and decor in the area, and cocktail and kitchen secrets sourced from some local pros.

Here we go. (Angelica Leicht, editor)

 

Hand & Foot: The diner who needs all of the attention

If your holiday diner needs to be waited on hand and foot, you’re going to have to either placate them yourself or take them to a place where they can be given all of the attention. All of it. We know you don’t need any added stress during the holidays, so appease the hand and foot holiday guest by taking them to one of the restaurants below, where service is their first – not middle – name. (Angelica Leicht)

Snake River Grill

Dining out is a privilege — it’s something we look forward to, and It costs money that we will never see again. Given the cost of the experience, there are a few picky guests who have a bar high for their meals, and need to be waited on hand and foot. Should you be (un)lucky enough to be dealing with those guests this holiday season, it would be wise to take your party to Snake River Grill.

The Jackson institution has a long-standing reputation for impeccible service and an atmosphere filled with finesse and elegance. It’s a place for occasion and grandeur, with the white tablecloth and platter service one expects to see in old black and white films. Their wine list is also extensive; we’re sure you’ll be ready to take advantage of it at this point in the holiday season. (Helen Goelet)

Snake River Grill is located at 84 E Broadway Suite 2, Jackson.

The White Buffalo Club

The White Buffalo Club isn’t just an answer to your meaty prayers; it’s also the perfect spot to impress diners who need a restaurant staff’s undivided attention.

Every night, White Buffalo’s Executive Chef Joel Hammond offers a dinner experience with five unique courses that accommodate most allergies and dietary restrictions. The guided dinner runs about $95 a person, and the restaurant also offers an optional wine pairing to go with it, which one would be wise to take advantage of.

It’s is held in the lower level of the WBC, which offers a more intimate venue for your guests to chat, laugh and demand their hearts out. It’s a great place to impress the needy diners in your crowd, and the decor is tasteful and chic, just like the food. (Helen Goelet)

The White Buffalo Club is located at 160 West Gill Avenue, Suite A, Jackson. www.wbcprime.com

Private Chef

Should you want to go all out and make sure your guest is truly pampered, you may consider hiring one of the private chefs who reside in Jackson and the surrounding areas.

Many of these chefs have worked in the finest kitchens around the world, and what better way to make sure your guest has all of the attention than by hiring a chef to give them — and just them — personal service?

It’s the perfect solution for the pickiest dining guest. Have one of these chefs guide your guests through a complete culinary experience, course after course, without the hassle of other diners to distract them. This is one of the more pricy options, but if you’re willing to shell out the money, the experience will be well worth it. (Helen Goelet)

 

The Meathead: A carnivore to the core

Holiday dining guests are tough, but if your dining guest is a meathead, you need to make sure his steak isn’t.

If the guest who crashes your home for the holidays is a corn-fed, steak and potatoes fanatic, he’s probably in the right town for some good eats. Jackson is filled with restaurants offering big ol’ slabs of beef, elk and wild game that are just right to appease the carnivore to the core. (Angelica Leicht)

The White Buffalo Club

If your picky dining partner is only going to be satiated by a perfectly seasoned, expertly temped steak with delicious sides, The White Buffalo Club is your answer.

In the basement of The White Buffalo Club Hotel, this speakeasy-style restaurant has an awe-inspiring a la carte menu that is constantly being tweaked and improved by Executive Chef Joel Hammond, and it’s sure to please the steak-loving crowd.

All your dining guest has to do is choose their cut of meat, temp and topping — we recommend the brandy green peppercorn sauce, a deliciously hot and smooth addition to your protein, and a perfectly portioned side, and they’re guaranteed to walk out of this little Jackson treasure completely satisfied.

The White Buffalo also offers a melt-in-your mouth roasted bone marrow that can be added to make your holiday guests’ impeccable dish into an other-worldly experience.

Perhaps steak isn’t your picky diner’s palate-pleaser, though. Well, you’re in luck, because The White Buffalo also offers a fantastic burger, and if you pop in for happy hour or after 9 p.m., that In-and-Out burger with shoestring fries and a Budweiser will run you just $10. It’s easily the best — and meatiest — deal in town. (Helen Goelet)

The White Buffalo Club is located at 160 West Gill Avenue, Suite A, Jackson. www.wbcprime.com

Glorietta Trattoria

If you’re not looking to spend quite as much money on a great steak as you would with some of our other choices, or if your dining companions looking for something else on the menu, perhaps you should take your picky eaters on a trip over to Glorietta Trattoria, where the oven cooks more than just pizza to perfection. And by that we mean steak.

Along with those crispy, glorious pizzas that Glorietta’s has become known for, that oven is also the perfect temperature to whip up a 40 oz Porterhouse with red wine butter, smoked sea salt, fennel and onion.

Sound delicious? That’s because it is — and as a bonus, that meaty combination offers just the right marriage fat, salts, starch and acids to please the most fastidious of diners. (Helen Goelet)

Glorietta Trattoria is located at 242 Glenwood St, Jackson. https://anvilhotel.com/dining/glorietta/

Million Dollar Cowboy Steakhouse

For the biggest cuts and the truest of Western experiences, you might want to grab your picky diners and head to the Million Dollar Cowboy Steakhouse, where Chef Paulie O’Connor’s a la carte menu is as long as the Wyoming winters, and includes everything from game cuts, prime cuts and wagyu. If it’s classic American steak and potatoes dinner your guests are looking for, this is your stop.

There are, of course, plenty of other dishes on the menu at the steakhouse, including the insane roasted tomatillo and tequila fondue, but where this place really excels is in the extensive meat menu.

From their wild game cuts — think buffalo shoulder tenderloin and elk medallions — to the wagyu, international wagyu and prime beef cuts, Million Dollar Cowboy is a veritable meat lovers paradise. You cannot go wrong by taking your meathead guests to the Jackson staple.

As a bonus, once you’ve loaded up on a hearty meal of steak and more steak, you can head over to the bar at Million Dollar Cowboy and check out some local music while you drink away the pain of gluttony. It’s our favorite holiday tradition. (Helen Goelet)

Million Dollar Cowboy is located at 25 N Cache St, Jackson. www.milliondollarcowboybar.com

Sweet Cheeks Meats or The Local Butcher

Let’s not forget about those meathead guests who prefer to stand over the grill, beer in your hand, while they keep a close eye on the steaks.

For the holiday diners who crash your party and insist on cooking — yes, even in the middle of winter — it would be wise to grab them and head over to Sweet Cheeks Meats or The Local Butcher, where they’re guaranteed to hook you up.

These two butcher shops are a pork lovers heaven, after all. Whether it’s pulled, chopped or cured, Sweet Cheeks knows their way around a hog.

Should you be on the market for the best local T-bone, ribeye or bison tenderloins, though, you should be sure to give The Local Butcher a call. They’ll even take care of your sides, too, if whipping up some meaty accoutraments is a headache you don’t want to worry about. (Helen Goelet)

Sweet Cheeks is located at 185 Scott Ln, Jackson. The Local Butcher is located at 50 W Deloney Ave, Jackson.

 

The Muncher: The herb-induced feeder who just can’t quit their hunger

Chances are good you’ve had that one very hungry friend or relative crash your pad during the holidays. You know the one – their eyes are a little bloodshot and their appetite is a little ravenous.

These holiday guests are harmless, really, although you would be wise to steer clear of the muncher when they have their sights aimed on a massive plate of nachos. Get between them and a large plate of food and you may lose a finger or two in the crossfire. (Angelica Leicht)

Taquitos Carlitos

One of the main hurdles to feeding your party-crashing muncher friends in a place like Jackson is finding a place where you can order a huge plate of food for a relatively small price tag. Sure, you can find a place that will serve you a lot of food, or you can find a place that will serve you cheap food, but the two of combined? Well, it’s like finding a hungry, chill unicorn.

Head over to the Victor side of the Pass, though, and you’re in munchie heaven. While you’re over there, say hello to the fine folks at Taquitos Carlitos, your new best friend.

Don’t be turned off by the idea that you’ll have to drive a really, really hungry friend over the Pass; Carlitos’ tacos are worth it. They hook it up.

There are options like al pastor, carne asada and chicken to fill your tacos with, and you can also get some killer enchiladas and homemade chips on the side for not a lot of dough. And by that we mean money.

Yep, you got that right. This little taco joint is really inexpensive – around $8 for a plate of tacos, rice and beans – and the folks who run Carlitos even handcraft those delicious corn tortillas in-house, so you can bet your holiday guest-loathing ass that you’ll be indulging alongside your munching buddy, even if you just had lunch an hour ago.

You can’t say no to the tacos at Taquitos Carlitos – their ability to create the perfect salsa, cheese and meat percentages is just too great to pass up.

Order one of everything or ask the always-friendly folks behind the counter for their rec and we promise you and your famished family and friends won’t regret it. (Angelica Leicht)

Taquitos Carlitos is located at 57 S Main St., Victor.

Spur

Should you have a party crasher whose belly is constantly aching for sustenance, chances are they’re going to be looking for quick, filling fare that is a good bang for the buck. For these eaters, options are plentiful at a little place just off of ski hill in Teton Village called the Spur, which is situated right inside of Teton Mountain Lodge.

The lodge, a popular après scene with lobby fireplaces and a long, elegant bar, is filled with scrumptious fillers. A recent winner of Best Après by Ski Magazine for its vibrant atmosphere and creative cocktails, the Spur is a sure draw for hungry holiday guests, who are likely looking for not only copious amounts of food but also that amazing mountain ambiance.

For the ninth year running, Chef Kevin Humphreys has earned Planet Jackson Hole’s ‘Readers’ Choice Gold Medal’ for Best Chef, and for good reason. The Buffalo style wings with blue cheese dressing and celery, along with the mushroom toast with poached egg, roasted mushrooms, potato bread and truffle vinaigrette are an easy shared app, and the 307 fries with elk gravy, white cheddar and chives will make any muncher’s palate water. The Dirty Nachos are another serious draw for food lovers. A sizzling pile of smoked chopped beef, Monterey jack cheese, black beans, jalapeño, green onions, sour cream, guacamole and pico de gallo is the perfect way to unwind after a day of face shots, or shots … or perhaps other, ahem, imbibing. (Jessica Flammang)

Spur is located at 3385 Cody Ln., Teton Village. www.tetonlodge.com

Wildlife Brewery

On the Teton Valley side of the pass, Wildlife Brewery is a certain bet for feeding your ravished holiday guests. Chef Dave Smith calls his cooking style creative/conservative and loves the BBQ burger, but the Grizzly Fries – a full pound of seasoned Idaho fries, sweet potato fries and fry sauce, ranch or ketchup – is another solid option for your very hungry friends, who can even add nacho cheese to the conglomeration, should they so desire.

“I enjoy experimenting with classics,” he said. “Today my creation was a ground beef burger topped with green olives and a crushed red pepper mustard with Swiss cheese.”

The portions are the perfect size to appease your friends with the extra-big appetites, and your munch-loving party crashers can even be extra extra at Wildlife and enjoy an array of handcrafted beers in their own mug, if they are part of the esteemed “mug club,” a nifty little program that involves a few extra ounces in an oversized, personalized stein. (Jessica Flammang)

Wildlife Brewery is located at 145 S Main St, Victor. www.wildlifebrewing.com

 

The Pecker: The diner who samples their way through a meal

Is your visitor of the pecker variety? Do they order one of everything and then only take small bites of each plate? These birds are hard to feed – take them to a place like Million Dollar Cowboy and they’re bound to be overwhelmed with those massive slabs of meat.

Take them to a place like the ones below, though, and you’ve curried their bird-like favor forever. (Angelica Leicht)

Il Villagio Osteria

For those party-crashing Peckers with smaller appetites or those guests who just like to graze, you’ll find plenty of tiny servings and tapas at Il Villagio Osteria, an Italian cuisine and wine bar in Teton Village. The oven-roasted olives with citrus, sundried tomato and garlic or the assorted cheese plate with house made, imported and local cheeses are the best ways to start off.

The salumi platter includes a sundry selection of house crafted, imported and local meats. The peach crostini with fig, ricotta and Gorgonzola is a complete meal for a grazer, along with the Mushroom Creste Rigate, a blend of mushrooms, herbs and white wine.

With an exquisite wine list, the Pecker can take small bites while sipping fine Italian blends and graze to their heart’s content. The picturesque atmosphere with mountainside views, salumi bar and open wood fired pizza oven make the plush eatery reminiscent of the comfortable cafés along the Italian countryside, which is perfect because when you’re entertaining a Pecker, you’re staying a while. (Jessica Flammang)

Il Villagio Osteria is located at 3335 Village Dr, Teton Village. www.jhosteria.com

Rendevous Bistro

Another Jackson favorite for both locals and visitors since 2001 is the Rendezvous Bistro. It’s a timeless classic and the perfect place to entertain your grazing dining guest.

“The Bistro” offers French-American fare in a sophisticated yet casual atmosphere, and the extensive wine list and raw bar compliment the upscale ambiance.

Executive chef Jesse Rezin cooks with a creative twist, creating dishes like the Cajun fried alligator with charred scallions, roasted peanuts and a spicy remoulade. It’s the perfect starter because while your holiday dining companion may just take a few bites, it means you’ll have the rest of that delicious dish to yourself.

Rendevous is sure to dazzle small appetites with the escargot, which is served with crimini mushrooms and garlic-herb butter. The raw bar offers oysters on the full or half shell, oyster shooters and a mouthwatering tuna tartare with avocado, shitakes, chili garlic sauce and wontons. Order all of them so your companion has lots to choose from, along with sides of sautéed greens and haricot vert, which are sure pleasers for eaters who prefer tiny portions. (Jessica Flammang)

Rendevous Bistro is located at 380 US-89, Jackson. www.rendevousbistro.net

Three Peaks Dinner Table

On the Idaho side of the pass, Three Peaks Dinner Table in Driggs offers epicurean delights attuned to tasters and grazers. The old-world decor and chic wine bar serves up Italian western influenced cuisine, but a taste of Teton Valley can also be found in Executive Chef Steve Murphy’s elegant cuisine.

Three Peaks’ menu is focused on unique cuts of buffalo, elk, boar and wild game, and ingredients are hand-picked from local farmers, cheese producers, butchers and gardeners, and Chef Murphy’s antipasto board — complete with a Gorgonzola wedge, fresh mozzarella, oven-roasted tomatoes, marinated mushrooms, prosciutto, Italian salami and kalamata olives — is a sure win for the diners who prefer small bites, especially when paired with a nice glass of wine. The exotic mushroom and elk sliders are a paired down version of a burger plate, perfect for those with a tendency toward “tiny” as their palates. (Jessica Flammang)

Three Peaks Dinner Table is located at 15 S Main St, Driggs. www.threepeaksdinnertable.com

 

The Vegan & Vegetarian: The diner who will tell you they don’t eat meat before you can even ask

Call this guest “people for the ethical treatment of dinner.” They need to be fed at a cruelty-free, meat-free restaurant, or at the very least a place that has a menu for the nuts and berries lovers.

You’re in luck if the holiday guest straw you drew was of the vegan or vegetarian kind. There are plenty of delicious places in and around Jackson to feed your animal-loving friends, which is great. They clearly have big hearts and a soft spot for the furry beasts among us and should be spoiled with some killer quinoa. (Angelica Leicht)

Lotus

For those picky holiday dining guests who prefer nuts and berries, Jackson Hole and Teton Valley have no shortage of herbivorous eats. Head on down to Lotus, a bistro bar and Jackson’s local hub for global organic fare that is rife with fresh smoothies and juices.

The restaurant just celebrated its tenth year in business, and December marks the first anniversary in its new space on North Cache.

A tasty favorite is the vegan burger made from quinoa, brown rice, sunflower seed and legumes. Tomato, lettuce, sautéed onion, roasted garlic aioli and the optional Kimchi grace it as garnishes. The gluten free Bombay bowl boasts sautéed broccoli, red pepper, zucchini, red onion and brown rice. Spinach, mango, carrot, toasted coconut & tikka sauce adorn its top.

“Our food is sustainably sourced and fresh,” said owner Amy Young-Jones. “My favorites are simple, so I can taste the delicious flavor of what I’m eating, like steamed broccoli with organic extra virgin olive oil, garlic salt and lemon. But I love to play and create vegan versions of classics, like my chile relleno stuffed with sautéed quinoa, shitake mushrooms and cashew cheese with a Romanesco sauce.” (Jessica Flammang)

Lotus is located at 140 N Cache St B, Jackson. www.theorganiclotus.com

Gather

Gather is just a block from Town Square and serves up American classics that include vegetarian options like the gluten-free Brussels sprouts, served with white balsamic, pepitas, dried cranberries and shaved pecorino, (a hard Italian cheese); or the vegan pasta, made with zucchini angel hair, sesame roasted mushrooms, nori chips, togarashi cashews and butternut curry.

The open air, casual dining experience is like a second living room to locals and tourists alike, which means that it will be perfect for your veggie-loving holiday guests to nosh ’til their heart’s content. (Jessica Flammang)

Gather is located at 72 S Glenwood St, Jackson. www.gatherjh.com

Forage Bistro & Lounge

On the Idaho side of the pass in Driggs sits Forage, winner of Idaho’s Restaurant of the Year in 2016 by Yelp, and more recently the Best of Teton Valley and Best of Jackson Hole Bronze. Christian and Lisa Hanley opened the craft food and drink eatery in 2015, and whether you are on the Jackson side of the Pass or the other side, Forage is worth the drive to please those picky out of town guests. The cauliflower “wings” with gorgonzola grits and carrot slaw is a sure pleaser for vegetarians.

“My personal favorite is our Ricotta Croquettes and roasted spaghetti squash with heirloom tomato sauce, preserved lemon and Manchego cheese,” said co-owner Lisa Hanley. “The dish is light, and doesn’t leave you feeling like you just devoured a bowl of pasta!”

Homemade vegetarian soups are crafted from local ingredients daily and food is prepared on a grille in plain sight, releasing a fresh aroma while customers dine in the ambient light from the floor-to-ceiling windows. (Jessica Flammang)

Forage Bistro and Lounge is located at 285 E Little Ave, Driggs. www.forageandlounge.com

 

The Distavore: The diner who wants something off the beaten path, wherever that is

We all have that friend who answers the question of “What do you want for dinner?” with the words, “Oh, I don’t know. Let’s do something different.”

That friend, my friend, is a pain in the holiday ass. You may have drawn the short straw on holiday guests if you have a distavore crashing on your couch, but fear not. We have the answers.

For the distavore, eating is an experience rather than a necessity. They need the street cred – a dining experience to brag about – and will go to great lengths, including crashing your home during your one extended break from work, to find it. Here are the solutions to your distavore dining problems. (Angelica Leicht)

Hot Pot at Chiang Mai

Over the last few years, the food scene in Jackson has become infinitely more adventurous. Perhaps it’s a reflection of the locals who travel in the offseason and bring back their love for flavors and culture to Teton County, or perhaps it’s merely a reflection of the exploration of flavor and food experience happening across America. Whatever the source of the change, one thing is for sure: It’s restaurant — and picky diner — magic.

For the distavore dining guests who just have to have something a bit out of the box, perhaps you should head over the Pass to Chiang Mai in Victor, Idaho.

Unlike other Thai restaurants in the valley — of which there are plenty — Chiang Mai focuses on food from the northern region of Thailand.

Unlike most mainstream Thai dishes, the ones whipped up at Chiang Mai focus on highlighting spices and herbs rather than coconut milk and curries.

Be sure to steer your distavore toward the hot pot should you head to Victor. It’s an experience your diner won’t forget, between the pot of hot broth, glass noodles, protein and vegetables.

Be warned, though. Once your distavore diner has tried Chiang Mai’s fare, they may make a turn toward Thai obsession instead. (Helen Goelet)

Chiang Mai is located at 182 N Main St, Victor.

Street Food at Stagecoach Bar

Listen, your distavore diner is looking for something different, and we know what place can deliver. You can easily wow them by signing up for an Around the World dinner at Stagecoach Bar in Wilson.

The mantra at Street Food is that the best food comes from unexpected places, and in this case, they’ve got it just right. For $45 a head, your experiential diner will be delivered a four course meal created by Chef Erik Sakai. The meals each focus on different regions around the world — the most recent Italian dinner was divine — and will transport your guest without having to book a flight.

The little hideaway has already offered Italian, Hawaiian and Chinese offerings this season, and are sure to continue on a path you — and your distavore party crasher — won’t want to miss. (Helen Goelet)

Stagecoach Bar is located at 5755 WY-22, Wilson. www.stagecoachbar.net

Chef’s Choice at King Sushi

If your guest wants a roll of the delicious dining dice, you should head out to King Sushi and ask Chef Jason for a meal that is chef’s choice. While chef’s choice is not an official menu option, many regulars ask the young sushi guru behind the counter to serve them what’s fresh and whatever he thinks is best.

The little sushi bar offers everything from pork ramen and tako ceviche to innovative and delightful rolls on their regular menu, which means that whatever Chef Jason picks for your diner is sure to be the perfect dish.

But while their existing menu is divine, it’s always exciting to simply be fed and indulge in some undiscovered delights. The anticipation of not knowing what’s coming is half the fun — especially when you’re looking for a way to wow a guest who eats for the experience.

Just snag a seat at the bar, sip on some sake or a cocktail and watch them whip up plate after plate of delicate, balanced and flavorful sushi chosen just for you. (Helen Goelet)

King Sushi is located at 75 S King St, Jackson. www.kingsushijh.com

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