Late Night Desires

By on April 11, 2018

The Rose’s new nighttime menu has filled a delicious valley niche.

The poke bowl defies greasy notions of Jackson’s late night food options. (Keegan Rice)

JACKSON HOLE, WY – For many Jackson residents, “closing time” has little to do with the late-90s track by the one-hit-wonder Semisonic. Between the hours of 10 p.m. and 2 a.m., folks in the service industry, who comprise the valley’s lifeblood businesses, are finishing their work day; slipping out of their clogs, punching out, divvying tips.

During the busiest times of the year, the last six hours of the night pass in a blur. Chefs and their kitchen staff, servers, bartenders and managers, all with their heads still spinning, ask the same question as the last dish is washed and napkin folded: Where to now? Is Pinky G’s still serving?

Oftentimes, they find themselves at a bar for a cocktail or two, then home to rifle through the pantry or freezer before hitting the pillow.

“I’ve had this conversation countless times,” said Tim Conan, executive chef of The Rose’s new late night menu. “Don’t get me wrong, Pinky G’s is great, but I don’t want to eat pizza every night after work.”

Conan’s culinary career began in New York City, where he worked at Sidecar Brooklyn, a late night eatery open until 4 a.m. In 2014, he followed Rene Stein west to work at Thayne, Wyoming’s now-defunct Cakebread Ranch. (If Stein’s name sounds familiar that’s because the renowned chef was the mastermind behind Sub Rosa—the extraordinary weekly dinners for six held in The Rose’s tiny kitchen.)

Though his stint at the ranch was brief, Conan couldn’t say goodbye to the mountains and found himself at the Snake River Grill working under Chef Jeff Drew. Conan said he gleaned valuable knowledge from Drew that he packed up and took with him. “He is the most organized and inspiring chef I’ve ever worked for,” Conan said. “He takes care of his line-cooks in a way I’ve never experienced; it’s why people stay on for 20-plus years.”

Chef Tim Conan turns up the heat in The Rose’s kitchen.

Working at his first Jackson restaurant, Conan also discovered the limits of the valley’s late-night food options. “I’d get out at 11:30 p.m. and want to get a cocktail and some food, but I didn’t really want something greasy or crowded right after work,” he said.

Not only is The Rose and Pink Garter Theater Jackson’s biggest concert venue, it is also a reliable watering hole—open late even during the off-season doldrums. It’s only fitting, then, that its kitchen follows suit. Partially owned by the New York City-based cocktail empire Death and Co., The Rose has captured a unique opportunity to serve food that matches its delicious and inventive craft cocktails.

The bar’s menu, available from 8 p.m. till 2 a.m., offers a variety of options for hungry night owls.

If you’re out on the town and need something to soak up your drinks, order the fried chicken sandwich served with poblano slaw and Sriracha aioli, a throwback to Conan’s days at the Blue Ribbon Brasserie in Manhattan, New York. Brined, given a 12-hour buttermilk bath, and blanketed in a mysteriously delicious batter, these chickens have the perfectly crunchy fried finish.

For service folk looking for a nice cocktail and a lighter bite, try Conan’s favorite: the poke bowl. Tossed in a classic poke dressing, the sushi-grade ahi tuna is served over herb-tossed sushi rice, dressed cucumbers, avocado, pickled carrots and green onions, and is finished with the delicate popping texture of sesame seeds. Certainly not your typical greasy, post-party snack.

While The Rose has attempted food options in the past, the venue’s reputation as a late night bar, in addition to its windowless, speak-easy ambiance, makes it a difficult place to carve a reputation as a full-service restaurant.

“It’s not the kind of place a family of four is going to come dine at 7 p.m.,” Conan said.

That’s why The Rose may have finally found its place in the Jackson food scene serving diverse, gourmet bites for the valley’s nocturnal workforce and late-night revelers.

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