A vacation in Wyoming is a quintessential American experience — the big sky, Yellowstone, the Tetons all come to mind. But, what are you going to eat when you’re out exploring the open road. Wyoming doesn’t necessarily bring to mind gourmet foods, local sourcing or decadent foodie experiences, but perhaps it should. In fact, Yellowstone (Wyoming’s iconic National Park) started designing delightful dining experiences to help tourists feel more at home as they braved the wild. According to Leslie Quinn, an Interpretive Specialist at Yellowstone National Park, the original park lodges featured fine dining experiences so tourists would feel safe surrounded by the parks wilderness. Wyoming is also no stranger to inviting hungry tourists to stay. Though the state is the least populous of the United States, it saw 10.1 million overnight visitors in 2014. If you’re wondering what to eat in Wyoming, read on, and start making your summer road trip plans!
Meeteetse Chocolatier. Full disclosure, I have a soft spot for Wyoming. I spent a summer living and working in Yellowstone and remember it fondly. Meeteetse is pretty close by the park, a quick drive from Cody (where I spent a lot of time). Although I think Wyoming can do no wrong, the chocolate from Meeteetse Chocolatier doesn’t need my bias to bulk up what it’s offering. This little shop was started by Tim Kellogg, a self-described cowboy chocolatier. As the story goes, Tim started selling chocolate casually to raise funds for a new Bronc saddle. The chocolatier now sends chocolates all over the world, though they are all still made in the the Big Horn Mountain Basin.
These chocolates are probably my favorite thing about Wyoming fare. They are rich and full of interesting flavor. These bad boys are perfectly melty in the center, and just taste real. Huckleberry and Wyoming Whiskey are my favorites of the bunch, but the iconic Devil’s Tower truffle did me in as well. Other reasons to make the trip? Meeteetse Chocolatier creates decadent and unique chocolates and desserts in an environmental and ethical manner, working to become a zero waste business through aggressive recycling and using organic ingredients. If that doesn’t sell you, Tim still balances his chocolate business while working as a cowboy. Yes, a chocolate making cowboy. Dream on ladies.
Durham Ranch Bison. I’m sure you’ve heard that bison is comparatively good for you – the nutrient return on number of calories, cholesterol and fat is much better than eating beef, not to mention how good bison tastes. If you’ve never had it, it’s slightly sweeter than beef, and tastes richer. Durham Ranch also takes advantage of the animals independent tendencies – they are not handled very much and graze on the grass all day long.
Durham Ranch prides itself on sustainable farming practice – a long standing, family tradition. This is not a factory farm, in fact, Durham Ranch uses Holistic farming practices to return the land to it’s original splendor. They even have Allan Savory’s TED talk on their website.
All that good-for-the-world karma certainly pays off, bison is a wonderful burger, and these little sliders do hit the spot.
Do you have a favorite spot to eat in Wyoming? If so, let us know in the comments below!
Thank you to The Wyoming Office of Tourism for providing these Western treats for me to sample. All opinions expressed are my own.