New Orleans chef John Besh has vacationed in Jackson, Wyoming, for 10 years. Trips with his wife and four sons are Besh’s escape from his nine restaurants—which include August, Lüke, and Besh Steak—and cookbook writing. (He just released his third book, Cooking from the Heart.) When they visit Jackson, the family usually rents a house, skis the slopes, and visits Yellowstone. “It’s a park every American needs to see,” Besh says. Here are some of his favorite spots to eat and play.
MILLION DOLLAR COWBOY BAR
“This bar is an absolute classic. From the street, you see the big neon-lit sign shaped like a cowboy riding a horse. At first glance, you think the bar must be touristy, but locals keep the place in business year-round. It has had the same over-the-top cowboy motif forever. The best way to describe it is funky dive bar meets millionaire cowboys—or I guess billionaire cowboys today. The bar stools are made from real Western saddles, and most nights there’s live music. The pine bar is stocked deep with bourbon and whiskey.” 25 N. Cache St., (307) 733-2207, milliondollarcowboybar.com
JACKSON HOLE MOUNTAIN RESORT
“I think Jackson Hole is the most formidable ski resort in the U.S., maybe even the world. But you don’t have to be an extreme skier to enjoy the mountain. At Couloir Restaurant, located midmountain, the windows look out over the Gros Ventre mountain range. After a day on the slopes, there’s nothing like returning to the house we rent near the resort, making s’mores around a bonfire, and watch- ing the sun set over the Tetons.” 3395 Cody Ln., Teton Village, (307) 733-2292, jacksonhole.com
SNAKE RIVER GRILL
“Call ahead to reserve a table at Snake River Grill, an elegant restaurant with white tablecloths, plush booths, and a large fireplace made of river stones. The chef does a great job foraging for what’s local and cooks real mountain fare, which is what I want when I’m in Jackson. I gravitate to the game, because I don’t have access to that on a regular basis. They serve the most beautiful beer-battered onion rings, stacked high on a cattle-branding iron. The dish inspired the onion rings I serve at Besh Steak. My kids love the warm doughnuts for dessert.” 84 E. Broadway, (307) 733- 0557, snakerivergrill.com
“Local restaurateur Gavin Fine owns five spots in Jackson, and we always eat at one of them. Rendezvous is his mountain-casual take on the French bistro. So you might see elk tartare or frog’s legs served in buffalo sauce. The boys like the burger, and I often order steak frites. Rendezvous is also the place to go for seafood. It has an incredible raw bar. The French-focused wine list is heavy on bottles from Beaujolais, Burgundy, the Loire Valley, and the Alsace region.” 380 Hwy. 89, (307) 739-1100, rendezvousbistro.net
This appeared in the November/December 2013 issue. Illustrations by Michael Hoeweler.