7 Best Jackson Hole Restaurants on a Budget
Jackson, Wyoming is a beautiful mountain town located at the gateway to the majestic Grand Tetons mountain range and Grand Teton National Park. This area is full of scenic views and offers many ways to enjoy the outdoors. So whether you want to tour the area by car or get out and hit the trails or the lakes, you’re in for a treat.
Jackson is also conveniently located near another national park, Yellowstone. In fact, Jackson is less than 60 miles from the south entrance to the park. Known for its Old West flair and bustling downtown, its western and rustic vibe will bring out the country in you. It’s a city for all seasons, so pick your favorite time to visit and be prepared to make plans.
In all seasons, outdoor activities abound. From hiking, biking, and fishing in the summer to skiing at one of the world-famous ski resorts during ski season, Jackson offers fun any time of the year. But all this fun and beauty doesn’t come cheap. Jackson is an expensive place to live – and to visit, for that matter. Known as one of the most expensive places in the United States to live, money is a factor. Rumor has it that billionaires drive millionaires out of town!
We wanted to find good food that didn’t cost a fortune on our recent trip. Although none of these places are fine dining, in such an expensive city, I was pleasantly surprised at the variety of good food we found at relatively inexpensive prices. Here are our top picks, in no particular order.
1. Million Dollar Cowboy Bar
You will see the neon at the end of the street and the crowd in front. The Million Dollar Cowboy Bar is the hotspot in Jackson’s town square. The bar is known for hosting a who’s who of country music, including the likes of Willie Nelson, Hank Williams, Jr, Waylon Jennings, Tanya Tucker and others. Right off the bat, the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar gets bonus points for having a bartender from my hometown of Omaha.
One of the best things about traveling is meeting people. You never know who you’ll meet or what you might have in common. If you start talking to people, who knows what you might find! In the evenings here you will find plenty of people to talk to as there are often four people at the bar. With live music blaring, the atmosphere can be crazy.
During the day things are less intense. We took advantage of the quiet and checked out the place in daylight. Not just a place to ride a scooter, this legendary lounge also has a decent food menu. Although not a large menu, there are plenty of choices here, including dishes to share, burgers, sandwiches, soups and salads. Having always been a fan of nachos and fries with salsa, the ones I found here paired perfectly with my drink of choice, John’s Daily.
Sweet tea vodka and homemade lemonade make this the perfect mid-day cocktail. Even if you’re not incredibly hungry, the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar is worth a visit – it’s legendary. If nothing else, just take a ride in the saddle at the bar – you’ll be in full cowboy mode before you can say dizzy!
Pro Tip: Head to the Million Dollar Cowboy store next door to buy souvenir t-shirts to take home.
2. Yeah Buddy Pizza
I’m a bit of a pizza connoisseur and have rarely come across a pizza I didn’t like. When I travel, I always look for the local pizzeria. Walking down Jackson’s Broadway Street, the sign with the restaurant’s interesting name “Yeah Buddy Pizza” is intriguing. Even more intriguing are the steps leading up to the pizzeria.
A restaurant that requires its customers to climb a fairly healthy staircase just to get to the front door either has a very attractive rent or a certain audacity. Probably both. In either case, the restaurant has an interest in producing excellent cuisine. Fortunately, we discovered that Yeah Buddy Pizza excels in fresh Neapolitan-style pizzas.
Available as a whole pie or a giant slice, you’ll find concoctions that incorporate local game like elk and bison, all served over homemade San Marzano tomato sauce or homemade white garlic cream sauce. Dine inside or sit on the patio overlooking Broadway like we did. It’s a fun view and a great way to get a bird’s eye view of downtown Jackson.
- Sensational Salads: Burrata Caprese
- Decadent dessert: Tiramisu
3. Pearl Street Market
If you are in Jackson, I assume you are there to see some of the great outdoors. With things like visits to the Grand Tetons, the elk preserve, and maybe a day of skiing, your vacation days are likely to be packed from morning to night. Chances are you will be pressed for time at some point during your trip and a long lunch will not be scheduled.
If so, head to Pearl Street Market for fresh, homemade groceries you can grab on the go. With a large cold cut, hot soups and a suitcase to take away, you will find enough to prepare your picnic or even a quick dinner in your room at the hotel. They also have a grocery section which includes beer and wine.
If you’re heading to the parks, it’s highly recommended that you take a picnic or at least some snacks with you – queues at restaurants in the park are long. In park stores, food is limited and expensive. A quick stop at Pearl Street Market and you’re set for the day!
- Unmissable sandwich: Banh Mi
- The best greens: superfood salad
4. Jackson Drug
Step back in time and enjoy delicious comfort food at this local establishment that has been around in one form or another for over 100 years. A look inside evokes feelings of nostalgia. At the soda fountain, order your favorite milkshake, sundae or float, and it will be handcrafted right in front of you.
The large entree menu features all sorts of old-school dishes you’d expect to see in a restaurant, including burgers, fondues, egg salad sandwiches, and meatloaf. In addition to the traditional dinner, unexpected selections like Idaho trout and the gyro basket caught my eye. The gyro basket, served with your choice of fries, waffles, regular or sweet potatoes, is a different recipe than I’m used to. Instead of cut lamb meat, the gyroscope is prepared with minced lamb. It’s unique and it works.
As you peruse the menu, be sure to look up and notice the extraordinary tin ceiling and all the historic photos on the walls. Jackson Drug has great food and timeless appeal.
- Inventive Dessert: Theft of ice cream
- Must try: Personalized Grilled Cheese
5. Bubba’s Bar-B-Que Restaurant
It was late and we needed dinner. The BBQ still sounds great and Bubba’s lights were on, so we pulled into the parking lot. It turned out to be an excellent choice. With cozy booths, a full bar, and a varied menu full of mouth-watering barbecues, Bubba’s Bar-B-Que restaurant takes good care of its customers.
The two-meat combo – your choice of brisket, sloppy Bubba, pulled pork, barbecue chicken, pulled chicken or smoked sausage – offers mouth-watering meats with succulent sides like macaroni and cheese, collard greens and coleslaw with a slice of garlic bread. Washed down with a glass of pinot gris, dinner here is quite satisfying.
Bubba’s even serves breakfast every day from 6am. No wonder Bubba’s Jackson Hole BBQ has been around for over 40 years. They do things here.
- Best breakfast: Ground beef barbacoa
- At the bar: Bubba’s Bloody Mary
6. The Virginian
Many different breakfasts are on the menu at Virginian, a local establishment that also includes a lodge and RV park. This casual on-site restaurant serves simple breakfasts and lunches at a reasonable price. My two fried eggs, crispy hash browns and perfectly cooked bacon with buttery toast were delivered with a smile from our waitress. Portions are large, more than I could eat.
A good, hearty breakfast in a tourist town for under $12 is a bargain. Another appealing breakfast option is corned beef hash #3. The corned beef is homemade and served over potatoes topped with two eggs, and served with toast. The sweet lover in me is drawn to all these hot plate treats. Did someone say French toast with fresh strawberries? Yes please! Good food at fair prices, which is why The Virginian has a regular clientele for breakfast and lunch.
- Breakfast treats: #5 Virginia Steak and Eggs
- Essential specialty: Chiliquillas
7. Cutty’s Bar & Grill
Craving Jersey Shore-style cheesesteaks and pizzas in a casual atmosphere? Cutty’s Bar and Grill specializes in this service and more. Cheesesteaks (or Philly’s, as this Midwest calls them) are served on fresh Amoroso bread, like in Philadelphia. According to one of the owners, this traditional Philly bread is a crucial ingredient in the authentic Philly’s served here.
Get your traditional Philly a slew of ways here, including with bacon, pickles, grilled onions, mayonnaise and cheese on the Nor’easter. Or try a Buffalo Philly chicken made with chicken, wing sauce and grilled onions.
- On tap: Elysian Space Dust IPA
- Must try: Meatball Parmesan