The oft-condemned act of traveling to a landlocked state to eat seafood is about as illogical as traveling to Wind River Country and ignoring the local beef.
It’s not hard to find a burger joint with local beef on the menu, and the menu items are often accompanied by information about the local providers. This pride in neighbors and their hard work pairs perfectly with hot fries, soft country music, and regulars streaming past your booth. Though I had to tap out after three savory burgers, each with their own character, there are many more great restaurants in Wind River Country to get your homegrown beef. After all, it’s what’s for dinner.
Cowfish, 148 Main Street, Lander
Beer cheese burger: If it weren’t for the flavorful beef at the heart of this meal, the sauce would define it. The smoky cheese made with the Jack Mormon Pale Ale brewed on-site oozes out from under the perfectly toasted bun and over the patty, which is prepared to order. To use my sister’s words, “I need more of this cheese in my life. This is my favorite burger.”
Local burger: This burger features grilled pickled red onions, and the tangy taste highlights the flavors of the meat. The ratios of burger to pickle and burger to bun are all just right, creating a complete flavor profile with each bite.
Trailhead Restaurant, 831 N. Federal Boulevard, Riverton
Brunch Burger: This isn’t a burger that needs bacon—or an egg, for that matter. Nonetheless, the flavors blend delightfully. Even the pickle works, which surprised and delighted my palate. Despite all the flavors stacked on the bun, all drizzled with egg yolk, the beef still speaks for itself. Don’t mistake this sandwich for brunch. The beef speaks too boldly for that.
From the menu: “Lost Wells [Cattle Company] beef is natural and local from start to finish. … Lost Wells beef is fattened on the local forages. These forages provide for a flavorful cut of beef with tremendous health benefits that come naturally. Sustainable management practices provide nutrient-dense feed, healthier animals, and, in turn, healthier families.”
Nostalgia Bistro, 202 E Ramshorn, Dubois
Rancher Burger: Classic and done just right. This burger hit the table smelling delicious, playing off the hospitality of locals sitting nearby welcoming each new arrival to the dining area. The toasted bun matches up with the hint of char on the patty. Grilled through and with a crunch on the outside, the beef was juicy as soon as I bit in. I savored it, but didn’t try to save any for later. When a classic is executed to a T, you don’t bother with the to-go box.
From the menu: “Dubois, Wyoming originally was a ranching and logging town that fed its residents on locally raised meat or local game and vegetables … At Nostalgia Bistro it is part of our mission to provide our guests with as many locally sourced items as possible.”