Sunday, September 20, 2009

Dining in Yellowstone

I spent a week in Yellowstone National Park in early September 2009. It was my first visit to this natural wonder upon wonder. This is the third installment of my reflections on the wonders and lessons of Yellowstone.
First off, we didn't dine much during our stay in Yellowstone. We did our best to limit our food expenses and that meant instant oatmeal and PB&J for breakfast and lunch most days. We found the dining inside the park to be unremarkable. Each of the lodges had similar fare. It's been a long time since the price has scared us away from a restaurant, but the thought of paying high prices for "comfort food" will do that to you. We ate most of our meals at the cafeterias or delis inside the park. The food was OK and lived up to expectations. Anne particularly enjoyed a hummus sandwich from the deli. Keep your expectations low and you'll be all right.

Our finest meal was at the Cinnamon Lodge north of the park between West Yellowstone and Bozeman. The log-lodge is on the banks of the Gallatin River. Its open dining room invited us in and the helpful staff brought us a cold microbrew and all was right with the world. The bison steak was delicious and the fish tacos were outstanding. I've decided bison is much tastier than traditional beef. I'm now in the hunt for more restaurants that serve bison. Although I doubt any will bring with it the scenery and comfort of the Cinnamon Lodge.

While staying in West Yellowstone we dined at the Gusher Pizza and Sandwich Shoppe. The pizza was very good and the beer was cold. What more can you ask for? The meal at the Wolf Pack Brewing Company was fairly forgettable. Sadly, the brewery didn't have any of its own brew for sale. But it had plenty of microbrews to satisfy. Lots of fast food and quasi-fast food in West Yellowstone. I'm sure we missed some fine dining, but I'm glad we got a chance to try out the Cinnamon Lodge.


David said...

The quality/price of the restaurant food within the park is a sad state affairs, especially for a place as magnificent as Yellowstone. I've had several people come in disappointed with it, even compared to other national parks.

If I'm there I'll usually just get the seaweed salad from the deli table.

Wild Thing said...

I found your blog!
I have very fond memories of Ann and I dining at the Yellowstone Lake Hotel dining room with a string quartet playing. The food was great and the ambiance was incredible. That was 1992 however so may be it sucks now. The best part is that a buffalo herd was grazing in the yard of the hotel and one buffalo was literally blocking the main doorway!
P.S. I thought of YOU Saturday when the family ate at the Trestle INN! But instead of dirty movies upstairs we watched the Twins beat the Tigers in the main floor. The Trestle Burger is still great! We were on our annual fall color tour but a little too early for peak maples this year.
It's been 70s every day all month.
Take care!

Chris Thompson said...

David, See the post from Wild Thing..Can you verify the status of dining at the Lake Hotel???

Chris Thompson said...

Wild Thing, aka Big Red: We never did swing by the Lake Hotel so maybe the dining there is still great. I can assure you the Bison are still around. Check out Anne's pics on Facebook. We went toe-to-toe with a Bison in the rental car. Thankfully Anne won the face off.

The Cinnamon Lodge brought back memories of the Trestle Inn. We were there last Saturday, so just one week apart. Someday we'll return. I should join you in Canada in March, but I doubt my liver would take it.