I’ll be honest, Cheyenne Frontier Days and good eating and drinking are not synonymous. There is a seemingly never ending supply of Coors, Coors Light and Bud Light flowing in and out of people. Fried carnival food is the fare of the week to be sure. Last year 48 hours after my last beer and plate of cheesy potato sprials, my body was rejecting and punishing me for punishing it. So this year, lets shine the light on the good, the bad and the so bad its good food scene for Cheyenne Frontier Days.
Your first tip. Make reservations right now. Reservations are accepted at most of these places, and it will ensure you get in and out quicker and skip the line of people who can’t plan ahead.
Next, I want to highlight the hands down, best restaurant in Cheyenne. If you are going to be here one day or multiple days, you do not want to miss out on the Morris House Bistro. It’s just not my opinion either, they are consistently rated as the #1 place to eat in Cheyenne on Trip Advisor and Yelp! My suggestion? Get there and get on the patio to enjoy amazing Cheyenne July nights. My menu suggestion? You MUST try the Big Daddy Bacon Steaks, holy cow, or pig or whatever. As a dear friend once said, “What kind of dark magic is this?”. Go with the Low Country Shrimp and Grits for an entree and don’t skip their in house made desserts.
There will be lots of bulls and steers at the rodeo this year, and what else screams the cuisine of the west other than a giant steak on your plate. The best spots to get a steak in Cheyenne:
Wyoming’s Rib and Chop House — This downtown anchor is just starting its 2nd year in business, but it has quickly become the best steak house in all of Cheyenne. My suggestion, go with the hand cut Rib-eye topped with Bleu Cheese crumbles. Bonus, it is gluten free!
The Bunk House Bar and Grill –– It is a bit of a drive (25 minutes) out of Cheyenne, but it is the epitome of a Wyoming road house. Live music, fantastic steaks and horses tied up out front. If you are staying in Laramie, or camping up in the hills, this is going to be very convenient for you. Go for the Bunkhouse Wellington and order up a side of Rocky Mountain Oysters.
Poor Richards — Named after a great American, their truly American fare is perfect rodeo fuel. They are located a short 5 minutes east of downtown on Linconway. My suggestion, start with the crab cakes and wash it down with the center cut NY Strip.
The Senator’s Steakhouse at Terry Bison Ranch — Is beef a little to boring for you? Why not head south of town and get a huge bison steak on your plate. They also offer bison meatloaf, burgers and short ribs. My suggestion for you? Go for it with an 8 ounce bison sirloin and enjoy the local flavor.
As I mentioned earlier, there will be no shortage of macro beers floating around Cheyenne during Frontier Days, and to be sure, Coors’s sponsorship of the rodeo is greatly appreciated, but what if you want something with a little more flavor. Here are your best beer bars in Cheyenne:
Freedom’s Edge Tap Room — Cheyenne’s oldest craft brewer, Freedom’s Edge offers a wide variety of beer brewed in their brewhouse. From their ever popular Chili Ale to the Java Jolt, there is a style to fit everyone.
Cheyenne Brewing Company — Cheyenne’s youngest craft brewery, they have faced unreal equipment issues since opening, so their beers will be limited during CFD, but they promise to have awesome Wyoming and Front Range beers on tap to make up for it.
Sanford’s Grub and Pub — Dozens of craft beers on tap, some you will not find anywhere else in town.
Wyoming’s Rib and Chop House — Not only do they offer great steaks, their tap list is unreal. Check out their rotating Wyoming tap for some local flavor.
Tuskers — Located on Pershing Blvd, they have an amazing tap list, with a lot of beers that you can only find there. Well worth stopping in and downing a pint or two.
Old Chicago — I hate to include a chain on here, but giving credit where credit it due, they have one of the most extensive beer lists in Cheyenne.
Of course if beer isn’t your style, there are plenty of places to grab a mixed drink at. Probably the most popular and the best martini in town belongs to The Suite Bistro. Located downtown, they offer food, cocktails and indoor or outdoor seating.
After a night of drinking, eating and partying, you need a good breakfast. Breakfast burritos are the dominant menu item it seems and there are several good options for those in town. I’ve had the chance to eat a few good breakfasts around Cheyenne recently and here are my top four choices that you should check out:
1. R&B Breakfast Club — Located on Linconway, they have hands down the best breakfast burritos in town. Their Elvis themed restaurant also has an extensive selection of items that they serve all morning long.
2. The Capitol Grille — Located in the historic Plains Hotel, the Capitol Grille is one of the best places to grab breakfast, a Bloody Mary and to watch the parade from. The last time I was in there I grabbed the Cowboy Eggs Benedict, which included sausage patties and sausage gravy.
3. Burger Inn — The 2nd best breakfast burritos in town, and only a few blocks from Frontier Park on Pershing Ave.
4. Nagle Warren Mansion — They really should be #1 on the list, but seating is limited to those who are staying at the Inn during CFD. If you get the chance to stay there, do it. The breakfast is divine.
One of the cool aspects of Cheyenne during Frontier Days is that with tens of thousands of people in town, the food trucks follow them in. The best place to find a variety is in the Depot Plaza. You will find home made ice cream, wood fired pizza, lots of BBQ options and more all week long. You will also find random areas where people are setting up and selling out of food trucks all over the city.
Depot Plaza is also home to the Pancake Breakfast. Monday, Wednesday and Friday the local Kiwanis Club serves pancakes to 30,000 of their closest friends. The breakfasts start at 7am and run until 9. Here is a little secret. Don’t rush to get in line. The first people through the line get pancakes that have been done for 20 minutes or so. Those getting in line at 7:30 or later, while the wait is longer, the pancakes are fresher. The Country Club band will provide live music all morning and the pancake flippers are pretty smooth with the over the back flipping.
Of course on the rodeo grounds at Frontier Park, there are a ton of options. You have your standard carnival fare, ranging from deep fried to smoked. One of my personal guilty pleasures is the fresh cut potato chips smothered in cheese, which by the way are even better if you dust them with ranch seasoning. It is a heart attack on the plate waiting to happen, but oh so good.
The one can’t miss at the rodeo however, is located over in the Indian Village. You must try an Indian Taco. It is an Indian Fry bread covered with ground meat and all the toppings you’d expect on a taco. It is hands down, the best food item on the entire park, and your Frontier Days experience is not complete without devouring one.
If you are looking for the traditional taco while in town, Cheyenne has a boat load of Mexican restaurants. People who live here argue over the best and worst Mexican fare and as some people LOVE one restaurant, there is always someone who claims that it is the worst example Mexican they’ve ever tasted. So it is with a little trepidation that I pick three of them, plus a chain that is HQ’d right here in Cheyenne.
The three options for Mexican food I’d pick out are Los Abuelos which is downtown, Hacienda Guadalajara, also sort of downtown and the Tortilla Factory which is south of the city on South Greeley Highway. All three offer the style of Mexican cuisine I enjoy, all three are clean, bright and friendly. At Los Abuelos, go for the fajitas, the carne asada at Guadalajarais unbeatable and anything in a fresh tortilla at the Tortilla factory makes my day.
Now when you are looking for that 1 am taco after the night show lets out, don’t run for the border. head on over to Taco John’s, as they are born, raised and still live right here in Cheyenne. The potato ole’s are not to be missed.
Now, I know that I billed this as the only guide you will need to eat your way through Frontier Days, but I’m anxious to hear your food experiences while enjoying the 119th Daddy of ’em All.