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Handle Bar Beer Flights

Beer flights are the way to go at Handle Bar at the Four Seasons Jackson Hole. Photo: Nina K. Hahn

Most people think of visiting Jackson Hole for two reasons: wintertime skiing and summertime wildlife. It is the Wild Wild West, after all, and Jackson delivers it best with a wildly varied, 10,450-foot mountain resort and a location within the greater Yellowstone ecosystem, home to the largest density of wildlife in the continental U.S.

But here’s the latest reason to visit, regardless of the season: the buzzing, beautiful restaurant scene. Where once it may have been all about chuck-wagon dinners and buffalo burgers, Jackson has been quietly evolving into an intimate, inventive culinary experience that remains quintessentially laid back.

Here are our top five, mostly new Jackson Hole restaurants to try now while the giddy up is still hot:

Bin 22

Newly opened this year just steps from Jackson’s main square, Bin 22 is unlike anything else you’ll find in the area; it’s a casual bar with a localfocus, a gourmet grocer with a mozzarella bar, a wine and spirit store and an intimate restaurant that serves beautiful bites sans fuss. Share plates; try the house-pulled mozzarella stuffed with fig and speck, and served with buttery crostini, and order at least two of the gulf shrimp with garlic and piquillo pepper. Rinse it down with a draught pour from Roadhouse Brewing or a neat glass of Wyoming Whiskey, both new on the scene.

The Handlebar at Four Seasons Jackson Hole

Nosh on twisted pub-style food at Michael Mina’s new American pub, the perfect après stop just off the slopes inside Four Seasons Jackson Hole. The ambiance carries on the twisted vibe with a lodge-style, late-60s warmth—picture plaid wooly fabrics, wood beams and booths with curtains. Aim to share and order the “frickles” (crunchy fried pickles with a secret sauce), crab deviled eggs, tempura maitake mushrooms with mousseline and pork spareribs topped with peanut crumbles. Beer flows a-plenty and $8 flights are the way to go. Save room for the amazing chocolate chip cookies.

Il Villaggio Osteria

Another restaurant from the Fine Dining group (Bin 22 is the other), Osteria in Teton Village begs you to come hungry so you can stuff yourself silly. Elk shows up the menu at almost every quality resto in town, but it’s done best here as a stewed ragu and pecorino served atop pappardelle. Sit outside in warmer months with lighter fare like roasted beets antipasti, citrus crab salad and the Bianco thin crust pizza dressed in five cheeses.

Spur Bar

Newly refreshed with modern style, warm woods and deep blue tones, Spur Bar still feels as cozy as ever. Even if you’renot much of a sandwich eater, the spur buffalo pastrami with Rick Hill Creamery Gruyere and the twisted reuben made with Loch Duart salmon are remarkable. Other picks include the massive jerk chicken nachos and the flavorful Devils on Horseback, which are date and goat cheese wrapped in Applewood bacon figs.

Couloir on Jackson Hole Mountain Resort

Ride the Bridger Gondola up to the summit at 9,095 feet to dine at Couloir, named for one of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort’s most insane ski runs (Corbet’s Couloir). The focus here is on the expansive views down the mountain and across the valley below, which are most magical just after sunset. Buffalo and foie gras are the draw, but look further for less burly fare like seared tuna and chocolate cake topped with banana cream.

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Nina Kokotas Hahn

Nina Kokotas Hahn

Nina Kokotas Hahn is a travel writer and Chicago journalist whose work appears in Chicago magazine, HuffPost Travel and Condé Nast’s HotelChatter. Globetrotting since infancy, she’s the daughter of a travel agent and considers thrill seeking part of the DNA. Find her on Twitter at @ninakhahn.

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