I love all the diversity that Cody and the surrounding area has to offer. There are so many wonderful attractions, restaurants, scenic routes, hotels, coffee shops and unique stores, it’s hard to single any out for recognition sometimes! So I thought that maybe, periodically, I should just pick a genre and let my dear readers in on what’s hot… and since David Letterman has made the “Top 10 List” almost a signature line of his own, I decided to re-invent the list as “Corrie N. Cody’s Top 11 List”!
This particular Top 11 has to do with food. I must confess, I’m a foodie. I LOVE to eat. I can’t say that I’ll try anything once (the idea of munching down on rattlesnake meat or any other unusual “delicacy” featured on some of those TV reality shows just turns my stomach), but I’ve eaten at all the restaurants here in Cody at one point or another and just HAVE to feature some of the finest that this town has to offer!
If you’re into Mexican food, my goodness, you have choices here! We’ve got four locally-owned Mexican restaurants: El Vaquero, Tacos El Taconazo, La Comida, and Zapata’s. Friendly folks at all of them, and the food is fabulous! In order to highlight only one of them, I’ll just have to pick the most recent one that I ate at, and that was La Comida. They’ve got a great outdoor patio that is SO fun to sit on when it’s a warm summer evening. But let’s talk about the service – the other day I just HAD to have shrimp fajitas. And I wanted to eat downtown. I had to choose between La Comida and Zapata’s, which are right across the street from each other. La Comida won, because that’s the side of the street I parked on. I walked in, and before I even was shown to my table I asked if shrimp fajitas were on the menu. The answer? “They are if you want them to be!” And they were amazing!!
THE place to eat in Cody for Italian fare is Adrianos. They’ve been judged by Italian food critics from New York, New Jersey and Italy, and come out on top! They are particularly proud of their veal marsala, baked lasagna (WAY good), and sausage alfredo. And their décor is so cool… bistro tables by the front windows, along with western accents (kind of a “Spaghetti Western” theme), and their Tuscany Room is an Italian-accented dining room for more intimate meals. However, if you’re in the mood for a more informal dining experience, I’d have to suggest a stop at Pizza On The Run – a locally-grown pizza chain that makes the best taco pizza you’ve ever had!!
It’s not Wyoming if there’s not a steak house on every block. So to choose just one is SO hard! I have got to go with Cassie’s, on the west strip. Not only is the place steeped in history (the original building was owned and operated as a brothel by Cassie Waters… now THERE’s a woman who made her mark on this town), but the steaks they serve up there have been written up in magazines and newspapers, they’re so good! The house band is awesome, too (the guy who cooks the steaks is also the bass player in the band, AND he owns the joint), so it’s a great place to dance a two-step to burn off your meal!
I am hard-pressed to choose a great contemporary restaurant, because the two restaurants in town that fall into this category are both equally cool! The Terrace has the ambiance, the martinis, the hazelnut pasta and the pecan-crusted chicken… but the Wyoming Rib and Chop House has the most incredible glazed salmon you’ve ever tasted, not to mention the squash casserole! (Yes, the squash casserole. Try it. You’ll see.) They’re really known for their Louisiana-style ribs, the owner is a Cajun who has shared his talents and his cuisine with us rural Wyoming folk, and we are blessed for it!
I swear, there’s a coffee shop in every direction! From the Rocky Mountain Mudd kiosks at each entrance of town, to the downtown, kick-your-feet-up-and-relax places, you can find a great cup of coffee in Cody. My personal favorite is Rawhide Coffee. It’s got a real western flair to the interior design, there’s log furniture, small conference rooms for morning meetings, and a great location right across from the Irma Hotel. And their delicious treats, oh, my, my… they’ve got a raspberry-lemon cake thing that will knock your socks off!
You can never go wrong with a sandwich. And we’ve got some great places where you can get a sandwich to suit your own tastes! We have two Subway shops (in convenient locations – one by Albertsons and one in Wal-Mart), but we’ve got a couple of others that are locally grown. The Breadboard is owned by a Wyoming family who created their own chain right here in the state (Buffalo, Cody and Lander), and feature railroad-themed sandwiches (the Freight Train, the Club Car). I LOVE their sunflower bread, and their Wisconsin Cheese soup is to die for!
7. Ice Cream Shops
While I must admit, I am a Dairy Queen fanatic (give me a pecan cluster Blizzard and I’m in heaven), I’ve got to give my ice cream shout-out to Peter’s Café, right downtown. Not only do they serve Wilcoxson’s ice cream in any shape and size, they also offer up monster sub sandwiches on homemade bread, buffalo burgers, hot dogs, chicken salad sandwiches on a pita… and they’ve got breakfast, too! Bagels and pancakes and eggs and bacon and… oh, my, I’m getting hungry.
8. Family Restaurants
The Sunset House, a few blocks south of the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, is a wonderful all-around restaurant – signature sandwiches and salads, breakfast buffet, dinner entrées, it’s the perfect sit-down restaurant for a family. Try the Fandango salad – strawberries and pecans. Trust me.
I have to go with the mom-and-pop diner-style restaurant Our Place. It’s a little hard to find, on the west strip on the other side of the highway from the rodeo grounds, but it is SO worth it to have breakfast there (if you can get a seat)! The locals have the corner on this little restaurant most mornings – it’s not a fancy place by any means, but the food is the good, old-fashioned, sausage-and-egg-and-pancake, stick-to-your-ribs food that will keep you coming back!
If you’re a sushi fan, you’ll love the Shiki Japanese Restaurant! Although I’m not the raw-fish type, I am in love with their California rolls, and in talking to folks who are sushi connoisseurs, they are (gasp) surprised to find such good sushi in Cody, Wyoming! The pad thai is fantastic, as is the tempura chicken… you will NOT walk out of there hungry if you order that, I promise!
11. Historic Atmosphere
I know, I’ve already touched on this when I talked about Cassie’s, but I had to find a way to put the Irma Hotel on this list! The Irma, as many of you know, was built by Buffalo Bill himself and named after his youngest daughter. The restaurant in the hotel not only boasts a humongous cherrywood bar, a gift from Queen Victoria to Buffalo Bill, but also the best prime rib you’ll find in town! The Cody Gunfighters hold their nightly show right off the Irma porch during the summers, and you can get a dinner-and-a-show combo package with the Dan Miller Cowboy Music Revue just across the street at the Cody Theatre!
There are so many more places that will offer up a unique and memorable dining experience (the Cody Cattle Company, the Willow Fence Tea Room, Heritage Bakery, Bubba’s BBQ, the list goes on!), but I promised a Top 11 list, and I’ve run out of room. You’ll just have to come to Cody and spend a week trying all of our fantastic food joints – then you’ll understand for yourself what a great place this is to live, work… and eat!
Corrie N. Cody