The 82717 Life Magazine staff’s picks showcase several notable food trends in our community, including, a love of good brews and comfort foods.  We’re confident these delicious foodie finds are sure to make your mouth water.

From eatery staples locals want to keep to themselves to the hottest new restaurants and tastiest dishes, here’s your culinary bucket list for Fall 2018—straight from the horse’s mouth.  Dig in.

Best place to get happy

Gillette Brewing Company and Gone Postal Pizzeria

Staffer: Charity

When I have friends come from out of town, I always like to take them to the Gillette Brewing Company.  Not only is it a little piece of history, having been the original Post Office, but it also is a chance to show off our growing downtown.  I point out the Avenues of Art statues on Gillette Avenue and the unique shopping opportunities

When you walk in the door at GBC, there’s a relaxed, hometown kind of vibe.  It’s great for a cozy date night for two or for a larger get together with friends.  Everyone can enjoy their favorite beverage, be it of the adult or non-alcoholic variety.  In addition to their locally-brewed beers, they also offer other local favorites on tap. Gillette’s first brewery often hosts open mic nights, giving local musicians a stage to hone their skills.  And, don’t forget about Trivia Night on Monday’s!  Get a team together or just come down and enjoy a pizza and a pint.

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Best app

Wyoming’s Rib and Chop House

Staffer: Candice

The best appetizer in Gillette?  Fried Green Tomatoes at Rib and Chop.  I first tried this dish at their Livingston, Montana, location.  So, naturally, when I heard they were coming to Gillette, I couldn’t wait to get my fix.  The unique blend of textures and flavors are what keep me coming back for more.  Beneath the satisfying crunch of cornbread breading lies the soft, tart and earthy tomato.  The lump crab meat and balsamic reduction give it just the right amount of sweetness and the cool sour cream rounds out the dish.  I order this every single time. 

Best chain restaurant

Taco John’s

Staffer: Kevin

Eating, to me, is a lot like refueling a car.  It’s just a chore I do to keep going.  When it comes to food, I want it quick and simple, making me a connoisseur of fast food, if one can be a connoisseur of such simple fare.  By far, Taco John’s is the place to go.  Besides a wide selection of tacos and burgers, the longest I’ve had to wait was 10 minutes when the dining room was packed.  The staff is always friendly and the dining room isn’t flooded with beeps and whistles from the kitchen.

Best underground joint

Candy’s Taqueria

Staffer: Me (Steph)

I grew up in a suburb of Los Angeles.  In a place like the LA, where Spanish is the only language in some areas, there is no shortage of life-changing Mexican dives: El Tarasco, El Sombrero, El Gringo, La Playita, Leos, mmm.  I’m far from ashamed to say that at each of these places they know me and my family by name.  Four years ago, when my dad, Jeff, passed away following a long and courageous bout with cancer, one of these dives even hosted a party in his honor.  Further, when I’m sick I prefer chips and salsa to chicken noodle soup—it’s what makes me feel better.  Needless to say, hole-in-the-wall Mexican food is kind of my thing.  Let me tell you, Candy’s Taqueria doesn’t disappoint.

The shrimp tacos are delicioso, with warm tortillas made from scratch on site every day.  The hard shell desebrada, or shredded beef, tacos are enough to bring this gringa to tears—that’s how good they are!  Not to mention the chips, the salsas, and guacamole.  Ay, dios mío!  They serve breakfast all day and open early enough on Saturday mornings to help even the meanest tequila hang over before you head off to the mountains in either direction #blackhills #bighornmountains.

If you’ve never been and are still not sold on trying Candy’s Taqueria for yourself, don’t simply take my word for it that they’re amazing, peep them on Facebook, TripAdvisor and Yelp, where Candy’s gets 5/5 stars across the board—just saying.  Insider tip: Don’t plan to grub and run on weekdays during the school year between 11:40 a.m. and noon, unless you have the time to wait.  Its proximity to Campbell County High School’s north campus draws a crowd of students daily during lunchtime at school.

Best social media to follow

Pizza Carrello

Staffer: Jessica

My favorite place to eat in Gillette is hand’s down, without a doubt, Pizza Carrello.  Everything is made fresh, they use local growers and products whenever possible, and most of their menu items are homemade using family recipes passed down from generation to generation.  I love that their menu is not limited to pizza but includes other favorites like wood-fired wings, stuffed pita wraps (yum), fresh salads, and more.

I also really love their story: Starting out in a trailer, traveling to different parking lots to serve up hot, cheesy, tomato saucy goodness.  How they worked to find and secure a small, independent location and how they gained more and more traction with their pizza pies at hyper-local events like Gillette’s Donkey Creek Festival and, now, how they’ve earned and mastered the beautiful (giant) location they operate from—like bosses—today.  Pizza Carrello is the true story of homegrown success in Gillette.  The food and service are always excellent.  The atmosphere, always welcoming and, last but definitely not least, their food’s truly amazing!  Because… who doesn’t love full pieces of bacon on their hand-tossed, wood-fired pizza?!  Follow @pizzacarrello.

 

Best breakfast spot

The Main Bagel Company 

Staffer: Felicity

My Favorite place?  My favorite nosh shoppe in town is the Main Bagel.  Bagels for breakfast, bagels for lunch, or if there’s any left, bagels for afternoon snackage.  There’s never a bad time for a Cinnamon Crunch with Frosting cream cheese on one side and peanut butter on the other. My version of a Butterfinger pairs perfectly with a steaming hot mug of creamed Highlander Grogg.  Delish!

Best Finger lickin’ BBQ

Pokey’s Barbeque and Smokehouse

Staffer: Lisa

Back in Colorado where I’m from, people kept telling me how great the buffalo burgers were at this local dive bar.  I tried it once and I was hooked.  It quickly became a Sunday lunch tradition.  So, naturally, when I moved to Gillette earlier this year, I immediately started asking around for the best buffalo burger in town and a friend suggested Pokey’s Barbeque and Smokehouse.  He and I stopped in one night after work, got two buffalo burgers to go and I was glad he recommended it.  Pokey’s Durham Buffalo Burger—with a medium well cook, naturally—is excellent!

The fact that Pokey’s gets their buffalo straight from the Durham Bison Ranch right here in Campbell County just seems to make it taste even better.  The meat has a buttery, smooth texture that just melts in your mouth.  Unlike some beef burgers, Pokey’s buffalo burger doesn’t sit heavy on your tummy after you eat it, either.  For me, condiments aren’t necessary as the meat is so flavorful all on its own, although I do add a slice of cheese.  Along with the delicious home fries served with this heaven-on-a-bun burger, the whole meal is an absolute treat.  I realize now that I haven’t been in a couple of weeks, so I think I’ll have to grab one this weekend.  Probably Sunday!  It’s a tradition, after all.

Best bang for the buck

Pho and Bakery 59

Staffer: Adam

Pho and Bakery 59 is my go-to restaurant in Gillette because it’s something a little different for the food pallet.  Growing up with a military father, my family traveled a lot and it gave me a chance to try new foods.  Thus far, Vietnamese options are at the top of my list, so having one in town was a daymaker.

Of course, I love steak and potatoes and the typical burger joint, but Vietnamese food always hits the spot when I’m craving generous portions and great herbal ingredients.  By no means are rice and/or broth the only options here, but if you’re a lover of either of these, you’ll get along well with this place.  Both are used widely in the Vietnamese foodie culture and Pho and Bakery 59 always has great flavor profiles with whichever entrée you do end up choosing.

Two plus sides: It’s great when you need a pick me up after you’ve been ill, and the prices are insanely reasonable.

Best Scoop

The Ice Cream Café

CFO: Erika

Since its inception, The Ice Cream Café has become a staple for my family when we scream for homemade ice cream in Campbell County.  Regionally renowned for its creative flavor profiles—from modern twists on the classics like salted caramel, spiced chocolate, and nutty cherry to more innovative flavors like Superman, Nutella, and Huckleberry—one thing’s for certain: Lifelong Gillette residents and Ice Cream Café owners, Dee and Lee McClure, sure know what they’re doing.  We all love that they’re now conveniently located downtown on South Gillette Avenue, too!  And, as a fellow entrepreneur and advocate for Campbell County businesses, I’m glad to see that The Ice Cream Café brings yet another vibrant storefront to Gillette Main Street.

This shop really has it all with over twenty tasty flavors to make your mouth melt (my favorite is blueberry cheesecake), plus an environment that’s fun, welcoming, and well-suited to local and visiting moms and dads or grandparents with kids in tow.  I highly recommend The Ice Cream Café to anyone and everyone.

Best wine list

The Prime Rib Restaurant and Wine Cellar

Principal & CEO: Mark

Although slow-roasted prime rib is the main attraction at The Prime Rib Restaurant and Wine Cellar in Gillette, the state-of-the-art, glass-enclosed wine case and cellar is something more than worthy of mentioning.  Housing nearly 3,500 bottles of wine at any given time, wines sourced from all around the world, the table inside the wine cellar at the Prime Rib makes for a great space to entertain associates and visiting businessmen.  I’d add that the 8,000 square-foot dining space with five private dining rooms, which can accommodate even the largest business luncheon, meeting, or company Christmas party, are superb.  What you may be interested to know is that Ken not only owns and manages the restaurant, but he also does a great job of promoting the community of Gillette through his work as president of the Wyoming Lodging and Restaurant Association.

Best Snap

The Local

Staffer: Felicity

The Local is a Snapchat and Instagrammer’s paradise.  The natural light from floor to ceiling windows, shabby chic decor and tasty, beautifully-made coffee, breakfast sandwiches and pastries make for the perfect combination of props and backdrops for your ‘grams.  Great coffee, free WiFi and a hot location on South Gillette Avenue make it the perfect place to check in and update your story while downtown.  Make sure to keep a look out for the painted #rockinwyoco rocks and post those, too!

Best food truck

On the Hook Fish and Chips Food Truck

Staffer: Me again

Hook, line and eat here.  Okay, okay, so it may not be from here but the ever-epic On the Hook Fish and Chips Food Truck does come to and serve the 82717 and, we’re oh, so grateful they do!  Because, when chasing the latest Gillette food trends, sometimes you have to go beyond the city’s traditional brick and mortar restaurant scene to find out what’s really cooking in Wyoming!

The beer battered, line-caught wild Alaskan cod fish and chips served through the window at the On the Hook Fish and Chips Food Truck have transformed Gillette—and Wyoming’s—seafood offerings as we know them.  And, what started out as just two UW students, one food truck, a solid connect on fresh product and a (fishy) dream, is now a multi-truck enterprise delivering a fun food scene to thousands across the Cowboy State, Colorado, Nebraska and Utah.

Best of the Best

Los Compadres Mexican Restaurant

Staffer: Still me

The name says it all.  Authentic Mexican food, fresh ingredients, and a casual, family-friendly atmosphere is what you can expect from Los Compadres Mexican Restaurant.  Macho burrito… need we say more?  This dish is a favorite among our staff and regulars at Los Compadres and will always have a home on their menu, according to manager Oswaldo “Ozzie” Santana.  “People love it,” Ozzie says.  Yes, yes, we do.   

The mommy in me loves the Little Amigos menu option, too—for amigos twelve and younger.  Grilled cheese or chicken fingers and fries (and, at a Mexican food joint) for under $4.50?!  God Bless, Los Compadres.  They always make the time to acknowledge our littles no matter how busy they are—and trust me, they get busy—the management and staff all make each of our two kiddos feel extra special, every time.  For this, I am eternally grateful.  Their speed of service is also worthy of note, making Los a great place to grab lunch on your lunch break.

Some call this kind of above par effort quality customer service; I call it humility.  The humbleness of this lowkey, come as you are Mexican food eatery is only matched by the intimate size of the establishment and its simplicity of ingredients the combination of which make Los Compadres my pick (and the overall staff pick) for best restaurant in Gillette.     

Verdict’s in

It appears that 82717 staffers’ appetites for blonde beer and amber ales are bottomless, and the Gillette Brewing Co.’s brassie hues are some of the finest hoops in town.  In activated coal country—Gillette, Wyoming—there’s always something new or scrumptious to explore, and always more to love. 

We wish you the happiest of happy foodie adventures and, who knows, maybe you’ll begin your next grub-lovin’ experience at one of the ‘best’s’ we’ve mentioned. 

Food for thought

Or… maybe you won’t!  Before this, our first Restaurant Issue, even hit the press, our little list of Staff’s Picks sparked some rather impassioned debates (in office and online) about the conspicuous lack of vegetarian/vegan options and the inherent merits of “awesomesauce” over aioli—aka fancy mayonnaise, among other things. 

Who serves up the city’s best grub?  We thought we knew.  But, hey!  Maybe we’re wrong. 

Being a magazine of the people, our team regularly seeks to lend the public a voice.  And so, the idea for a Reader’s Choice Awards: Gillette’s Best Restaurants Hand-Picked by You was born.

This time next year, we’ll be polling over 1,000 of (y)our closest friends on Facebook, IG, and Twitter to ask a few, simple questions: What’s the city’s most family-friendly restaurant?  Where’s the fastest fast food in town?  Who makes the best cup of coffee?  When/where is the best happy hour, kids’ meal, cleanest kitchen, etc.?

RSVP to the party

The response to this idea is already astounding.  (We have the best readers in town. Thank you, McLovelies.). 

Connect and follow us online at @82717life, and stay tuned for an invitation to participate. 

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