The Railyard’s Power Duo Heat Up Gillette Main Street

It’s all about the heat and texture, Chef Jeremiah Zimmerman said. Railyard General Manager Trey McConnell agreed, cutting into the grilled bone-in blackened pork chop served over rice with fresh fruit chutney that Chef Jeremiah just delivered to him at the bar where he sat getting ready for that night’s dinner. Trey bit into it with a satisfied nod. Yep, another good one.

A Colorado native, the 32-year-old chef spent a lot of years honing his culinary chops, receiving a degree from Sheridan College with an emphasis in French cuisine before sharpening his skills at Cajun restaurants in the Midwest and South before making his way back to the Rocky Mountain region. Most recently, he was at the Powder Horn in Sheridan until moving to Gillette.

He’s been at the Railyard for the past year. Since then, he’s taken Western classics like hearty steaks, burgers and pork chops and given them a Southern spin, like his New York Strip and BBQ scallops and fire-roasted salsa sauce over a sirloin.

“It gives it that extra kick and body people are looking for,” Jeremiah said.

They’re also looking for quality hand-cut steaks and burgers and other mainstays associated with the West.

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“People like big steaks, big seafood, big portions,” Trey said. “It’s a Western philosophy, and we add a Southern twist with spices and savory sauces.”

Trey, too, brings a taste of the South to the Railyard. Having grown up in New Orleans, he’s rooted in Creole spice and flavor. Nothing too hot. It’s a misnomer, he noted, that Cajun food has to be “blow your head off” hot.

“That’s not it at all,” Trey said. “It just has to be flavorful.”

The two are in sync as to what makes tasty dishes with piquancy and spend a lot of time texting each other pictures and ideas during their off-hours to keep the menu offerings fresh and ever-evolving. The rest is experimentation, they say, and a lot of trial and error in the kitchen to find unique blends to make their own.

Along with their joint love of food, both also like the laid-back nature of Gillette, which they’ve come to think of as their adopted home.

“The people here aren’t pretentious,” Trey said, unlike some of the other restaurants he’s worked in on the East Coast, where meals are stuffy and the patrons overly well-dressed. Putting on airs doesn’t play in Gillette. People are friendly and make a person feel at home, he added, much like his experience back home, where you might sit down for a drink by yourself at the bar only to find yourself at a stranger’s backyard BBQ.

“It’s the same way here,” Trey said. “The community is really inviting, and people go out of their way to make you feel welcome.”

And though Wyoming couldn’t be further from Louisiana, as Trey pointed out, there’s a humility here that reminds him of home.

“It’s the South with no humidity or hurricanes,” he smiled, and the perfect place for culinary fusion.

By: Jen C. Kocher
Photos: Adam D. Ritterbush

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