Discover the Best Places to Eat in Buffalo & Kaycee, Wyoming
From the rolling plains of the Old West to the towering granite peaks of the Bighorn Mountains, Johnson County, Wyoming, is a mosaic of stunning landscapes and unbridled outdoor adventure. And while the region is known for its deep Western history and striking natural beauty, few know it as a foodie destination. However, with access to some of the country’s finest livestock and produce, Buffalo and Kaycee restaurants are the places to fill up on downhome delicious family fare and haute cuisine fine dining.
Johnson County is saturated in Old West charm. For happy wanderers, outdoor adventurers, and family travelers alike, there’s excellent grub waiting around every corner. Start your epicurean journey in Buffalo, Wyoming — the town that inspired the hit book and television series Longmire.
Here, visitors can hang their hats at The Historic Occidental Hotel, or “Ox” as the locals call it, and imbibe in some of the finest food and spirits in the country. For a filling breakfast or lunch, check out The Busy Bee Cafe. Open since 1927, the longtime local favorite is mere feet from the Occidental’s entrance and sits beside the idyllic Clear Creek. Known for its biscuits and gravy, french toast, and bison burgers, the Busy Bee is a must-visit before embarking on any Western adventures, And later, round off a full day of play with a world-class steak from The Virginian — also located in the Occidental. This warm and welcoming western restaurant is known for both its beef and buffalo steaks.
For another uniquely local dining experience, head over to Tom’s Main Street Diner across the street from the Occidental. This Wyoming classic diner specializes in no-nonsense breakfast options, prepared as ordered, and served quickly. Though the menu selection is short and sweet, the dining options are hearty and affordable. Don’t be surprised if you catch a local cattleman or two fueling up for the day with a hearty helping of eggs, toast, bacon, and piping hot coffee to boot. Similarly, the Southside Grill specializes in “New American cuisine with Southern attitude” and is a favorite among the locals. Here, guests can enjoy authentic southern meals served with a heaping side of western hospitality.
Are you in a rush? Just passing through? Make a pitstop at the Dash Inn. Just as the name suggests, food is served quickly here. Merely “dash or drive-in” and order from a vast array of wings, burgers, and more. With a drive thru window and casual seating inside, it’s the perfect place for a quick, local meal.
Alternatively, for a fine dining experience, head over to 4th on Main. Here, Chef Chase Weeding delivers modern fare prepared with classic culinary techniques. The seasonally rotating menu showcases food combinations influenced by local bounties. All meals are served with regional produce, honey, spirits, and spices and deliver an avant-garde approach to gourmet comfort foods. The locally-sourced braised lamb shanks and hanger steak salad are sure to delight.
And when in Rome, do as the Romans do. As a region known for its cattle ranching, Wyoming is among the best places in the world to eat and order steak. It’s an unspoken and widely accepted fact that the beef you order here is never frozen and always fresh. At the Winchester Steak House, savor some of the finest beef in the region. And while guests come for the steaks (and for good reason, they’re darn delicious), they stay for the sides. Order a perfectly prepared New York strip with a side of french onion soup, hot spinach & artichoke dip, or deep-fried pickles.
At the Bozeman Trail Steakhouse, sample some of the best elk, beef, and bison in Wyoming. This family-friendly steakhouse is sure to fill your belly and leave your taste buds singing for more. Though the food is hearty and delicious, the atmosphere sells the place. The meatloaf and elk burgers are guaranteed to satisfy. And after a tasty meal, pick up some locally made souvenirs and gifts at the onsite gift shop.
For a different kind of delicious, check out Pie Zanos Italian eatery. This family-owned restaurant is the perfect place to hang with friends (both old and new) and fill up on premium pizza, paninis, pies, and more. Pie Zanos is a great place to refuel with gluten-free and vegetarian options available for those with dietary restrictions. Try their Margherita pizza or burnt ends sandwich to leave happy and full.
At Papa Binos, guests can enjoy outstanding margaritas, great queso, and a vast food selection. This family-run Mexican food restaurant occupies a historic, converted home in downtown Buffalo with a patio primed for people watching. Order the chicken burrito ranchero or the chile relleno for an authentic taste of Mexican cuisine. Also located in town is Albertanos — home to some of the best carne asada burritos, lengua tacos, and breakfast burritos. Guests are encouraged to bring their appetites — the portions are generous.
Another tasty alternative to Western cuisine is The Breadboard. Sample some of the best subs, wraps, and salads in the west. With an array of hearty and fresh, vegetarian, and gluten-free menu items to choose from, this lovely little cafe is a great place to stock up on goodies for your next backcountry picnic or day trip. Also known for their sandwiches is the Sagewood Cafe. Fuel up for a day of adventure with their artisan sandwiches served on housemade bread, with warming soups and freshly baked pies. And afterward, check out the onsite gift store to pick up unique souvenirs.
OUT AND ABOUT
The views and chews don’t stop in Buffalo. Adventure deeper into Johnson County and discover equally delicious meals throughout. Nestled amidst the Bighorn Mountains, guests can dine on huge portions of western fare in the fresh mountain air. Enjoy enormous breakfast, lunch, and dinner portions at South Fork Lodge Restaurant & Bar. Order a slice of their homemade pie, relish the unparalleled views, and peruse the gift shop.
For a farm to fork, locally-sourced backcountry meal, The Cookhouse at TA Ranch delivers a new taste of the Old West. Located approximately 20 minutes from Buffalo, this dude ranch diner is set amongst the high country backdrop of mountain peaks and century-old cottonwoods. Savor a succulent and freshly-prepared steak or lamb shank for an unforgettable dining experience.
Mosey an hour south down I-25 and visit the quaint western town of Kaycee, Wyoming. With a modest population of nearly 300 people, Kaycee is as small-town Old West as they come. But don’t be deceived, what this community lacks in populace, it makes up for in wholesome, delicious cuisine. At the Invasion Bar and Grill enjoy a firelit meal. Relax and rehydrate with fried chicken, gravy fries, and ice cold beer. In addition to the tasty food, guests can also enjoy darts, a jukebox, and karaoke. Wander a bit down the road, and visit the Country Inn. This little cafe offers reasonably priced food and great coffee. Check out their Sunday buffets for unbeatable prices and a vast selection of fresh and delicious options.