With its national parks, outdoor adventures, and laid-back, jeans-all-the-time vibe, Jackson Hole is the perfect family vacation. (I first visited the valley on a family vacation when I was 12!) Kids are welcome at most any restaurant. Even our brewpub, Snake River Brewery, has a kids’ menu. That written, you will be more comfortable with the kids at some valley restaurants more so than others. My niece loves Bubba’s because it gives you your silverware in a paper bag. I love that the prices are such I don’t mind she ends up wearing more of her ribs than eating them. When I meet local friends with kids for dinner, it’s always at Calico or Q Roadhouse, neighboring restaurants separated by a giant lawn on Teton Village Road. Here are the five places that should be at the top of your list if you’re traveling in Jackson Hole with kids.
Bubba’s is so busy that if someone happens to have a meltdown, it’s likely no nearby diners will notice. If they do, their beef brisket or St. Louis-style ribs—the house specialties—are so good they won’t care. The crux of eating here is the wait, which can be close to an hour in the summer. Come armed with toys to pass this time.
Who doesn’t love a place where you get to throw peanut shells on the floor? Between Jackson and Teton Village, Q Roadhouse welcomes you—it takes reservations!—with a pail of peanuts and follows that with sophisticated BBQ. Weather permitting, ask for an outside table and watch the kids run around on the huge lawn next-door.
Calico’s pizza and pasta is mediocre, but its lawn is the best playground for kids in the valley. On any summer evening, dozens are kids are running around, playing tag, tossing balls, and hiding and seeking. Directly east of the lawn is a garden where Calico grows much of its summer produce.
Sadly, the stuffed moose hanging from the ceiling is in the Mangy Moose’s bar area, which is not kid-friendly. Still, over in the restaurant, there’s an abundance of knick-knacks, vintage ski and road signs, and who-knows-what covering the walls that will hold most any kid’s attention through a meal.
You might wait for an hour for a table at the Tex-Mex Merry Piglets, but at least Ripley’s Believe It or Not and the Town Square are a very, very short walk away. Put your name down and then explore downtown Jackson. The church across the street has a labyrinth and large lawn.