Cowboy to reopen eatery

Since the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar was purchased three and a half years ago by Wort Hotel owner Bill Baxter, the hotelier had his eye on operating the namesake basement restaurant, founded in 1995 by chef Michael Burke and always sublet to another company.

This winter, for the first time, the owners of the Cowboy will operate the restaurant tucked away in the catacombs under the bar.

“Our goal is to bring the locals back to the Million Dollar Cowboy Steakhouse,” said Jim Waldrop, president and GM of SIlver Dollar, Inc. “We want exceptional steaks, simple but exceptional cuts of meat that are served in a casual atmosphere. Good food, a good value, and good fun.”

According to articles archived at Newspapers.com, LaChispa sold Mexican food in the Cowboy basement from May 1983 to March 1995. In June of that year, chef Michael Burke opened the Million Dollar Cowboy Steakhouse, which he ran until November 2003, when the chef left to start Burke’s Chop House and Kevin Gries took over the lease. Gries operated it until 2015, when Paulie O’Connor took the helm.

When the 100-seat restaurant reopens this winter after some sprucing up, for the first time it’ll be run by the entities that operate the Wort Hotel and Cowboy Bar. The restaurant will get some new upholstery, carpet, paint, memorabilia and historic photos as well as a manager, chef and staff, Waldrop said.

The intent is to make the eatery feel more integrated into the Cowboy Bar experience.

“We want people to feel like they’re coming to the Cowboy Bar,” Waldrop said, “and walk upstairs and do their dancing after dinner.”

Diners can expect “terrific steaks” and “tremendous prime rib,” an expansive wine list and top-notch service.

Just don’t expect to find a line of saddles at the basement bar. “Saddles are not very conducive to fine dining,” Waldrop said.

An executive search is underway now for a chef and a manager, although those could be the same person.

Opening is slated for late this year or early in 2022. A global pandemic makes for “a difficult time to start a restaurant,” Waldrop concedes, “but this is a long-haul play.”

Chamber Mixers resume

Good news for people who like to mingle and the businesses that like to host them: After a lull of nearly a year and a half, Chamber Mixers are starting back up. They’ll be held two Thursdays a month from 5 to 7 p.m.

The first one since March 12, 2020, will held at Gallery Wild at 80 W. Broadway.

“Mixers have the highest attendance of any networking events in Jackson and have been voted ‘best networking event’ in The Valley,” the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce said in a press release.

In that release, chamber Director of Events Britney Magleby said: “We have been fielding questions weekly about when Chamber Mixers will return. It’s clear that these events play a huge role in Jackson’s social scene, from new residents looking to make connections to established businesses seeking to expand their relationships to long-time friends just wanting to catch up.”

Acknowledging COVID-19, the chamber said that if there is any risk of these events impacting the health of Teton County, “protocols, postponements and cancellations may have to be put in place.”

After Gallery Wild, the dates are Aug. 26 and Sept. 2, hosts TBD; Sept. 23, Teton Village Association; Oct. 14, Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce Annual Awards Celebration; Oct. 28, Clear Creek Group; Nov. 4, Ringholz Studios; and Nov. 18, TBD.

Businesses looking to host a Chamber Mixer should contact Magleby at britney@jacksonholechamber.com.

With an already long waitlist in March 2020 and additional cancellations through August 2021, businesses can expect a 15- to 18-month wait to host a Chamber Mixer.

Chick-fil-A not cooking

The rumor of a Chick-fil-A restaurant flying into Jackson Hole is a persistent one, yet company representatives offered a canned statement July 26 in response to the News&Guide’s most recent query.

“We are always evaluating potential new locations in the hopes of serving existing and new customers great food with remarkable service,” the Chick-fil-A, Inc. statement reads, “but we do not have any locations to confirm in or around the Jackson area, at this time.”

Contact Jennifer Dorsey at jennifer@jhnewsandguide.com or 732-5908.

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