Nora's Fish Creek Inn is a Jackson Hole favorite
Outside Jackson Hole, this little place draws crowds and celebs with its big trout sign and popular brunch.
It all started with an avocado burger in 1982. The basics, plus lettuce, tomato, onion, sprouts, and Swiss cheese on homemade bread baked by Nora Tygum herself. Now, add elk tenderloin with blackberry wine sauce and acorn squash. Or a blue cheese mushroom appetizer. Or homemade pumpkin-and-curry soup.
Nora’s Fish Creek Inn has it all, including a pancake so big it nearly hangs over the edge of the plate. Seven miles from Jackson Hole, Wyoming, in Wilson, population 250, Nora’s seems like it would be off the beaten path. But more than a few celebrities — not to mention tens of thousands of locals and tourists — have beaten a path to Tygum’s door, among them David Letterman, Jimmy Carter, Dick Cheney, Bill Clinton, and Harrison Ford.
You’ll know the restaurant by the packed parking lot and the sign on top of the quaint log cabin — a 15-foot trout that covers almost the entire front of the roof. But you’ll remember it for the food. Nora’s offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Visitors have made many a note about Nora’s online. Some casual web-surfing turned up comments such as these: “We go to Nora's for breakfast every day we are in the Jackson area — the quintessential Western restaurant in atmosphere and food. Simply the best bacon and huevos rancheros ever!” “The absolutely best oatmeal in the country! Thick, chewy — YUM!” “This place is a treasure.” “Excellent food and lots of choices. Much more than just fish. … The server was down-home friendly and always smiling. … Don’t miss it!”
The namesake behind all the gushing reviews is Nora Tygum, who started Nora’s Fish Creek Inn when Teton County was just lots of square miles of horse and cattle ranches. She dreamed of owning her own restaurant after she moved out to the area at the age of 16. She had learned to cook by helping her mom on the job at the Circle H dude ranch near Moose. Nora’s daughter, Kathryn, grew up around food, too. At eight, she was a cotton candy expert working the Jackson Hole Rodeo; now she’s a general manager and part owner of the restaurant and a dinner-roll- and cobblermaker.
And she’s the no-nonsense attitude of the place, where you can pretty much count on a wait, no matter what meal, and no cuts in line, no matter who you are. “If a movie star came in and insisted on VIP treatment, I would kick him out,” Kathryn says. “I’m not going to treat anyone special except my mom. I care about every single person who walks through the door.”
• Nora’s Fish Creek Inn: Head west on Highway 22 toward the Idaho border at the base of Teton Pass; take your GPS, and look for the cabin with the big trout sign on the roof. Breakfast: 6:30–11:30 a.m. ($5–$10), lunch: 11:30 a.m.–2 p.m. ($5–$10), dinner: 5–9:30 p.m. ($15–$25). 5600 W. Highway 22, Wilson, Wyoming, 307.733.8288.
What The Locals Like
Some of Nora’s daughter Kathryn’s favorites.
Best Breakfast (other than Nora’s): Bubba’s Bar-B-Que Restaurant on Broadway in Jackson Hole. “It’s a lot like Nora’s. They’re super-duper busy and fast and [have] good food. You know everyone in there.”
Best Lunch: Sidewinders Tavern on Broadway in Jackson Hole. “It’s a sports bar. It’s a fun place to get a beer and see your buddies. And again, good food. They feed you well. You can be hungry, and you get fed.”
Best Dinner: The Blue Lion, off the town square on Milward Street in Jackson Hole. “The food is to die for. And it’s just a small little quaint place. It’s cozy. It’s like Grandma’s house.”
A Cool Winter Activity: “Rent a snowmobile at Togwotee Mountain Lodge and tool around, on the way to Riverton. You can sign up in Jackson, go up in a van, [and] get a helmet and gloves. Take warm clothing. And enjoy the views.”
A Perfect Summer Day Trip: “Drive up on the top of Teton Pass, park your car, and take the trail. You’ll find some beautiful wildflowers and you can cut a few and take some pictures. To get there, head up Route 22 from Nora’s, like you’re going to Idaho, and go up the mountain 12 miles to the top of the pass. Park in the big parking lot. There are all sorts of trails on the left-hand side. You can go 10 minutes or 10 miles. Or you can stop and have a picnic. Your waitress at Nora’s can pack you a lunch. If you’re an early riser, the top of the pass is the best place to watch a sunrise.”
Best Sunset: Travel down Fall Creek Road, the road across from the Stagecoach Bar, near Nora’s. “That’s another awesome travel experience — stay on the road to drive past beautiful houses. You’ll probably see wildlife.” Or, try Kelly Warm Springs — toward the Gros Ventre on the way into Jackson from Yellowstone. “There’s a little warm springs there. That’s beautiful sunset territory. It’s totally welcome to the tourists. You always see a moose or coyotes or wolves out that way.”
Favorite Road: Fish Creek Road in Wilson. “That’s just another beautiful road.”
Favorite Bookstore: Valley Bookstore in Gaslight Alley, Jackson.
Best Place For Coffee: The Wort Hotel in Jackson. “Check out the Silver Dollar Bar, too.”
Best Little Piece Of History: Bar J Chuckwagon. “It’s got cowboy poetry. It may feel a little hokey, but we’ve been here all these years, and my family still loves it. It’s just great entertainment, and the food’s not bad.”