Winters in Jackson, Wyoming are loooooong; I mean really, really long. (We wouldn’t have it any other way.) But when the weak sunshine of spring finally arrives, locals flock to the outdoor cafés like geese coming home to their favorite pond. Grab a hot drink (believe me, it’s still too cold for an iced coffee) and I’ll show you a few of my favorite local spots for spring sipping, noshing, and hanging out in the sunshine.
First stop: Persephone Bakery Boulangerie and Café, just off the Town Square in downtown Jackson.
If you travel to Jackson AND you love food, there is a 99% chance you will be hanging out at Persephone at least once during your visit. Persephone is our little slice of Paris, the unofficial meeting place for downtown locals, and the perfect place to sip and snack while contemplating what to do with the rest of the beautiful Wyoming day.
I hang out at Persephone so much my friends call it my “office”. If I’m hungry, my usual order is a side of Brussels sprouts and sweet potato hash with a fried egg on top, all bathed in an addictive Dijon cream sauce. When Persephone rolled out its summer menu this month, I was thrilled to see my favorite secret side dish turned into a skillet breakfast. Now the Sweet Potato Brussel Sprout Hash Skillet is my go-to dish, perfect after hiking up Snow King Mountain with friends.
I am also partial to the Herbed Farm Fresh Omelette — stuffed with goat cheese, served with fried fingerling potatoes and a generous scoop of vegetable hash on the side. Honestly, you can’t go wrong with any of Persephone’s dishes. Or the pastries: Baker Kevin Cohane trained in Paris and now treats us to the flakiest all-butter croissants, cinnamon brioche, kouign amann (a floret of laminated croissant dough coated in caramelized sugar), sweet and savory scones, and muffins. Gluten free? I’m not, but I love to get the Gluten Free Citrus Cake whenever I can — made with almond flour and orange zest, it’s the perfect afternoon snack with a pot of Siam Basil Lemongrass tea.
I feel pretty virtuous when I choose the Summer Vegetable Sandwich for lunch— layers of roasted beets, goat cheese, cucumber, Vertical Harvest (our town’s brand spanking new vertical greenhouse built on the side of a parking garage!) arugula pesto, on multigrain bread. Which leaves me room for a treat: the Berry Frangipane Tart. Because I am all about frangipane, a sweet almondy custard in which the berries float, and café dining is all about having a treat.
Kevin’s wife Ali runs the Café, and her charming personality is evident on every detail of its decor. Did I tell you about the shopping? I dare you to walk into Persephone on any random day and not take home a little something for your kitchen.
Locals love Persephone Bakery Boulangerie and Café like it was our own back porch, but when town gets packed with throngs of visitors, we sneak off to the OTHER café Ali runs on the quiet side of town: Picnic Coffee and Café.
Oh how I love hanging out at Picnic! There’s plenty of seating inside and out, so I can spend quality time with my laptop and work without monopolizing a table. It’s close to the the high school where I am constantly popping in to deliver lunches to my 2 teenage boys, and it’s a hop and skip from the Josie’s Ridge trailhead, another secret place frequented by locals.
There’s a full selection of Persephone Bakery pastries plus a few just made for Picnic. Nutella Banana Bread, Homemade Strawberry Pop Tarts, Lingonberry Crumb Cake? Yes, please. If I’m in a hurry, I’ll grab a Trail Mix Cookie and call it my version of cookies for breakfast. But I prefer to stay awhile and soak up the vibes of my mountain town from one of Picnic’s cozy corners.
I am currently smitten with the Breakfast Burrito: eggs, chorizo, black beans, tomatillo salsa, all beautifully smothered in red chile sauce. When in the mood for toast (and who isn’t ever in the mood for toast?), there are sweet and savory choices. I love the brioche topped with berries, Greek yogurt, honey and homemade jam, but can be easily swayed to order the Snake River Farms Pork and Eggs Toast — crispy Levain whole grain bread, roast SRF pork shoulder, egg soufflé, sweet drop peppers, goat cheese, smoked tomato butter, maple creme.
True to its name, Picnic has a to-go case packed with awesome soups, salads, and sandwiches to take out into the mountains for your very own picnic. I can’t seem to leave Picnic without a big bag of treats to take home. Seeing that waxed paper bag labelled Picnic on the kitchen counter is a happy sight for my hungry kids when they come home from school.
Persephone Bakery Boulangerie and Café (145 E. Broadway, Jackson WY //307.200.6708)
Picnic Coffee and Café (1110 Maple Way Suit B (across from the new post office) Jackson, WY // 307.264.2956)