In less than a week thousands upon thousands will descend upon Cheyenne, Wyoming for the annual Cheyenne Frontier Days. It's an event we pack up the car and head out for. For a town that shuts down at 8:00 pm, this is quite the event. It is the largest outdoor rodeo and Western celebration in the world and attracts some of the hottest tickets in country music as well as the wildly popular (at least with me) U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds.
They say Cheyenne doubles in size during this event, and I believe it. The quiet downtown streets fill bumper-to-bumper with Ford duallys. Authentic (and some not so) cowboys and cowgals sashay along the sidewalks ducking into air conditioned bars and restaurants to beat the mid-July Wyoming heat (why they just don't wear flip-flops beats me).
All around, it's a big ole party ... and where there's a party you've got to have good grub.
Here are the grocery stores I shop at. If you are military and can get on base at F.E. Warren, the commissary has some good deals on gluten-free fare.
5116 Frontier Mall Drive
This is where I do the bulk of my grocery shopping. I know this store like the back of my hand. Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage is a chain of whole food and supplement stores. This is where you need to go to get your kombucha, kefir, coconut water and organic coffee. Pop in and buy all you need for a gluten-free picnic; Rudi's bread, Applegate sandwich meat, apples, Lara bars, you name it.
3702 Dell Range Boulevard (north side)
For some time now, King Soopers (part of the Kroger chain) has impressed me with their gluten-free offering. All gluten-free products carry shelf labels. The organic produce offering is pretty good as well.
Golden Dragon International Groceries
1605 Seymour Ave (just east of downtown on Lincolnway)
I love this place. It is such a hole in the wall, but has everything I need in the way of Asian groceries. It's fun just to pop in and poke around. I still can't believe Cheyenne can support this store. Guess there are more people here than I realize who like their rice sticks and squid!
113 E 17th Street (downtown)
Salads, soups, smoothies and gluten-FULL wraps. Clean, cheerful shop.
1431 Stillwater Ave (north side, off Dell Range)
Update: This restaurant is under new management. It's a decent place however there is no dedicated GF menu. A lot of their sushi no includes deep-fried ingredients. Just be forewarned. This has been such a pleasant find. For $7.95 you can enjoy the all you can eat lunch buffet. The buffet includes fried chinese food, but the OTHER half is all sushi! I make a meal out of the sushi alone. This may not be the best spot if you need to guarantee no cross contamination.
We go to Chipotle a lot. They are very accommodating and it is one of the cleanest restaurants in Cheyenne. Mention that you are gluten-free and they switch their gloves. It's popular with the military in town and can get quite crowded.
Rudolfo's Mexican Grill
801 East Lincolnway (just east of downtown)
Don't be intimidated by the look of the place—a very old and outdated former Kentucky Fried Chicken, I think. This is the most authentic fast food Mexican you will find for 100 miles around. You know it's authentic when they have one of those pickled condiment stations. Anyway, the guys that work there are great. It's open 24-hours a day, 7 days a week. My favorite are the chicken tacos. I'm not too keen on the steak. Very affordable, very good. Dine in or drive thru. PLEASE ask if there is wheat/gluten in the corn tortillas. My son seems to have issues with them. Corn tortillas can sometimes be made with gluten. I wonder if these are?
Re-O-Na Sushi & Thai
112 W 17th Street (downtown)
This restaurant JUST opened and it looks promising! We have not eaten here yet, but ducked in and were impressed with the decor, friendliness and cleanliness. Two parties on their way out said it was fantastic and that the curries are great and portion sizes hefty.
One of Cheyenne's few fine dining experiences. Featuring "low country" Southern cuisine, The Morris House Bistro opened it's doors a month ago. It is located in the historic Esther Morris House. Esther Morris is commonly regarded as one of the heroines of the women’s suffrage movement.
The bistro is open Thursday through Saturday. The outdoor patio is open at 5pm, weather permitting. Seating for the patio is first come, first served. The dining room opens at 5:30, reservations are recommended—in fact I would make them now. If you have special dietary needs, call in advance and they will do their best to accommodate you.
The Capitol Grille
1600 Central Avenue (downtown, inside The Historic Plains Hotel)
This weekend my husband and I awarded The Capitol Grille with "The Best Burger in Town" award. I order mine with no bun, jalapenos, mushrooms and extra lettuce. Fries are not cooked in a dedicated fryer so substituting them with steamed veggies is a safer bet. Burgers are $7.95 and come with two toppings of your choice. Bison burgers are a couple dollars more.
1626 Fleischli Business Parkway (west of downtown)
We can't wait for Outback to offer an organic, grass-fed steak. Yeah, I know, that'll be the day. Nevertheless, we are always impressed with Outback's attentiveness to our needs. They have a gluten-free menu with quite a few offerings. Our usual is the 6-ounce steak with a naked sweet potato and green beans for $9.99. They are one of the busiest restaurants in town. I'm guessing during Frontier Days they are insanely busy. You can call ahead to be put on the waiting list, but they do not take reservations.
1535 Dell Range Blvd (north of downtown, Frontier Mall)
We don't go to Olive Garden all that much. For me the breadsticks are just too tempting : ) If you possess more self-control than I do, it's a safe bet. They, too have a dedicated gluten-free menu. Another popular place in Cheyenne, so try to beat the crowd.
Lastly, I thought I would mention some of our favorite things to see and do in Cheyenne for when you need a break from the crowds or the heat.
The Wyoming State Museum has some interesting exhibits and is a manageable size. The kiddie area is great! Keeps my kids entertained for at least an hour.
City News and Pipe Shop sells books and every magazine you'd ever want. They have a small coffee/sandwich bar and sitting area.
Prairie Pantry is the best (and only) cooking store in town. They've got it all. On Lincolnway.
Bohemian Metals is one of my son's favorite shops. If you collect rocks, fossils or turquoise rings, this spot's worth a visit. 314 W 17th Street.
Bloom Salon & Spa is a great place for a little pick-me-up (massage) or up-do : ) Next door to Bohemian Metals on 17th Street.
Terry Bison Ranch. This attraction is south of town five or so miles. We've enjoyed the "train" ride out to see the bison. I didn't know this but the burger the restaurant at the ranch serves up was voted "Best Burger in Wyoming by Bobby Flay and the Food Network." So there you have it!