Idaho is renowned for its authentic Western history as one of the last frontiers in the country, but recreating those experiences doesn’t stop at visiting a museum or ghost town. I’m not talking tacky, or kitschy Smoking Guns-themed watering holes — I’m talking the authentic, down-to-earth rustic atmospheres you’ve grown to know and love which might just let you step back in time and feel like Clint Eastwood could charge through the doors at any time. Whether in the form of authentic tack hanging on the walls and historic ranching decor, or maybe some woodsy, rustic vibes with just a little bit of line dancing thrown in, these western restaurants have a little something for everybody. Fortunately, since we’ve featured many of these on our “best” lists before, you know that the food is going to be fantastic too!
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Pioneer Saloon, Ketchum
Perhaps the most easily recognizable tribute to Idaho's western culture is this nationally-recognized gem in the heart of Sun Valley. Not only is every inch of wall space covered with historic photos, trophies, and vintage western decor, but the wooden ambiance and rustic cooking (famous prime rib included) are all reminiscent of a simpler, no-frills Wild West.
Address: 320 N Main St, Ketchum, ID 83340
2. Stagecoach Inn, Garden City
Stagecoach Inn Management
As one of the oldest restaurants in Idaho, the Stagecoach Inn has a unique history that ties directly to our state's famous fingersteaks, but today is known for prime rib, pies, prawns, and a rustic interior that feels like home. Smooth leather details throughout the dining and waiting area feel just as though you're riding a getaway stage, while the latest addition--the original crystal stagecoach from the first owners--is now on display in a spectacular blend of modern chic and authentic Americana.
Address: 3132 W Chinden Blvd. Boise, ID 83714
3. Wolf Lodge, Coeur d'Alene
Wolf Lodge Steakhouse/Facebook
We've touted the wonders of the Wolf Lodge's world-famous steaks a few times here at OnlyInYourState, but we have to include this beloved meat-loving haven one more time for its fantastically "Idaho" interior. Lodge-like to its core, this restaurant also features a smooth wood interior, and plenty of traps, tack, and western antiques to keep your eyes busy while you dine.
Address: 11741 E Frontage Rd, Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814
4. Indian Creek Steakhouse, Caldwell
Indian Creek Steakhouse Management
If possible, the Wolf Lodge's sister restaurant in Caldwell is just as western than its CdA counterpart. Wall mounts, wagon wheels, historic valley photos, and authentic Wild West kitsch fill the interior of this wooden saloon-style steakhouse...but it's the food and hometown atmosphere that'll keep you coming back.
Address: 711 Main St, Caldwell, ID 83605
5. Snake River Roadhouse, Swan Valley
This overlooked gem in Eastern Idaho takes diners back to their roots with a cowboy theme that is absolutely flawless. From the ornate saloon-style bar to the rustic fireplace and wood-paneled walls, no detail is spared. But most importantly:
fry sauce. Because that's Idaho, baby.
Address: 2998 Swan Valley Hwy, Swan Valley, ID 83449
6. The Snake Pit, Enaville
The Snake Pit in Enaville, Idaho/Facebook
The Snake Pit in Enaville/Facebook
As the oldest restaurant in Idaho, it doesn't get much more WILD WEST than the Snake Pit! With a colorful and "suspicious" history that is inseparable from the mining, logging, and rail industries of the late 1800s, plus a long-standing reputation as a local watering hole for western legends, this true western landmark may as well be a part of the landscape itself. Inside, you'll find a glorious hodgepodge of western memorabilia, authentic paintings, handmade furniture, and various other oddities that each have a story to tell of western-style shootouts, big hunts, and trophy catches. Plus, great food and company!
Address: 1480 Coeur d’Alene River Rd. Enaville, Idaho
7. Cougar Dave's, Donnelly
Cougar Dave's is one of those hidden gems that turns out both fantastic and innovative cuisine that still stays true to Idaho's fresh, rugged spirit. Even better, is that fantastic eats like Guinness-Braised Lamb Stew, Blackened Salmon Tacos, and dishes it out in a space that is nothing short of western to its core. While you're at it, enjoy the vibrant western artwork on the walls!
Address: 263 Main St, Donnelly, ID 83615
8. The Rusty Lantern Diner, Idaho Falls
While the Wild West is portrayed as all saloons and gun-slinging in the movies, there was some serious baking and homestyle magic happening off the scenes. The Rusty Lantern knows how to take diners back to this mouth-watering past with dozens of fresh-made pies, baked goods, soups, casseroles, and all of the delicious eats you wish you could chow down on on a daily basis.
Address: 10868 N Yellowstone Hwy, Idaho Falls, ID 83401
9. Lardo Grill & Saloon, McCall
Lardo Grill & Saloon Inc./Facebook
Lardo Grill & Saloon Inc./Facebook
Quirky, laid-back, and well-known for their delicious old-fashioned spaghetti, loaded fries, and tantalizing fingersteaks--not to mention the downhome atmosphere and kitschy wall decor. You'll love every minute of this long-standing gem!
Address: 600 W Lake St. McCall, ID 83638