By Tim Mandese, Cowboy State Daily
I have only been through Torrington once, and that was while trying to get around the traffic jam following the Great Eclipse of 2017.
I never really had a reason to stop … that is, until now.
While visiting friends in Goshen County, I had a chance to visit Torrington. This time I wanted to to do more than just find a quick way through town — like find an outstanding restaurant for a bite to eat.
Like most small towns in Wyoming, there’s more to Torrington than meets the eye.
Doing a little research, I found out that Torrington has a golf course that’s been around for more than 60 years. The Cottonwood Golf Course was created in 1959, and is an 18-hole course, with a particularly challenging back nine.
Torrington also has an abundance of parks and a 1.5-mile walking path for you to stretch your legs on. There’s also the Goshen County Homesteaders Museum, featuring a wealth of information on genealogy dating back to the area’s first settlers in 1834.
Housed in the historic Union Pacific Depot, the museum even has the county’s very first automobile on display. The museum is open Monday through Friday, from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free.
All that activity will surely work up an appetite, but where to eat? I had gotten many recommendations.
However, while looking up directions, I noticed that most places to eat were listed as “near Broncho Grillhouse.”
Ok, that piqued my interest.
If a restaurant is known well enough to be used as a landmark for other restaurants, it has to be good.
Finding my way over to 1918 Main Street, I headed inside to see what they had to offer. The Broncho is owned and and run by Tiffany Leslie, a Torrington resident who became the owner in 2019, four years after the restaurant opened.
The restaurant is associated with the Broncho Bar, a Torrington staple for decades that is also owned by Leslie.
“I worked my way up through the steps,” Leslie said. “I started out as a bartender in the bar side in 2010, and worked my way up from there.”
Walking in, I notice the place was packed! That’s a good sign is you want good food.
I don’t mind a wait if it’s worth it, and plenty of people there seemed to agree. My wait wasn’t long, as a hostess had me seated right away, a server approached my table and my drinks were set in front of me before I knew it.
Looking at the menu, I see there are the requisite burgers — a Wyoming staple — as well as appetizers and even breakfast served until 1 p.m. There’s even a salad bar, with an all-you-can-eat option.
In the menu, under the heading “Put On The Feed Bag,” I noticed “Chicken Fried Chicken.” The description read “Breaded chicken breast served with mashed potatoes and country gravy.”
Now, having grown up in the South, I know what country gravy it. It’s normally a sausage gravy, the kind served with biscuits and gravy.
I should stop here and say that I have been to a lot of places in Wyoming that claim to make sausage gravy, and many times, I’ve been disappointed.
Normally I get back a gloopy white paste that someone put sausage on top of, or worse yet, no sausage at all. But I keep searching for someone in the state that can make it the way they do south of the Mason-Dixon Line.
You might say that sausage gravy is my white whale. When asked about the gravy, Leslie gave all the credit to her chef.
“He’s been working in a kitchen since it was 16 years old, and he came to me one day and said ‘Let’s give this a try,’ and people love it,” she said. “Our chicken fried steak is hand breaded daily and the same gravy goes on top.”
That settled it. I had to try the chicken fried chicken. However, I swapped my mashed potatoes for onion rings.
After a short wait, out comes my meal, and it looks promising. I can already see the sausage IN THE GRAVY! It smelled wonderful too.
On the side of the chicken cutlet smothered in gravy were, as promised, golden fried onion rings, and next to that, green beans. Oh, but these beans weren’t fresh from a can, they were fresh from the farm!
There’s a huge difference between canned or frozen and fresh, and these fresh green beans were cooked perfectly. Nice crunch and not overdone and soggy.
As I tucked into my lunch, I look over at my friend’s lunch, a thick Ruben sandwich. Like my search for perfect gravy, his must-have item, when on the menu, has always been a Ruben.
This Ruben was loaded with lean corned beef, sauerkraut and served on marbled rye. All I heard was “Mmmm!” so I assume it was to his liking. But back to my country classic.
From the first bite, it was obvious this was a winner. The chicken was tender, the breading was crispy and what can I say about the gravy? It was, as promised, REAL sausage gravy. Not too watery and not gloopy. It wasn’t overly salted and it had just the right amount of sausage flavor.
The size of the chicken cutlet alone made this a good value and the addition of the fresh sides made the meal worth every penny.
Leslie tried to sway me toward the burger for my next visit.
“We’re best known for our Cowboy burger and our Texan, which are fresh, hand-made half-pound patties,” she said. “The Cowboy is topped with barbecue sauce, onion rings and bacon, and the Texan topped with barbecue sauce as well, with cream cheese and jalapeno.”
So now that I have stopped in Torrington, I will be back — if for no other reason than just to eat at the Broncho.
If you find yourself on Torrington’s Main Street between the hours of 9 a.m. and 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, or as early as 7:30 a.m. on the weekend, stop by and give The Broncho Grillhouse a try.
Maybe you’ll find that classic you’ve been looking for.