Eating Wyoming: The One Eyed Buffalo: Hot Springs and Hot Food

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By Tim Mandese, Cowboy State Daily

Most people in Wyoming have heard about the town of Thermopolis, but if you haven’t, let me tell you a little about the home of the restaurant we are visiting this week.

Thermopolis, about 130 miles northwest of Casper, is best known for having the worlds largest mineral springs. Every year, thousands of people visit just to take advantage of this natural wonder, either by swimming in it or walking around it.

There’s a free Wyoming-run bathhouse, as well as multiple businesses based around the springs, each offering a unique hot water experience. As much fun as it is to visit in the summer, my favorite time of the year to stop by is winter. Steam billows in the frosty air from the hot springs terraces and an enormous ice falls is created where the water from the springs flows into the Wind River.

Besides the mineral springs, “Thermop,” as locals call it, is world-famous for its dinosaurs. No, not living dinos, but the abundance of archaeological finds in the area. Name a dinosaur and it’s probably been found in the area. There’s even a museum to showcase the finds.

You might think The Wyoming Dinosaur Center sounds like a small town tourist trap with a couple of old bones in dusty cases, but you would be wrong. The museum features old bones all right, but they aren’t in cases! 

As soon as you walk into the main exhibit room of the museum, there’s an articulated skeleton of a diplodocus. The massive display is over two stories tall and over 100 feet long! There’s even a T-Rex and a Triceratops on display. You’ll spend hours imaging what it was like when these beasts roamed Wyoming.

After you get your fill of hot springs and big bones, head on into the town of Thermopolis. This week I’m going to tell you about the other things the town is becoming well known for, The One Eyed Buffalo Brewing Co.

Open since 2015, The One Eyed Buffalo isn’t your typical Wyoming burger bar. Besides delicious food, the company micro brews a variety of beers on premises. 

“On tap right now, we have 16 handles and all but three our ours,” said Manager Jolynn Collins. “The Lake Creek Honey Ale is our most popular.” 

Kent Shook is the master brewer and he’s been brewing for more than 15 years.

On this visit, I am with three friends, and we all end up with something different.

Asking what was really good, I was told by Collins that “we are well known for our burgers like the Spicy Black and the One Eyed Burger.

”However, she added “the mac and cheese is so good it has it’s own menu.” 

I see plenty of great appetizers, burgers and sandwiches, even steaks and fish, but after some browsing, I followed her advice and ordered the chicken bacon mac and cheese.

I mean, come on, who doesn’t like mac and cheese?

Around the table, we also ordered a corned beef reuben, a prime rib melt and also the spinach and artichoke mac and cheese. The reuben was piled high with meat and served with sauerkraut and Thousand Island dressing.

It looked as delicious as I was told it was. 

The prime rib melt looked just as good. It consisted of sliced prime rib roast on a hoagie roll and topped with grilled onions, mushrooms, American cheese and a horseradish sauce.

The Prime Rib Melt at the One Eyed Buffalo.

Now for my favorite, the “mac daddy” of mac and cheese! This bowl was brimming with penne pasta, creamy cheese sauce, chicken and topped with grated cheddar. The chicken was cooked perfectly. It was moist and tender, as it should be.

The Chicken Bacon Mac and Cheese at the One Eyed Buffalo in Thermopolis.

More than a meal for one, but that’s not going to stop me.

Finally, the spinach and artichoke mac. Loaded with both veggies and the penne pasta, this too was as good as it looked. It wasn’t long before all the plates were empty, and all appetites satisfied.

The spinach artichoke Mac and cheese at The One Eyed Buffalo.

If you have never been to Thermopolis, go check out the springs, the dinosaurs and don’t forget the buffalo. The One Eyed Buffalo Brewing Co. that is. You’ll surely find something so good, you’ll eat like a T-Rex!

The One Eyed Buffalo is located at 528 Broadway Street, in downtown Thermopolis. Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 8 p.m. on Sundays.

On the web, www.oneeyedbuffalobrewingwyo.com

The Wyoming Dinosaur Center is located at 110 Carter Ranch Road in Thermopolis.

Hours are Monday through Sunday, 8AM to 6PM.

On the web, www.wyomingdinosaurcenter.org

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