By Renée Jean, Business and Tourism Reporter
There’s a secret ingredient that makes Corbet Cabin’s iconic waffles so good.
“It’s the altitude,” waffle maker Laura Burke told Cowboy State Daily. “Everything rises when it comes up here. I’ve made them at the bottom, and they just don’t taste the same as when they are up here. That’s the secret to it.”
Corbet Cabin sits at the top of Rendezvous Peak at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. At 10,450 feet above sea level, it’s not necessarily the highest restaurant in the world, but it is among them – and it is the highest in Wyoming.
People come from all over the world to try the various waffle concoctions that come wrapped in foil.
Burke said chefs tried several foods in Corbet’s Cabin over the years, but none of them took hold. The waffles, however, were magic for tired, snow-weary skiers and sightseers.
“It has just grown and grown and grown,” Burke said. “It’s just incredible. In the summer we’re selling maybe 500 waffles a day.”
Winter isn’t too far behind that, Burke added, at 400 a day.
The waffle pairings on the menu may sound strange at first. Peanut butter with bacon, which is known as the Gateway. Or lemon glaze and powdered sugar, which is called the Englishman. There’s also a very traditional brown sugar, and there’s strawberry as well.
There also are secret off-menu waffles, if you know what to ask for. Among Burke’s favorite of these is brown sugar stuffed with bacon.
“Brown sugar is the most popular because it melts and tastes like syrup,” Burke said. “We have no syrup up here because we have no silverware. Everything up here is finger food.”
Silverware would require washing, Burke pointed out, and there’s no running water to the cabin, since it was built as a temporary structure.
The historic cabin was never meant to be permanent, much less a restaurant. It was a temporary, construction-related facility built when the tram was constructed in 1965.
“Workers would, like, live up here,” said Jackson Hole Mountain Resort Vice President of Marketing Andrew Way. “Its original intention was to be a temporary storage building. And so if it feels a little vintage, that’s why.
“It was never intended to be a restaurant, and certainly never intended to be a mountain patrol headquarters.”
Way said momentum has been building to replace Corbet’s Cabin so that there is more space for the hundreds of people who crowd the restaurant seeking respite from the weather – and delicious waffles.
The modernization would include water and sewer lines, which would give more flexibility to the menu for this restaurant at the top of the world.
Waffles, however, will always remain on that menu, Way added.
“The waffles were born out of necessity, just wanting to serve something, and now they’re iconic,” he said. “Of course … we always have waffles.”