Eating Wyoming: Casper’s Wild Lunch Market, As Mom-And-Pop As It Gets

The Wild Lunch Market is easy to miss in downtown Casper, but for those in the know, it’s a favorite spot that’s as mom-and-pop as it gets for homemade sandwiches, wraps and cool movie memorabilia.

DK
Dale Killingbeck

May 12, 20246 min read

The Wild Lunch Market in downtown Casper at 124 E. 2nd St. offers customers grab and go sandwiches, soups, salads, baked goods, and fresh coffee, tea, and cold drinks.
The Wild Lunch Market in downtown Casper at 124 E. 2nd St. offers customers grab and go sandwiches, soups, salads, baked goods, and fresh coffee, tea, and cold drinks. (Dale Killingbeck, Cowboy State Daily)

CASPER — Put slice of movie trivia pun on that roast chicken and roast beef with banana peppers, dill pickles, romaine lettuce, cheddar, pepper jack, house mustard and it becomes the Wild, Wild Best.

Welcome to The Wild Lunch Market in downtown Casper, 124 E. 2nd St., where the slogan is “keep your friends close and your sandwiches closer.”

It’s a hole-in-the-wall that’s easy to miss, but for those in the know, Wild Lunch is a go-to spot for serious sandwiches and homemade grub that as mom-and-pop as it gets.

The store logo channels its inner Dirty Harry: “Go ahead, we’ll make your day.”

Little tweaks to famous movie lines or titles come naturally for Bonnie Curtis-Odell, who opened Wild Lunch on March 9, 2023. The little deli with the movie posters on the wall offers grab-and-go sandwiches, hot melts, soups, salads, baked goods and snacks.

Curtis-Odell said it’s the fulfillment of a dream she’s had since entering the food service industry at age 16.

“I’ve loved cooking forever and so I wanted to open a sandwich shop,” she said. “I grew up watching movies with my dad and he was a big movie buff. He grew up in the city of Hollywood, and he just was enamored with the old-school Hollywood delis. So, I grew up with a love for old-school delis and sandwich shops and that Hollywood deli kind of motif.”

Curtis-Odell said her father spent time in the Hollywood Grove orphanage for a few years and then went on to high school at Hollywood High. Actor John Ritter was a classmate.

  • The Wild Lunch Market has seating for seven inside and on good days, two tables are available outside on the sidewalk. The theme of the decor is Hollywood deli.
    The Wild Lunch Market has seating for seven inside and on good days, two tables are available outside on the sidewalk. The theme of the decor is Hollywood deli. (Dale Killingbeck, Cowboy State Daily)
  • Grab-and-go cold homemade sandwiches, salads and soups are part of the offerings that keeps the The Wild Lunch Market busy in downtown Casper.
    Grab-and-go cold homemade sandwiches, salads and soups are part of the offerings that keeps the The Wild Lunch Market busy in downtown Casper. (Dale Killingbeck, Cowboy State Daily)
  • Movie posters decorate the walls of The Wild Lunch Market and there is also a menu from a Hollywood deli on the wall.
    Movie posters decorate the walls of The Wild Lunch Market and there is also a menu from a Hollywood deli on the wall. (Dale Killingbeck, Cowboy State Daily)
  • The Wild Lunch Market owner Bonnie Curtis-Odell has themed her deli after the Hollywood delis that her father spoke of enjoying in Hollywood.
    The Wild Lunch Market owner Bonnie Curtis-Odell has themed her deli after the Hollywood delis that her father spoke of enjoying in Hollywood. (Dale Killingbeck, Cowboy State Daily)

Life Path

Her family moved to Casper from California when she was 7. Once entering the food service industry, Curtis-Odell learned to cook while bartending at a local bar and grill.

“I was very lucky that the cook took me under her wing and trained me on the spot, and I realized that that was my path for the rest of my life,” she said.

As she considered opening a deli, this movie pun mavin found an old Hollywood deli menu that was a favorite of her father’s and decided that theme would be her niche.

The menu, from Stottlemyer’s Famous, Epic Super-Sandwiches located at 422 Ord St. in Los Angeles, is now framed and on her market’s wall. All sandwiches then were 79 cents and named after famous actors or personalities.

In addition to the old menu, visitors to The Wild Lunch Market will find walls covered with posters promoting flicks of all genres from “The Muppet Movie” to the original “Planet of the Apes” starring Charlton Heston, to “True Lies,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “The Wild Bunch,” “The Empire Strikes Back” and more.

The market offers eight grab-and-go sandwiches, six salads, two side salads and six slider sandwiches — all with Hollywood names. Then there are the specials, like a dessert of chocolate-covered strawberries, pretzels and marshmallows covered in Oreo crumbs and served with caramel and white chocolate dipping sauces. It’s call Berry Popper and the Chamber of Scrumptious.

Pun Time

“All of our names are movie puns,” Curtis-Odell said. “It’s my favorite part of my job getting to come up with the names of stuff. I crack myself up.”

For example, The Hogfather is a sandwich with ham, salami, red peppers, dill pickles, romaine, muenster and pepperjack with sides of house mustard sauce and a house pimento cheddar spread.

When Turkey Met Pesto features turkey, red peppers, dill pickles, romaine lettuce, muenster cheese with sides of pesto mayo and house mustard sauce.

My Big, Fat, Greek Salad offers Mediterranean-seasoned chicken, red peppers, carrots, cucumbers, hardboiled eggs, capers and feta cheese on a red leaf spring mix.

Because of the small size of her store space and inability to have a hood for a grill, Curtis-Odell said her menu doesn’t have grilled items. She does, however, offer hot melt sandwiches from the oven or fresh sandwiches from the cooler.

Hot soups are also a staple, and she typically has a theme of the week such as Chili Awareness Week or her recent Voter’s Choice Week in which she prepared all the soups her customers voted on the week before.

Homemade baked goods also are offered such as All That Razz raspberry muffins or Everything Bars that fire up the taste buds with chocolate, caramel and coconut inside a graham cracker crust. There are also cookies, homemade Rice Krispies treats and more.

Because of her inability to have a grill, she said she tried to design her menu in a way that would provide delicious alternatives for those downtown or traveling through looking to grab lunch.

  • Wild Lunch serves up some stacked cold sammies.
    Wild Lunch serves up some stacked cold sammies. (Wild Lunch Market via Facebook)
  • Toasted Greek wraps.
    Toasted Greek wraps. (Wild Lunch Market via Facebook)
  • A Wild Lunch special, buffalo chicken mac and cheese.
    A Wild Lunch special, buffalo chicken mac and cheese. (Wild Lunch Market via Facebook)
  • A towering Italian sub.
    A towering Italian sub. (Wild Lunch Market via Facebook)
  • Nothing hits the spot like a hot, melty sandwich.
    Nothing hits the spot like a hot, melty sandwich. (Wild Lunch Market via Facebook)
  • Two of the Wild Lunch hot melts.
    Two of the Wild Lunch hot melts. (Wild Lunch Market via Facebook)
  • Chiabatta melts: turkey and muenster, and pastrami with havarti.
    Chiabatta melts: turkey and muenster, and pastrami with havarti. (Wild Lunch Market via Facebook)
  • Berry Popper and the Chamber of Scrumptious is a signature dessert consisting of chocolate-covered strawberries, marshmallos and pretzels crusted in Oreo crumbs with caramel and white chocolate dipping sauces.
    Berry Popper and the Chamber of Scrumptious is a signature dessert consisting of chocolate-covered strawberries, marshmallos and pretzels crusted in Oreo crumbs with caramel and white chocolate dipping sauces. (Wild Lunch Market via Facebook)
  • Chocolate caramel muffin.
    Chocolate caramel muffin. (Wild Lunch Market via Facebook)

Staying Busy

And there are a lot of regulars who do.

“I am super thankful for all the businesspeople around me that keep me very busy and neighbors that come every day,” she said. “We’ve been very fortunate that we’ve gotten on some good travel sites so when people are just needing a good quick sandwich, they know where to stop by.”

The market is open from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday.

Curtis-Odell has one part-time employee and hopes one day to be able to expand the business so that she can have a grill and offer more of a full-service deli environment. Inside the shop there are seven stools at a counter for customers to eat and, when the weather turns nice, she puts two tables outside the shop.

Ever the movie fan, she said there are three films tied at the top of her favorites. They are “Terminator 2,” “The Princess Bride” and “Walk Hard.”

She has adopted a few things from those movies into her menu.

“I have a special that I do sometimes which is a chicken, bacon and guacamole sandwich called Guac-Hard and our hot pastrami sandwich is called the Pastraminator,” she said.

Sandwiches come with chips and pasta salad. Salads come with croutons, biscuits and a selection of seven dressings.

The sliders, such as Joy Story (a ham and cheddar) or Hail to the Beef (roast beef and cheddar), come with chips.

Curtis-Odell also uses her business to celebrate pets and features a special dog breed of the month. For May it’s corgi terrier mixes. Customers who have either of the breeds or a mix can bring in a picture of their pooch once during the month and get a free baked good.

While it’s not Hollywood, Casper has given Curtis-Odell the opportunity to stage her dream.

“I am so grateful that I have been able to do it and have been going strong for a year now,” she said. “I honestly get to wake up every day and do something I love, so I could not be more thankful.”

Dale Killingbeck can be reached at dale@cowboystatedaily.com.

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