A blog about food
Eating Around Town: Summer Lunches
In a town as small as Ketchum (population: 2,689), you’d expect a shortage of places to eat. At the same time, we’re a year-round, world-renown tourist destination, which means the food options are in fact as plentiful as the single-track. So don’t get stuck snacking at the same place every day. Below are some choice establishments that deserve plenty of love --- but aren’t called the Pioneer or the Ketchum Grill. And since dinner seems to get all the attention, I thought I’d highlight (in no particular order) my favorite Sun Valley joints for lunch.
1. Perry’s Bakery and Eatery (Open daily from 7:00 AM to 9:00 PM): As I write this, I’m polishing off a Perry’s Philly Cheese Wrap (slow-roasted beef with grilled onions and bell peppers on sourdough) that is dripping with hot provolone. In the booth next to me, a couple is enjoying the Veggie Sub with fries. Sandos are clearly the favorite. Yet besides its award-winning list of sandwiches, Perry’s also serves soups, salads, burgers and melts for lunch and dinner. There’s also wireless, plenty of coffee and breakfast options if you’re up early. Perry’s seamlessly blends the amenities and low-key atmosphere of a cafe with great food. Only a block away from the Ketchum Post Office, make a stop by Perry’s, which was voted Sun Valley Guide’s Best Lunch spot for 2009 and 2010.
2. Lefty’s Bar & Grill: I work here. It’s great. Sunning on the deck with a beer and a Lefty’s Burger is part and parcel of the Ketchum summer experience. Come for lunch, stay for happy hour. Lefty’s serves bar food staples (buffalo wings, onion rings, burgers, poppers, etc.) as well as fresh salads, hot sandwiches and baskets and baskets of Monkeys, those seasoned potato slices that you can’t stop eating. I should add that there are daily lunch specials, signature meals not to be missed. The most popular: Wednesday’s Steak Sando (grilled steak with lettuce and tomato on a bun baked with cheese and onion). Basically, eat at Lefty’s. All the time.
3. Thai Cuisine (208-726-6211, Monday thru Friday 11:00 AM to 9:30 PM): Introducing the new guy, located across the street from Lefty’s, who personally won me over with its Thai Iced Tea, a highly caffeinated and creamy black tea that is unlike anything else in town. While the Pad Thai (stir fried noodles with egg, bean sprouts, green onions and cilantro) anchors the menu, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the Curries and other Stir Fries, including the Cashew Nut (cashews, onions, bell peppers with chili paste and mushroom). Truly an authentic Southeast Asian experience, Thai Cuisine fills a much-needed niche.
4. Despo’s (Monday thru Saturday 11:30 AM to 10:00 PM): ¿Tienes hambre, amigo? Satisfy those cravings with some Pork Carnitas (slow-roasted pork served with traditional condiments: cilantro, tomatoes, limes, avocado slices, rice and beans) at Despo’s. Likely the most popular of Ketchum’s four Mexican offerings, Despo’s definitely does it right --- starting with its famous House Salsa. Be warned, however: it’s easy to get carried away here. The menu is extensive and it’s hard to be picky. Between the mountainous Nachos, the Street-Style Tacos, the Tostadas with everything and plenty of Dos Equis to wash it all down, my last meal there quickly turned into a feast.
5. Atkinsons’ Deli: Honestly, a surprise. But I wouldn’t include Atkinsons’ if the deli wasn’t actually remarkable. For six bucks, you get your choice of hearty sandwiches made with the freshest ingredients, Sun Valley Mustard, and served on whatever bread meets your fancy. So if you’re trying to avoid the crowds, but need real food, give the deli a shot. You won’t be disappointed.