Idaho may be best known for potatoes, but the Gem State culinary scene offers a lot more than just a single vegetable. In fact, it’s easy to enjoy healthy and delicious locally-grown food for every meal of the day around here.
The Snake River Plain, just to the south of Sun Valley, has become one of America’s true breadbaskets. From ranchers running sheep and cattle through the foothills to farmers growing everything from asparagus to zucchini, eating local is a part of life in Sun Valley.
Numerous local restaurants offer meals sourced from farms and ranches within 150 miles. To help you make the most out of eating local, we asked Amy Mattias for some advice. A self-described “locavore,” Amy is the program director for the Sun Valley Institute for Resilience, which features many of these regional farms and ranches in its Locally Grown Guide. Amy has worked with numerous farm- and ranch-to-table producers in the region for the last seven years.
“I’m a devotee to local food systems,” Amy said. “And there are a lot of local places to enjoy Idaho’s bounty.”
Coffee, Breakfast & Morning Treats
The hardest part about finding a cup of tasty, locally-roasted coffee in Sun Valley is trying to decide which one to start your day with.
To help, here’s an alphabetical run down of the best places to grab a home locally-brewed cup of joe, morning treat or even a full breakfast.
Big Wood Bread* has been baking locally since 1997. With dine-in locations in downtown Ketchum and alongside the bakery in the north end of town, there are two easy options to start your day. They offer are large, tasty breakfast menu, from full breakfasts like their Baldy Powder Bowl, Sawtooth Scramble or Avocado on your choice of toasted homemade bread. No one leaves Big Wood Bread hungry. Fresh baguettes, bagels and a variety of sweet rolls are the prefect accompaniment to cup of coffee or tea at Big Wood Bread.
Located in the famous salmon-colored house on the back streets of Ketchum, Cristina’s* offers artisan breads and pastries as good as any you’ll find along the old world streets of Italy. Cristina’s has a wide variety of freshly-baked breads, including favorites like Olive Ciabatta, Apricot Hazelnut or Challah. Cristina’s is also the perfect place for a typical European breakfast of a café latte and a fresh brioche or scone.
Hailey Coffee Company has two locations, one in Hailey and the other in Ketchum. They roast their own Fair Trade Organic blends, rotating through 16 flavors, with their Tres Bien and Papua New Guinea roasts being especially popular. Amy said that Hailey Coffee Co is also the best local option for Paleo-friendly and gluten-free treats like their pumpkin, banana and lemon blueberry breads.
Hank & Sylvie’s also has locations in both Hailey and Ketchum. Offering flowers and gifts in addition to coffee and treats, Hank & Sylvie’s is great one-stop spot to start your day. In addition to creating custom cakes for all occasions, the bakery is beloved for their variety of croissants and their pound and coffee cakes. Amy loves that Hank & Sylvie’s highlights local eggs and flower in their bakery treats and offers Lizzy’s Fresh Coffees.
Java is more than just a coffee shop, it’s part of the culture of Sun Valley. Locations in both Ketchum and Hailey offer their famous “Bowl of Soul” mocha and fresh-baked goods like monstrous muffins and scones. All of their coffees are Fair Trade and help bring their motto to life: “Wake Up and Live!”
Lizzy’s Fresh Coffee is roasted in Ketchum. A staple of many morning routines in Sun Valley, Lizzy’s offers nine signature blends and serves them at their Coffee Bar, which is open weekend mornings. Lizzy’s is also available at restaurants all over the Wood River Valley. In addition to their specialty roasts, they make their own cocoa and coffee bark. Lizzy’s also runs a popular, monthly “Label Contest,” where winning photo entries are used on the labels of the coffee and the winners get free coffee for a month!
The Konditorei* is the kind of place where you can literally taste happiness. Even before you enter the restaurant in the heart of the Sun Valley Village, the sweet smells of the bakery get you salivating.
Named in honor of the original bakery in Sun Valley, “Poor Richard’s Konditorei,” the Austrian-style bakery offers signature coffees brewed by Lizzy’s and a variety of fresh-baked pastries that would make even a night owl want to wake up early. Their Old World hot chocolate is out-of-this-world good and The Konditorei has also been lauded as a national leader in the sustainability movement. As if all that isn’t enough, they also have a half-dozen Bloody Mary options and sell mimosas in mason jars!
Maude’s Coffee and Clothes in Ketchum has recently moved into a new spot, but they’ve kept the same tasty coffee and cool vibes that quickly earned them a local following. Maude’s features coffees from local, small-batch roasters, MAPS, and offers scrumptious lite snacks like gluten-free toasties topped with fresh avocado.
If you’re a breakfast fan and you’ve never eaten at The Kneadery,* well then your life has been unfulfilled up to this point. There’s almost always a line at The Kneadery and while you’re waiting, the aromas and the stuffed, happy faces that walk past as they exit will make you understand why. Since 1974, The Kneadery has been serving up “rustic, Rocky Mountain home-style cooking.”The Kneadery is known for its variety of benedicts and omelets served with organic toast.
*Also serves lunch.
Sun Valley has plenty of regionally-grown fare for lunch to help you properly fuel up for your next adventure—even if that next adventure is just taking a nap.
The Glow Juice Bar and Café lives up to its name. Simply mentioning the plant-based, organic restaurant in Ketchum gets Amy’s smile glowing. “Glow is amazing and offers lots of raw, vegan food and local produce,” she said. Amy is a big fan of the small restaurant’s salads and daily seasonal soups. Their bowls, like the Local’s Glow and Pad Thai, are tough to top, especially if you enjoy them along with a Big Wood Bread bagel topped with their almond butter or Glow cream cheese.
The menu at Gretchen’s in the Sun Valley Lodge changes with the seasons. As Executive Chef Derek Gallegos says, “We try and get the best produce available and go local as much as possible.” Everything on the menu is completely from scratch, they even bake their own English muffins, brine their own pastrami and offer their own house made sweet and sour sauce. Breakfast, lunch or dinner all offer local flavors at Gretchen’s.
NourishMe has been lighting up Main Street in Ketchum with an impressive offering of fresh produce and locally-produced foods for over a decade now. NourishMe serves as a market for everything from greens to seeds, nuts and supplements, but it also serves house-made, gluten free soups daily. Their salads, like Brooke’s Famous Kale Quinoa, and grilled sandwiches, like the Turkey Pesto, are all served, “with a sprinkle of love.”
Perry’s has arguably the world’s best homemade chocolate chip cookies. If that’s not reason enough to make you want to eat there then you may need to reassess your priorities. Perry’s in Ketchum has been serving lunch to a loyal following of locals since 1985. Popular for both breakfast and lunch, Perry’s offers a signature burger made from Lava Lake Lamb and topped with caramelized onions. Their TBP Special sandwich features Sun Valley Mustard. Perry’s homemade pies are also especially popular during the holidays or just about any day ending in y.
The Power House Pub in Hailey is the most unique biker bar in the country. The restaurant not only offers a huge Euro-centric beer menu, they also make bicycles there. You can peruse mountain bikes while enjoying a small, but locally-focused menu. Their freshly-baked pretzels, locally-made organic oat burger and house-made ketchup are all top gear. They also offer Idaho’s own BuckSnort Root Beer.
Amy lauded Rasberry’s Bistro in Ketchum for, “doing a really good job of sourcing locally.” That helps explain why there’s a near cult following for the food the twin Rasberry sisters make. Fresh and local are part of everything they create. Amy loves Rasberry’s soup specials, tacos, enchiladas and their Cubano. “They have such a tasty and hearty lunch,” Amy said. In addition to lunch, Rasberry’s is also popular for their catering options and their booth at the summer Farmers Market.
The Haven is well known in Sun Valley for the green bus they use for catering and special events. When we see that funky old bus it makes us smile, because it means something delicious has driven up. The Haven in Ketchum features locally-produced foods in their sandwiches, soups and salads. The Haven Mac and Cheese is downright magic.
The Wood River Valley is blessed with some of the best water in the world. Just ask any local group of fly fishers when they sit down for an après angling drink or two. They’ll usually tell you the fishing was great and so are the locally crafted beers and cocktails.
What starts as snow covering our slopes each winter eventually becomes the main ingredient in a variety of delicious locally-brewed and distilled adult beverages.
The Sawtooth Brewery was born in 2011 because, as head brewer and CEO Paul Holle said at the time, “Ketchum needed a brewery.” And he was right. What started as a true microbrewery in a Ketchum hotel lobby has grown into a bustling business that now produces over 20 styles of beer that can be purchased in cans and bottles throughout the state. The Sawtooth Brewery also has two popular pubs, the Ketchum Public House on Main Street and the Hailey Tap Room on River Street. Sawtooth always offers something special on tap to match the season, and their rotating IPAs, especially the Idahome, are local favorites.
Founded in 1986, the Sun Valley Brewery is the granddad of the local beer scene. One of the oldest craft breweries in the country, Sun Valley Brewery and Pub is located in a old car dealership on Main Street in Hailey. Sun Valley Brewery offers about a dozen different beers, with a half-dozen or so on tap at any time. The most popular brews are their Cranky Über IPA, the seasonal Blood Orange IPA and their award-winning White Cloud Amber Ale, which was once the best selling microbrew not just in Idaho, but in Colorado, too.
The newest kids on the brewing block have taken the locally-crafted adult beverage scene to the next level. The Warfield Distillery and Brewery was founded in 2015 and has brought good times and tasty drinks to Main Street in Ketchum ever since. The Warfield uses only organic malt and whole leaf hops in the expansive beer portfolio. Their Thorny Thistle Scottish Ale, Lucky 7 Pale Ale and Ketchum Kolsch are locals’ favorites.
Besides brewing beer, they offering food—like their legendary Idaho cheese curds and poutine. They also make their own spirits at their beautiful, new facility in the heart of Ketchum. Warfield’s organic alcohols have quickly earned lots of fans and much respect. Warfield’s whiskey, vodka and especially their gin, have become staples at the bar in nearly every house in Sun Valley. As theWarfield’s co-founder, Ben Bradley, says, “Put good in, get good out.”
Dinner and Dessert
After a big day of adventuring or even just lounging around, nothing beats a great meal featuring local delicacies. Here are some impressive otpions.
CK’s Real Food on Main Street in Hailey is a “classic farm-to-table restaurant,” as Amy said. CK’s has a cult following for its Idaho trout and their menu is stuffed full of locally-grown foods, some even from their own herb garden.
And when it comes to dessert, CK’s Triple Threat is considered one of the best in the Gem State. Entirely homemade, it offers three layers of CK’s ice cream (vanilla, chocolate and espresso caramel) served atop a chocolate cookie crust and topped with their caramel and chocolate sauces and toffee crumbles.
Housed in an old church just off Warm Springs Road, Cookbook offers diners, as Amy explained, “food sourced from local farms and local produce along with an impressive wine menu, and they really do Take Out perfectly.” The menu adapts to the seasons, featuring pastas and pizzas topped with things like house made sausage and freshly sliced prosciutto. For dessert, Vita’s Cake is seven sweet layers topped with organic sour cherries.
The Covey on Washington Ave in Ketchum has quickly earned a fan base for their fresh offerings and cool vibes. The menu is ever-changing and features a variety of house made pastas, unique vegetable dishes and their famous roasted cauliflower. They like to drink their dessert at The Covey.
Just mentioning the Mason Family in Sun Valley can make mouths water. Their three restaurants cover Ketchum with top notch dining experiences. The Ketchum Grill is their original location and has been serving a loyal following of locals for nearly 30 years. “The Grill” features house made soups, pastas and even a variety of ice creams, sorbets and a Pear Almond Cream Crostata for dessert.
Enoteca has infused the corner of Main Street and Sun Valley Road in Ketchum with a sweet and smoky flavor. Their handmade wood-fired pizzas and items like Lasagna al Forno feature local, seasonal produce. Mama Anne’s Gelati and Sorbetto end any meal perfectly.
Located right in the middle of Ketchum, the Town Square Tavern is the youngest of the Mason Family restaurants. Opened in 2015, “The Tavern” features house-smoked trout, tapas and homemade pastas topped with Idaho-grown ingredients like potatoes, garden herbs and lamb. Their Turkish coffee mud pie topped with house made chocolate is tough to top. “The Mason Family restaurants strive to be unique and fresh,” Amy said. “They really highlight Idaho’s diverse bounty through their globally-inspired cuisine.”
Nestled just on North Main Street in Ketchum, the Grill at Knob Hill is a favorite of locals and visitors alike. Homemade Wienerschnitzel, local lamb and fresh daily soups are some of the stars of the menu. After-dinner treats include Toni’s Ice Cream and homemade whipped cream
The Limelight Hotel has added a big city feel to our small mountain town. The Limelight always features local beers and their sliders made from Lava Lake Lamb are as Amy simply put it, “ are delicious.” Located on Main Street in Ketchum, The Lounge at The Limelight is also a great spot for some après fun or to grab a late meal. Their chocolate chip cookie bake features salted caramel ice cream from local favorite Toni’s Ice Cream.
The Pioneer Saloon is part of the lore and true flavor of Sun Valley. “The Pio” is known for its prime rib, Idaho rainbow trout and potatoes the size of mini-footballs. The rustic Western restaurant on Main Street in Ketchum is also famous for their homemade mud pie and is a “Bucket List Meal” for any new visitor to Sun Valley.
Guide to Locally Grown Food
The Local Food Alliance has put together a great guide to all of the locally grown food within the Wood River Valley. Check it out here.