Many restaurants around the West grow some of the exceptional things you'll eat.
Taking "locally grown" to a new level, many eateries around the West employ on-site gardens to add depth and color to dishes. Some were inspired by the pioneering, award-winning restaurant at the Willows Inn on Lummi Island, Washington. Today, chefs cultivate raw food in multiple venues, including greenhouses, orchards, and vineyards.
Located within Utah's Grand Staircase–Escalante National Monument, Hell’s Backbone Grill & Farm grows 23,000 pounds of produce a year on property nearby. Regulars favor the meat loaf with edible flowers.
Housed in a converted pharmacy in the tiny town of Juliaetta, Idaho, Colter’s Creek Winery serves dishes to complement its wines. Pair the cabernet franc with the vineyard’s lemony grape leaves stuffed with pork, fregola sarda (small, round pasta), and shallots, and enjoy the outdoor deck.
If any salad can be called dazzling, it would be the daily-changing GTF at the Farmstand Restaurant at Gathering Together Farm. Tucked into the rolling hills near Corvallis in Philomath, Oregon, the stand sells many of the vegetables you’ll see on the menu, including lettuces grown from Willamette Valley’s specialty seed.
If you’re not up for a splurge at SingleThread, the pricy farm restaurant in California's wine country, hop over to Mustards Grill in St. Helena, which has served American classics for 30-plus years. Owner Cindy Pawlcyn encourages guests to stroll its acre of organic gardens. Pair a hearty entrée of chicken with fresh vegetables in lemon-garlic vinaigrette with a chardonnay from the substantial wine list.
The cozy urban garden at Avenues Bistro on Third in Salt Lake City provides vegetables for pickling and honey from on-site beehives. Vivid umbrellas on the patio shade visitors as they lunch on bistro salads, which pair prosciutto and Comté cheese with lentils, carrots, butter lettuce, and basil vinaigrette.
Come for a soak, stay for a meal grown in the garden and greenhouses of Chico Hot Springs Resort in Pray, Montana. A geothermal greenhouse fed by warm spring-water nearly doubles the area’s growing season. In the resort’s Historic Dining Room, herb compound butters may accompany bison rib eye served with a salad of mixed greens, edible flowers, and vegetables.
Locals flock to the Slanted Porch in Fallon, a small rural community in central Nevada, for American classics in a 1908 Victorian. Chef-owner Steve Hernandez grows some produce in a hoop house that shields plants from the sun, and raises his own meat. He suggests Hakurei turnips sautéed with their greens, plus a plate of mouthwatering lamb.