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New York-trained restaurateurs open new Café in Tetonia

Driggs

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Photos courtesy Teton Valley News

TETONIA — After going more than a year without an eatery, Tetonians cut the ribbon last week on the Badger Creek Café.

Badger Creek is owned and operated by Elyse Archer and John Flyg, both of whom worked and trained in New York under Michelin Star Chef April Bloomfield.

John, who began his career in his hometown of Pocatello washing dishes, does the majority of the cooking at Badger Creek. He was most recently a sous chef at Local in Jackson.

“I’ve been at Local for about three years,” he said. “I’ve been working in restaurants for 17 years. I’ve really been cooking for about 10 years now, not always as a chef.”

Elyse, who also worked at Local, manages the front of Badger Creek and is also a pastry chef.

“In New York, I learned to love and respect food, high quality ingredients, craft cocktails and exceptional service focusing on the complete experience,” she said. “We moved out here about four years ago. It kind of fell into place.”

Don’t let the Michelin star training intimidate you. The Badger Creek Café is aiming to have a down-home feel.

“We’re going to keep it simple at first, that’s how we feel we can expand,” said John. “I’d rather make it five to 10 dollars to open the door for so many people.”

Badger Creek is open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. every day except Tuesday and Wednesday. Next month they will start opening in the evenings on Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The two have ideas about eventually trying out higher end cuisine.

“Once we are established we’d like to have a special dinner once a month, sort of like a supper club dinner,” Elyse explained. “A nicer three or four course meal with wine pairings—that’s kind of what our background is, honestly.”

Since the two have called Tetonia home since they arrived, they said it feels right to open their business in town.

“We’ve lived in four different places and we’ve always stayed in Tetonia,” said John. “We’ve decided this is where we want to be—I guess you could call us ‘North Enders,’ that just in and of itself sets us apart.”

Tetonians and North Enders have eagerly awaited the return of a restaurant in town.

“It’s the number one question I get, ‘when is the café opening,’” said Tetonia Mayor Gloria Hoopes. “I am just thrilled to have it open. It looks like a great restaurant, very bright and light—great menu, great prices, great people. What more can you ask for?”

That need, and a tough winter for commuting over the pass, was what finally inspired Elyse and John to make the jump.

“Obviously the community here wants it. That’s a huge driving force,” said John. “If we have community support, then that’s the only way it’s going to work.”

Wherever possible, Badger Creek sources their ingredients locally, including from Clawson Greens. Owner Dave Ridill grows greens year-round in a converted shipping container just southeast of Hatches Corner.

“All of our greens are going to be from him,” she said. “Hopefully by summer’s end we can do coffee, greens, beef, and potatoes sourced from Tetonia or Felt, to maintain the idea of the North End of the product.”

Elyse added that it was great to be able to spend more time in Tetonia.

“I bartended at Dave’s for over a year and met a lot of great people,” she said. “They’re all my buddies and it’s nice to give them a place to eat.”

This article was originally published in the Teton Valley News. It is used here with permission.

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