Nora’s switches to good coffee

By Jim Stanford on January 17, 2014

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Nora’s is creating a bigger buzz.

In one of the most noteworthy developments to occur in Wilson in years, Nora’s Fish Creek Inn has begun serving customers a real cup of coffee.

The landmark eatery switched this week from its longstanding brand, Farmer Brothers, to the local java by Snake River Roasting Co.

Given the refined palates of West Bankers, I’ve often wondered why Nora’s stuck with Farmer Bros. for so long. While sampling a cup of the new coffee with a plate of huevos Thursday, I asked owner Kathryn Tygum Taylor if people ever complained.

“They’ve been complaining about it for 32 years,” she said.

The family-run, James Beard Award-winning restaurant is serving Kirby’s First Tram, a flavor named for ski patrolman Kirby Williams, but Tygum said she plans to experiment and come up with her own blend.

Wilsonites are advised to watch out for Denny Emory, a Nora’s regular who because of the switch is at risk of being overcaffeinated.

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Shades Cafe to close

By Jenni Lake on December 11, 2013

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Located in a cozy, historic cabin on King Street, Shades is known for its warm atmosphere, shaded deck and dishes like eggs tomavo.

Another sad evolution for the town of Jackson: The iconic Shades Cafe will be closing its doors at the end of December.

Owner Lisa Miller said the cafe has been losing money for about two years, and neither she nor other investors have the resources to continue putting money into the business. Competition from big chains like Starbucks and other coffee shops with deeper pockets has impacted Shades’ business.

An emotional Miller said the loss of Shades might serve as an example to people in town that it does matter where you spend your money — even if it’s just for a cup of coffee and muffin.

Jim Mitchell opened the cafe in 1986. Miller worked for him, then bought the cafe in 1992 and has run it as a family business. Customers nearly always see Miller or her daughter, Abbie, at the counter, and the duo also makes the cafe’s signature baked goods like wheat bran muffins and gourmet coffee cakes.

Shades was the first cafe to start serving espresso in town.

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not the buzz Starbucks hoped to generate

By Jim Stanford on June 10, 2013

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Coming soon to Square.

Back in April, a News&Guide report that Starbucks planned to open a store on the Town Square brewed up a venti-sized dose of dismay.

Java junkies were jittery at the prospect of the megachain draining business from local coffee shops. Critics appealed to the town government for help. One friend wrote on Facebook:

“WTF? Jackson Town Planners?!?! Seriously. Walgreens and now Starbucks. B/c we really need those chains right… They just fit right in with the LOCAL folks who already serve up great coffee.”

The town government has little regulatory authority to keep out chain businesses, other than issuing building permits to ensure codes are met. In this case, the building inspector rejected Starbucks’ initial application because the store would have exceeded capacity (49 people) and had entrance problems (being inside another business, Lee’s Tees). As of last week, the company had resolved those issues, and the town was set to issue a building permit.

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Bubba’s to stay open 24 hours

By Jim Stanford on October 6, 2011

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The workingman's special soon may be available to late-night revelers and those on the night shift.

In what could be hailed as the second coming of LeJay’s, Bubba’s Bar-B-Que will be open 24 hours a day on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, beginning tomorrow.

The popular eatery will serve from a “graveyard menu,” composed of breakfast, lunch and dinner items, our waitress, Stacy, explained this morning. Half the dining room will be closed off, and there will be no late-night salad bar.

“We’re going to see how it goes,” she said, a little leery.

Jackson has lacked a 24-hour eatery since the closing of LeJay’s Sportsmen’s Cafe, now home to The Garage, in 2003. LeJay’s was a classic hangout known for the Rogues Gallery, a collection of paintings on the wall, and Larry Turner Special, an omelette with just about everything you can imagine, smothered with chili.

Earlier, Jackson had The Elkhorn, which the late Bill Warren operated from roughly 1972 to 1989 on West Broadway.

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Betty Rock open at night

By Jim Stanford on July 7, 2010

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Betty Rockin' on Pearl.

The turn-back-the-clock rebirth of Betty Rock launched last year by owners Marc Hirschfield and Anise Morrow has come full circle.

The cafe at the corner of Pearl and Jackson streets is once again open at night, providing casual dinners and a much-needed evening hangout. The restaurant is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Betty Rock is serving its full daytime menu at night, augmented by specials such as an Asian salmon burger with wasabi mayo, and meatloaf with scalloped potatoes. The exception is Thursday, which since last winter has been Pizza Night — all-you-can-eat, gourmet pizza served family style for $10 (reminiscent of the Old Yellowstone Garage). Salads are available for an extra $5. Patrons may bring their own beer and wine.

Hirschfield says he’s leaning toward keeping Betty Rock open on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights for winter. The nightly specials allow chef Kyle Tranby to show off his creativity. “He’s an amazing chef,” Hirschfield says. “He’s made it a lot more fun. We’re obsessed with food. The flavors are perfect.”

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