Nestled in the heart of Tetonia, Badger Creek Cafe is a dining establishment that oozes warmth, charm, and a down-to-earth ambiance. You’d be forgiven for thinking it’s a decades-old community staple, but in fact, this culinary gem is just four years young. This is a testament to the dedication and hard work of its owners, Elyse Archer and John Flyg, who have made Badger Creek Cafe a beloved pillar of the Teton Valley community.
Elyse and John’s journey to Tetonia began in 2013 when they left the bustling streets of New York City. With extensive culinary experience, including stints in Michelin-starred restaurants, they found their culinary footing in Tetonia, Victor, and Jackson. But after several years, they decided to take a leap of faith and embark on their culinary adventure by opening their very own restaurant.
The result? A resounding success that exceeded their wildest expectations. Badger Creek Cafe was an instant hit, captivating both locals and tourists. The key to their success is simple, as Elyse puts it, “Good food is the most important part. We opened because we wanted to make affordable and delicious food.”
The menu at Badger Creek Cafe is a delightful fusion of time-honored classics and inventive dishes. You can savor beloved favorites like chicken and waffles, biscuits and gravy, and corned beef hash. Still, you can also indulge in creative options, such as the delectable fried chickpea fritters. John, who takes charge of the kitchen, prides himself on making everything in-house and sourcing ingredients locally whenever possible.
When you sit down for a meal at the cafe, you’ll immediately notice the personal touch that sets Badger Creek apart. Their Reuben sandwich, arguably the best in Teton Valley, is piled high with house-made corned beef, a generous helping of sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and a lavish drizzle of Thousand Island dressing. The Badger Burrito is a delightful medley of scrambled eggs, potatoes, peppers, onions, and cheese, with the option to add scrumptious green chile pork. No matter what you order, attentive and courteous service is always on the menu.
Teton Valley residents have wholeheartedly embraced what Elyse and John have created. Badger Creek Cafe has been voted the best breakfast spot in the valley for three consecutive years, and it boasts a loyal following of regulars, some of whom frequent the cafe up to three times a week.
Visitors to the valley are equally charmed by the culinary delights found at Badger Creek Cafe. Elyse and John admit that the cafe’s unassuming exterior in a town of fewer than 300 residents can make it easy to overlook. However, those who venture inside are often left astounded by the quality of the food and the inviting atmosphere.
“People often say they don’t expect much walking in here,” explains John. “They don’t expect it to look the way it does on the inside, let alone do they expect the food on the table.”
Like many restaurant owners, Elyse and John had to adapt their business in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Dine-in service was temporarily halted, and operating hours had to be adjusted. However, their creativity shone through as they introduced take-and-bake options along with traditional takeout service, allowing Badger Creek to stay connected to the community. Dine-in service has since resumed, and the cafe remains as vibrant as ever.
Life in Teton Valley has also allowed Elyse and John the opportunity to pursue their other passions. John, a Pocatello native, is an outdoorsman at heart, enjoying a wide variety of activities including fishing, hunting, snowmobiling, golfing, and horseback riding. Elyse, on the other hand, discovered her love for roller derby after moving to the area, joining a team in the Jackson area.
But at the core of their hearts, Badger Creek Cafe is where their primary passion resides. “I love Tetonia, Tetonia is home,” says Elyse. “And being able to walk in, Dolly Parton is playing, drink some coffee — we just want it to be a rad, cool place.” With such dedication and love for their community, Badger Creek Cafe will continue to be a cherished gathering place for years to come.
Badger Creek Cafe is located at 110 North Main Street in Tetonia, ID. It is open Thursday-Monday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.