Thanks to its fewer calories, less fat, and sweeter taste, bison is slowly becoming a popular alternative to beef in restaurants around the United States. (Although some restaurants refer to it as buffalo, the animals here in North America are bison.) In honor of National Bison Month, here are 10 of the best places across the United States where you can order bison burgers, sandwiches, chili, and sausages.
1. STEINGARTEN LA // LOS ANGELES
At the beer garden Steingarten LA, you can sip craft beer and eat a variety of exotic sausages. Although you can’t go wrong with the venison blueberry, duck and bacon, or alligator and pork sausages, the real star is the bison sausage. Made from Colorado Grade bison, the sausage comes with two toppings (choices include apple and bacon sauerkraut or roasted red peppers) as well as curry ketchup, cornichons, and mustard.
2. LOCAL // JACKSON, WYOMING
is a casual steakhouse that serves buffalo tartare, seared buffalo medallions, and a buffalo burger. The buffalo tartare is hand-chopped and accompanied by potatoes and a black truffle vinaigrette. For a more filling dish, order the buffalo medallions, which are rubbed in coffee and served with a sweet potato puree and huckleberry demi-glace.
3. TED’S MONTANA GRILL // MULTIPLE LOCATIONS
Opened in 2002 in Columbus, Ohio, Ted’s Montana Grill has the world’s biggest bison menu, offering everything from bison-and-beef hamburgers, cheeseburgers, and sliders to the more esoteric bison nachos, chili, and meatloaf. Founded by Ted Turner (who started CNN) and businessman George McKerrow Jr., Ted’s Montana Grill has grown into a chain of 44 restaurants in 16 states. By increasing the demand for bison meat and encouraging ranchers to grow their herds, Turner and McKerrow are actually helping to stop the extinction of the American bison.
4. NO NAME SALOON // PARK CITY, UTAH
After a long day of skiing in Park City, head to No Name Saloon. The menu’s tagline is “Don’t be a wimp, try the buffalo burger,” but the buffalo nachos (corn tortilla chips with black beans, ground buffalo meat, cheese, and guacamole) and buffalo steak hoagie are just as tasty. If you’d rather not be called a wimp, order the buffalo sliders to get a taste of the BBQ bacon cheeseburger, bacon bleu cheeseburger, and saloon burger, all made with bison.
5. THE LAKE YELLOWSTONE HOTEL DINING ROOM // YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, WYOMING
Sitting in The Lake Yellowstone Hotel Dining Room, you’ll get to enjoy the breathtaking views of Yellowstone Lake and nosh on some great bison. You can’t go wrong with the restaurant’s bison burger, which consists of half a pound of farm-raised bison on a grilled parmesan black pepper roll. The bison tenderloin is also a treat: It’s served with crimini mushrooms, mashed potatoes, and a sage and rosemary demi-glace.
6. THE COUNTER // MULTIPLE LOCATIONS
If you like customizing your burgers, you’ll love the casual burger chain The Counter. Of the eight proteins, organic bison is always available. You can customize your bison burger by choosing from 68 toppings and six buns, but if you’re not feeling especially creative, don’t sweat it. You can order the Bison is Gouda burger, a bison burger with smoked gouda, bacon onion marmalade, spinach, and a sunny side up egg on a brioche bun, or the Bison and Brie salad, which is served with dried cranberries, jalapeños, and apricot sauce.
7. SPUR RESTAURANT & BAR // TETON VILLAGE, WYOMING
is the restaurant at Teton Mountain Lodge & Spa. Highlights of Spur’s menu include the grilled buffalo ribeye, which is served with heirloom carrots, onions, and a red wine reduction, and the dry aged buffalo sliders, featuring pancetta, white cheddar, arugula, and truffle aioli.
8. BONNELL’S RESTAURANT // FORT WORTH, TEXAS
Since 2001, Bonnell’s Restaurant has sourced high quality meats, cheeses, and herbs from local Texas ranchers and farmers. Order the smoked buffalo sandwich, which comes with a tasty horseradish cream. (This sandwich is similar to a BLT, but the B stands for buffalo rather than bacon.) Bonnell’s also makes a pepper-crusted buffalo tenderloin, served with truffled pommes frites and grilled asparagus.
9. TOCABE // DENVER, COLORADO
Operating since late 2008, Tocabe is an American Indian restaurant in Denver (with a second location in Greenwood Village, Colorado). Owned by tribal members of the Osage Nation, Tocabe makes bison ribs (accompanied by a berry barbecue sauce) and ground bison nachos.
10. MADDOX RANCH HOUSE // PERRY, UTAH
If you want to eat bison at Maddox Ranch House, a steakhouse that focuses on the classic combo of meat and potatoes, you have plenty of options. You can get the bison ribeye (14 ounces, boneless cut), bison chicken fried steak (served with gravy), or sautéed bison (12 ounces of grilled ground bison). No matter which bison dish you choose, all of Maddox Ranch House’s bison is pasture raised, free of hormones and antibiotics, and aged and cut in shop.