Special Issues » Restaurant Guide

Pioneer Saloon

320 Main St. S., Ketchum, 208-726-3139

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Meat and potatoes: It's easy for this staple to sound rather mundane but not in the hands of the crew at the Pioneer Saloon in Ketchum.

The landmark restaurant has been serving up some serious steaks and spuds for more than three decades. It's the no-frills, honest, quality food--along with a very healthy dose of Western character, complete with an old-fashioned bar and trophy heads on the wall--that has earned a steady flow of loyal customers.

Sure, everyone has his or her favorite cut, but Gerard Kelly, manager since 1978, said the hands-down favorite is the prime rib. The Pio uses corn-fed, Midwestern beef, prized for its marbling and tenderness. They dry age it and apply a secret house-made dry rub, then slow roast it to juicy perfection--of course, the Pioneer Cut (one of five cuts) includes a quick scoring on the open flame grill, where all other steaks are prepared.

"It's a great, big, Fred Flintstone-looking thing," Kelly said.

And, speaking of things that look like they're from the prehistoric era, just take a gander at the baked potatoes. There are no weak spuds at the Pio. The bakers average 24 to 32 ounces--each. Add the weight of all that butter, sour cream and assorted fixin's, and you might not be able to lift your plate.

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