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If possible, eat dinners at The Lodge at Bryce Canyon. This is definitely the best restaurant in the area. But if you're here more than two nights and want some variety, second best is the Stone Hearth Grill down in the village of Tropic. After those two, your choices come down to Barbeque, Pizza, or family type restaurants.

Breakfast is another matter. The Lodge offers a Continental break- fast, but the only hot items are oatmeal and coffee. Your best bet is Cowboys at Ruby's Inn at the park entrance. Cowboys offers a full range of ham, eggs, sausage, pancakes, french toast, etc.

Lunch depends on your hiking style. If you're hiking one trail in the morning, pausing at noon, then hiking a second trail in the afternoon, the Lodge offers a great lunch. If you're hiking one of the longer trails, like the Fairyland Loop, and will be gone all day, you might stop at the General Store near the Lodge, or at the store in Ruby's, and buy supplies for a packed lunch. If you're hiking up from Tropic, there's a grocery store for packing a lunch.

If you're staying at Ruby's and coming back to the room for your lunch break, there's the Canyon Diner, with a standard menu of fast food.

The Lodge At Bryce Canyon Restaurant does a fair job of breakfast and an outstanding job with lunch and dinner. Their "Deluxe Continental Breakfast" includes Pastries, Toasted Bagels, Assorted Cold Cereals, Hot Oatmeal, Yogurt, Fresh Fruit, Gourmet Coffees, Hot Teas and Assorted Juices. The Coffee is outstanding. If you like to load up with Eggs, Sausage, Ham, Pancakes, Omelettes or Biscuits before a hike, you're out of luck.

They do a much better job at lunch. The big favorite is the Elk Chili (ground Elk, white beans, shredded cheddar jack cheese). The Salads are excellent. There's a classic Caesar, a Sonoran (fresh greens, corn, tomatoes, onions, beans, cheese), and a Queen's Garden (beets, oranges, bleu cheese, onion, parsley, walnuts). They offer a full lineup of burgers and sandwiches, the best of which is the Pulled Pork Sandwich. Another great selection is the Bison Meatloaf. And you can order more of that Coffee.

But it's at Dinner where the Lodge really excels. They start with an excellent Quesadilla. There's a Noodle Bowl, a Stuffed Poblano Pepper, the Buffalo Sirloin, Bison Stew, Chicken Picatta, and Rainbow Trout. You could order the Salmon, a Filet or the Pork Chop. If you still have room, Dessert includes a Hot Fudge Sundae.

Portions are generous. Due to staffing shortages in the aftermath of COVID, service is a tad slow, but it's an attractive dining room with views out large windows.

Since this is the only restaurant in the park, it stays full with lodge guests. We recommend eating early, before the rush. If you're staying at Ruby's, you can drive into the park after 5 p.m. and parking at the lodge will be available. If you want to eat lunch here, you'll have to take the shuttle in, unless you're already hiking one of the trails, in which case the trailheads are either close to the lodge, or served by the shuttle which will bring you here quickly.

The Stone Hearth Grill is in the village of Tropic, at the "bottom" of the park. It's a 15 minute drive out of the park, then right (east) on Route 12. There's a great deck with views looking up at the park from the valley. The food here is excellent, if a bit pricey, but the menu is limited and you must make reservations well ahead. Among Appetizers the Smoked Egg Plant, Smoked Meatballs and Roasted Beets are the best. There's a good Wedge Salad and French Onion Soup. The Stone Hearth takes great pride in their steaks, which are grass fed on ranches in southern Utah. Their Filet and Ribeye are outstanding. We're way too far from the ocean for their seafood entrees to be outstanding, but their Poblana Relleno is one of the best Rellenos we've tasted, and we've ordered them at many of the finest Mexican restaurants in the country. The Smoked Grilled Chicken is very good. If you can save room, the Vanilla Cheesecake is memorable. There's an extensive wine list, half from California, others from around the world. Their Coffee is excellent. Skip the Iced Tea (we've found no one in Utah knows how to make Iced Tea) and order the Lemonade. One more time : Make Reservations Well Ahead, maybe before leaving home.
If you're up for something a little different, Ebenezer's is a "Cowboy Dinner Show" with pretty good entertainment and tolerable food. The Bar G Wranglers play and sing songs from Gene Autrey, Roy Rogers, the Sons Of The Pioneers and other 1940s and 1950s cowboy performers. They do a good job of mixing instrumental and vocal performances with comedy and audience interaction. The usual way of eating here is the $22 buffet. It offers a wide array of soups, salads, fruits, vegetables and meats. Sadly, the quality isn't there. The Turkey, for example, is not real Turkey but the kind of turkey loaf you can buy at most groceries. Often, the food on the buffet is only warm, not hot. Or you can order off the menu. The Soups, Salads and Sides are usually good, but the entrees are mediocre. So you come to Ebenezer's mainly for the show, which is pretty good once each time you come to Bryce. Expect a long line for the buffet, but it moves fast.

Coil Cowboys is the restaurant inside the main Ruby's Inn building. It's a lot bigger than it looks from outside. They do their best job at breakfast. Later in the day, results are mixed. There's a buffet or you can order off the menu. In general, the meats are good but the vegetables are average or mediocre. Among their best entrees are the Pot Roast, Rib Eye, Chicken Fried Steak, Loaded Mashed Potatoes, Quesadillas, both Mushroom and Goat Cheese Ravioli, Fish Tacos and Pulled Pork. Everything else tastes like it has been frozen, boxed or bagged. We understand that Bryce is a long way from the ocean or major farming areas, so shipping seafood, fruits or vegetables to here is expensive and they lose taste travelling all that distance. But if you run a restaurant, that's your challenge. It's your job to find a way to serve fresh ingredients. One problem is that after 100 years of having a monopoly in this area, Cowboys has grown complacent. We remember eating here 10 and 20 years ago when it was much better. To be fair, there's not a supervising chef to enforce consistency. The food quality fluctuates up and down depending on who's working in the kitchen on a particular day at a particular time. You might have a lot better experience. Or a lot worse.

IDK Barbeque is located down in Tropic, at the "bottom" of the park. To get there you drive north from the park and turn right onto State Route 12. From the park entrance it's about 15 minutes. IDK is on Route 12 in the middle of the village of Tropic. We live in the South, where BBQ is a religion. We're very familiar with BBQ. It is amazing to us that out here in the middle of nowhere, this BBQ is not bad, certainly worth the short drive. The menu is brief. You choose Brisket, Sweet Chicken or Pork. You choose two sides from Cole Slaw (mayo based), Baked Beans, Cornbread, Mac n Cheese or Potato Salad. There's also a Loaded Baked Potato, which is a meal in itself. And there's Peach Cobbler for dessert. The sides are the biggest disappointment; they're shipped in, not homemade. The Cobbler is homemade and it's great. No matter when you go, expect a 30 minute line. The sauce they serve is a compromise; it's tasty but not extremely sweet or vinegary. Portions are generous. We recommend eating early --- 11:30 for lunch and 5:30 for dinner. Not only do the lines get ridiculous after noon and 6:00, but IDK often runs out of food. IDK began as a food truck, and as their reputation grew, they moved into this building. But they're still running it as a food truck, with two people working and little attention paid to outside seating.

Utah is not pizza country. They don't understand the nuances of how to fix it or have the proper ovens to bake it. If you develop a pizza craving at Bryce you're in trouble. However, there is one pizza outlet here, The Pizza Place in Tropic, 15 minutes away on route 12. The pizza here is not great. It's similar to Tombstone or Pizza Hut. But it is freshly made and better than anything else in the area. The staff is overworked so service is slow but if you've been hiking you're probably ready to sit down and relax with a cold drink. The Salads and some of the nonpizza items --- like the Fish & Chips --- are good. The pizza crust is too thick and a little undercooked and often the whole pizza is undercooked, a function of not having a real pizza oven. Vegetarians love the Pesto Pizza here. You can order a Gluten Free pizza. They offer wines and craft beers.
Panguitch is a small town 30 minutes northwest, a pleasant drive through Red Canyon. If you're staying at Bryce for a week, you might like to go over to Panguitch one evening to eat at Cowboy's Smoke House Cafe. The Cafe is one of those classic small town eateries that's been owned by the Perkins and Magoon families for a long time, using old family recipes. Among Appetizers, the Soup of the Day is always worth ordering, but there's also their Smokehouse Chile. The Pulled Pork Salad is a unique item salad lovers will want to try. The Smokehouse is locally famous for its Green Chili Pork Burrito, Trout, Mesquite BBQ, and Mesquite Cooked Sirloin. The Dutch Oven Cobbler and Trail Drive Pudding are outstanding desserts. If you're driving back to I-70 or Salt Lake City on your way home, you might stop here that morning and try their famous Spanish Omelette or Bunkhouse Breakfast. The Coffee is good but if you've never had the Old West drink of Sarsaparilla this is a good place to try it.
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