By: Nick Perkins
The District is home to many incredible restaurants, shops and venues. But, as with most towns of our size, it’s the bars that bring in the most people and we are lucky to have a handful of the best ones in Casper, all within walking distance of each other. The Gaslight Social, C85 Wonder Bar, The Office and Frosty’s Bar & Grill are all unique and they all offer something special to anyone who steps foot inside their respective establishments. From the staff, to the entertainment, to the beers and cocktails, each of these four bars present something different and represent something different to the community.
Perhaps the best thing about each of these bars is the fact that they all have an equally unique and diverse food menu for when patrons need to sop up the alcohol with some carbs. Each establishment boasts a full menu of burgers, steaks, tacos, chicken wings and more. The chefs and cooks at these bars are truly Jacks of All Trades and masters of many. So, being the curious and hangry website that we are, and because food is bae, we decided to ask each bar what their signature dish was. They all had one. They were all consumed. They were all delicious.
The Gaslight Social
Subscribing to their name, the signature dish of The Gaslight Social is something that is encouraged to be shared with friends. According to Head Cook, Chance Yingling, nachos are the signature dish of The Gaslight Social.
“Nothing about these nachos is average,” Yingling boasted. “Everything is made in house; fresh corn tortillas, house made queso, all of our meats are seasoned with their own special seasonings, fresh hand-cut vegetables- everything about them is delicious.”
Plating and presentation are important to any dish, even one served within the confines of a bar/arcade. Luckily, Yingling makes sure that each dish coming out of his kitchen is Instagram worthy. But looks mean nothing if it doesn’t taste good. These nachos do. One bite will make you forget all about your beer, your date, your problems because, for that one moment, all that matters is nachos.
“I don’t think anyone does them quite like us in town,” Yingling continued. “The house made says it all, really. Everything is special. You’re not going to find queso like this anywhere in town. I don’t think anyone hand fries their tortilla chips like we do. We sell more nachos than probably anything else. It’s a great social food.”
It makes sense, really, that the signature dish of a place called The Gaslight Social would be the most social food on the planet. But, if you order an entire plate for yourself, we will not judge you. Still, it’s encouraging that everything about The Gaslight Social is designed for people to engage with each other. Whether it’s a game of Mario Kart in the arcade, beer pong or even the food- The Gaslight Social wants you to be, well, social.
C85 Wonder Bar
Steak. It is the foundation of any Wyoming diet and if you don’t like it then get the hell out. (Just kidding, all are welcome here- even our annoying vegan friends). There are few places in town that prepare a really good, Wyoming-worthy steak. There are even fewer places in The District. The good news is, we don’t need very many places, because we have The Wonder Bar. A place that was formerly known for its hot wings and something called The Tower of Taste (don’t ask…it was a heart attack waiting to happen) can now boast that they quite possibly serve up the best steaks in town and that’s why, according to Kitchen Manager Kayla Page, a steak is the signature dish of The Wonder Bar.
“This is a Wyoming Legacy New York Steak that we get locally here in Casper,” Page stated. “It’s a dry-aged steak that we dry for 28 days. We also put it in a sous-vide machine to tenderize it for 4-6 hours, which makes a tremendous difference. It’s really mouth-watering, whether you get it anywhere from medium to well done; it’s still very tender.”
If that sounds delicious, then just wait until you actually try it. It melts like buttah. Because Mom told us never to skimp on veggies, the steak is served with any number of sides, including mashed potatoes and Brussel sprouts, which you would think, “ew,” but each bite compliments each other perfectly.
There are cooks and then there are artists. A cook will fry some eggs or throw a steak on the grill and send it out. Kayla Page, indeed the whole kitchen crew at The Wonder Bar are artists. They genuinely care about each dish they send out. Page will look out over the patrons as they enjoy their meals, taking note of the facial expressions and body language of each. She cares about doing a good job and when it comes to their signature dish, the Wonder Bar does a very, very good job.
In a District full of new ventures, it’s nice to have a place like The Office holding down the proverbial fort. The Office has, in some shape or another, been in existence for decades. Jim Kanelos, owner of The Office, said that his dad started a restaurant before Jim was even born and that the restaurant business has been in the family blood for years. Kanelos and his wife, Karen, are proud of that history and Jim is proud of his Greek heritage as well, which is why the gyro is the signature dish of The Office.
“I’d say the gyro sandwich is our signature dish,” Kanelos stated. “It’s got gyro meat of course (chicken or beef). Then it’s got the tzatziki sauce, pita bread, lettuce, tomato, we put a little feta in there, onion and it all makes for a delicious sandwich.”
It does make for a delicious sandwich, but what if The District wants a Greek/Asian infusion? The Office has us covered.
“We’ve also incorporated, since we’ve reopened, a gyro egg roll. It’s our gyro sandwich, wrapped in a wonton and deep fried and, again, the thing that highlights it the most is the tzatziki sauce.”
Melissa Bowlds is the Head Chef at The Office, and she said that the greatest part about working there, besides the occasional free gyro, is the family-like atmosphere.
“It’s refreshing to come to a place that is so generational. I love it. I love learning new things and I hope that I’m doing them proud.”
Judging by the immense flavor that the gyro puts out, we think she is definitely doing them proud. Jim and Karen should be proud of their chef, of their sandwich and of their entire establishment. It is truly a family business and any time somebody enters the bar, they are treated like family. Like any good family, they want to make sure visitors leave well-fed. The gyro sandwich is a guaranteed way to leave well-fed, but you will also feel well-loved.
“We pride ourselves on being hands on owners,” Kanelos said. “One of us is always present. We like to interact with our guests and we strive to give the best service and the best experience we can.”
Frosty’s Bar & Grill
Sometimes, one does not want the frills of a steak or sushi or anything that our annoying vegan friends are offering. Sometimes, one just wants a burger and one of the best burgers in town comes from Frosty’s Bar & Grill.
It is called “The Wyoming Burger,” and it encompasses everything that is great about this state. It is simple but effective and it gets the job done. One of the cooks at Frosty’s, Joe Perea, said that this burger is by far their highest seller and it all has to do with their ingredients, their cooking process and their price.
Perea said The Wyoming Burger is “a bacon cheeseburger with an onion ring, along with our Sidewinder Fries- they’re delicious; they’re like really big curly fries. It’s got our signature BBQ Sauce, and it’s probably our biggest seller.”
A good burger is a transcendental experience. It can take you places that you never thought you would go. A good burger for a good price is even better. And, according to Perea, eating that burger inside the walls of Frosty’s is an incredible experience.
“It’s good food, cheap beer and a fun environment,” Perea stated. “This isn’t a super busy bar. It’s not super loud. There are no dance floors or pool tables, so you actually get to connect with people. You don’t see people on their phones; they’re actually talking to each other.”
Chances are, what most people at Frosty’s are talking about between themselves, is how good the burgers are.
There we have it. Four signature dishes from four bars in The District. Just because those are the signature dishes, that does not mean any of these establishments are a one-trick pony. Each bar has an incredible menu with food that will blow your minds and melt your hearts. Be sure to visit any and all of these locations and let us (and them!) know what your favorite food has been.
**Authors Footnote- Whenst coming up with the idea for this article, I did not intend for it to procure me actual examples of said signature dishes. That being said, every restaurant offered their dish to me and I took them up on it, because duh. My Journalism professor would shake his finger at me for taking what could be considered to be “a bribe.” Was it unethical? Possibly. But was it delicious? Absolutely. I regret nothing.