The Village Cafe Closes…Again

Time runs out on popular Teton Village gathering spot

The Village Cafe, seen here at its original site, spent the last two winters at the Inn at Jackson Hole. But it may be closing for good now. Photo: Matt Hansen
The Village Cafe, seen here at its original site, spent the last two winters at the Inn at Jackson Hole. But it may be closing for good now. Photo: Matt Hansen

As Jackson Hole Mountain Resort prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary this winter, it will happen without a key component that contributed so mightily to its historic and influential core ski culture: the Village Cafe.

In a Facebook post earlier Friday, the VC’s owner Dom Gagliardi announced that the popular après hangout is ceasing operations out of the Inn at Jackson Hole, where it had relocated after its original home, the Village Center, was torn down at the end of 2013.

“As of now, the VC has removed its belongings from the space and we will look for another opportunity down the road,” Gagliardi wrote. “I want to thank everyone at the Inn for welcoming us and allowing us to keep the dream alive for a year and a half after the Village Center era ended.”

He added that the decision between the Inn and VC was mutual. “As the summers were a very difficult business to maintain, and remodeling will be happening this winter, it made most sense to let them operate food service on their own,” he wrote.

Should the VC go away for good, it marks the end of an era, and leaves the Mangy Moose as the only watering hole in Teton Village that isn’t located in a luxury hotel. While terrain and snowfall are ultimately what make Jackson Jackson, the VC—from its early days in the 1960s when it was known as the Bear Claw—played an important role as a gathering place for those who shared the common bond of making skiing and snowboarding the top priority in their lives. As the resort transitioned into one of the most sought-after and popular destinations in the U.S., and as Teton Village expanded with a Four Seasons Hotel and other high-end properties, the VC became an authentic reminder of the mountain’s free-spirited roots. It was a little dirty, a little hippie, and a lot of what is so great in skiing—a gathering spot where being a ‘ski bum’ is something to be celebrated. So while Jackson Hole enters its 50th year, a lot of skiers who may have otherwise been partying might instead just be searching for that lost element of the VC.

Just a wild guess, but this is probably frowned upon at the Four Seasons. Photo: Matt Hansen
Just a wild guess, but this is probably frowned upon at the Four Seasons. Photo: Matt Hansen