15 Years of Fine Dining: The Past, Present and Future of Rendezvous Bistro

(Jackson, Wyo.) - 15 years ago this Sunday, July 17, Rendezvous Bistro brought something new to the Town of Jackson -- a French-American restaurant with a city feel that didn't cost an entire paycheck to enjoy. Now, a decade and a half later, the the Bistro has grown into a staple of Jackson and is poised to bring its fare nationwide. *The Past* Gavin Fine and Chef Roger Freedman started Rendezvous Bistro in 2001. Fine had moved here when he was 21 to ski. He worked restaurant jobs around the valley to pay his way. When he was unsure what to do next he traveled Italy and France, considering a future in the wine business or as a chef. He met Freedman while working at the Snake River Grill. Then it was eating Moons Over My Hammy at Denny's in Jackson (which happens to be the current location of Rendezvous Bistro) where they visualized their new endeavor. "I wanted to open a French-American Bistro that was a little more Jacksonized," said Fine. "I thought that the town needed something like that at the time. It was very inexpensive, steak frites was the most expensive thing on the menu at $20." As a young adult in their 20's, Fine and his friends would save up for an entire month to afford a good meal out at a restaurant, so he wanted to create something a little different. "There were really good affordable sandwich shops and there were good high end restaurants, but there was nothing at that middle ground," Fine said. Fine set out to create a Jackson restaurant with a city feel. The wood in the interior made it feel like Jackson, but the butcher paper, old wine bottles used as water bottles, old bistro posters and oyster bar brought a city ambiance. *The Present* Over the last 15 years, much of the menu has stayed the same, such as the duck confit, roast chicken, French onion soup, steak frites and meatloaf. But the restaurant has worked to also incorporate emerging cultural trends in their cuisine. "[Back then] there was no such thing as gluten free and people ate richer than they do now," he said. "The evolution of food is lightening up. Things are a lot more local. We weren't able to get meat, greens and fish locally 15 years ago at all." Since opening Rendezvous Bistro in 2001, the Fine Dining Group opened Bistro Catering, Q Roadhouse and Brewing Co., Ill Villaggio Osteria, The Kitchen, Bin22 and Bodega. "I try to open up restaurants that the town wants or needs," said Fine. "They all revolve around there being a hole to fill." *The Future* So what is next for the Fine Dining Restaurant Group? National distribution of its beer and ice cream. "We are launching the brewing company," he said. "We started in the back of the Roadhouse with a 400-square-foot brewery and now we are building a 10,000-square-foot brewery and launching Roadhouse Brewing Company in the spring." He said that they plan to begin distributing beer in three states by May 2017, six states the following year and 10 states the year after that. They are also launching an ice cream company called Cream and Sugar, which they plan to distribute in national retail locations as well. This Sunday, July 17, exactly 15 years after the opening of Rendezvous Bistro, they are hosting a big community party. The free party runs from 3 - 9 p.m. at Rendezvous Bistro. It is free, open to the public, and includes food, drinks and music. “From day one, the Jackson Hole community played an absolutely integral role in the success of Rendezvous Bistro. As we enter our 15th year, we continue to be driven by the desire to bring our community together in what we believe to be an extension of our own home – our restaurant home – to celebrate life’s moments, no matter the size, in the way we know how: around the table. As much as this week will be a celebration of The Bistro’s last 15 years, we hope the events will also serve as celebrations for the entire community for their support over the years,” said Fine. *Feature Photo: (Left) Gavin Fine and (Right) Roger Freedman. h/t Fine Dining Restaurant Group / Pitchengine Communities* #buckrail #news #whatshappening