Wilderness Bites pic

A coconut shrimp basket and Wagyu burger are pictured at Wilderness Trail in Ridgway.

Editor’s note: This is a commentary feature by Ben Destefan, Courier Express editor, titled “Ben’s Bites” that is intended to support local restaurants while giving the new resident and his wife recommendations of places to eat. Readers can submit suggestions to: bites@thecourierexpress.com

Conveniently situated along Main Street, Wilderness Trail Restaurant & Saloon anchors a charming portion of downtown Ridgway.

The venue is inviting, offering a nice outside seating area while highlighting the region’s lumber history with murals and tree decor.

Having sat empty for several years, the building was recently revitalized and opened as Wilderness Trail near the end of 2019. Although still relatively new, the location is widely known with a menu that should please a variety of taste buds.

Here’s a recap of our recent visit:

Enjoying a beautiful afternoon in Elk County, we elected to sit outside under the gazebo along Main Street. Being more on the edge of downtown, the traffic was no bother with a nice breeze keeping it cool in the shade.

We kicked things off with pimento cheese bites, which packed a nice crunch of the breading around a gooey and delightful center.

Keeping lunch in mind, Lindsey went with the Wilderness Wagyu Burger, described as “a 8 oz. Wagyu beef patty grilled to perfection, topped with smoked cheddar cheese, housemade bacon jam and a black garlic mayo.”

Stealing my customary bite, I had a difficult time pinpointing the “star” of the dish between the distinct flavor of the beef, the jam and the garlic mayo. I ultimately narrowed it down to the garlic mayo despite being a pretty big fan of bacon.

Regardless, the combination made for a tremendous sample.

Every now and then I get in the mood for seafood. So, naturally, the coconut shrimp basket jumped off the menu.

Served with fries, coleslaw and pina colada dip, it suddenly felt beachy in Ridgway. There was a sizable portion, with each shrimp large enough for two bites, but in range of a single chomp. The dip added a rich coating to the delicate sweetness of the shrimp.

The fries also quietly emerged as a favorite, cut almost as thin as a chip with excellent seasoning.

A very reasonable bill capped our stay, with a complementary batch of Andes chocolate mints to go.

Needless to say, we’ll be back.

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For your favorite restaurant, which may have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, to be considered for “Ben’s Bites,” please email recommendations to: bites@thecourierexpress.com. Local, family-owned restaurants that receive the most reader recommendations will be given priority.

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