Here in this blog I will introduce you to the surprising variety of food available in Rexburg, Idaho. Being a relatively small town, with relatively not a lot to do, and yet pressure to go on dates anyway, I decided it would be fitting to analyze the many local eateries and help you make important decisions such as "Where do I want to eat today?" or "What restaurant would be good tonight?" or "Where so I take my date to dinner?" Therefore, check out the reviews (written by an amateur connoisseur) and make your decisions accordingly. Since some of the restaurants are major chains that you can find all over the place, I chose to ignore those and focus on the smaller chains and local gems. for you convenience I will list what restaurants were reviewed in what month. You can also follow them as links. You can also also follow the labels to find specifics such as desserts, burger joints, or the coveted Top 10. (The labels are at the bottom)
Located passed the roundabout near Yellowstone highway and Les Schwab
I avoided going to Frontier Pies for a long time. I felt it would be the ultimate assimilation into Rexburg, and I just couldn’t do that. But then I did. I went for Pie. I love pie. I’m not made of stone. The first thing I saw when I walked in was a man walking around wearing a coon skin cap. I laughed. The interior is very quaint and rustic. Log Cabin style walls, the tables are in booths named after small towns like Ashton, and the decorations are old photographs and saws. Water is served in mason jars in true bachelor/Rocky Mountain fashion.
One of the patrons remarked that it smelled like Grandma. Or maybe like Grandma’s house… whichever one smells like chicken pot pie. I didn’t try the real food there; I went specifically for pie and corn bread. I did see though that the menu had liver and onions. This is an old fashioned style eatery. The pie comes by the slice or by the whole pie. If you’re daring, you can get your pie warmed up and with ice cream. They make their pies every morning, so there is a risk your pie will be gone, but not likely. I had blueberry, and tried the Dutch apple, which is my new favorite. Dutch apple pie is normal apple pie with wooden shoes and delicious crumblys on top. Both pies were very sweet, the slices were big, and the ice cream was creamy. It was a really good slice of pie. The corn bread was also quite good. It was served with honey butter, and the corn bread itself had a honeyesque taste – it was sweeter cornbread than most recipes. All in all, the assimilation risk is sort of worth the pie. I’m still just a visitor in this town though – I didn’t eat the liver and onions or any of the real food. I just went for pie I swear.
5 Buck pizza offers a variety of pizzas for five dollars. Unlike Little Caesar’s, which also offers five dollar pizzas, your variety at 5 Buck pizza is much larger. They have a long list of possible toppings, and the amount you can put on your pizza for five dollars is dependent on the size of the pizza. Smaller pizzas mean more toppings. If you want larger pizzas with more toppings, or gourmet pizzas, they have a variety of those as well, they just cost more. Of note is the Bigfoot, with its subsequent Bigfoot Challenge. While a normal large is 14 inches, the Bigfoot is 20 inches. The challenge is to eat the whole thing in an hour. You can even choose the toppings. I went with pepperoni. I’m a sucker for the classics. The hour started off strong – I ate half the pizza in 20 minutes (hint to future contenders – wait before you start until it cools off). I got two more slices down (there are eight) without a problem, and then all the sudden I began to lose. The last half hour was brutal. I soldiered on and ate another slice. I even got a couple of bites into the last piece – number 8. Then my time ran out. I was borderline comatose for the next four hours. I was greatly disappointed in myself, and felt the time had come to unofficially retire from professional amateur binge eating. On that day, June 10, 2011, in Rexburg, Idaho food won.
Located on by the roundabout and Colonial Apartments, next door to Alphagraphics
From the outside Da Pineapple Grill, hereby referred to as the Pineapple Grill, looks to be a fast food restaurant with a Hawaiian flare. From the inside, it’s actually a kind of cool sit down restaurant/sushi bar. The ambiance is relaxing, decorated with a kind of luau based theme. I just felt like chillin’. I can’t explain it, nor will I try. It was just cool, a’ight? Don’t judge.
The thing to do is show up from 12 to 2 on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. That’s when you get the lunch specials. This is important, because the Pineapple Grill isn’t remotely cheap. the lunch specials are a little more so though. The pineapple chicken is highly recommended by some, but I went to try their sushi since it’s a sushi bar.
I selected a platter and then sat at the sushi bar while they made the food. You could watch them prepare everything. My favorite is the tuna nigiri, although the salmon nigiri is really good too. Nigiri is raw fish served with rice, pressed together. The Hawaiian Rolls (otherwise known as California Rolls) have crab, seaweed (more tasty than I thought), and avocado, with rice. And there was this delightful little pouch of rice and sesame seeds called inarizushi. I guess the pouch is made of fried tofu. But it’s fried so it’s okay. What I didn’t dig as much was the ginger and wasabi. Since ginger looks a little like raw fish I ate some, and it was awful. But that’s the ginger’s fault, not the establishment. The sushi was good, better than I thought it would, but in the end, price is a determining factor. If you want a classy date though (Prom?) (the college equivalent of Prom?) then this is a good spot to go. It’s bodacious.
Located behind Gringo’s, in the heart of the Date District
To be honest, I think BRC’s et al. is what made the Date District become the date district, in conjunction with the cheap theater. Everything else there seems to expand from around it in concentric circles. Really blocky, uneven concentric circles. Since the establishment is really home to four establishments (three of which I’ll discuss), I have lumped them all together. The establishment itself is rather quaint. The indoors is still designed to give it an outdoor, kind of Parisian café kind of feel. A lesser man might even call it cute. But not me. Ever.
If you go in, you’re probably looking specifically for:
BRC’s Frozen Custard
Custard is ice cream with higher egg and lower air content. BRC’s offers custard in place of ice cream, but you basically eat/order/play with it in the same way. The signature thing to get is an Avalanche. That’s a custard shake with a couple of mix-ins. The custard flavors change from time to time, but they don’t usually have a large variety all at once. I always stick with the classic vanilla, which is the best way to judge a frozen foodery. Their selection of mix in toppings is also a little small, but that’s actually a good thing. None of the fancy crap that would make it hip, just the classic stuff that makes it good - Oreo chunks, chocolate, sprinkles and the like. The thing is, there is a peculiar taste to the custard, something I can’t quite put a finger on. It almost has a more pudding type taste to it. If you like pudding, you’ll love BRC’s. You can also get cool stuff like a waffle with custard and toppings or a freeze, which is like a blended float – soda and custard, but blended together. You may make it your dessert shop of choice, or you might not be moved. No one hate’s BRC’s, but some people like ice cream more.
Right behind you there is:
Frank’s Pulled Pork
Pulled pork is good stuff. You can get it served in a Styrofoam cup and eat it with a fork. It’s dripping in sauce, so no white shirts or first dates (because you’ll come out looking like a slob) but if you want BBQ flavored meat, Franks is the way to go. And next to it:
We’re Twisted Pretzels
They use pretzels like other shops use bread. For sandwiches. My favorite is the respectably priced Twisted Dog. It’s a hot dog, inside a pretzel. It’s a good quality hot dog, inside a good quality pretzel. Dip it in some mustard, and you’ve got an awesome little snack. I haven’t tried the pretzel based sandwiches, but I’m intrigued. And they have a decent variety of just straight pretzels, though it’s hard to beat the cinnamon and sugar classic.
All in all, it’s a good spot to visit at least once and experience. It just didn’t make my top 10.
Gator Jacks started in Rigby, but decided to expand to Rexburg. The first time I went to Gator Jack’s, it happened to be the one in Rigby. The place (especially the Rexburg one) is designed on the inside to give a murky, Louisiana Bayou kind of feel. It’s a little dark inside, but it augments the dining experience rather than detracts from it. They installed wood decks indoors, have fake trees; it’s really a cool establishment to go into. They offer Alligator Jambalaya for the really brave. Alligator meat is fantastic – it tastes like sweet pork (not chicken), and is one of my favorites. They also offer what are called Gator Bites. Gator Bites are these delightful little potato thingies that I could eat by the barrel. Note – by delightful little potato thingies I am not talking about tater tots. I’m not talking about fries. I’m not talking about chips. They are itty bitty potatoes, boiled and somehow magically seasoned to a state of scrumtralessence. Hence, the title of delightful little potato thingies. If you still don’t understand, go and try them – they’re amazing. They also give you a cookie with your order, which is usually a chocolate chip cookie that is a little bit heavy on the chocolate. No one has ever complained of that.
Alas, there is something to complain about. With all the sandwich shops in this town (3 Subways, a Jimmy John’s, and all the sandwich places I’ve blogged about), a competing sandwich shop needs to have good sandwiches. They don’t. There are many good things about Gator Jacks, but their sandwiches aren’t one of them. For one, they are expensive - $5 get’s you a four inch sandwich. A six inch sandwich is nearly $7. In Rigby, their bread was mediocre – the kind of fluffy stuff that sort of dissolves in spit. Rexburg does better bread, but they still don’t register well. The key to a good sandwich is balance. I have also recently discovered that the other key is texture. These sandwiches though fall short. The lettuce is limp and over abundant, the other vegetables aren’t nearly as strong a presence, and the sauces (e.g. mustard) are heaped on a little much. It was one of the messiest sandwiches I’ve had. The bread is soft, which is usually a good thing, but this resulted in a soft and unsatisfying sandwich. A crunchier pickle could make a huge difference, perhaps fresher lettuce, (that isn’t as shredded, and less of it) or onions in rings and strips instead of chunks. These are little things, and you may think I’m sandwich obsessed, but try the difference. Half the sandwich needs to be firm. The best sandwiches have crunch and resistance, as well as soft pliability. If the bread had been toasted more, that too could have helped. But in the end, sandwiches are not the strong point here. The ambiance and the Gator Bites, and maybe the jambalaya are the factors that give Gator Jack’s a fighting chance. They also have a breakfast menu and non sandwich items – those may be worth a shot too.
Located near Taco bell on Main Street during the nicer months or across from Porter Park
Having never been a huge sno-cone fan I can’t be certain of all the locations in Rexburg, or even if they happen to be different businesses, but these things are all over in the “summer” months and I think they’re all the same. Because of their prevalence, sno-cones are a Rexburg summer tradition. Imagine yourself sitting in Porter Park (or Smith if you must), with the sun shining, the grass green instead of white, and eating a sno-cone. Sound like a pretty sweet gig. I’d be less enthusiastic in my recommendation if it was only a sno-cone you were getting, but if you do this right, you get a sno-cone on top of ice cream. That’s what makes it such a sweet gig. At least at Sno-oasis you pay by the size and not the flavors, so you can get creative, but remember that too many flavors makes a brown and gross sno-cone. I would recommend black cherry. I don’t trust foods that are an artificial blue, but you can go with blue flavor, red flavor, green flavor (like slurpees, most sno-cone flavors are classified by color. Blue et al. are flavors) and so forth. The ice is finely shaven so it isn’t chunky. I don’t know what it is about the ice cream but it kind of augments the sno-cone itself. You can even get cream on top. You may as well – cream is good. In conclusion, if you’re here during the summer months, get yourself a sno-cone and go sit at the park or in a parking lot. It’s tradition.
Hawaiian Shaved Ice located inside the Teriyaki Express
It's too early to tell it Hawaiian Shaved Ice will be a year long sno-cone establishment or not. While it is a seasonal food, they have a comfortable set up indoors. They are well priced, and provide a good compliment to the teriyaki you showed up for in the first place. They have a variety of flavors and flavor combinations. You can choose either a cutely named preset mix of flavors, or you can make up your own - the possibilities are copious. My favorite would be the Sour Patch Kid, although the Blue Raspberry is also really good. Most of the flavors are excellent, but I wouldn't recommend the Lemon-Lime. It reminded all of us of pine sol. The rest were all great though, so it didn't dampen our spirits.