When dining at the North Rim, expect traditional American fare with an occasional Southwestern twist—green chilis, salsa, and tortillas. Because this side of the canyon is more remote, dining options are fewer, and most venues close during the winter.
Jacob Lake Inn stays open year-round, serving hearty meals to winter travelers. Leave your suit or little black dress at home: Even at Grand Canyon Lodge, the North Rim’s most elegant dining option, casual dress is the norm.
Inside the Park
The Grand Canyon Lodge Dining Room (928/638-2611, ext. 760, breakfast 6:30-10 a.m., lunch 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., dinner 4:45-9:45 p.m. daily) is impressive: The high ceiling is supported by exposed log trusses (with hidden steel beams for support), and expansive windows overlook the Transept. The dining room is green-certified, with all-natural, hormone- and antibiotic-free meats, organic vegetable selections, and fair-trade coffee and tea. Children’s menus and a gluten-free menu are available.
The breakfast buffet ($11 adults) includes something for everyone, from homemade granola to hot items. From the menu, you can choose a hearty breakfast of eggs, pancakes, or French toast ($5-11), or order lighter fare (under $5).
Lunch choices in the lodge’s dining room include a pasta, bread, and salad bar ($12 adults). You can also order à la carte, from a selection of appetizers, salads, and lodge specialties that include the Roosevelt Burger, Uncle Jim’s Beef Stew, and Navajo tacos. You can make arrangements the previous day for a box lunch ($10) to take on a picnic or hike, ready for pickup at 6:30 a.m.
Dinner choices include salads ($10-12) and sandwiches ($15-20) for lighter appetites, or elegant dishes ($16-35) such as Margarita Blackened Salmon, Sunset Mushroom Pasta, or Teddy’s Bison Flank Steak. Dinner reservations (928/645-6865 Jan.-Apr., 928/638-2611 May-Oct.) are required. If you arrive without a reservation, check with the dining room host or hostess. You may be able to get a table, especially if you’re willing to wait for a later seating.
An alternative to eating in the dining room (which is often fully booked, especially around sunset) is the nightly cookout ($35 adults, $22 children), where visitors can eat alfresco a short distance from the lodge. Beef brisket, roast chicken, and sides are served chuckwagon style at 6:15 p.m. nightly, and reservations can be made until 4 p.m. the same day. Transportation and entertainment are included.
West of the lodge’s main entrance you’ll find the Deli in the Pines (7 a.m.-9 p.m. daily). Selections range from ready-made salads and sandwiches to scrambled-egg breakfast burritos, pizza, and soft-serve ice cream. Most items are under $10. The deli lacks atmosphere, but you can take your sandwich and head for a quiet spot under the trees.
Just east of the lodge entrance, the coffee shop (5:30-10:30 a.m.) serves the rim’s earliest—and best—cup of joe along with an assortment of pastries. Later in the day, it magically transforms into the Roughrider Saloon (11:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m.), offering appetizers and snacks to accompany soft drinks, beer, wine, and cocktails.
Inside the park at the North Rim Campground, the General Store (928/638-2611, 7 a.m.-8 p.m. May 15-Sept. 30, 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Oct. 1-14) sells camping and picnic supplies, snacks, groceries, and sundries from insect dope to bars of soap. You can take your sandwich or ice cream bar outside to the shady veranda, where a couple of small tables offer a comfortable spot to watch campground comings and goings.
Outside the Park
Kaibab Lodge (928/638-2389, www.kaibablodge.com), seven miles north of the park entrance, cooks up full breakfasts ($4-8), lunches, and casual dinners ($7-25) daily. If you’re planning an early hike or an afternoon picnic, you can get lunches and breakfasts to go, and sack lunches are prepared on request. Children’s menus are available. From the dining room’s large windows, you can watch deer grazing in the meadows morning and evening. Watch for the daily dinner specials, listed on the board next to the registration desk.
Jacob Lake Inn (928/643-7232, www.jacoblake.com, 6:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. summer-fall, 8 a.m.-8 p.m. winter-spring, $6-25) serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner year-round to grateful guests and travelers. Breakfast highlights are the buttermilk pancakes and French toast made from home-baked bread. The lunch and dinner menus include the popular Grand Bull Sandwich, ground beef with all the trimmings—including mushrooms and green chilis—on the inn’s grilled bread. Service is friendly, but if you arrive at the same time as a bus tour, consider skipping the dining room experience and head instead for the inn’s deli and bakery, where you’ll find tasty baked goods.
Seven miles north of the park entrance, across the highway from the Kaibab Lodge, the North Rim Country Store (928/638-2383) has a limited selection of snacks and camping supplies as well as souvenirs, newspapers, and fuel.
In addition to its restaurant, the Jacob Lake Inn (928/643-7232) has a small deli where you can pick up a loaf of freshly baked bread and a bottle of wine for a picnic. But if you lack willpower, avert your eyes when you pass by the bakery counter’s glass cases: The giant homemade cookies are irresistible.
© Kathleen Bryant from Moon Grand Canyon, 5th Edition