I’m happy to have Tio Wally (long-time Me So Hungry reader) aboard to send in his eating adventures from across America. Here he is in Kemmerer, Wyoming.

Greetings from Kemmerer, Wyoming
N 41° 47.4026’ W 110° 32.2095’ Elev. 6955 feet

New Year’s Eve 2013

I’d caught whiffs of the unmistakable smell of diesel intermittently for a couple of days. I looked for the source but saw nothing unusual. Sometimes you’ll get a whiff of it just from the inevitable little splashes that come from fueling.

So there we were, powering up a hill with our 45,000 pounds of designer potatoes, chichi spuds, if you will. That’s when it happened: The SS Me So Hungry blew a fuel line.

Here we were in the middle of Wheredafakawee, Wyoming, which is nowhere near the now-shuttered Fakawee’s Restaurant in Wamsutter. That was another 150 miles away. Utilizing my super-human powers of deduction, I concluded we were screwed.

Long story short: the wrecker came, hooked up the yacht, and dragged it away to the nearest big-rig fix-it place, in Kemmerer (pronounced “Kimmer”; one of the ers is silent).

Kemmerer is notable for at least one thing: It’s the home of the original J.C. Penney. It’s still open, in fact. According to local lore, it was opened as an alternative to the coal mining company’s stores, which paid the workers in script usable only in their stores, in order to force the companies to pay better wages. It’s a nice story but, I suspect, largely untrue.

By now you’re probably wondering: What do you do when you’re stuck in Kemmerer, Wyoming on New Year’s Eve, with no wheels, the temperature (without the windchill) is hovering around freezing, and light snow is in the forecast?

Well, first you pack up everything you think you’re going to need (parka, gloves, bomber hat, duck shoes, long johns, guitar, computer, etc.,) and then try and find a motel room closest to the most amenities available. Then you throw a party.

After securing a room at the Antler Motel (incorrectly listed as the Antler’s Motel on the Intertubes and elsewhere) I slogged down to the grocery store in Kimmerer, Ridley’s Family Markets, for party supplies.

I bought two bags of Original Fritos®, along with two cans of Fritos® Bean Dip and a half-gallon of Simply Orange® with Mango. All the items were on sale if you had a Ridley’s card. I didn’t. But the lady in front of me at the checkout did and graciously let me use hers. I saved $5.87 and earned her 10 points!

On the slog back to the Antler I stopped at Cafe Adimiah’s. It had been pointed out on the way to the motel by Andy, the wrecker driver, who deemed it “the best restaurant in town.” I figured, since he’d been in business here for 38 years, he would know all the best places to go in Kemmerer.

Excepting two women in a booth eating salads, the place was empty. I was kind of confused by the limited number of tables in the place. Maybe they were trying to make the place look spacious and airy. Then again, judging by the DJ setting up his Equipamentos projetados para irritar pessoas they were gearing up for their big New Year’s Eve bash. The special that night was Prime Rib for $22.50. Because I was a little too early to the party (it was about 4 p.m.) I just ordered off what appeared to be Adimiah’s somewhat overpriced menu.

It was cold outside and I’d just slogged what seemed like miles in the cold in my not-too-comfortable duck shoes, so I ordered Spaghetti ($10.99), described on the menu as “Spaghetti … let’s start with our homemade meaty sauce, and let’s not forget our noodles (No potato).” I figured it would not only be a lot of food, it would help me endure the last couple of blocks slogging uphill laden with party supplies to the balmy paradise of the room at the Antler.

The spaghetti came with a small dinner salad of leaf lettuce and three slices cucumber. I was starving and the salad was quite satisfying and really “hit the spot.” Then the spaghetti came.

I’m going to be as generous here as possible:

The spaghetti’s “homemade meaty sauce” was essentially canned spaghetti sauce with some browned ground beef thrown in. It was bereft of flavor and was seasoned, I think, to appeal to the crew of an aircraft carrier somewhere in mid-ocean where complaining is pointless. Moreover, the sauce was mixed in with the pasta (as opposed to ladled on top) depriving me of mixing the stuff myself to my taste. I’ve had much better spaghetti … like in my Junior High School cafeteria.

The dish was “complimented” with a diagonally-cut slice of Texas toast with some sort of flavorless (garlic?) spread on it. Although I had to ask for it, I also got a lumberjack-size thimble of Parmesan cheese. I was going to ask for more Parmesan but I kept seeing this short, markedly humorless Latino guy manning the till who vibed me into believing there would not only be an extra charge for more cheese, there would probably a lecture on burden rates and cost-volume-profit analysis as well.

Although I ate the whole thing, I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone seeking sustenance with flavor. Hell, Chef Boyardee might be a better choice, especially if you don’t mind sickeningly sweet stuff. On the other hand, the waitress was very nice.

Not that it matters much, I did not tell the Spanish-speaking twerp at the till “Tener un prospero año nuevo” (Have a Happy New Year) as I paid my bill. He seemed like it wasn’t in the realm of possibility. In fairness, I should say I never talked to the guy, never had any interaction with him other than a conversation-less transaction at the register. Is he an A-hole because he’s suffering with a syndrome described in psychological literature as “Napoleon complex”? I don’t know. Do I want to find out? Naw. Life’s too short … and I’m throwing a party!

When I got back to my luxurious digs at the Antler Motel I promptly posted the party announcement — Tio Wally’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve — on Facebook. I decked the halls and set up the drink and hors d’oeuvre table. And waited.

New Year’s Day 2014

Evidently nobody showed up for Tio Wally’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve party.

Perhaps it was the location. Maybe it was because I fell asleep at about 10 p.m. and didn’t hear the masses banging on the door; I’d had a 16 oz. A&W Root Beer and a bag of Pop Secret microwavable popcorn. Nevertheless, Tio Wally’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve turned out to be less than I’d hoped for. Then again, I slept through it and that was good.

But tonight we’re throwing the après la fête, with Chinese food from the premier Chinese restaurant in Kemmerer, Mandarin Garden. Again, everyone’s was invited.

I called Mandarin yesterday to set everything up. They said they delivered. Today they don’t.

Cab to the Mandarin was $10; I tipped $5 because it seemed like the right thing to do.

I tried ordering over the phone. But it was so difficult that I ended up getting a call from their daughter who spoke marginally better English than they did. The gist of her message: We don’t deliver.

Lookyhere: I’ll work with anyone, especially those whose primary language is not English. But I called Mandarin Garden yesterday and they said they delivered. Tonight when I tried to place my order all language barriers went up; they don’t deliver and they don’t speak English other than “You pick up.” This just isn’t right, not fair, not to mention frustrating.

So what did I get? I have no idea. I ordered Pork Lo Mein and something to compliment it. I now had some mixed meat and vegetable medley and another largely unidentifiable mix of pork and veggies. Is it good? It’s okay. But is it satisfying? No. And I had to take a cab ($15 with tip) to get this stuff — it’s cold outside.

I’ve talked to Chinese folks that don’t have a clue about what I’m saying/asking, but never so much so that I get a call from their daughter, who I also had trouble understanding. English is hard, I know. And I apologize for my lack of fluency in Mandarin. But, c’mon. I don’t care if we are in Kemmerer. Y’all gots to hep me. This is freakin’ Wyoming, y’all, you know?

So I ended up with a $40 adventure for Chinese food on New Year’s Day. Yea. Was it good? After the hassle and the misery, I’d say no. But I got to meet a great cabbie. (Thanks, Francis or Frances, however you spell your name.)

By the way, no one showed up for the Tio Wally’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve après la fête party. I’m now thinking it may be the location. Who’s to know?

January 2, 2014

We picked up the newly repaired power unit for the yacht this morning. Less than 1/16th of a mile into our new sailing adventure it blew the fuel line off. Again!

So far 2014 is not working out so well. We’re back at the luxurious Antler Motel. Again. On the agenda now is a tow to the dealer in Salt Lake City tomorrow. Yea. Or should I say, Yee-haw.

I must say that, being a pedestrian and all, I’ve been blessed weather-wise here in this 7,000 foot version of somebody else’s heaven. It’s not unusual for it to easily be -30° here (with the windchill factored in) at this time of year. Today it’s positively balmy; above freezing, sunshine, no wind. This is not to imply in any way, shape, or form that it doesn’t suck being stuck.

Today I’ve decided to hit the Mexican restaurant down the street, the El Jaliciense. I’d been trying to eat there for two days ago but they were closed. So today’s the big day.

I slogged down the street in the late afternoon, the sun in my eyes. I had my trusty bomber hat on, walking with my head down in an attempt to shield my eyes from the sun without exposing my hand to use as a visor. That’s when a big dog passed right in front of me. “Man, that dog walks weird,” I thought. I held up my hand to shield my eyes and saw that it wasn’t a dog at all. It was a deer.

I stood there amazed when four more walked out, crossing not 20 feet in front of me. It didn’t scare me at first until one with a 2-3 point rack walked out. I’m not really the outdoorsy type to begin with, but tangling with a 200-plus-pound deer with a rack of antlers is definitely out of my league.

They crossed the street only mildly concerned by my presence and hung around in somebody’s yard, eyeing me warily while I took pictures. Evidently Tio Wally is not regarded as a predator to some deer.

El Jaliciense may have been the highlight of my forced hiatus in Kemmperer. I had the beef and chicken Combo Fajitas ($11.99). They were okay but it reminded me of why I never, ever order fajitas: they’re kind of dull. It came with a side plate of rice and beans, salad, scoops of a really good guacamole and sour cream, which I’m developing a marked distaste for, and some pretty decent corn tortillas.

The real highlight, though, was that I got to speak my incredibly bad Spanish and the incredibly kind woman indulged me. She did not revert to English unless I asked her to, otherwise she treated me as if I could understand what she was saying and actually converse. That always flatters me. Hey, I don’t speak Spanish well but at least I try.

January 3, 2014

The SS Me So Hungry’s power unit has had its ass dragged here, to Salt Lake City. Now I’m at a Sleep(less) Inn in West Valley City, which is not to be confused with Salt Lake City. I know it all looks the same, but to rental car companies there appears to be a discernible difference.

Now that I’m here I’m thinking, what the fu… er, Phở. There’s a Vietnamese restaurant nearby. So let’s celebrate. What the Phở? (It’s actually pronounced like everyone’s favorite utilitarian curse word but without the “CK”)

I slogged over to the over to the Phở Saigon Noodle House and got Phở Tái, Bo Vien (I’m sorry I don’t have all the proper accent marks), a noodle soup with eye-of-round steak and beef meatballs. I like this stuff. The broth has a flavor I can’t figure out. I think it’s minty. I know there’s also anise (which I can’t really taste) and a host of other things in it. It’s kind of exotic and truly satisfying.

Now I’m bone tired. Burnt out. The Phở was great. And the people at the Phở Saigon Noodle House were fantastic. The nice man there let me try some Rainbow Agar, a tapioca-based Gummy Bear-esque topping used on various desserts. He kept saying it was like Jell-O®. It’s not a bit like Jell-O®. It actually has an interesting texture and real flavor. I liked it.

That’s more than I can say about a lot of things right now.

And so we roll. NOT!

Cafe Adimiah’s, 1012 Pine Ave., Kemmerer, Wyoming
Mandarin Garden, 801 S. Main St., Kemmerer, Wyoming
El Jaliciense, 1433 Central Ave., Kemmerer, Wyoming
Phở Saigon Noodle House, 2222 West 3500 South, Suite 810, West Valley City, Utah

Tio Wally pilots the 75-foot, 40-ton(max) land yacht SS Me So Hungry. He reports on road food from around the country whenever parking and InterTube connections permit.

About The Author

Tio Wally

Tio Wally is pilot emeritus of the 75-foot, 40-ton land yacht SS Me So Hungry. Now a committed landlubber, he reports on food wherever he is whenever his fancy strikes.

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28 Responses

  1. Anonymous

    Your a fucking douche bag just so you know! Oh ya and Adimiah’s IS the BEST in town fuck off thanks!!

    Reply
    • Wyoming Expatriate

      Your poor grammar and dismal punctuation just fuels the stereotype that Wyoming residents are undereducated hicks. Maybe you could learn a bit more about writing before you post again…and yes, I am probably a “fucking douche bag” for pointing this out. Have a nice day.

      Reply
      • Anonymous

        Not everyone in Kemmerer is of this mentality. Adimiah’s has good food. I’ve never had the spaghetti so I can’t comment on that but there are respectable people in Kemmerer. FYI Luigi’s is phenomenal.

  2. Anonymous

    I feel that it is unfair of you to judge a small town by a bad experience. If you had input from more than one source you may have had a much better dining experience. Also just because you are in Wyoming DOES NOT mean that it is full of hicks or whatever derogatory term you choose to insert there (i.e. y’all, yee haw..?)

    Reply
  3. Anonymous

    Honestly I think this is a real show of Kemmerer and its businesses. Most of them ARE snobby and over-priced with no great customer service. They treat outsiders horribly. Don’t get me wrong, at Adimiah’s there are some people there that I love, and equally at some of the other businesses, but businesses in that small town need to open their eyes! They are not there for the customer AT ALL! Luckily this guy did not venture into the bar scene. (Where he would have been treated with even WORSE customer service and felt even more unwelcome in that small town.) GREAT representation of the businesses who lack customer service, treat people horribly, and don’t even have proper “business hours.”

    Reply
  4. Anonymous

    Should have made it to Bootleggers! That is the best in town. Great little steakhouse!!!! And great, friendly employees. Wish you would’ve tried it out!

    Reply
  5. Adam Shelsta

    This review/whine fest/tantrum/whatever is kind of ridiculous. Kemmerer is a tiny harsh western town. If someone is going there or through there use common sense on what to expect. No there won’t be Yankee Stadium there, or Mississippi River boat casinos. Great wildlife, good snowmobiling, fishing, camping, hiking, fresh air, wide open spaces, lots of wind, ect. Those are the things to expect.

    Reply
  6. Anonymous

    It goes to show you that they aren’t all hicks!!! They have enough common sense not to show up to some random guys hotel room!!

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      Spot on! Typical Trucker wanting room service….I think that’s actually his main complaint….he just didn’t want to come right out and say that….lol

      Reply
  7. Anonymous

    YO People ..don’t get upset with this guy and his rants. He is just one of those LUNATIC truckers that terrorize our highways. Laugh the trash off..he is a joke!

    Reply
  8. Anonymous

    I found your story/review of our fine community entertaining. I myself, along with many others, love our town. We know that we are lacking in some areas, we lip off about it and go on. You will never find a community quite like good old Kemmerer. You all come back now ya hear.

    Reply
  9. Anonymous

    Typical outsider trying to push their big city views on Kemmerer. Yes, much of what he says is true, but that’s kemmerer and I hope it never changes for anybody. These are some of the most memorable things my wife and I miss about the only place we have ever felt home!

    Reply
  10. Kathy ferrarini

    I figure this person only gives negative feedback where ever he goes to rile people up.what did he expect for his 10 bucks anyway! I can say I’m glad he didn’t make his way into Bootleggers,where I’m the owner.I was spared his opinion ,however I defend adimiihas,completely.What this guy does is bullshit! Who cares what some nobody like that thinks anyway.But it just upsets me cos it’s so unfair to go in to a place at 4 in the afternoon ,a slow time for any place they were preoccupied with getting ready for New Years Eve,the busiest nite of the freaken year.I guess Haviar was supposed to roll out the red carpet for this Prick.
    Note: the owners of the place had a death in there family on this very day and they somehow found the strength to open as usual.you never really know what’s going on. He should have ate his dam spaghetti and minded his business! I talk to much. Kathy

    Reply
  11. Anonymous

    Adimiah’s is over priced for run of the mill food. There are other places that beat it hands down. At the El Jaliciense you get amazing mexican at a great price. Get over yourself Adimiah’s you aren’t that great.

    Reply
  12. Kathy ferrarini

    I shouldn’t be a contest choose what your in the mood for on any given day,sometimes it’s Toco time other days all you want is aSteakhouse .But making it about who’s the best is always after all just an opinion and every body has one.OK.
    Let’s try to support every small business in Kemmerer ,if you have a favorite that’s great!
    Bootleggers thanks everyone of their business .

    Reply
  13. V

    Where is all this ya’ll coming from, we are western not southern. My opinion is (yes I have one) ‘ Those of us that CHOOSE to live here do it for a reason. Mine ; fresh air, no road rage, plenty of country to explore, outdoors galore, no city people (when I want them I travel to a city), wildlife to see and share with my children and grandchildren, good schools, friendly people, helpful neighbors, blue skies, white clouds, no noise, trustworthy people, local businessmen we know and trust, we know the limits of our community.’ The reason I don’t like this blog is he had a whole 24 hours to make his judgment, on a holiday … well duh if my first visit to SLC was on a Sunday I would probably not be to overtaken with the shopping joy. Get over yourself Tio Walley, next time stay in Cokeville or LaBarge or Big Piney. lol you’ll love it! I for one give your blog no credence, sounds just like a spoiled city boy..who goes to a Mexican restaurant and orders Italian, your just asking for trouble, and pricing seems reasonable to me in comparison with wages, food cost, building maintenance, we are not franchise businesses with corporations to buy in bulk and deliver country wide.. wanh wanh I can’t have what I want, be glad Andy was friendly. Did you get your ass out of here? Then shut your pie hole, hit 80 and keep on going, remember next trip through Wyoming…. we all carry guns legally.

    Reply
    • tio wally

      “Y’all” is a contraction of “You all.” It can be used as a singular or a plural. While it’s Southern in origin, you’ll hear many people use it, like myself, and I’m not from the South. I didn’t use it to reflect the speech patterns of the honorable residents of Kimmerer, I just talk/write that way. Capiche?

      I was in Kemmerer for well over 72 hours. Unfortunately I didn’t have the good fortune to meet you, have you show me around, and protect me with your “legally owned” gun(s).

      Maybe next time?

      Reply
  14. Anonymous

    Everyone is upset because this guy gave his opinion and people didn’t like it. Locals go in a restaurant and they like it because they are loyal, they like the owners, there parents took them there as a young un or they don’t like the resturant across the street. This guy had none of those preconceived ideas. He judged the resturants on his experiences, this is how he saw things. He didn’t look over things cause he liked the owner better than another owner. Give him a break. He has the right to his own opinions. And why does a mexican resturant serve Italian anyway? It’s obvious they can’t hack bit. And don’t cut the placees any slack cause Kemmerer is a small town. Good food can be served anywhere no matter the size of the town. Sounds like the food was sub par and locals are bent out of shape.

    Reply
  15. Bing

    I’ve also had the misfortune of being stuck in that hick hole lol.. hillbillies were eye balling me everywhere like I was there for their fat toothless women lol. I feel terrible for the poor people who are born into that kind off miserable existence..

    Reply
  16. Kathy ferrarini

    Doesn’t sound like k Town to me sound like you got shut down by one of our fair maidens!try not to come back Mr Bing,

    Reply
  17. tio wally

    Wow, folks. I kind of liked Kemmerer. The people I met there were very friendly. Being on foot, however, it surely would’ve been more fun had the temperature reached, say, freezing, preferably without a 20 mph wind.

    It’s also kind of funny that I was going to go to one of the bars (Bootleggers?) for New Year’s Eve. I didn’t go because I hadn’t yet discovered that there is an awesome $10 taxi service run by a very, very sweet lady and her similarly sweet daughter (both of them Upper Peninsula Michigan transplants). Judging by the undisguised hostility displayed above I guess it was just as well I didn’t.

    Just a point of fact: I seldom write about restaurants I don’t like. The restaurant business is hard enough and there are too many others I like; Google “Tio Wally Eats America” and see for yourself.

    I was hoping to visit Kemmerer again under better circumstances. Now I may have to rethink that. After all, “in Wyoming [they] all carry guns legally.” Charming.

    That said, I want to thank all the commenters for the spirited shit storm, and convey my belated condolences to the owners of Adimiah’s.

    Abraço, Wally

    Reply
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