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Torrey Dining

From a drive-through coffee shop to expansive views

Torrey, with a population of just 240, is a tiny town that spans a few blocks along State Route 24. Thanks to its location eight miles from Capitol Reef National Park, this enclave is a great place to stop on your way in or out of the park for coffee, ice cream or dinner.

Choices for taking your first meal of the day in Torrey range from homey, sit-down eateries to a new (and Torrey’s first) drive-through coffee shop. Huge portions of stick-to-your-ribs classics  such as breakfast burritos, chicken-fried steak and eggs, huevos rancheros and buttermilk pancakes are served daily in the cozy and colorful Capitol Reef Inn & Cafe, which also serves lunch and dinner. Check out the new Dark Sky Coffee, a walk- or drive-up cafe housed in an adorable, red-roofed tiny house on Torrey’s east end, named in honor of Torrey’s 2018 designation as Utah’s first International Dark Sky Community. House-made muffins, scones and savory pastries are served with organic Fair Trade coffee at the family-run Wild Rabbit Cafe, located across the street from Dark Sky Coffee. Or grab a breakfast biscuit, a loaf of homemade banana bread, bottled juice and drip coffee from the Chuckwagon General Store, Deli & Bakery. Made-to-order sandwiches, perfect for stashing in your pack for a day in the park, can be had at both the Wild Rabbit and the Chuckwagon.

A tray of food with red rocks in the background.

Hunt & Gather

A pie.

The Wild Rabbit Cafe

Looking for an afternoon snack? Time for ice cream. Located on the east end of Torrey’s charming, cottonwood tree-lined Main Street is Slacker’s Burger Joint, known for its milkshakes. Order at the window and slurp it down in the outdoor picnic area.

Nothing caps off a day exploring the Torrey area’s ruggedly beautiful landscape like sitting down in the evening to a delicious dinner. The Rim Rock Inn, just outside the park, offers expansive views and two dining options to take in the scenery over a meal — the Rim Rock Restaurant for fine dining, and the more casual Rim Rock Patio. The Rim Rock Restaurant has locally sourced entrees such as pan-seared trout and fruitwood-smoked ribs, while the Rim Rock Patio offers  pizza and BBQ. Many regular visitors to Torrey are familiar with Cafe Diablo, an upscale restaurant marked by a unmissable neon sign on the western edge of town. Unfortunately, summer 2019 was Cafe Diablo’s last, but in its place now is Hunt & Gather. According to the new restaurant’s website, Hunt & Gather will feature “slow-cooked meals like wild game, prime beef, fish, cheese boards, grains, fruits and vegetables.” COVID-19 has delayed the restaurant’s grand opening, which is now anticipated for July 1, 2020. The Rock Garden Eatery & Bar, located inside the Red Sands Hotel, offers a full menu of familiar, satisfying fare including fish tacos, ribs, burgers and steaks. If pizza is what you’re craving, the creative pies (and flavorful Indian food and wings) at Curry Pizza in nearby Bicknell (8 miles northwest  of Torrey on State Route 24) are worth the drive.

With live country music and dancing on the weekends, the Saddlery Cowboy Bar & Steakhouse is the place to go to revel in iconic Western culture. Ask for a table on the patio or belly up to the bar, outfitted with stools are made of genuine saddles. Their meat-centric menu lists everything from prime rib to bison meatloaf to seared elk sirloin — just what you need to fuel up before hitting the dance floor.  [Note: You’ll want to call the restaurant in advance at (435) 425-2424 to ensure they’ve reopened after the coronavirus shutdown.]

A burger and onion rings

Slacker's Burger Joint

A fresh salad

The Wild Rabbit Cafe

Torrey in Winter

It’s worth noting that while Torrey is hardly a thriving metropolis in the summer, in winter the town (at 6,800-feet above sea level) gets quiet. If you find yourself traveling through during the offseason, The Red Cliff Restaurant, which serves up burgers and pizza, is the only place that stays open for lunch and dinner year-round.


More inspiration

An Insider’s Guide to Torrey

by Melissa Fields

Look no further than Capitol Reef National Park and nearby Torrey for lesser-traveled red-rock hikes, plenty of lodging options, satisfying dining and night sky as our ancestors knew it.

Read More

Melissa Fields

In 1998, freelance writer and editor Melissa Fields decided to spend just one winter in Utah before getting a “real” job. Now, after more than 20 years, one husband, two kids and thousands of hours spent skiing, hiking, climbing and pedaling Utah from north to south, she can’t imagine living anywhere else.  

Torrey, Utah

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Torrey

Torrey

Located just eight miles from the west entrance of Capitol Reef National Park, Torrey is an idyllic little tree-lined town surrounded by rose-colored cliffs and green meadows. More importantly, Torrey is an eclectic and comfortable base camp to adventure. See dining and accommodations here.

Capitol Reef National Park

Capitol Reef National Park

Capitol Reef National Park is an evocative world of spectacular colored cliffs, hidden arches, massive domes, and deep canyons. It’s a place that includes the finest elements of Bryce and Zion Canyons in a less crowded park that can offer a more relaxing experience than either of those more-famous Utah attractions.

Fruita

Fruita

Hundreds of years after the Fremont Culture left the Capitol Reef area, it was discovered by the Mormon pioneers who put down roots in what is now called the Fruita Historic District, located near the park visitor center. The district contains many relics of the area’s homesteading past, including a one-room schoolhouse, a blacksmith’s shop, and the Gifford family’s old home, which has been converted into a museum and store.

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