A blog post I have wanted to share since we re-open the Jackson Drug’s doors on July 13, 2018!
For nearly 100 years, the Jackson Drug and Original Soda Fountain has held a special place in the hearts of my family, locals, and tourists alike. Jackson Drug first opened its doors in 1919 in the old Clubhouse building on the east side of the square in downtown Jackson Hole, by our great-grandfather, Bruce Porter. In 1937, the soda fountain was moved to its more famous and current location in the stone building on the northwest corner of the Town Square. Our family ran the soda fountain and pharmacy until 1978 when we sold the building and business to Steve Schultz and Charlie Gaudet. The building was sold once again in 2001, and it was at that time the soda fountain closed its doors. In 2010 our dad, Robert Gill, was given the opportunity to return the building to our family, and it was then that we knew in the future we had to bring the Jackson Drug back to the square.
How we got there:
Fast forward to November of 2016, my sister Nikki and I learned that the building would soon be vacant, and this was our chance to bring back a piece of Jackson’s past. My sister and I strongly believe that things happen for a reason. Two days before we learned the space would soon be available, my sister and I had just wrapped up working on Nikki’s campaign to run for a seat as a Teton County Commissioner. Though the results of the campaign did not end as we had hoped, we learned a lot in those six months of working day in and day out together. We proved to ourselves that we worked great as a team.
To be honest, when my sister and I first envisioned re-opening the Jackson Drug, we just planned on re-opening the soda fountain serving our homemade ice cream and having a general store. Our ideas grew into much more, and we are now a full restaurant serving food, beer/wine/cocktails, our homemade ice cream, and sundries.
After a year and a half of careful planning, research, sweat, and even a few tears, the Jackson Drug finally got a second chance at life. We re-opened the doors on July 13, 2018! I am not going to lie – after the first day of being re-opened, I went home and balled my eyes out! It was a very stressful and sleepless summer but totally worth it!
Where we are now:
Jackson Drug has now been open for over a year and a half!
At the Jackson Drug, we proudly serve our beef from our cattle ranch that has been operating for five generations, the Jackson Hole Hereford Ranch. Our restaurant is truly pasture to plate – we raise the cattle right here in Jackson, WY, have the beef butchered at Rammell’s right over the Tetons in Tetonia, ID, and then served here at the restaurant. As for the homemade ice cream – my brother Patrick makes all the ice cream, just how it was made when our great-grandfather owned and operated the Jackson Drug.
We’ve tried our best to honor the history of the Jackson Drug while also breathing some new life and ideas into the iconic space.
Looking back at where we started in November 2016, I can’t believe how far my sister Nikki and I have come. Before opening the Jackson Drug, my sister and I had zero restaurant experience, but we have busted our butts to get where we are now. We couldn’t have done it without the help of our parents (thanks dad for building shelves and mopping our floors & my mom for supporting us emotionally), our brother Patrick for making all the ice cream and delivery all the beef, our younger brothers Scooter and JJ for helping soda jerk when we needed the extra help, our husbands Rob & Mikey for putting up with us, and of course our amazing staff!
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading the history of the Jackson Drug and where we are now. I hope you visit us on your next trip to Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
My Favorites at Jackson Drug:
- Jackson Hole Hereford Ranch Steak Fingers (they’re dairy, egg, and gluten-free!) w/ sweet potato fries
- Jackson Hole Hereford Ranch Burger with crispy onions, bacon, avocado w/ tater tots
- Vegan Coffee Milkshake (I’m sadly allergic to dairy!)
- Buffalo Wings