Gavin Fine, Jackson Hole’s King of Dining
By Bill Triplett
Possibly having done the most to bring upscale dining to Jackson Hole, Gavin Fine and his business partner Roger Freedman now preside over six restaurants, a catering outfit, and a specialty grocer/bottle shop. The name of the overall company was probably inevitable – Fine Dining Restaurant Group – but there are plenty of people who’ll tell you the restaurants have all lived up to it.
Fine, originally from Chicago, came to ski Jackson Hole in the mid-1980s, and like a lot of others, eventually ended up moving here as a result. To pay bills he worked in restaurants and even baby-sat actor Harrison Ford’s kid, but he was focused on trying to combine his two loves – food and skiing. But the JacksonHole restaurant scene in the 1990s was lacking.
“You’d go into a place and the waiter would say, ‘Dude, what do you want?’ It drove me nuts,” he says. “I almost left.”
He did leave, but only for three months to study wine in Europe. When he came back in 2001, shortly before the 9/11 terrorist attacks, he and Freedman opened their first eatery, the Rendezvous Bistro. “We wanted to have good food, good service, and not be expensive.”
It was a hit with both locals and visitors. A big enough hit, in fact, to embolden Fine and Freedman to open more restaurants – Q Roadhouse and Brewing Co., Il Villagio Osteria, The Kitchen, Bin 22, and most recently Bodega.
The secret to the success? “I believe in the good personal, face-to-face experience,” Fine says. “If that happens, people will keep coming back.”