Wild West Bakery and Espresso 

Eagle's best-kept secret

All is delicious on the Western front.

Leila Ramella Rader

All is delicious on the Western front.

Wild West Bakery and Espresso is the kind of joint you'd expect to find in a sleepy college town. The menu is scrawled in multi-colored chalk, the counter is staffed by chipper young things, the speakers blare Indie rock and the bakery case is brimming with glistening sweets.

But the quaint Eagle cafe doesn't emphasize quirk over quality. In addition to crafting its cupcakes, cookies and scones in house, the 18-year-old State Street staple also bakes baguettes and delightfully fluffy challah buns that encase what it has dubbed "Eagle's best burger" ($8.50).

While that claim can't be officially substantiated, Wild West does make a pretty good case. Its beef is sourced from the nearby Porterhouse Meat Market, which carries Double R Ranch Northwest beef. The patties are then hand-pressed, grilled to order, slid onto a shiny challah bun and topped with a tuft of organic greens or drippy cheese, if that's how you roll.

And in true college town fashion, Wild West also makes its own veggie burger ($8.50). The well-seasoned chickpea, black bean, veggie, nut and grain patty has a light hint of cumin and a lovely chestnut color. But it falls victim to the plight of most homemade veggie burgers--it doesn't hold its shape. The filling is more akin to bean spread and squishes out the sides of the bun with each wide-jawed bite. But if you resign yourself to the mess, the veggie burger remnants are just as good swirled in a pool of house-made cilantro ranch dressing.

A side of oven-baked sweet potato fries dunked in a sweet molasses, sour cream and honey Dijon dip were also delightful, and lacked the gut-bomb guilt of their deep-fried peers.

But Wild West isn't just a coffeeshop, it also kicks up its spurs with live music as the sun goes down on Friday and Saturday nights.

On a recent flowering Friday evening, the street-facing patio was filled with toe-tappers sipping local wines and craft beers. Inside, fiddle-filled folk covers poured from the mic as paintings of horses galloped by on the walls.

A plate of fish tacos ($8.50) made for a simple light dinner--three corn tortillas were topped with grilled cod, shredded red cabbage and cotija cheese. It was the welcome sort of simplicity that many of the valley's Mexican restaurants can't seem to get right.

For those who don't regularly make the trek to downtown Eagle, Wild West will be a welcome surprise. For those who have frequented the spot for years, the secret's out.

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