You push The Ram’s heavy wooden doors, ease yourself in this plush, floral-patterned booth and wonder, “Is this where Ernest Hemingway sat?” This upscale restaurant opened its doors in the lodge-studded Sun Valley Village in 1937, a couple of years before the writer started sojourning in central Idaho. On and off until his death in nearby Ketchum in 1961, Hemingway, an accomplished sportsman, fished the state’s trout streams and prowled the alpine wilderness, a rifle in hand.

The Ram, according to local lore, was one of his favorite hangouts. Imagine him bespectacled and wavy-haired, sipping a scotch and soda in a sports jacket. It’s the early 1940s and he’s back from canoeing down the Big Wood River, which snakes a mile and a half to the west; or perhaps from a duck hunting trip. The author trains his almond eyes on the three antler chandeliers hanging from the wood-plank ceiling. His ear catches a jazzy tune coming from the baby grand piano, slightly off to the left of the chalet-like dining hall. A waiter places a white, warm plate on the table. Maybe it’s an assortment of Iberico loin, lamb chop, duck sausage and butternut squash accompanied by wild rice, parsnip and blueberry demi-glace — a meal served then and resurrected for today’s visitors.

Nothing on the menu indicates the diver scallop bathing in coconut Panang curry existed then, or the ingot-shaped dark chocolate mousse, with a gold leaf and a cigarette-shaped cookie. No reason to hold back, though — surely, Hemingway would approve.  

The Ram

1 Sun Valley Road

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Sun Valley, Idaho

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