From tractors to fine dining, Frackleton's new owners are breathing new life into Sheridan's favorite restaurant (2023)

It's easy to find Frackleton on the corner of Main and Brundage in Sheridan for dinner.

It will be a place lit up like Christmas and filled with people laughing and talking, seen and seen eating a first class meal at the sights of Sheridan.

Frackleton recently got a new owner after it was bought from Kim Love by Andy Ward, former managing director of the local John Deere dealership.

“My wife and I were looking for something to do together and we looked at a few bars and a few different restaurants in the area,” Ward told Cowboy State Daily.

However, none of the available restaurants were that appealing. At least until Frackleton hit the market and the choice suddenly became simple.

Ward said he and his wife love their new gig.

I love people, Ward said. "We have many loyal regular customers. And then I meet all the tourists who come here from somewhere else."

Temptation by fire

Running a restaurant is never as easy as beginners think. But owning Frackleton was indeed a trial by fire.

Not long after Ward and his wife bought the restaurant, a fire broke out in the kitchen.

He smoked the place and turned off the lights for four and a half months.

"The fire damage wasn't extensive, but the smoke damage was, and the recovery and repair process was long and complicated," Executive Director Jennifer Dart told the Cowboy State Daily.

The restaurant reopened on Jan. 31 — just in time for its 10th anniversary — with several new menu items and additional staff.

Ward and his wife aren't afraid to roll up their sleeves and take on the job to help out where needed, Dart said, which has greatly helped the restaurant in its comeback.

Ward laughs and admits he didn't expect one of his new jobs as a restaurant owner to be washing dishes.

"One of the biggest things about working in a restaurant is that it takes up a lot of time," he said. "A lot of hours. It's not enough to sign checks, go home and sit on the couch, that's for sure."

  • From tractors to fine dining, Frackleton's new owners are breathing new life into Sheridan's favorite restaurant (1)

  • From tractors to fine dining, Frackleton's new owners are breathing new life into Sheridan's favorite restaurant (2)

  • From tractors to fine dining, Frackleton's new owners are breathing new life into Sheridan's favorite restaurant (3)


Locals rave about the Frackleton martinis, which come in flavors from cucumber to mango, but the restaurant also offers an interesting list of local beers, such as Black Mountain Coffee Stout, a microbrew from Luminous Brewing.

Bartenders are also not afraid to experiment a little in front of customers, hence this tip. Black Mountain Coffee Stout tastes great with a dash of vanilla vodka.

Frackleton's menu is also something special, with well-known classics from Oliver's predecessor, such as penne pasta with gorgonzola, prawn pasta or roast beef.

The menu changes seasonally twice a year.

"In the fall, it's more ribs and potatoes, ribs and potatoes and things like that," Ward said. "In the spring we will be introducing a range of beautiful chic salads that are more in tune with the season."

A menu demonstration takes place about a day before new items are introduced so staff can see and try everything.

“The (seasonal) menu is based on the creativity of the chef and what we can get in stock, because food is not easy to find right now,” added Dart. "And then also that we can get it cheap because food is also ridiculously expensive."

Spice without a price

Crispy fried calamari and perfectly prepared hand-cut roast steak is a great combination in itself.

But meals at Frackleton's are missing something else on the menu - Sheridan's unique story.

The restaurant housed the former offices of Dr. William Frackleton. They were located on the upper floor of the Diefenderfer and Dinwiddie hardware store, which was located there until 1919.

Ward told Cowboy State Daily that he wasn't aware of the story until he bought Frackleton, but since then it's been gaining momentum.

About the feats of Dr. Frackleton is still spoken in Sheridan. In fact, there are enough funny anecdotes that there is an entire book about Frackelton, otherwise known as the "Sagebrush Dentist."

diamond hottie

Frackelton arrived in the Cowboy State from Wisconsin in 1893 after graduating as a dentist from Northwestern University in Chicago. He first tried a few places in Wyoming, and some of those stories hang on the walls of the restaurant's foyer.

Among them is the time Poker Nell Casper hired a dentist to put two large diamonds in her front teeth.

Frackleton told her that it was possible, but warned that it wouldn't be easy and that it would be quite painful.

Nell was not mistaken.

"I want it to stop," she said. "I want to show something to the local women.

Frackleton devised a new way to instantly calm Nella's nerves, then filled the nerve canal with a substance he called "gutta percha".

He then cut the diamonds and their gold cushions from the rings and made porcelain-coated gold crowns to hold them.

Curing of gypsum and asbestos particles, heated with an alcohol flame and a mouth blower, completed the joint, followed by gentle soldering at a low temperature.

After a final brushing, Nell was ready to dazzle Casper's "ladies" with her shiny new diamond teeth.

"The ladies of Casper opened their eyes," Frackleton said later. - Even the city doctors were horrified by what I did.

  • From tractors to fine dining, Frackleton's new owners are breathing new life into Sheridan's favorite restaurant (4)

  • From tractors to fine dining, Frackleton's new owners are breathing new life into Sheridan's favorite restaurant (5)

  • From tractors to fine dining, Frackleton's new owners are breathing new life into Sheridan's favorite restaurant (6)

Get him out now

Frackleton's next stop after Casper was Sundance, Wyoming, where locals immediately warned the dentist that the local banker didn't care about "the dudes" and that the sheriff hated dentists, so he might as well have left town.

However, unbeknownst to them, Frackleton had paid to fight in college under the name Willie Riley. He was not intimidated. Frackleton even took his last $100 and bet he could knock out the banker.

The crowd gathered to watch the fight, convinced that the new "guy" will make a good splash and go home even richer after winning the bet.

But Frackleton knew exactly what he was doing.

First he played a few rounds with the banker to make it look good. Then, tired of the game, the doctor politely said, "Excuse me, sir, but the shoe is untied."

As the banker looked down, Frackleton drove in a solar plexus right - an innovative strike at the time - and a left center followed by a finishing cut to the upper right.

The banker was depressed and cold.

In the meantime, a crowd had gathered. They had never seen such a bond before. And they couldn't believe that their banker had lost the battle, and neither could the money they had bet on the local favorite.

Frackleton collected his winnings and left, anticipating trouble, but instead was invited to stay.

It did for a while, but there wasn't enough trade. He soon hit the road for Sheridan, where he met and married a tough, simple Western girl named Bess.

Lata Sheridana

Frackleton had many adventures during his years at Sheridan, including a trip to the Alaska gold fields and hosting then-President William Howard Taft.

Taft was so delighted by Frackleton's hospitality that he promised the dentist anything he wanted. Frackelton happened to know exactly what he wanted: the continued vitality of Fort MacKenzie.

After the fort became a military hospital, Taft wrote Frackleton a note reminding him of his promise and telling him he had kept his word.

Frackleton loved the finer things in life and would no doubt be delighted with the elegant restaurant that now bears his name - along with all the cocktails that bear his name.

Frackleton's butter rum iemand?

if you go

Frackleton's is located at 55 N. Main St. in Sheridan. The restaurant is closed for lunch until June, when the menu changes, and opens for dinner at 4:00 p.m. Be sure to know thata bookto this popular destination. Tables fill up quickly, and the number of places at the bar is limited.

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