Welcome to our new feature, the Wyoming Community Cookbook. Each month, we’ll share a delicious dish or recipe that is, in one way or another, part of the fabric of our culinary community. You can look forward to tasty tips from our favorite restaurateurs, culinarians around town, and even our Historical Society records (though we may put a modern spin on those!).

Our inaugural feature kicks off with the secrets behind Pendery’s Poutine, a retired menu item from Tēla, one of Wyoming’s most beloved eateries. We spoke with L.R. Hunley, co-owner, who shared a bit more about Tēla’s culinary personality (hint: it’s flavorful, scratch-made food).

When and why did you decide to start Tēla?

Honestly, Tēla was over 30 years in the making. My business partner (Doug Nawrocki) and I first met at TGI Fridays in Tri-County in the early 90s. We quickly became friends over our mutual love for music, especially of the jam band variety. During our travels chasing bands, we shared our mutual desire to open our own place. This was the
beginning of what Tēla eventually became.

How has Tēla changed over the years?

COVID really changed everything for us. Our takeaway business increased exponentially and continued to be a major financial stream for us to the point that we have to staff a dedicated employee each and every shift to manage the sheer volume of business we push through our drive-thru window.

What is the philosophy behind your menu?

Scratch-made, delicious takes on pub grub.

What is the one food you couldn’t live without?

Pasta (all shapes and sizes!)

Anything else you’d like the foodies + aspiring foodies of Wyoming to know?

I am a pretty accomplished home chef and avid fan of fine wine. I love cooking for family and friends and find pulling off dinner parties to be a very zen and satisfying experience!

Pendery’s Poutine

This delicious combination of house-cut fries, pulled pork, cheddar cheese curd, house gravy, beer mustard, and cage-free fried egg can be replicated at home for a tasty, hearty meal.

“I feel this dish always spoke to our original vision of creating a comfortable, neighborhood gathering space serving up scratch-made deliciousness. At one point, one of our regular guests referred to this dish as “a hug in a bowl” and I’ve never forgotten it! While seeming humble and simple, our poutine was great because of the sum of its parts.” —L.R. Hunley

  1. First, our (now famous) house-cut fries are hand-punched daily, soaked in water overnight to release some of the starches and then blanched at 325 degrees. After the blanching process, the fries are cooled. Then, they’re ready for service, where they are cooked at a higher temperature of 375 degrees until golden brown. They are then seasoned to order with our proprietary chef salt.
  2. The pulled pork we used for this dish was a braised pork shoulder, simple but time consuming.
  3. The cheddar cheese curds were sourced locally from the Walnut Hills-based cheese producer, Urban Stead.
  4. Next came our house gravy, which was truly a labor of love. It required us to first make a scratch-made pork stock which required 12-15 hours of stovetop simmering before we could turn the delicious stock into gravy.
  5. The last step (before being topped with a perfectly fried egg) was our house-made beer mustard. With the help of Fifty West Brewing, we began our beer vinegar program weeks before we opened our doors. This vinegar was the key to our delicious beer mustard!