Fun Fact: Cheyenne’s First Restaurant Was Called ‘444 Monkeys’
November 28, 1867, just 15 days after the Union Pacific Railroad had reached the town, Cheyenne's original chef, H.H. Ellis, prepared the first Thanksgiving feast in the new city.
By that time, nearly 4,000 workers and merchants had flocked to the bustling western outpost. Ellis was a German immigrant who followed the railroad west and opened Cheyenne's first restaurant, the 444 Monkeys Oyster Bay Restaurant on 1608 Ferguson (now Carey Avenue).
The restaurant was known for its hearty German cuisine and was the first in the area to introduce a new dessert called iced cream. We'll never know how many hungry patrons Ellis served on that first Thanksgiving in Cheyenne. However, his original book of recipes has been preserved by the Wyoming State Archives.
Ellis' stuffing recipe called for: 3/4 lb. of chopped veal, 1/4 lb. of salt pork, seasoned with salt, black pepper, cayenne, allspice, clove and Worcestershire sauce. After removing the backbone of the turkey, the bird was seasoned using the same mixture. The stuffing was placed into the cavity, the legs were tied and the turkey was boiled for three hours and 15 minutes.