Park City Pleasures
For ski enthusiasts and gourmets alike, this small mountain hamlet is the destination for food, wine and slopes.
The fairy dust-like snow and January’s Sundance Film Festival put Park City, Utah on the map. But these days, it’s not just the spectacular skiing and cinema that attracts visitors; the lineup of new, buzz-worthy restaurants and brew pubs are creating a winter wonderland that’s worthy of a visit.
The best place to start the sipping and noshing? The state’s only microdistillery and saloon, High West, which overlooks the slopes of Park City Mountain Resort and is the perfect place to sip Bourye—the Double Gold winning whiskey at the 2008 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. It’s also known for its tasty cocktail concoctions that include Silver Whiskey. The food menu, created by Swiss-trained chef James Dumas, boasts burgers, whiskey-infused pulled pork and melted raclette over fingerling potatoes. Whiskey pairings with select cheeses and chocolate are also popular indulgences.
Only a block away, in Park City’s culinary epicenter known as Main Street, is Utah’s first brew pub, Wasatch Brewing Company. Polygamy Porter, First Amendment Lager and Brigham’s Brew Root Beer are just a few of the many beer options. Meanwhile, the food menu offers succulent burgers and beer-battered fish and chips that promise to satiate cold weather appetites. Beer fans also get to see the brewery’s equipment, which sits prominently in a glass enclosure at the pub’s entrance.
At Talisker on Main (515 Main Street), or “TOM” as its known locally, Executive Chef John Murcko uses local producers, including Rockhill Creamery, to create dishes like roasted corn soup and zucchini and summer squash blossom. The best seat in the house is the Wine Vault, where diners lounge in oversized butterscotch-hued leather armchairs.
Also on Main Street is Silver (508 Main Street). Chef Todd Mark Miller prepares progressive American cuisine with dishes like organic roasted chicken with a rainbow of al dente carrots and bread pudding laced with Vida Tequila. He even has seasonal options for vegans and vegetarians. The restaurant’s expansive bottle wine list includes 1947 Cheval Blanc, 1986 Mouton Rothschild and other coveted vintages.
To enjoy true mountain-side dining, take the funicular to J&G Grill at the St. Regis (2300 Deer Valley Drive). Developed by New York City Chef Jean-George Vongerichten of New York’s Spice Market, the restaurant offers French and Southeast Asian fusion fare. Favorites include the hangar steak with frites, Thai snapper with nut seed crust and a black truffle pizza.
Deeper into the Wasatch Mountains is Deer Valley Resort—voted SKI Magazine’s number one resort for the fourth consecutive year. Of its many dining options, the most unique is Fireside Dining at Empire Canyon Lodge (7620 Royal Street), where European alpine favorites such as bubbling raclette scraped from the wheel, hearty rosti (a delicious Swiss potato dish), fricassees of wild game and wild mushrooms, roast meats and dessert fondues are on the menu every week.
Nestled in the heart of Deer Valley Resort is Stein Eriksen Lodge and its flagship restaurant, Glitretind (7700 Stein Way). Its huge stone fireplace and location create a quaint and relaxed atmosphere, plus the size of the Berkshire pork porterhouse chop is large enough to make even the hungriest happy. Wine lovers can ask sommelier Cara Schwindt for the best pairing options and tour the wine cellar.
For those looking for hidden gems off Main Street, stop by the Squatters Roadhouse (1900 Park Avenue). This mircobrewery has taken gold and other top honors at the Great American Beer Festival and international competitions. The tap and by-the-bottle options pair well with the eclectic menu, which features foods like nachos with house-made chorizo and wasabi-spiked ahi fish tacos. Full Suspension Pale Ale from the tap is crisp with a hoppy finish—refreshing for the two-wheeled weekend warriors who relish the mountain biking. The line-up also includes some more obscure but no less delicious varieties like the bold and malty double India Pale Ale called Hop Rising.
At the Waldorf-Astoria, Spruce (2100 Frostwood Drive) has delighted local and traveling gourmets with cuisine and techniques inspired by its sister restaurant in San Francisco: House-made charcuterie, American caviar on blini and foraged nettle agnolotti are great choices that showcase the regional flavors.