In an old Utah mining town that has turned into a mountain resort, you would expect a healthy dose of burgers, skillets and other eat-and-get-back-out-there fare. Park City has all that. But thanks to relentless development and investment — including Vail Resorts’ 2014 acquisition of the local ski mountain — dining options run the international gamut, including tapas, sushi, nouveau American, Indian, Italian and (who would’ve guessed?) Australian cuisine, fueled by a surge in visits by skiers from Down Under. Some of the best finds are borne of passionate local restaurateurs and inventive young chefs, most of whom come for the same reasons you do: to revel in the two world-class winter sports resorts and 400 miles of summer trails in the surrounding Wasatch Range.
If you were going to find a 100-year-old miner anywhere in Park City, it might be milling on the steps outside Riverhorse Provisions (riverhorseprovisions.com; 435-649-0799; 221 Main St.), which still flaunts the 1904 stone-and-wood facade of the onetime miner’s favorite Imperial Hotel. Linger with that hope for a minute, then shift up to the second-floor gourmet market and cafe for a coffee — from Caffe Ibis of Logan, Utah — followed by brisket hash (with polenta bites, poached egg, spinach and crispy jalapeño), breakfast poutine (cheese curds, red onion, fried egg and sausage gravy) or the top-selling spinach tortilla wrap, filled with sausage, cheddar chipotle cream and farm-fresh scrambled eggs. Riverhorse Provisions is the brainchild of Seth Adams, executive chef and co-owner of Riverhorse on Main, a fine-dining establishment a few blocks down Park City’s historic central street.
The 50-seat dining room at the Silver Star Cafe (thesilverstarcafe.com; 435-655-3456; 1825 Three Kings Dr.) is like a really hip grandma’s kitchen, with weathered wood paneling, farmhouse shelving, exposed beams and a guitar (that anyone can play) hanging on the wall. The patio, steps from a ski lift and mountain bikers’ Armstrong Trail, affords views that stretch 25 miles to the Uinta Mountains. Owners Jeff and Lisa Ward, who met while waiting tables at the adjacent Deer Valley resort in the 1980s, opened the Silver Star Cafe in 2010 to nurture their love of food and music. (The evening slate from Thursday through Saturday is heavy on acoustic and jazz performers.) Top lunch choices include a burger crafted from a blend of brisket, short rib and hanger steak, pizza topped with whole clams and white sauce, and a seared trout salad on a bed of romaine, roasted corn, grape tomatoes, avocado and more. For accompaniment, audition the private-label tempranillo (some proceeds help a nonprofit organization that provides art therapy for kids), a Hop Rising double IPA by Salt Lake City brewer Squatters or a single-barrel bourbon from local distiller High West.
You could probably eat light at the Farm (wapo.st/the-farm; 435-615-8080; 4000 Canyons Resort Dr.). That grain salad, I’m sure, is packed with locally grown finery. But here’s a better plan: Stroll past the hydroponic herb garden in the entranceway to either the refined-yet-rustic dining room (natural wood accents abound) or the patio yurt with views of the ski hill, and summon a margarita with Milagro Silver tequila and ginger-and-sage syrup. Next: a charcuterie board, featuring four varieties of salumi from Salt Lake City-based Creminelli Fine Meats, housemade red pepper relish and grilled bread. After a bowl of oxtail onion soup — from meat braised in veal stock for six hours — you’ll understand why the Farm, in Park City Canyons Village, was tagged as one of Utah’s 25 best restaurants. Relax: You’re not done yet. Round up with German chef Manny Rozehnal’s herbed spaetzle (truffle, caramelized onions, crispy shallots and black chanterelles), a Utah-raised red trout (rutabaga, green pepper, butternut squash and kale pesto) or lamb rack (curried Israeli couscous, golden raisins, tomato braised chickpea ragout and green onion). Rozehnal emphasizes local, humanely raised, and sustainable ingredients in his dishes, all cushioned by a 200-bottle wine list and an engaging, knowledgeable staff.
Briley is a writer based in Takoma Park. His website is johnbriley.com.
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