In addition to the draw of the actual films, loads of folks enjoy rubbing elbows—or at least sharing sidewalk space—with movie stars, directors and Hollywood movers and shakers during the Sundance Film Festival. I'm not one of them. In fact, I tend to go to great lengths to avoid all things Sundance during the festival, except for the films and panels themselves. And I certainly don't want to have to wrestle for a table at Park City's Main Street dining venues. However, whether you're in Park City to enjoy the festival or not, there are some sanctuaries that are little known enough, or off the beaten path enough, or both, to offer quiet, quality dining with little or no wait. Here are a few favorites.
In what is generally known as the Prospector area of town, several terrific eateries beckon. Este Pizzeria (1781 Sidewinder Drive, 435-731-8970, estepizzaco.com) dishes up authentic New York-style pizza whole and by the slice, along with beer and wine. Be sure to cop an order of the handmade garlic knots as well. The Grub Steak (2093 Sidewinder Drive, 435-649-8060, grubsteakrestaurant.com) isn't hip enough to attract the Sundance elite, but the popular steak house has been feeding locals since 1976. The fresh salad bar keeps even vegetarians coming back. For more exotic fare, one of my favorite Park City restaurants is Good Karma (1782 Prospector Ave., 435-658-0958, goodkarmarestaurants.com), where owner/chef Houman Gohary takes a melting pot approach to flavor, offering dishes like huevos rancheros and a vegetarian Benedict alongside Indian and Persian ones such as salmon parsi, Navratan veggie korma, Bollywood burritos and joojeh kebabs. The Boneyard Saloon & Kitchen (1251 Kearns Blvd., 435-649-0911, boneyardsaloon.com) is a food and drink playground with wood-fired sandwiches and burgers like the killer Cubano, and entrées such as jambalaya, shepherd's pie and cedar plank-grilled miso salmon. The only word to describe the Boneyard atmosphere: fun.
Another choice neighborhood for Sundancing without the Sundancers is Bonanza. It's unlikely that you'll be able to score a table at any of restaurateur Bill White's Main Street restaurants during the festival, but you might at his hidden jewel Windy Ridge Café (1250 Iron Horse Drive, 435-647-0880, windyridgecafe.com). This is White's comfort food venue—a casual eatery with menu choices ranging from fresh-baked cinnamon buns and quiche, to meatloaf, almond-crusted Utah red trout, herb-roasted chicken and much more, including an excellent beer, cocktail and wine selection. Although it tends to be packed regardless of what is going on in town, I still think El Chubasco (1890 Bonanza Drive, Ste. 115, 435-645-9114, elchubascomexicangrill.com) is a prime spot for authentic Mexican fare, cold beer and a happy atmosphere. Momo Haiku (1890 Bonanza Drive, Ste. 105, 435-602-1901) is so new I doubt the Sundance hoi polloi has yet to find it. But when you do, you'll discover pan-Asian cuisine ranging from Japanese yakitori and ramen to Vietnamese-style pho and banh mi, plus potstickers, lettuce wraps and more. For an escape to Old World charm—not to mention free and plentiful parking—Adolph's (1500 Kearns Blvd., 435-649-7177, adolphsrestaurantparkcity.com) is the only option. Who can resist Adolph Imboden's classic fondues and continental cuisine like escargot, trout Meuniér, Wienerschnitzel, steak Diane, roast duck l'orange and chateaubriand?
Deer Valley Resort dining (435-645-66632, deervalley.com/dining) is well-suited to Sundance goers insofar as these venues are all easy-access and off of Main Street, with plenty of parking. In Empire Canyon Lodge (9200 Marsac Ave.), Fireside Dining feels like eating in the Alps, with warm Swiss raclette, cured meats, stews, fire-roasted lamb and a warm, cozy atmosphere. The Seafood Buffet at Snow Park Village (2250 Deer Valley Drive South) is an extravaganza of seafood, including a poke bar, sushi, fresh crab, shrimp, mussels, clams and oysters, plus hot foods like Niman Ranch St. Louis pork ribs, a carving station, side dishes, desserts and an excellent wine list. Tucked away in the Lodges at Deer Valley (2900 Deer Valley Drive East), The Brass Tag offers abundant parking and foods prepared in the restaurant's brick oven, including seafood skillets, seared meats, oven-roasted fish, flatbreads, and a lot more. And, the easy-in/easy-out Deer Valley Grocery-Café is a great spot to eat-in for breakfast, lunch or dinner, but also a convenient place to stock up on everything, like prepared entrées, sandwiches, pizzas, desserts, breads and baked goods, and even wine, beer and liquor to take home or back to your hotel or condo.
Locals know that most Sundance Film Festival attendees don't take advantage of our incredible snow and mountain terrain, so it's an ideal time for the rest of us to ski and snowboard. For on-mountain eats, it's hard to top Lookout Cabin (4000 The Canyons Resort Drive, 435-615-2892, parkcitymountain.com, reservations recommended), Park City Mountain's upscale dining spot for lunch. Enjoy a glass of wine or a custom cocktail from the full-service bar before diving into delicious dishes like the chicken bao buns, the perfectly dressed salmon salad or acorn squash risotto. The stunning 360-degree views are complimentary. Meanwhile, Miner's Camp serves up American classics like burgers and chili, along with Mediterranean fare including kabobs and gyros. At Cloud Dine you'll find restaurant-quality cuisine in a cafeteria setting. Highlights include Korean barbecue beef sliders, a nifty Niçoise salad and their outrageous Kobe beef hot dog. And down at Canyons Village, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better dining spot than The Farm (435-615-8080), which I consider to be one of Utah's outstanding restaurants.
The friendly folks and warm atmosphere at Lisa and Jeff Ward's Silver Star Café (1825 Three Kings Drive, 435-655-3456, thesilverstarcafe.com) make it the perfect Sundance escape. Not only is the Silver Star a good choice for brunch, lunch and dinner, but it is also a cozy venue for live roots music from world-class artists.
Here's hoping this roundup of under-the-radar eateries will make your Sundance experience a little tastier.