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Food & Drink

Metropolitan Closes

Also: Beehive Cheese, Oasis & Epic

By Ted Scheffler
Posted // August 15,2011 -

Metropolitan Closes
I got choked up a bit when I heard the news that Metropolitan restaurant was permanently closing, which it did Aug. 12. We’ve been through a lot together in the 16 years since owner Karen Olson’s brother, Christophe, originally opened the eatery. “I went to Michigan to meet with my family and we decided to sell the restaurant,” said Karen. “We thought about rebranding and trying some new concepts, but finally decided to sell.”

Through the years, Metropolitan has set the standard here for innovative, contemporary American cuisine and unmatchable service. And, it won countless awards and accolades honoring the restaurant’s excellence. Karen Olson was also responsible for launching the popular Downtown Dine O’ Round, and was an early supporter of Taste of the Nation Utah. I’m never happy to see a restaurant close, because it usually means the end of somebody’s dream. The Olson family dreamed big when they opened Metropolitan; in 1995, it was unlike anything we’d ever seen in Utah. But, any restaurant that lasts for 16 years can only be considered a total success. That is quite a run, and it was sure fun while it lasted. I will miss Metropolitan dearly, and I wish Karen, Christophe and the Olson family all the best, wherever their new ventures take them.

Beehive Bonanza
Congrats to the folks at Beehive Cheese Company, who captured two first-place and two third-place ribbons at the American Cheese Society’s annual competition in Montreal, earlier this month. Among the wins: Barely Buzzed placed first in the flavored cheddar category, and Promontory Cheddar won first for cheddar aged under a year. Big John’s Cajun Rubbed Cheddar and SeaHive Cheddar took home third-place honors. (

Oasis Epic
On Tuesday, Aug. 30, Oasis Cafe (151 S. 500 East) will team up with Epic Brewing for a “small plates” dinner paired with 5-ounce samples of Epic brews. The dinner kicks off at 6:30 p.m. and will cost $28 for the menu tasting, plus $20 for the optional beer pairings. Epic Brewmaster Kevin Crompton will be on hand. Phone 801-322-0404 for reservations.

Quote of the week: Food is a weapon. —Maksim Litvinov

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Posted // August 15,2011 at 17:32
Thanks for all your constructive criticism and support over the years, Ted. When I began the Metropolitan project in 1993, my path was lined with myriad questions and apprehensions…strategic plan in a city like SLC, operational and logistical issues as well as a gamble on the location I chose. I knew we were going to be surfing on the break of a culinary tsunami and that always poses unique risks for the few who seek such adventure. When I hired our opening chef Mattias Merges I knew we were going to ‘kick some serious ass’ and that people would be either confused and intimidated or inspired and energized by our efforts. Fortunately, more were the latter than the former and the culinary environment of Utah evolved in response. Thanks to a supportive group of local and destination guests we flourished while at times raising the hackles of certain other folks and local colleagues. Lest one forget, we brought the first James Beard Foundation dinner to Utah and were early adopters and supporters of ‘locovorism’ when the word did not yet exist in common vernacular. When I passed the business to my sister Karen its future seemed uncertain. However, during the following decade plus, she and her ever changing team have tirelessly strived toward and usually succeeded at their mission. Thanks to Karen, the Chefs and staff, and our enthusiastic patrons for supporting the adventure and providing a remarkable template for the future of the culinary arts in Utah. Good job and mission accomplished!


Posted // August 15,2011 at 17:04 We wondered if there were problems behind The Metropolitan, when we made important (!) reservations .... which were curtly cancelled the next day.
Disregarding the fact that we'd planned an entire weekend around our 40th Anniversary dinner and had to scramble to change everything - it was just odd.

Either there was a lack of in-house communication, or the decision to close on July 2nd was done as a last-minute cost-cutter.

Farewell, Metropolitan.
Farewell, Blistered Brussels Sprouts