Deer Valley and the word “posh” are nearly synonymous. At Deer Valley Resort, it’s first-class all the way; they simply don’t know how to put anything other than their best foot forward. This is especially true of the resort’s dining destinations. So, when Deer Valley opens a “convenience store” and cafe, you can expect nothing but the best. Such is the case with Deer Valley Grocery-Café. This ain’t your daddy’s 7-Eleven.
It’s easy to blow past the Deer Valley Grocery-Café without noticing it, since it’s tucked away in the Deer Valley Plaza building, south of the Snow Park parking lot on Deer Valley Drive, in the space The Stew Pot once occupied. But the place is worth finding. It’s a combination grocery store and cafe, as the name would indicate, and includes a large, sun-drenched deck perched alongside the huge pond in lower Deer Valley. Don’t be surprised if a mallard duck waddles by, or an osprey dives for fish as you nosh on Deer Valley’s from-scratch comestibles. There’s also a moose that strolls by occasionally and sometimes takes an evening swim in the pond.
Deer Valley Grocery-Café is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., so you can enjoy everything from fresh-baked pastries and coffee drinks to items like the risotto du jour in the cafe. Or, you can stock up with goodies from the grocery to take back to your hotel, condo or home. It’s also an ideal spot to pick up items—including beer, wine and liquor—for picnics, hikes or concerts at the nearby Snow Park Amphitheater. In fact, this is one of the few places in the entire state that I know of where you can actually buy chilled wine to take out. For on-premise imbibing, there’s an appealing wine and beer selection—by the glass or bottle—as well as specialty cocktails like Deer Valley’s award-winning blueberry mojito (winner of the Park City Cocktail Contest) or the yummy flower & pine martini, made with Zirbenz Stone Pine Liqueur, St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, Beefeater Gin, fresh lemon and Peychaud’s bitters.
For breakfast in the cafe or to take out, there’s a terrific assortment of freshly baked breads and pastries, along with housemade granola, specialty coffee drinks and much more, like lox and bagels, a petite quiche, egg & cheese panini, French toast with fresh-baked challah and a tomato-spinach croissant. But things get really interesting around lunchtime. That’s when you’ll find temptations such as enchiladas—made with shiitake mushrooms, butternut squash and Anasazi beans—custom-made paninis, black bean-kale falafel, Cuban sandwiches, chimichurri steak, gourmet pizzas, Southwestern corn & beef soup, curried chicken salad, stews and, of course, Deer Valley’s famous turkey chili. The latter is especially awesome paired with the grilled four-cheese sandwich: Gold Creek Farms smoked Cheddar, aged Vermont Cheddar, Muenster and Cambozola, with housemade fig mustard and sliced green apple ($8.75).
From 3 to 8:30 p.m., Deer Valley Grocery-Café also features tapas and other small-plate offerings, but there’s nothing small about the taste. Frankly, I’m glad the portion sizes are reined in a bit, because it allows one to “graze”—to nibble on a big range of dishes, with a big range of flavors. For example, I like to start a meal with the ono and ahi ceviche ($10.25), which is raw sushi-grade fish marinated in lime juice and served with fresh corn tortillas, avocado, peppers and cilantro. Another good seafood option is the perfectly cooked, tender, peel & eat grilled chili-lime shrimp, which comes with heavenly basil-lime aioli ($9.25). As with all Deer Valley dishes, these are a feast for the eyes as well as the palate. The shrimp are presented in the small, very hot cast-iron skillet in which they were cooked. A truly beautiful and delicious dish is grilled mahi mahi, served in a large bowl atop tomato water and a pea puree, garnished with cilantro microgreens ($10.25). Rounding out the seafood selection is honey-soy diver scallops with Copper Moose Farm bok choy, sugar snap peas, ginger buerre blanc and togarashi ($9.75).
The meat and poultry portion of the tapas menu includes a sensational house-smoked duck and Manchego cheese empanada, topped with roasted-corn, green-tomato and avocado salsa ($9.75). For a dish with an Asian twist, I recommend the butter-lettuce wraps ($8.75): tender, crisp lettuce leaves stuffed with diced chicken and lap chong (Chinese sausage), shiitake mushrooms, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts and housemade ginger-hoisin sauce. By the way, virtually every sauce and condiment at Deer Valley Grocery-Café is made from scratch, from the aiolis and mustards to the yuzu marmalade that accompanies the bodacious Brussels sprouts with Niman Ranch pork lardons and shallots ($8.25).
A brilliant new take on the tostada is the Niman Ranch short-rib tostada ($9.75), with shredded, melt-in-your-mouth Niman Ranch beef, baby kale from Copper Moose Farm, jicama, chayote, pickled radish (pickled in-house, or course) and honey frybread. I like that at Deer Valley Grocery-Café, you can stop by for just a nibble or for an entire meal. Either way, it’s hard to pass up the charcuterie-cheese plate, with Creminelli salami, artisan cheeses, heirloom tomatoes, housemade pork rillettes (to die for), pickled onions and more ($12.75).
Service is—as it always is at Deer Valley Resort—simply impeccable. However, if you’d prefer to serve yourself, the grocery carries a wide range of gourmet foodstuffs, from fresh breads, sandwiches, salads, desserts and condiments to Niman Ranch bacon, cage-free eggs, fresh hummus, salsa and even St. Louis-style ribs. The freezer section offers take & bake entrees such as beef Burgundy stew, grilled-vegetable marinara, pasta dishes and the best meatballs I’ve ever tasted (the secret, I think, is Italian sausage). Boy oh boy, do I ever love this kind of gourmet convenience!
DEER VALLEY GROCERY-CAFE
1375 Deer Valley Drive, Park City