There is an image/memory of Park City and there is the reality. When I moved to Park City about 20 years ago, there were still remnants, although few, of an Old West ski town—a place where the local cops knew just about every resident and where ski bums like Larry the Legend and Darkside Dave could over a hundred days per year and survive (mostly) on summer jobs and part-time work. Anybody remember Park West? Hula Bowl? Steeps? It was before the Republicans came to town.
Newpark Town Center is the reality; it’s the new Park City and it’s probably not for the nostalgic. It is, however, Summit County’s freshest fun zone and a great locale to revel in great food, drink, entertainment, nature, lodging, shopping and more. The Newpark motto is: Live-Work-Play-Shop-Dine-Stay. I recently did just that. Well, except for the “live” and “work” parts—unless you consider playing, shopping, dining and staying work.
Newpark, located adjacent to the Redstone community in Kimball Junction, is anchored by the Newpark Hotel and the Swaner EcoCenter and boasts numerous restaurants, bars, stores, condos, townhouses and the corporate homes of Rossignol and Skullcandy. For a summer or fall escape to Park City, the Newpark Hotel is an ideal home base. The rooms, styled in a Sweden-meets-Mission décor, are large, comfy and beautiful. And, during the off-season, you can score rooms at Newpark for under $100 per night. Try to get a room with a balcony and hot tub overlooking Maxwell’s and with a view of the Newpark amphitheater, where free concerts take place every Thursday evening.
If you don’t have a room, reserve a patio table at Maxwell’s to take in the tunes or simply to enjoy a terrific sun-soaked meal and cold cocktails. I’ve written about the superb East Coast-style “Fat Kid” pizzas at Maxwell’s in the past, but there’s more to Maxwell’s than perfect pizza. A plate of homemade al dente pasta (linguine) with fresh clams and a basil-lemon, white-wine sauce was simple, straightforward, and sublime. The Maryland-style crab cake appetizer is two large cakes made with high-quality blue crab, not filler, and the crispy fried calamari was equally enticing—perfect with a bucket of cold Coronas or other brew from the huge on-tap selection at Maxwell’s. It’s summer, and at Maxwell’s, the beach is open for business.
Next door to Maxwell’s is Good Thymes, a comfy spot for breakfast, lunch or dinner, featuring family-style cuisine such as pot pie, meatloaf, burgers, barbecued ribs, chicken fried steak and the like. There’s a slightly Southern culinary skew here and so, you’ll find atypical dishes such as fried green tomatoes and shrimp with grits on the menu. The latter is a generous plate of creamy, cheesy, yellow grits with a half-dozen medium-large (“jumbo” according to the menu) shrimp cooked and served in a piquant Creole sauce—a little bit of New Orleans at high altitude. And, the homestyle banana-cream pie is well worth sticking around for, too.
Kneaders Bakery & Café is another solid choice for breakfast or lunch, offering de-lish hearth breads, panini and croissant sandwiches, soups and salads, and bodacious “chunky cinnamon” French toast.
Between meals, you might choose to bike or stroll the many miles of trails surrounding Newpark, but be sure to make time to take in the Swaner EcoCenter: 1,200 acres of wildlife refuge with 10 miles of trails to explore and numerous environmental programs for both kids and adults.
For an evening of play, why not try bowling? Yup, I said bowling. Newpark Town Center sports one of the coolest, swankiest bowling alleys you’ll ever encounter: Jupiter Bowl, located just a short walk from the Newpark Hotel and a few steps from Best Buy. This is not your daddy’s bowling alley. For starters, Jupiter Bowl has massive screens playing music videos, in addition to a live DJ on certain nights. There’s also Club Jupiter, which is a four-lane private bowling venue—perfect for parties. The windows even change tints so no one can see in if you’d like to throw an especially adult 10-pin party. For kids, there are video games and a Wii room.
But, what really separates Jupiter Bowl from standard bowling alleys is the food and service. Forget about pizza ovens, hot dogs and microwave sandwiches. This place has the full-service Lift Grill and Lounge, Black Diamond Bar and table service at each bowling lane. Order up a bottle of wine, a cocktail, or food from the extensive menu, and it’ll be delivered right to your lane or table. Superb servers like Jeff Hunt enhance your bowling experience with friendly—and in the case of Hunt—entertaining, service. You might not recognize the actor and California transplant from the Power Rangers movies. “I played all the bad guys,” says Hunt.
Chef Jason Brumm dishes up an eclectic range of very good appetizers and entrees. Highlights from our recent bowling outing included a fresh Caprese salad, brisket quesadilla, a trio of sliders (cheeseburger, Buffalo chicken and pulled pork), fish tacos and a sensational savory surprise: Southern fried chicken with macaroni and cheese. Kids could even get behind this dish, which is boneless morsels of white chicken breast deep-fried in a crispy Southern-style batter, and served atop creamy macaroni and cheese. The pasta is bathed in a white Cheddar sauce and spiked with minced tomato (just enough to give it a little color), scallions and jalapeños. Strike!
Park City is changing, to be sure. But for food and fun, it’s never been better.
NEWPARK TOWN CENTER
1122 Center Drive
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