Influenced by his time living in San Francisco, he believed Provo’s population could handle bold cuisine and with several chefs, crafted a base of tempting dishes for an ever-evolving menu. “You learn that you can’t appease everyone,” Ballard says. “In this area, generally, people don’t care about taste as long as they’re full.” So, Ballard’s waitstaff helps educate customers to appreciate sophisticated flavors, ornate presentations and challenging menu items that are otherwise not found in the Provo-Orem are.
To start, try the mixed greens and berry salad or “dueling edamame”—one served warm and sautéed with bacon, the other lemon-salted and chilled. The memorable pan-seared salmon on warm truffle potatoes with lemon-butter sauce, topped with baby arugula, hits a harmonious balance. The fried chicken and bacon-enhanced smoked Gouda mac & cheese is a local favorite for its richness and heaping size. No salt & pepper needed; the seasonings aren’t even offered table-side. End dinner with the perfect Amano chocolate mousse.
However, sparks don’t fly for wine and beer here, because no alcohol is served. “Some people think it’s a big religious decision. That has nothing to do with it,” Ballard says, “There’s just a lot of people here that don’t drink.” Instead, there are artfully crafted fun, fruity cocktails like cotton candy-topped Shirley Temples or double-berry “martinis.” Despite this, the restaurant’s chic black décor with abstract- and pop art-lined walls and the bustling late-night lounge atmosphere—especially on weekends—are proving Provo’s really not so bland.
SPARK RESTAURANT LOUNGE
86 N. University Ave., Provo