Folks taking in the Sundance Film Festival at Salt Lake City and Ogden venues have a wide array of affordable dining options available to them between screenings. In Park City, however? Not so much. There, reservations are hard to come by during the festival, and finding bargain meals is an even bigger challenge. Well, I can help. If you want to dine in the same glitzy eatery as Brangelina and Lady Gaga, you already know where to go. There is no shortage of high-end restaurants peppering Park City—especially on Main Street—and they’ll no doubt be star-studded. However, if you’re looking to escape the paparazzi or just trying to find a quiet meal that doesn’t require a movie-mogul budget, here are some suggestions—places with A-list cuisine at (mostly) B-list prices.
In the Prospector section of Park City, there are a handful of restaurants that most Sundance goers aren’t hip to. Good Karma (1782 Prospector Ave., 435-658-0958, GoodKarmaRestaurants.com) is an eclectic eatery with food ranging from pancakes breakfasts and burgers for lunch, to Persian and Indian fare like shrimp vindaloo and salmon parsi. At El Chubasco Mexican Grill (1890 Bonanza Drive, 435-645-9114), you’ll find authentic Mexican food—everything from street-style tacos and big burritos to pozole, menudo, machaca and more, not to mention a rockin’ salsa bar. Fuego Pizza Bistro & Pizzeria (2001 Sidewinder Drive, 435-645-8646, FuegoPizzeria.com) is the place for Italian-influenced bistro fare in an appealing setting, with a fully stocked bar and great beer and wine selection. The gourmet 12-inch pizzas are terrific, but so are entrees like chicken piccata and ravioli diablo.
I can guarantee that a seat at a Bill White restaurant (Grappa, Chimayo, Wahso, Sushi Blue, Ghidotti’s) during Sundance will be a tough ticket. However, White’s Windy Ridge Cafe & Bakery (1250 Iron Horse Drive, 435-647-0880, BillWhiteRestaurantGroup.com) flies a little under most Sundancers’ radar, serving up pastry chef Stephanie Krizman’s delectable baked goods for breakfast and lunch in the bakery, and lunch and dinner at the cafe, where you’ll find upscale American comfort food like meatloaf, hot turkey and mashed potatoes, and almond-crusted Utah red trout. Park City locals also know that they can escape the Sundance hoi polloi at Hans Fuegi’s Grub Steak Restaurant (2093 Sidewinder Drive, 435-649-8060, GrubSteakRestaurant.com), where you can enjoy items like elk sirloin or a center-cut baseball steak without having to sell the Escalade. One last Prospector area eatery to scout out is Blind Dog Restaurant & Sushi Bar (1251 Kearns Blvd., 435-655-0800, BlindDogPC.com), where they’ll be open for lunch during the Sundance Film Festival, serving their award-winning sushi, seafood, steaks and much more. Blind Dog also just happens to be one of the best bars in town.
A trio of off-the-beaten-Sundance-path restaurants can provide a respite from the festival frenzy, as well as darned good, inexpensive meals. First, you can get your Greek on at Nick’s Greek Cafe (1600 Snow Creek Drive, 435-658-2267, NicksGreekCafe.com) in Snow Creek Plaza. The wide-ranging menu features not only Greek classics like dolmades, moussaka, souvlaki, gyros and such, but also Vietnamese sandwiches, Chicago dogs and even noodle and rice bowls. Just down the road a bit is Squatters Roadhouse Grill (1900 Park Ave., 435-649-9868, Squatters.com), where you’ll find award-winning craft-brewed beers alongside quality pub fare. The chili-rubbed ahi tacos and charbroiled organic tofu with Thai yellow curry are just two items not to be missed. And then, way off the beaten path is a nifty little eatery with spectacular views: Silver Star Café (1825 Three Kings Drive, 435-655-3456), where live music on weekends provides an ambient backdrop to Chef Dave Bible’s rib-sticking dishes like duck cassoulet, pork osso bucco, vegetarian mushroom stroganoff, a killer Reuben and perfect pizzas.
If you really want to avoid Main Street during Sundance in Park City, I recommend heading west. A number of really good, not-too-pricey eateries have sprouted in Kimball Junction and Redstone Center, including Red Rock Brewery (1640 W. Redstone Center, 435-575-0295, RedRockBrewing.com), with handcrafted microbrews and root beer and excellent food to go with it. Try the perfectly cooked, oh-so-tender rotisserie chicken or macadamia-crusted wild salmon; you can’t go wrong with either. At Good Thymes (1456 New Park Blvd., 435-615-7090, Facebook.com/GoodThymesBistro), you’ll find comfort food at its best: chicken potpie, meatloaf, shrimp & grits, Philly cheesesteaks, fish & chips and a lot more, including a full bar. Close by is the best East Coast-style pizza around: Fat Kid Pizza at Maxwell’s (1456 Newpark Blvd., 435-647-0304, MaxwellsECE.com). And just around the corner is yet another place for awesome pizza: Park City Pizza Company (1612 Ute Blvd., Suite 111, 435-649-1591, www.ParkCityPizzaCo.com), where they’ve been keeping Park City pizza lovers happy for 26 years. For south-of-the-border flavors, hit up Loco Lizard (1612 Ute Blvd., Suite 101, 435-645-7000, LocoLizardCantina.com) for a marvelous Margarita and authentic Mexican fare like tacos al pastor, carnitas, mole poblano, pozole, ceviche and such.
Well, OK. You’re bound to stroll Main Street at some point during Sundance, right? Here are a few dining spots that maybe won’t be mobbed. Reef’s Restaurant & Gallery (710 Main, 435-658-0323, ReefsRestaurant.com) is one of Park City’s best restaurants, a combination art gallery and Mediterranean restaurant. Temptations like Jerusalem shish kebab, Moroccan salmon and fantastic falafel keep me coming back again and again. Meanwhile, Al Dente Trattoria e Bar (136 Heber Ave., 435-200-0260, AlDenteParkCity.com) is the newest of the Soo Chyung Restaurant Group, which also includes Yuki Arashi and A Wok Away. At Al Dente, you encounter beautiful décor and beautiful flavors to go with it. The duck-confit ravioli is out of this world, but the good old spaghetti & meatballs is also magnificent. I’d also try to score a table or bar seat at Shabu (442 Main, 435-645-7253, ShabuParkCity.com), which now offers a new gluten-free menu to customers. Enjoy the saketini bar while savoring some of the best sushi and other contemporary Asian cuisine, like the namesake shabu shabu, coconut-crusted tofu, moo shu duck and the killer Kobe beef pyramid. Finally, The Bridge Cafe & Grill (825 Main, 435-658-5451, TheBridgeCafeAndGrill.com), located right at the base of the Old Town Lift, combines traditional American comfort fare like burgers, cheesesteaks, chili and chicken wings with Brazilian dishes such as joqueca Baiana, camarÃ£o a brazuca, and filé com fritas.
Enjoy the festival and remember to eat!