Making the headlines across the land this month was Social Axe’s return to the commission, seeking to secure a recreational beer license for their axe throwing business. You might recall that due to recent legislative changes (HB453 section 32B-6-702) the qualifying list of activities for this particular license type was updated to be specifically enumerated and not open to interpretation.
Mark Floyd, co-owner of Social Axe, returned after suggestions from commissioners in last months meeting, with a new business plan. Namely, the business had gone ahead and installed multiple pool tables (as well as an arcade section) into the facility to comply with the law under the notion of a pool and billiard parlor. Naturally, this “charade” as framed by one commissioner resulted in some spirited debate about the intent of the new legislation.
Commissioner Jacquelyn Orton summed up the majority of the commission thoughts and feelings saying, “I feel that, when I was put on the DABC commission, I feel like I was given a mandate to both follow the laws that we are given, thats not always easy to do, but also to use good discretion and in my mind, social axe has gone above and beyond to try to show good faith in complying the with intent as I understand it from the legislature. I will just tell you I will be voting in favor of this just because at some point I think we have to be reasonable and I feel like their good faith effort is valuable not just to us as commissioners but to the communities we represent as a whole.”
Commissioner Thomas Jacobson was the lone dissenting voice amongst commissioners suggesting the business update its exterior signage and advertising, “I think in order to be in compliance with the statute that the signage on the building would have to indicate that it is a pool and billiard parlor. I think the business has to be advertised to being a pool and billiard parlor; and if they also want to indicate that axe throwing is available – yes. But I think in order to comply with the statute you’ve got to call yourself a pool and billiard parlor.” Jacobsen also went on later in the discussion to ask what would stop an auto shop asking for a recreational beer license if they simply were to install pool tables.
Steve Lister, co-owner of Social Axe told the commission, “We were told at last months meeting – I don’t remember which commissioner said it – why don’t you put in a pool table and come back and see us next month? Which is what we did. We’re trying to be compliant, the struggle I have is, if I were to simplify it, I’m a Wendys franchise owner and the legislature changes the law and turns me into a Jiffy Lube, I don’t know how to change oil – I know how to make burgers. We’re an axe throwing business trying to be compliant with the DABC, that’s what we’re trying to do. We cant change our model to the extent of changing our business. We don’t know how to make money doing those other things – we know how to make money throwing axes; so thats what we want to continue to do, with a recreational beer permit – we’ve had that permit in Salt Lake City for one year with no issues. Zero issues.”
Chairman John T. Nielsen added his own thoughts too, “It seems to me that you’ve done what I think is necessary to comply with the statute. I was sympathetic to what the commissioner was saying, that there ought to be at least some indication that you have an activity there that meets the parameter of the statute. You’ve done that, it’s on your door.”. Nielsen expanded that the everyone’s lives would be made easier (both businesses and the DABC) if the legislature could address the statue in short order. As reported by Kathy Stephenson of the Trib, senator Jerry Stevenson concurred agreeing the mater would be looked at.
At any rate, the commission voted in favor of Social Axe 6-1, approving the recreational liquor license. Expect this one to run and run, as other businesses (such as last months Heart And Seoul Karaoke failing to secure a license) look to see if they can qualify with creative solutions. Here’s hoping the wise words of one commissioner are heeded and the enumerated list is dropped entirely – recreational activities being something that will likely always evolve over time.
Full service licenses (beer, wine liquor)
La Cueva Restaurant Mexicano, Torrey
Joe’s Crab Shack, Sandy
P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, Farmington, conditional
Weller’s Bistro on Main, Layton, conditional
Tin Angel Eccles, Salt Lake City, conditional
Osteria Amore, Salt Lake City, conditional
Limited service license (beer and wine)
Hideout Steakhouse of Heber City, Heber City
Hidden Cuisine, Moab
Ika Sushi, Sandy
Clubhouse Grill/Thanksgiving Point Golf Course, Lehi, conditional
Culichi Kitchen, Orem, conditional
Element Park City, Park City, conditional
One full license was available at this meeting, plus 2 summer seasonals. Beehive Distilling secured the single full bar license for their South Salt Lake operation with Button Up securing a Summer seasonal. Bout Time Pub & Grub in WVC, Punch Bowl Social at the Gateway and Redemption of Herriman look set to compete at coming meetings for a limited supply of license; only a couple of licenses are expected to be made available due to population changes in the coming months.
Silver Reef Brewing Company (Washington City) was approved for a new distilling license, adding to their existing brewery operation. Meanwhile Chedda Burger’s new Gateway location secured a beer only restaurant license. Bewilder Brewing Company out of SLC also took home a Beer Tavern license, plus Park City’s Viking Yurt was approved for a. transition from a Winter Seasonal to a full year restaurant license as well.
Park City Cocktail Contest
The Park City Area Restaurant Association welcomes the return of its annual summer cocktail contest. Open to all bartenders and mixologists of any PCARA establishment, cocktail professionals are invited to submit their best recipes to be included in this year’s contest. The winner will earn a $200 cash prize, city-wide recognition, and be featured in PCARA marketing efforts following the contest.
Exec-director Ginger Wicks writes, “Every year, we are fortunate enough to taste so many unique cocktails we are sure can’t be topped, and our talented mixologists continue to do just that. The contest motivates Park City’s talented staff behind the bar to push their creative limits and participate in some friendly competition – while guests get the chance to enjoy each and every sip served.”
Last year’s winner was mixologist Trevor Brown from Main Street’s tupelo, who took home the bragging rights with his Cherry In The Rye cocktail. The creation comprised rye whiskey, ginger liqueur, a port reduction, lime juice and club soda. Mixologists interested in entering this year’s contest can find the cocktail contest applications at www.parkcityrestaurants.com. Entrants must submit their applications by Monday, June 17 to Ginger Wicks, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Twin Suns Cafe
With major recalling of the Sugar House area still underway, this small cafe ran by Daniel Cantu is closed as of the end of May. Via email Cantu wrote to patrons”
“I found out a couple days ago that all of us tenants in that quaint building on Highland Dr have had our leases terminated, effective the end of this month. This has come as sudden and unfortunate news but it will upward and onward regardless. We knew that construction would eventually take over that spot but we hoped it would be later than sooner. I need to figure out the next chapter of Cantu’s Culinary Creations and the Twin Suns Cafe but I am certainly up for the challenge. Nevertheless, I will keep you posted with updates as to what will happen but as I mentioned this service will pause temporarily. We will be doing deliveries on the 14th, 21st and 28th and we will have a Star War themed dinner at the cafe on the 25th. Thank you so much for your support and I look forward to sharing the next chapter of my culinary journey with you soon.”
Reported by Mary Malouf in SL Mag, news about what comes next for the recently shuttered Aristo’s and Paris Bistro spaces – both apparently to be new Italian restaurant eateries. The Paris Bistro is expected to be the home for an another outpost of the mind boggling expansion of Sicilia Mia, with Aristo’s being replaced by Osteria Amore, an Italian restaurant concept from a former manager of Sicilia Mia (awarded a full service liquor license you might note above).
Finally, Cedars Of Lebanon closes on June 8th this month after nearly four decades of serving up Middle Eastern cuisine in downtown SLC. The space looks set to be replaced by the San Francisco chain Curry Up Now which is moving into Utah and Colorado with some 20 units planned across the two states. The downtown SLC location will also sport the craft cocktail concept from the chain as well – Mortar And Pestle Bar – a funky looking Indian inspired bar.
URA 2019 awards
The Utah Restaurant Association (URA) held their annual Restaurant Industry Awards Gala on May 23rd. The URA recognized the outstanding achievements of professionals in the restaurant industry, food community and also those who contribute to the success of the restaurant industry from outside. Notable winners at the event included included Chef Of The Year Jodie Rogers of Deer Valley Resort.
Five Seeds, Tona Sushi, The Daily SLC and Table X were among those restaurants receiving the Best Concept award. Ryan Lowder took home the “Golden Spoon” as he was honored as Utah’s Restaurateur of the Year. While Skyler Morris from SLC Eatery received the Heart of The Industry Front of House award for his tenured serving career.
Melva Sine, the president of the Utah Restaurant Association writes, “We have an incredibly unique and diverse restaurant industry and food community in Utah. We have a wealth of talent and so many professionals that value and contribute to Utah’s busting restaurant economy. We love celebrating our food family. We believe in celebrating our food culture in Utah, from North to South, East to West. It is important to recognize the industry and our collective accomplishments as well as individual contributions.”
Table X have announced they’re one of four restaurants selected by the Utah Office of Tourism to represent the Wasatch Front emerging as a foodie destination at two media events in June in Los Angeles and New York City. The restaurant kicks off the Summer season by offering a $29 three-course “Neighborhood Tasting” menu to allow customers an affordable sampling of its award-winning cuisine. The menu will be available nightly from 5-7.00 p.m. Options will vary throughout the summer and will feature two appetizers and an entrée.
In representing Utah to LA and NYC foodies, chef Nick Fahs plans to prepare and present a vegetable steak with chick pea puree, spruce salt, and preserved currants using ingredients harvested from the restaurant’s abundant, on-site garden. Fahs writes, “It’s a tremendous honor to have been invited as an ambassador of the Wasatch Front’s dining scene and showcase what is unique to our area coming of the heels of being recognized by the Utah Restaurant Association. We are excited for this opportunity to be exposed to national and regional media with large readerships, and to help raise awareness of Utah’s cutting-edge chefs and top-notch local products.”
1457 E 3350 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84106
Savor The Summit announces High West Spirit Garden
AS you know Savor The Summit is back soon, but if you’re not able to secure a spot at the Grande Table, High West are returning with their Spirit Garden option.
Located at the intersection of Heber Avenue and Main Street, the High West Spirit Garden is open to the public at no charge with no reservation needed. A limited number of VIP tickets are available for purchase for $55. VIP Tickets includes three assorted food items from Deer Valley Resort’s The Brass Tag and two drinks. Beverage options will include High West Whiskey, Red Rock beer, an assortment of Vine Lore wines, and Smart Water. Food service will be from 5-8.00 p.m., and bar service from 5-9.45 p.m. VIP tickets will not be available at the door and can only be purchased in advance by calling 435-901-8895.
Live entertainment of pop, funk, R&B and soul vibes include:
5:30 – 7:15 p.m. Jake & The Heist
8:00 – 9:45 p.m. Changing Lanes
Event goers are encouraged to park at Treasure Mountain Junior High School (2530 Kearns Blvd, Park City, UT 84060) and ride the free transit system to Main Street. Paid parking is also available in garages located on Swede Alley and at the Marriott Summit Watch but will fill up quickly.
Hey look it’s me! (Deseret News)
Kowloon Cafe closure reported in more detail (SL Tribune)
New liquor law group set to push for change (KUTV)
Conflicting city codes cause chaos (SL Tribune)
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Hi, I’m Stuart, nice to meet you! I’m the founder, writer and wrangler at Gastronomic SLC; I’m also a former restaurant critic of more than five years, working for the Salt Lake Tribune. I’ve worked extensively with multiple local publications from Visit Salt Lake to Salt Lake Magazine, not least helped to consult on national TV shows.
I’m a multiple-award winning journalist and have covered the Utah dining scene for the better part of fifteen years. I’m largely fueled by a critical obsession with rice, alliteration and the use of big words I don’t understand. What they’re saying about me: “Not inaccurate”, “I thought he was older”, “I don’t share his feelings”.
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