Spanish-inspired cooking set to crown massive new Utah hotel

This week saw the first big PR push for the glittering Hyatt Regency in downtown SLC. Press, yours included, were invited to an online presentation for the towering build which has shot up on the corner of West Temple and 2nd South. The new four star is one of a variety of impressive projects close to fruition in the capital; and luckily for us most have grand culinary ambitions attached, corralling eager chefs far and wide toward Utah stoves.

Let’s get right to the headline item then, and the piece de resistance, or maybe that should be pieza de resistencia? Set to crown the culinary options at the new Hyatt Regency will be Mar | Muntanya – a Spanish-inflected bistro. My Catalonian is lacking, Google tells me this essentially means sea and mountain, a motif that the impending menu will run with.

Sea and mountain as interpreted by Stable Diffusion AI - PIcasso, Dali, Goya, Velasquez
Sea and mountains as interpreted via Stable Diffusion AI in the style of Picasso, Dali, Goya, Velasquez

Mar | Muntanya will be located on the sixth floor of the dazzling new structure, just alongside a rooftop patio space known as the Sundance Terrace. In the kitchen Mar | Muntanya will be headed up by Tyson Peterson, a Utah native back in the Beehive after an eight year hiatus. His CV counts a recent posting in Vegas at the Sin City’s Renaissance hotel and a browse around LinkedIn also shows a seven year stint at the swanky St Regis in Deer Valley; many moons ago he served as sous at Jean-Georges Vongerichten restaurant (before the space latterly became RIME under Matthew Harris).

Tyson has a strong backstory when it comes to Spanish cuisine. Mar | Montoya is apparently the third such restaurant the chef has either launched or assisted with (Vail’s Leonora one such example). On his return to Utah, Peterson noted to press the similarities he saw between “Utah’s preservation and homesteading heritage, [and how it] parallels the shepherding communities of Northern Spain.”

Renders of the upcoming Mar Muntanya (Hyatt)
Renders of the upcoming Mar Muntanya (Hyatt)

Menu wise, Peterson riffed on several ideas for the restaurant. Tapas and shareable plates will kick things off, as will a “signature” oyster offering. It’s a hotel so it’d be madness to expect a complete dive down the conejo hole – there’ll be salads, and soups and proteins, “something for everyone”, Peterson noted. Guests can also expect wild game such as elk, a “suckling pig experience”, as well as a craft cocktail menu built around gin. Apparently Spain is a massive consumer of the stuff, who knew. Of course there’ll also be plenty of sangria, Spanish wine and local cidre – probably not poured the traditional splashy sploshy way on all that beautiful new building mind you.

Peterson rounded out his presentation to press by stating, “we really want the guests to leave Mar Muntanya feeling as if the communities of Northern Spain settled here in the Salt Lake Valley and brought their lively culture along with them.”

Here’s hoping Peterson has the remit to dig a little below the surface, beyond the patatas bravas and albondigas. What I wouldn’t give to be able to order up a plate of mineral rich morcilla topped with quivering scallop, maybe finished with some firm and fresh Utah peas, eh? At any rate, Utah has been sorely lacking Spanish flair and flavor diversity for an eternity. Despite the foodie press promising us a revolution of the stuff a decade ago, the local arrival never transpired. We shall wait and watch.

Render for the Salt Republic (Hyatt)
Render for the Salt Republic (Hyatt)
Render for the Contribution cocktail lounge (Hyatt)
Render for the Contribution cocktail lounge (Hyatt)

Also joining Mar | Muntanya is The Salt Republic, the second of the two feature restaurants coming to the Hyatt; ostensibly this will serve as the hotel’s ‘regular’ restaurant spot serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Chef Ryan Olivas is the name on the menu as well as the hotel’s overall food and beverage operation.

Olivas detailed an open kitchen concept that will be centered around rotisserie oven cooking. The breakfast buffet sounded like my cup of tea, wagyu pastrami benedict and a bison short rib hash anyone? As well as that, expect a focus on organic meats – chicken to prime rib being fired on that rotisserie – as well as dishes such as rainbow trout fish and chips and a rotating flatbread menu.

Lastly, Olivas also went over a couple of other additional points of food and bev interest – a craft cocktail lounge and a snack spot. The former named Contribution looks set to be a fun people watching spot, located on the ground floor, on the corner of West Temple and 2nd South. The latter meanwhile will be known as The Market and will be a 24/7 spot for guests to grab snacks and supplies.

The hotel are planning to unlock the doors sometime this October along with the dining options listed above. You know I’ll be there with my face pressed against the glass on opening day. Stay tuned.

More points about the new Hyatt Regency in SLC that came out of the presentation:

  • Expect 700 rooms 33 suites in the main tower
  • The hotel is directly connected internally to the Salt Palace convention center. Those who travel for trade shows a lot will no doubt appreciate the AC bubble, rather than street schlepping
  • There’s a huge focus on expanded meeting space. The Hyatt adds a massive 60,000 square foot of new meeting footprint which can be configured into spaces for 10-2000 guests.
  • There are *thirty one* meeting rooms over five floors, from 300 to 23,000 square feet. Salt Lake ball room 15,000 square foot, Regency indoor ball 23,000, secondlagets outside convention, floor ceiling glasss windows
  • A swish ‘broadcast lounge’ is kitted to the nines with tech and can do everything from offering a podcasting base, through to piping live streamed video
  • The hotel is nearly twenty years in the making, with construction starting in early 2020. The whole build costs $377 million
  • Rooms are expected to start around the $275 per night mark, with specific pricing variable based on demand

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