A Charmed Loaf
A new artisan bakery rises to the occasion.
Brent Whitford, a former chef at Park City’s Chez Betty restaurant, says he’s a “self-taught baker.” On the evidence, he must be one fine teacher.
The handcrafted Red Bicycle breads that Whitford and his girlfriend, Gwen Plumert, create every day are the talk of the town. Think soft, seductive baguettes laced with olive oil and sea salt, hefty rounds flavored with herbes de Provence and citrus, a boule with roasted yams and molasses, and even a chocolate chipotle loaf—among other tempting breads.
Since launching the business with partner Brad Hart last year, Whitford says sales have risen like crazy. Consequently, the signature red bicycle he used to hitch up to a trailer for deliveries to the summer Park Silly Sunday Market (where he sells 250 loaves each week) has become more of a symbol than a mode of transportation.
“Things are moving fast business-wise, but our breads recall a better, slower time when bakers did almost everything by hand, insisted on the freshest possible ingredients, and each loaf was a labor of love,” Whitford says. “Most of our loaves are made in the Italian style, with really simple local ingredients, like flour from Utah’s Roller Mills and Redmond salt from the Great Salt Lake.
“We try to make everything with our hands, the artisan way, without a lot of machines,” he continues. “Gwen likes to say we’re ‘keeping Park City crusty.’” Well, someone had to do it.
Grab a Slice
If you’re looking for a place to satisfy your pizza craving, you won’t have far to go, but you will have a hard time choosing. Park City has more than its fair share of pizza joints. These locally run parlors all offer eat-in or takeout and include additional offerings on their menus.
Grab a Slice
If you’re looking for a place to satisfy your pizza craving, you won’t have far to go, but you will have a hard time choosing. Park City has more than its fair share of pizza joints. These locally run parlors all offer eat-in or takeout and include additional offerings on their menus. —Carolyn Southerlin
- Callaway’s Bistro (255 Main St, 435.615.6951, callawaysbistros.com) Hike up Main Street for pizzas with house-made, hand-tossed pizza dough. You can eat in, take out, or get a “take ’n’ bake” pizza to cook at your leisure. Try the ranch chicken with bacon, mushrooms, red onions, and mozzarella cheese.
- Davanza’s (690 Park Ave, 435.649.2222) Davanza’s is a longtime locals’ favorite, with offerings like the hearty Mucker Supreme with pepperoni, sausage, ham, ground beef, mushrooms, onions, bell peppers, and black olives. Right under the Town Lift, it’s a happening spot for high school kids, families, the business lunch crowd, and others. It doesn’t get more local than this.
- Fuego Pizzeria (2001 Sidewinder Dr, 435.645.8646, fuegopizzeria.com) Want a gourmet pizza? Find this little out-of-the-way Italian bistro in the Prospector area, and you’ll find a wide assortment of traditional and unusual gourmet pizzas. The Deer Valley is scrumptious with pesto, mozzarella, feta cheese, kalamata olives, and artichoke hearts.
- Main Street Pizza and Noodle (530 Main St, 435.645.8878, mainstreetpizzanoodle.com) If you’re shopping on Main Street, stop into this bright and casual eatery and order the Maui Mama pizza with extra Canadian bacon, pineapple, and mozzarella cheese. You’ll also find a wide selection of beer and wine.
- Maxwell’s (1456 Newpark Blvd, 435.647.0304) Maxwell’s in the Newpark area is the place for East Coast–style pizzas named after Italian mafia films or characters. Try the Donnie Brasco with alfredo sauce, mozzarella, provolone, ricotta cheese, and a balsamic reduction drizzled on top. All of the pizzas come in one 20-inch size, so be hungry or bring friends to share.
- Park City Pizza Company (1612 Ute Blvd, 435.649.1591, parkcitypizzaco.com) Located in Kimball Junction, PCPC offers a solid assortment of pizzas from build-your-own to Hawaiian to the Weed Eater for vegetarians. They also specialize in gluten-free pizzas.
- Red Banjo Pizza Parlour (322 Main St, 435.649.9901) Going strong for nearly half a century, the Red Banjo is the oldest pizza place in Park City. The entire family will love its casual atmosphere and its reasonably priced, hearty, and consistent pizzas, most of which are named for local ski runs (the Silver King boasts pepperoni, sausage, green peppers, and banana peppers).
Got wheat? Nope.
One of the side benefits of a vacation—or an epic powder day—is that you have a perfect excuse not to cook. However, eating out can be a challenge for those on a special diet. Luckily, Park City boasts plenty of restaurants that embrace the gluten-free cause.
If you want something quick, head to the café at Fairweather Natural Foods (1270 Ironhorse Dr, 435.649.4561, fairweathernaturalfoods.com). Every morning, shop owner Jen Rattray and her crew simmer up delicious made-from-scratch soups that are always dairy-free and often gluten-free. Plus, Fairweather offers an array of gluten-free snacks for later in the day.
For reasonably priced gluten-free family dining, try Taste of Saigon (580 Main St in the Galleria Mall, 435.647.0688, tasteofsaigonpc.com) and Loco Lizard (1612 Ute Blvd #101, 435.645.7000, locolizardcantina.com). Taste of Saigon offers delicious Vietnamese dishes with fresh vegetables, meats, and a wheat-free fish sauce soup base. Favorites include the fresh spring rolls with peanut sauce and the roasted pork with rice noodles soup. Mexican restaurant Loco Lizard also prepares everything fresh daily and cooks most dishes gluten-free (exceptions are noted). Try the vegetarian combo with salsa ranchero.
For upscale fare, check out Reef’s Restaurant (710 Main St, 435.658.0323, reefsrestaurant.com) or 350 Main Brasserie (350 Main St, 435.649.3140, 350main.com). Reef’s has symbols on its menus that indicate which dishes are vegetarian and gluten-free, while 350 Main has a separate gluten-free menu; both can be viewed online beforehand. You can’t beat Reef’s sautéed scallops with mustard and saffron, and 350 Main has a lobster bisque that’s to die for.
Hankering for just a good old après-ski pizza from a local parlor? Park City Pizza Company (1612 Ute Blvd #111, 435.649.1591) offers a full gluten-free menu of pizzas, pastas, garlic bread, and more.
One entrepreneur’s service hits the spot with local diners.
As a teen living in Michoacán, Mexico, José Cruz thought he heard the call of the priesthood. But today, as the owner of Park City’s popular Speedy Fernandez Restaurant Delivery Service, it’s a steady stream of customer calls he’s hearing.
Cruz stumbled onto his unique delivery service model during the winter of 2006. He had just quit a job delivering pizzas to become the manager of La Casita Mexican Restaurant. “I wasn’t there for 30 minutes, behind those walls, and working for someone else didn’t feel good,” Cruz remembers. He and the La Casita owner devised a plan that would allow Cruz to work for himself, while also helping the restaurateur: Cruz would start a delivery service named Speedy Fernandez.
“The owner of La Casita came up with the name,” Cruz explains. “He originally suggested Speedy Gonzales (after the Warner Brothers cartoon character and the popular ’60s tune), but when I went to the city for a business license, they said I might run into copyright problems with that one.” So he substituted Fernandez instead. He had 300 menus printed, excluding La Casita’s telephone number but including his two cellular numbers, and distributed them to Main Street offices and Old Town residences.
“I remember a day later, I got a phone call from Sushi Maru asking me if this was José who used to work at the pizza place,” Cruz says. “He asked if I would be interested in delivering for him also.” Three more restaurants jumped on board, and the delivery business was off and running.
During the winter of 2006, Cruz employed five drivers. By the next year, he’d increased his payroll to eight. Now he has 15 drivers and five operators hustling cuisine from 19 Park City restaurants to hungry folks in offices and residences throughout the Park City area for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and late-night offerings. Cruz estimates his business has grown between 20 and 30 percent a year since 2006. “We actually got busier when the economy dropped,” he says. “People get more hungry when the problems kick in.”
So what happened to his dreams of becoming a priest? Aside from Cruz crediting his success in America to the fact that he studied English in seminary, he says that after being granted a year to decide whether the priestly life was what he really wanted, he traveled to the US, where he found work in California’s lettuce fields. Three months later, at the encouragement of a friend, he moved to Park City, where he got the job with the pizza shop.
Here, he met his wife, Rocio, with whom he has four children, with another on the way. “Basically, I fell in love, and we decided to live together,” Cruz recounts. “Then a son came along, and that was the end of the priest idea.” And the beginning of a popular Park City business that really delivers.