Back in the day—when the original gondola operated from the base of Park City Resort (now Park City Mountain) and Steeps was the hot spot for après ski—my ski buddies and I would inevitably gather at Mid-Mountain Lodge for a quick and hearty lunch.
Back then, Mid-Mountain (as everyone called the lodge) wasn’t much to look at, and the cafeteria-style eatery wasn’t exactly gourmet, either. However, we would carbo-load on the cheap mashed potatoes and gravy served there, which could be had for pocket change. It was the best bargain at the resort and we survived many a ski season on mashed spud sustenance.
Well, for the 2018-19 ski season, the historic 19th century boarding house that became Mid-Mountain Lodge underwent a mammoth makeover, which includes one of Utah’s only ski-in/ski-out, on-mountain, full-service cocktail bars: The Public House. In addition, there’s now an eye-popping deck with stunning views of the Uintas, custom-designed fire pits, sheepskin-draped tables and chairs, and more, including a completely revamped interior and new menu to match.
Located at the base of the Mid-Mountain Meadow trail at Park City Mountain, near the Pioneer and McConkey’s Express chairlifts, the Mid-Mountain restaurant is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and the Public House operates from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
I’m happy to report that you can still tuck into a hearty pile of Yukon Gold mashed potatoes with Mid-Mountain gravy at the renovated eatery. But the menu has been updated considerably with, for example, a selection of gourmet bowls such as the Buddha Bowl with brown rice, toasted kale, broccoli, cauliflower, roasted Brussels sprouts and peanut-miso sauce. Personally, I really like the Tuna Poke Bowl which features raw ahi tuna, wakame seaweed, shoyu, green onion, radish sprouts, tobiko, cucumber, sesame seeds, wasabi crème, pickled ginger and sticky rice.
There’s also new assortment of house-made soups, such as grass-fed beef chili and rustic tomato basil bisque, as well as some very tempting sandwiches like the irresistible Niman Ranch Rotisserie Porchetta on ciabatta with honey-wine aioli. The Rotisserie Chicken & Avocado Melt is another sure-fire winner.
Over at Deer Valley Resort, Matthew Harris—owner and chef at Park City’s Tupelo restaurant—has taken over the Deer Crest Cabin at the top of the Jordanelle ski run and Mountaineer Express Lift and turned it into the world’s first ski-in/ski-out raw bar: RIME.
It seems ironic that even though the cabin is engulfed in snow most of the time, the folks at RIME still have to schlep ice up to the eatery via the Jordanelle Gondola in order to keep menu items like oysters on the half shell, crudo, shrimp, and such, chilled and on ice.
Open Thursday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., this is certainly not your pappy’s mountain fare. With dishes such as chopped tuna tartare with lemon-chive oil, from-scratch clam chowder, and the best French dip sandwich I’ve ever eaten, RIME is the sort of destination dining spot that could probably only work at Deer Valley. And by the way, non-skiers can visit RIME with a $20 foot-passenger lift ticket for the Jordanelle Gondola.
For me, the Connecticut-style lobster roll is an absolute must-have at RIME. You just won’t find a tastier lobster roll, even on the East Coast. Chef Harris serves up a generous portion of steamed Maine lobster on soft, airy rolls flown in from back East and bathes the lobster very simply (and deliciously) in warm, melted butter. Combine fresh Utah powder with that luscious Connecticut lobster roll and you’ve got a darned near perfect day on your hands.