Changing Park City, through the Deli owners’ eyes
January 2, 2015
Early morning on Main Street: you wouldn’t know it, but the night before was the worst traffic jam in Park City history. Between the cars, the snowstorm, and crowds, the roads were blocked like a heart patient’s arteries. This sub-zero morning, there are just two cars parked on the curb, and they’re both in front of the Main Street Deli, a fixture here for nearly 30 years.
"That’s the biggest change I’ve seen in this town," says Mike Lindbloom who owns the Main Street Deli with his wife Barb. "The traffic is unreal." It’s 10 pounds of traffic stuffed into a five-pound bag."
Mike is frying a ton of potatoes on the grill, as he stirs the giant soup pot that will fuel and warm skiers for the day. "It’s going to be a bit too cold for skiing today," says Mike. "They’ll be staying indoors. Many of them will head to the Deli."
With Western dreams, Mike hopped on his motorcycle in 1977 and rode toward the setting sun from his Minnesota home, through Bozeman, Jackson, Glacier, and finally into Sun Valley. He turned around, went home, quit his job, and he and Barb embarked on their adventure. For a decade they owned the popular Silver Creek Saloon, and lament slower pace back then. "Like all of these towns," says Mike, "the people who bought property all seem to have done well. I had a chance to buy a parcel for $26,000 in Idaho. That was a lot of money back then, though."
It, of course, was later subdivided into million-dollar lots. So it goes.
After 10 years at the saloon Mike and Barb headed south to Park City, where they opened the Deli in a historic building that, for years, was the town’s camera and photography shop.
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"This town’s been really good to us," says Mike. "They know nearly everyone and hear just about everything that’s going on in town. Clientele is a mix of visitors and locals: one table’s furs, the next Sorels. When a well-known figure in town died, ‘the radio station called us for confirmation,’" says Barb.
It’s that sort of place
And they’ve had their share of interesting and notable visitors. His most famous visitor, by far, walked in the door in February of 1998, "Of course President Bill Clinton is the most famous," says Mike. "We sat and talked a bit, and he was just great." He bought yogurt and coffee, and spent time talking to Mike about raising daughters, and the new technology that allowed people to telecommute to their jobs, giving them the freedom to move to somewhere like this. Clinton was a repeat customer the next year as well.
"The most fun here of course had to be the Olympics in 2002," says Barb. "A lot of our friends stayed away, but they really missed out," says Mike. "We knew it was special when we saw the torch get run up the street."
The Sundance Film Festival has grown into a huge event, and is their busiest time of year, as many deals have been made over a cup of coffee on the square wooden tables. They’re prepared for the onslaught of the PIBs (people-in-black) in a few weeks.
When their daughter Erica was young she’d stand on the pickle barrel at the register, and many a newcomer worked for the Lindblooms as their first job. They now employee five and that doubles during the ski season. Erica now lives in Minnesota, completing a circle I suppose.
They both enjoy all of the recreation so close by. Mike still treasures his three-week trip rowing a boat down the Grand Canyon a decade ago, and fly fishes every chance he can. "When we retire we’ll head out and go traveling," he says. Until then, say hi to Mike and Barb while you take a break in one of the few authentic places left on Main.
Most interesting person to visit? "That would have to be Bill Clinton."
Best thing about Park City? "All of the recreation so close by."
Worst thing about Park City? "The traffic."
Most popular item? "All of the burgers are popular, but the top seller is the Reuben sandwich."
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