Lifelong Parkite has two hometowns
November 23, 2012
Sofia Mileti could use a pair of ruby slippers. Though the Park City native has seen more of the world in the last 10 years than most of us will in a lifetime, she’ll be the first to tell you that there’s no place like home. And that’s a problem for her. Though she calls this town home, she has another hometown a few thousand miles to the south in Guatemala, where her mother and most of her family live.
"It’s kind of a struggle," Mileti laments, "because when I’m here, I miss it there and when I’m there, I miss it here."
The slippers would help. Three clicks and she’d be home either way, right?
Travel is second nature to Mileti, who’s been back in town (most of the time) since 2009 and currently works as the patrons director at the historic Egyptian Theatre on Main Street.
The 34-year-old voyager and adventurer has worked, studied and played on three continents so far and has a couple of others in her sights. She’s quick to acknowledge her good fortune. "I’ve been lucky, really the luckiest girl I know," she says.
The daughter of Carmen and Otto Mileti, who owned the iconic Mileti’s Restaurant on Main Street for almost 30 years, she’s called Park City home, or at least home base, all her life.
She grew up in Park Meadows and has fond memories of playing with her brothers and the neighborhood kids in her "huge" backyard. "We had a big swing set with a tire swing, trapeze, monkey bars and rings. We all went to Treasure Mountain Middle School and Park City High. A huge crew of us would meet at the same corner every school day and ride our bikes or skateboards to school. We were the ‘Park Meadows Gang’ and we used to get in a lot of trouble for ‘loitering’ on the golf course."
Mileti recalls other childhood adventures in Central America. "For a couple of years we had year-round school here, three months on and three off. My family would take long trips to Guatemala to visit my mother’s family and travel the Caribbean. My brother, Enzo, and I learned to scuba dive when we were nine and ten years old. We would spend weeks island-hopping and then head back to Guatemala to be with my family."
Mileti cut her teeth, almost literally, working at the family restaurant, which reigned supreme among Main Street eateries and watering holes from 1973 through 2002. "I started bussing tables there when I was seven years old and worked there until it closed." Her abiding love for cooking and serving people took root early and grew as she did.
When her mother closed the restaurant and moved back to Guatemala City, her beloved hometown, Mileti stayed in Park City. She worked off and on at Adolph’s for 10 years, where she worked as a busser, server, line cook and expeditor. "Adolph taught me at least half of what I know about food."
After graduating from Park City High, Mileti attended the University of Utah, where she took a degree in commercial recreation from the Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department. Fluent in Spanish, she was also certified as a medical terminology interpreter and volunteered for three years at Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City, working with Spanish-speaking patients.
It wasn’t long before Mileti’s restless spirit asserted itself. To call her adventurous is an understatement. Diploma in one hand, passport in the other, Mileti embarked on a decade-long whirlwind of travel that took her, not necessarily in order, to New York City for an internship with Giorgio Armani; to Guatemala, where she opened an upscale restaurant on Lake Atitlan; to Salamanca, Spain, where she studied Spanish literature; to travels throughout Europe. All this was interspersed with frequent returns to Park City, where she worked and played seasonally.
Mileti kept that pace up for years and showed no sign of slowing or settling until recently. She confesses now to recurring moments of self reflection to assess career goals and her future. "Park City is my home. Small-town life in general is just more relaxed and more my pace. Park City still feels like a small town to me."
She talks about two of her great passions. "I’m very passionate about cooking and nourishing people through food. I see no greater honor than to create beautiful food that both nourishes and makes people happy.
"I’m also a live-music fanatic. That’s why I went to work for Mountain Town Stages, now Mountain Town Music. I really enjoyed working with Randy Barton, and Brian Richards after he took over," she says
Her latest venture into the nonprofit theatre world is not surprising. "I believe in the mission of the Egyptian and I’m good at my job. Plus, I still enjoy working with Randy."
As for long-term goals, Mileti sees her future clearly. "I believe preparing good food is what I’m on the planet to do. Someday I’d like to open another restaurant, I’m not sure where. I’d love to be a part of an organic, farm-to-table operation where we’d source a lot of ingredients from an on-site garden. At my restaurant in Guatemala, I had a huge organic garden and was cultivating and harvesting lettuce, herbs, tomatoes and several other ingredients from a garden I planted with my mom just a few yards from the restaurant. Someday I’d like to be able to grow my own food. I’d like to learn about fermentation processes, canning, permaculture, and other homesteading skills and crafts."
Mileti has a far broader vision as well. "I look forward to humanity waking up and ascending to a higher vibration. A place where we work together and support one another, where there is only oneness. So many of us are starting to realize this. We have so much potential if we unite and share our gifts."
A resurrection of Mileti’s Restaurant in Summit County would be a gift indeed. Table for two, please.
Steve Phillips is a Park City-based writer and actor. Send your profile comments and suggestions to him at email@example.com
Favorite things to do: Cook, ski, hike, bike, run, go out with friends to concerts and movies, play Frisbee and volleyball in the park, yoga at The Shop.
Favorite foods: Italian and Guatemalan.
Favorite reading: All of Peter Benchley’s books; anything about physics; "Born to Run," "Like Water for Chocolate," "The House of Spirits."
Favorite music: The Tedeschi Trucks Band, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Ernest Ranglin, Bob Marley, Django Reinhardt, Julieta Venegas, The Talking Heads, and the list goes on.
Bucket list: Travel to Africa and Asia; visit Egypt, Iceland, Croatia, Turkey, Tibet, Nepal and India; learn to fence, flamenco dance, sail and knit.