Racquet Club attracts sports bar | ParkRecord.com

Racquet Club attracts sports bar

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

It is less than a month before Mikey Collins wants to debut a new restaurant and sports bar in the Racquet Club, and his crews on Monday were busy inside turning the space where the Broken Thumb once was into his own place.

Collins, a veteran of 11 years in the restaurant-bar industry, with time at Harry O’s and the No Name Saloon on Main Street, expects his Coach’s Sports Bar & Grill will be a draw at the City Hall-owned fitness facility, even as other owners have ditched the Racquet Club space in the past.

Collins recently struck a deal with Park City officials to move in, and he wants to open by June 15. The timing puts the debut as the Racquet Club’s busy summer season is starting. He is confident there are enough people who will prefer his place to a trip to Main Street, with its high-season traffic and paid parking.

"Being in a neighborhood, being off Main Street, I like being a block from the football field" at Park City High School, he says, adding, "It’s always nice to go somewhere besides Main Street."

The Broken Thumb was forced out of the space early in the year after failing to pay $18,000 in back rent to City Hall. The owner of the Broken Thumb said at the time he wanted a long-term deal for the space, but City Hall was reluctant to sign that sort of agreement since a major renovation of the Racquet Club is planned. The redo will close the facility for an extended period.

The City Hall deal with Collins covers the period between May 15, 2008 and June 15, 2009, with the chance of it being extended on a monthly basis if the Racquet Club renovation is delayed from summer 2009. Rent is set at $2,000 per month, and City Hall agreed to fund up to $3,000 to paint the space and remodel the bathrooms. The Park City Council approved the Coach’s agreement unanimously after little discussion. City Hall received another proposal, but details were of the other one were not publicized,

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The deal gives Collins the right of first refusal to rent restaurant-bar space in the redone building. The details of the renovation have not been finalized, but officials are expected to design the Racquet Club to include a restaurant-bar.

"The restaurant, I think, provides an important service," says Ken Fisher, who manages the Racquet Club for City Hall and wrote a favorable report about the Coach’s deal that was submitted to the City Council before the vote.

He anticipates tennis players, pool-goers and league players in volleyball and basketball will frequent Coach’s. Fisher also expects people live or work in Park Meadows will be good customers.

Collins likes City Hall’s plans to renovate the Racquet Club, saying it will become a state-of-the-art facility. However, he says he would have signed a deal with the city government if the building were to be left as it is. Collins anticipates Coach’s will be busier than the Broken Thumb was, but he says the renovation of the Racquet Club will not push his business up more than he expected.

"I would be here either way. I’ve wanted that space for years," he says.

Collins, who is 30 years old and lives along the Deer Valley Drive corridor, grew up in New England and moved to Park City eight years ago. He is a Park City High School football coach. He plans to paint Coach’s in the high school’s sports colors of red and black.

He says he will especially draw sports fans to Coach’s, and he wants to install a projection screen and seven televisions to show games. Collins has designed the Coach’s menu to be affordable. He describes the food selection as being "a bar menu on the healthy side."

Collins says Coach’s can succeed in Park City’s competitive restaurant industry, saying there are enough big ski-season crowds to keep his place busy.

"Every restaurant’s overflowing with people," he says.

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