Resort cantina made energy efficient
July 8, 2011
Returning diners to Baja Cantina who haven’t been in a while are in for a surprise.
The 28-year-old restaurant’s atrium received a major renovation this spring, which has completely changed the dining atmosphere, said owner Steve McComb.
Owner of three successful restaurants in Park City, McComb said he moved to town in 1983 to help open, and work as general manager for, the Mexican restaurant at the base of Park City Mountain Resort.
Because the 30-year-old building sits on land owned by his landlord, the resort and a homeowners association, it has been difficult to radically update the structure.
"It’s not been renovated in 28-and-a-half years. We painted it a few times, changed the carpet half a dozen times, resurfaced the bar floor, changed out the equipment, but all in all, it’s stayed the same," McComb said.
The atrium part of the main seating area had to be replaced, so McComb decided to renovate the entire room.
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When the building was built, electricity rates were very low, he explained. A California firm built it along with several condominium buildings in the neighborhood with no regard for energy efficiency.
All the glass is single pane and much of the heat is generated by electric heaters. The buildings lose heat in winter and are hard to cool in summer, he said.
The aging atrium was beginning to sink and leak, so McComb invited in renovation experts who found the support columns were weak as well.
The restaurant now has a new roof over the space with four skylights. changing how the roof is held up, he also gained more floor space to permit more seating.
"It actually feels larger and more airy than it did with the atrium," he said.
The mural in the room was preserved, but the color scheme was adjusted, granite countertops were installed in the bar, new carpet was laid, ceiling fans were added and the restaurant now has efficient air conditioning something few Park City restaurants can say, McComb added.
"I’m very happy with how it turned out," he said. "We had a basic concept but didn’t really know how it was going to look. We’ve had a very positive response."