Café Trio strives for community roots and hugs
According to Dan Camp,co-owner and manager of Café Trio Park City, “One of the best parts of restaurants is, you can ask anybody what are the best memories of their lives, and almost everyone will have at least one that involves some meal with friends and family.”
Camp tried hard to have a career outside of the restaurant business, but the man who started out as a 14-year-old dishwasher might have been destined to open a restaurant in Park City.
“(Working in the restaurant industry over the past 16 years) exposed my palate to things that weren’t in my financial wheelhouse [at the time], but I got the pleasure of enjoying and learning and growing,” Camp said. “The more I had, the hungrier I got.”
That hunger to learn more about food and wine, coupled with a deepening friendship and mentorship with restaurateur Mikel Trapp and the realization that he just enjoyed the food industry more than his other interests, encouraged him to become a partner with Trapp and eventually open Café Trio Park City.
With the new Trio franchise (there are two other locations in the Salt Lake Valley) came the expectations of using fresh, locally sourced ingredients as much as possible and tapping the talents of Executive Chef Logan Crew to customize the Italian-American restaurant’s menu for Park City.
The new location is also often a test kitchen for all three Trios, but the emphasis is alway on Crew’s belief in letting the ingredients speak for themselves, according to Camp,
“Just when you think [the chef] is not going to show you anything different, you get a special like last week of sea bass piccata over black lentils and green beans. You looked at it and it was so simple, but I took a bite and said, ‘Whoa! How did you get all this in there?’” He said.
“Pomodoro sauce is going to come out and look like spaghetti, but fresh mozzarella and the other ingredients that go into it, that makes a huge difference for me in believing in my food,” Camp said.
Food, atmosphere and a love of building relationships with his customers drives Camp to hold up his mentor’s standards of consistency and quality of the restaurant experience while growing roots in his new community.
“There was a time downtown [at Trio Downtown] that I would just stand at the door and hug my regulars as they came in,” he said. “I want to have that here. I’m going to raise my son here, so the deeper I get my roots are here, the better it is for him, the better it is for the business, and the better it is for me and my wife.”
Camp’s feelings for his restaurant come through when he talks about an unexpected favorite dish.
“My latest favorite is the burger, which, being an Italian restaurant is weird to say, but our burger is unbelievable,” he said. “The bacon marmalade is just subtly sweet, and being a spread, every bite you take has that flavor.”
And he also displays a genuine warmth toward serving his regulars.
“You get to watch people grow up, and you watch these kids go to college and they come back and they’re introducing you to their new fiancé,” he said. “You’re not just feeding people; you’re part of their lives,”
Owning Café Trio Park City has magnified everything he has wanted out of his career.
“If you ever want to 100 percent care and do what you have to do for every guest who walks through that door, then you own a restaurant,” he said.
Café Trio Park City is located at 6585 N. Landmark Drive, in Kimball Junction. Open 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturdays and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays. For information, call 435-649-9654 or log on to parkcity.triodining.com.
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