Rime’s maritime offerings mixes seafood with slopeside
What: Rime Seafood and Raw Bar
When: Opens for the season on Saturday, Dec. 14
Hours: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday through Sunday; will change to seven-day operation in late January
Where: Deer Crest Cabin at the top of the Jordanelle Gondola at Deer Valley Resort
Matthew Harris’ love for seafood was the reason he established Rime, a slopeside seafood and raw bar located up located at the Deer Crest Cabin at the top of the Jordanelle Gondola at Deer Valley Resort, last year.
Harris, the restaurant’s executive chef who moved to Park City from Georgia 11 years ago, opened the bar, which is named after the frost that forms on the hull of a fishing boat, with the idea of offering oysters on the halfshell and ahi tartare, as well as cooked dishes such as and shrimp cocktails, lobster rolls, clam chowder and seafood tacos.
“We saw it as an opportunity to unite fresh seafood and Deer Valley’s fresh powder,” said Harris, who also owns Tupelo, a Main Street restaurant named after trees that are found in the South. “We wanted to serve New England-inspired menu items.”
Rime caught on a few weeks after it debuted, which put Harris’ mind at ease.
“We didn’t know what to expect, because no one had ever done a raw bar on a ski slope,” he said. “Luckily for us, it was a success.”
Harris saw diners who would stop in every day last season, and that gave him a chance to socialize with them when he wasn’t preparing the food.
“One day they’d get lobster rolls, and the next day they’ll get oysters with champagne,” he said. “Aside from cooking, I really enjoyed getting to know them.”
The menu changed periodically last year, and that’s something Harris plans to do this year as well, he said.
“I like to say we’re ‘microseasonal,’ because if we’re not tweaking the menu once a week, we definitely change it a couple of times a month,” Harris explained. “As we progress through the seasons, we rotate items out so we can keep it fresh with new garnishes or changing a dish entirely by adding items that are in season.”
Harris said he is hard-pressed to name his favorite Rime dish.
“They are all like my babies, although I do eat three or four lobster rolls a week,” he said, laughing.
Harris also enjoys working with his seafood suppliers from costal cities such as Santa Monica and Boston, as well as the costal states, Maine and Hawaii.
“It takes a lot of logistics and coordination to procure the foods we want to offer, and the relationships we have made with these purveyors make it easy for me to call them if I find something that isn’t up to standard. They are the backbone of what we do, and I consider the people we get food from friends.”
In addition to the menu, Harris said many people were drawn to Rime’s relaxing atmosphere.
“We like to keep it comfortable, because we aren’t a place where we want to pack people in like sardines,” he said. “We want people to come in, enjoy the fireplace, kick off their ski boots and pull their helmets off so they can enjoy a dozen oysters and a bottle of champagne. Then maybe they’ll get another dozen oysters and order another bottle of champagne. It’s also a good place to come in and grab some oysters and champagne before they finish a day of skiing.”
Rime’s seating arrangements, which ranges between 25 and 30 people, is a unique draw because of its setup, according to Harris.
“Indoors, we have a communal seating in the middle of the space, and we have comfy couches, chairs and oversized tables along the outside,” he said. “When March rolls around and things aren’t as cold, we have outdoor seating that overlooks Deer Crest and the Jordanelle. You really can’t beat the view when you stop in for a quick lunch on the back patio with a beer or whatever.”
Opening restaurants isn’t a new gig for Harris, who had the honor of cooking at the James Beard House in New York City in 2018.
He began his culinary career with Kevin Rathbun and Pano Karatassos of the Buckhead Life Restaurant Group in Atlanta and went on to open the city’s critically acclaimed Market by Jean-Georges.
After training at Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s famed New York establishments, he and his wife, Maggie Alvarez, opened J & G Grill and the St. Regis Bar at St. Regis Deer Valley.
Harris and his wife and business partner Maggie Alvarez opened Tupelo in 2015, and started thinking about Rime’s slopeside seafood concept, he said.
Harris and his staff are currently preparing Rime for this season, which will start on Saturday, Dec. 14, a week after Deer Valley Resort opens for the winter.
“This time of year is super exciting, because we’re all waiting for the snow and for the resorts to open,” he said. “And since we were so successful last year, we’re prepared to be a lot more busier this year.”
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