Savor the Summit allows people to eat on the street
Six years ago, the Park City Area Restaurant Association gave new meaning to the phrase "dining on the town" when it presented the first Savor the Summit with the now defunct Park City Jazz Festival.
The idea was to set up a table on Main Street where diners could enjoy some special dishes prepared by their favorite restaurants.
The inaugural Savor the Summit featured close to 10 participating restaurants, said Ginger Ries, executive director of the Park City Area Restaurant Association
"The funny thing was they were a little leery about the whole idea, with weather being a concern, of course," Ries said during an interview with The Park Record. "They were also worried about the amount of work that it would take to set up, cook, serve and clean up."
However, after the first year, the momentum of the event took off.
This year, Savor the Summit, which will be held on Saturday, June 22, will feature 30 restaurants that will serve more than 2,000 hungry diners seated on a mile-long row of tables down the middle of Main Street.
"That doesn’t include all the people who will be seated on all the dining decks or inside the restaurants," Ries said.
The dinner starts at 6 p.m. The spirit garden, which will be located in front of the Kimball Art Center, will open at 5 p.m.
All but two restaurants — Silver Star Café and the High West Distillery — are located on Main Street, and the logistics for these two restaurants to set up places to cook and serve their guests that night are a trick.
"We have to find places where they can set up and cook and do it within the obvious guidelines that are congruent to city permits," Ries said. "Over the years, the Silver Star Café has worked out a great relationship with the Kimball Art Center, which allows the chefs to cook meals on its lower patio and service their guests."
The High West Distillery will set up its own barbecue grill on 7th Street and serve from there.
"There is a lot of running back and forth, and I think for them it’s all hands on deck trying to serve 100 people on Main Street," Ries said.
One of the secrets of the event’s success is how it’s adapted to make things better over the years.
"At the conclusion of each dinner, we look at what we’ve done and make some adjustments to improve it," she said. "For example, the spirit garden and band area were originally set up by the post office, but because of growing interest and more restaurants wanting to get involved, we realized we needed more space, so we moved the garden and stage down by the Kimball Art Center. That gave restaurants more space to participate."
Ries said the event seems to leap and grow each year.
"It has turned into one amazing event, and it is a great way to showcase our wonderful restaurants and to kick off the summer season," she said.
Even the weather has cooperated with the cooks.
"We’ve been very fortunate that Mother Nature has supported us, knock on wood," Ries said. "We hope she’ll do the same this year, too."
If the weather happens to turn south during Savor the Summit, Ries said the association will leave the decision whether to continue serving food up to the restaurants.
"If it’s a light sprinkle, I’m sure the restaurant will work things out with their guests to see if they wouldn’t mind eating in the rain," Ries said. "Restaurants may have also saved some spaces inside or what not, or they may give refunds or other adjustments."
As far as the dinner prices go, Ries said those, too, are set by the participating restaurants.
"It is a big spread for sure and some will offer an extension of what is on their existing menus, and others will create special dishes just for that night," she said. "Prices can range between $40 and $150. It does vary across the board, but I think there are offerings for every budget."
Reservations for Savor the Summit need to be made by contacting the participating restaurants.
"That’s probably the biggest confusion regarding this event," Ries said. "You don’t need a ticket to dine during the event. What you need is a reservation with the restaurant of your choice."
A list of the restaurants and seating availability can be found by visiting http://www.savorthesummit.com .
"I would say if you haven’t made a reservation, you should make one as soon as possible, because some restaurants are already sold out," Ries said. "Still, there are some restaurants that will still serve the menu inside of their shops as well. So, there are still some dining options, even though they are not on the street.
"Also, we have something new to offer this year," she said. "The Park City Pizza Company will serve pizza in the spirit garden. So you can come enjoy pizza and drinks and music."
Live music will begin at 6 p.m. with the Motherlode Canyon Band and Muddpuddle will begin playing at 8 p.m., Ries said.
"With noise ordinances, we need to break things down by 10 p.m., but because the event is so successful, we found a lot of people want to continue to enjoy the night," she said.
So, the Restaurant Association set up an after party event at Park City Live, 427 Main St. The doors will open at 8:30 p.m. and James McMurtry will start playing at 9:30 p.m.
"Admission to the show is free, unless people want to sit upstairs in the VIP suites," Ries said. "Those tickets are $15."
Booking the extra venue only shows Ries that Savor the Summit is here to stay.
"If we had more room on the street, we would set up a longer table, but we’ve run out of real estate," she said. "This is a testament about how successful the event has become."
The Park City Area Restaurant Association’s annual Savor the Summit celebration will be held Saturday, June 22. For more information and to make reservations, visit http://www.savorthesummit.com .
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