Silver Star Cafe celebrates 10 years with takeaway dinners and scheduling live music
Welcome to the reopening of the Silver Star Cafe.
The restaurant, owned by Jeff and Lisa Ward, has emerged from its coronavirus-induced break that started in March, and is now offering family-style takeaway dinners Monday through Wednesday.
Customers can call in by 4:30 p.m., choose their meals and arrange a pick-up time for the next day, Lisa said.
“We decided we wanted to offer a variety of things to address the comfort level of our guests, because some are ready to dine in and some are not quite ready,” she said. “So we’re doing a family-style meal curbside takeout option as we go into the summer, and we will start in-house dining with lunch, brunch and dinner on the patio on May 21.”
The Wards will prepare the restaurant to adhere to COVID-19 guidelines as set by Summit County Health Department in case of inclement weather forces diners indoors, Lisa said.
“But I think people will be excited to sit outside and enjoy the view,” she said. “We will also offer to-go items from our a la carte menu as we go into the summer as well.”
The Wards looked at some of the Silver Star Cafe’s popular menu items to come up with the takeaway menu.
“We had to make sure the items would work in a family-style meal, because we’re preparing them ready to eat,” Jeff said. “That’s different than sending our guests home with frozen meals that they can reheat.”
Jeff also looked at other creating other items that weren’t menu-specific, he said.
“We had to make sure that what we offered fit our style and would be affordable for our guests,” Jeff said. “I don’t think people are looking for super high-end takeaway meals.”
Return of live music
The Silver Star Cafe also plans to bring back its Park City Limits dinner concerts, starting on Thursday, May 28, which would make the eatery one of the few places in the county where people can enjoy live music after the closing of Deer Valley and the Eccles Center for the Performing Arts.
These acoustic performances start at 7 p.m. every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and feature local singer-songwriters, jazz and folk artists.
The Silver Star Cafe can present these performances as long as the musicians are playing six feet apart from patrons and each other, according to the Summit County Health Department.
Unlike past Park City Limits performances that featured a combination of local and international touring musicians, this summer’s series will focus on local and regional artists, Lisa said.
“We want to help them get back on their feet, because there are more than 40 we work with who have lost their performance revenues because of the situation,” she said. “We’ve been worried about them, and wanted to get the music going as quickly as possible.”
In addition to reopening Silver Star Cafe, the Wards are celebrating the restaurant’s 10th anniversary.
“Unfortunately we were closed when the actual date passed in March, so we celebrated under the COVID parameters,” Jeff said.
Still, reaching a decade-long milestone is something to be grateful for, Lisa said.
“Most small businesses, let alone restaurants, don’t make it to their third year,” she said. “When we hit that mark, we knew we were on the right track, and by the time we hit our five-year mark, things had really started humming.”
One of the Silver Star Cafe’s highlights of the past decade are its three appearances on Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” hosted by celebrity chef Guy Fieri.
“When we were first invited, we were a little perplexed, because we didn’t consider ourselves to be a diner, drive-in or a dive,” Lisa said. “But they explained to us that they were looking for neighborhood gems, mom and pop places, and that made sense for us.”
Jeff said the care and quality of the food is what may have attracted the Food Network in the first place.
“Quality was already something we were doing before ‘Triple D’ called,” he said. “It’s a process to select the ingredients and how you prepare a dish before you put it on a plate.”
The menu has changed a bit each year, Lisa said.
“We respond to what our guests look for, but I think we stayed true to who we are as people and how we approach food,” she said. “I think we’ve done well because we’ve strive to stay genuine and authentic.”
The authenticity is not only reflected in the food but also in the employees, who are also a reason to celebrate the reopening, Lisa said.
“Although we had to close for a little bit, we kept in touch with our staff, because we were worried about them and their families,” she said.
The Wards were able to keep their staff and pay them during the shutdown thanks to federal CARES Act financing.
“We treat our staff like family, and we have family members who work here,” she said. “When you interact with our staff, you get a sense of being part of a family, and I think that’s how they feel the way they treat each other and how they treat our guests.”
Keeping things genuine has also guided other subtle changes in the restaurant, she said.
“Over the years, the cafe has morphed into a fine-dining experience in the evening and a more casual approach during the day,” she said. “Then the live music dinner has been another way for us to offer something more authentic and life-affirming and enriching while people dine. And I’m proud that we do that.”
Still, good food and good atmosphere doesn’t do much without love from the community, Lisa said.
“We’re so fortunate, because we have regular guests who have been coming for 10 years, and are getting to know others who are just discovering us,” she said. “It means a lot to us because they have to seek us out. We’re not on Main Street or a location that people will notice, unless they are out using the trails.”
The Wards also support their fellow independent restaurant owners in the community.
“We want them all to be successful too,” Lisa said. “We’ve kept in touch with each other, and hope that the community will step up and wrap their arms around these businesses who have sacrificed to keep everybody safe.”
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