Beer lovers barred from roadside |

Beer lovers barred from roadside

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

The side of a state highway is not a parking lot.

That is the message officials are giving the people driving to Squatters Roadhouse Grill, the popular new restaurant off S.R. 224 near the Snow Creek Plaza.

Once it opened, the number of people driving to the restaurant overwhelmed the parking lot, forcing people to park on the shoulder of S.R. 224, which is known as Park Avenue at the location. A line of cars could be seen on the shoulder at many hours of the afternoon and evening.

But officials say that the overflow parking on the shoulder is not allowed and have since put up barricades stopping people from leaving their cars there. Signs have been installed facing S.R. 224 designating the stretch of the shoulder as a no-parking zone.

The restaurant, which debuted Oct. 9, says it had not received complaints from City Hall or the Utah Department of Transportation, which manages S.R. 224. Still, the barricades went up at the middle of last week and the signs quickly followed.

"It’s not meant for long-term parking," says Bethany Eller, a spokesperson for UDOT.

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She says that UDOT and Park City discussed the parking and says that posting the signs allows the Park City Police Department to write parking tickets.

Eller says that it is unsafe to park on the side of the road at that location because S.R. 224 curves at that site and that the shoulder there is narrow. She says there was a potential that a driver would hit a parked car.

"It narrows the road for where the driving car can go," she says.

The grill, part of the Salt Lake City brewing company’s corporate family, opened on Oct. 9 and quickly found a following. It opened in the building that was previously occupied by Mt. Air Cafe, a restaurant that for years served food to Parkites and visitors seeking a place to eat outside of Main Street.

Phil Kirk, a Park City Police Department lieutenant, says he was unaware of the police writing any parking tickets outside of Squatters. He agrees with UDOT that the parking on the side of the road is a safety hazard.

Phil Barton, a manager at the grill, says that few people are driving to Squatters together, meaning that more cars are competing for the 57 spots in the restaurant’s parking lot. The restaurant seats 180 people.

"It seems like that is a big plus, for us to have that many parking spaces," he says.

Barton estimates that at least 20 people were parking on the side of the road each day. He sees that people are now parking in nearby lots, including the one at Park City Market.

"I think we’ll be fine. I think more people are dropping people off and parking," he says.