Marketplace: After Salt Lake success, Café Trio dishes on Park City expansion
Restaurant eager to be part of area’s vibrant dining scene
When Dan Camp joined the Café Trio restaurant in Salt Lake City more than a decade ago, it wasn’t as a partner in the business, or even as a manager.
It was as a server.
More than a decade later, though, things have changed. He and business partner Mikel Trapp — founder of the Italian eatery — recently opened a new location in Kimball Junction, with Camp overseeing operations. Camp said his front-of-house experience has proven invaluable in getting the restaurant — Café Trio’s first addition since opening in Cottonwood in 2005 — off the ground.
“It teaches you a great respect for every employee in the restaurant,” said Camp, who is the director of operations for all three of Café Trio’s locations. “It teaches you to be very empathetic and sympathetic because I’ve been there — I’ve been busing on a Friday night when you’re just getting worked and you don’t see the end. It makes you a little more aware of when to jump in and help out and what people might need and how to make this thing work.”
The restaurant opened its doors May 1. With the Café Trio brand thriving in Salt Lake City, Camp and Trapp saw expanding into the Park City area as an opportunity to establish a foothold in a new market. Camp said customers from Park City patronize the downtown eatery every day, providing a strong indication that an offering in Kimball Junction would thrive.
As well as tapping into a new customer base, it was also a chance to join Park City’s vibrant food scene, which thanks to exposure from the Sundance Film Festival and the area’s status as a world-class resort destination, has cultivated a reputation as one of the best around.
“A lot more people know more of the Park City restaurants than they do Salt Lake,” he said, “even though Salt Lake’s dining scene is incredible. People tend to keep an international eye on Park City, and this gives us an opportunity to get some looks.”
Camp added that going toe-to-toe with Park City’s restaurants presents a “huge challenge,” but one Café Trio is excited to tackle. The restaurant is confident its reputation and menu will be enough to draw hungry Parkites and tourists alike in droves.
“There is some incredible talent up here and some incredible restaurants. There is some skill in this town. You don’t take anything away from anybody, but you try to be the best at something.”
The Kimball Junction Café Trio offers a similar Italian dining experience to the ones patrons can find at the other two locations. However, they will also be greeted by a menu that aims to elevate the restaurant’s brand, Camp said. Offerings unique to the eatery include charred beets, saffron rigatoni, lumache and prosciutto wrapped pork loin.
Devising the menu was an opportunity to branch out from Café Trio staples and experiment with dishes that could bring a new flavor to the restaurant.
“You have to evolve or you die,” he said. “As many people who always come here for the rosemary flatbread, you still want something different. If you eat the same thing for five years, you want a different sandwich, so we wanted to use this as a little bit of a test to see how people reacted. Some stuff has been wildly successful and some stuff (hasn’t been). We’re fine tuning it and will probably go back and forth until we assemble a menu that everyone loves and appeals to everyone.”
Camp added that the restaurant is aiming to attract both visitors and people who live in Park City. A major benefit of being located in Kimball Junction, he said, is that it’s a hotspot for residents looking to avoid the crowds on Main Street, but still has the cachet to lure tourists.
The goal, he said, is to provide everyone who walks into the restaurant, no matter where they’re from, the kind of experience they’ll rave about when they leave. Delivering that is why he’s in the restaurant business in the first place.
“There’s nothing better to me than sitting down with my family and having a good meal and a great bottle of wine and a great conversation,” he said. “Most of my best memories are around a table, eating somewhere and engaging with other people. To be a part of that for 100 people a day is great.”
6585 N. Landmark Drive