Marketplace: Bistro Kosher Deli opens at Canyons Village
A restaurant reimagined becomes a hub for guests
January 20, 2017
Zeke Wray, then a chef, remembers putting the finishing touches on the menu at the Bistro at Canyons restaurant at the Silverado Lodge when it opened in 2010.
More than six years later, Wray, now Vail Resorts' director of food and beverage in Park City, is overseeing a dramatic reimagining of the Canyons Village eatery. Bistro at Canyons, a fine-dining establishment, has been transformed into Bistro Kosher Deli, offering patrons a more relaxed atmosphere and a menu of deli offerings sure to satisfy hungry skiers after a day on the slopes.
Wray said the decision to change the restaurant was simple: By turning it into a deli, it would better meet the needs of guests and skiers in the Canyons Village area. The new incarnation of the restaurant opened in December, in time for the bustle of ski season.
"Through the years that we've been running it, just looking at what our demographics are, we really felt like more of a deli-style environment, really family friendly, was going to appeal to the guests we had coming a lot more than the fine dining," Wray said.
The menu features typical deli fare, such as hot pastrami and Reuben sandwiches, as well as larger entrees like chicken schnitzel and spaghetti and meatballs. Wray said that, while chefs have less room to experiment at a deli than in a fine-dining kitchen, the eatery aims to honor the long history of kosher dining by meeting a high standard of quality.
"It's been really fun," he said. "Definitely in the inception, when we were fine dining, it was a little bit more out there and definitely more challenging to come up with (dishes). But one really fun thing to do with classics like a kosher deli menu is, 'How do you represent it well?' You can talk about having a great turkey sandwich or a pastrami sandwich, but (you have to) have the quality still be there."
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Customers have responded well to the restaurant's new model. Already, the eatery has become a hub for people visiting Canyons Village in a way Bistro at Canyons never did. And it's not just Jewish patrons who appreciate the menu.
Beyond being kosher, Wray said, the food is simply good, on par with the best deli offerings patrons hankering for a pastrami sandwich are able to find elsewhere. People who care about organic ingredients and where their food comes from will be drawn to restaurant because of its sourcing standards, and others will appreciate its relaxed atmosphere.
"When you come in, there's that sense of belonging, and you sit down at a family-friendly environment to come in and order some food," he said, adding that customers can also order food to go. "… And it's the only location up here that has a parking lot. So if you're staying somewhere else, you can easily drive in, park, grab some food and take off."
Vail Resorts touts the restaurant's kosher aspect as being a rarity among ski resorts in North America. Wray said the kitchen is entirely kosher, a rabbi works on site, and the ingredients are carefully cultivated — down to how the animals providing the meat are raised — to ensure the restaurant meets a strict standard. Additionally, the eatery offers traditional Sabbath meals for Jewish customers on Fridays and Saturdays.
Wray said that, as well as Canyons Village skiers and guests, Park City area residents who eat kosher are also flocking to the eatery. And for Wray, who is not Jewish, immersing himself in kosher dining has been a wonderful learning experience.
"When I was asked to open this restaurant, I really dove into it," he said. "I went to New York and Toronto and L.A. and really studied a lot about it. The pride that I took in opening this and having that offering is definitely still there."
Bistro Kosher Deli
2653 Canyons Resort Drive