Marketplace: The Moose Cafe brings passion of Peru to Park City
For owner, eatery is a dream come true
August 4, 2017
After leaving Peru — and the successful restaurant she owned there — 20 years ago to join her children in the United States, Rosa Acharte always imagined opening another eatery.
This spring, she snatched the opportunity when it unexpectedly arose. After the beloved No Worries Café left its longtime location at 185 Aspen Drive in Summit Park, Acharte was presented with a choice. She hadn't been preparing to open a restaurant, but her daughter, Fiorella Acharte, convinced her that there may never be a better time.
The pair teamed up and opened The Moose Cafe in April and have been serving up a mix of American, Mexican and Peruvian dishes ever since.
"It was always in the back of her head, the dream of owning a restaurant and creating something," said Fiorella Acharte. "Then when I moved to Park City, she said, 'Oh, that would be beautiful to have a restaurant someday.' She just didn't think it would happen here."
Rosa Acharte's passion for cooking stems from her homeland, where food is a big part of the culture. In Peru, she was accustomed to cooking a full complement of dishes each night for her family, and spending time in the kitchen at The Moose Cafe, whipping up meals for hungry Parkites and travelers, has brought her immense joy.
"In my house, I'd have all the food ready for my family and we have to do soup and entrees for everyone in the family," she said. "I always loved that."
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But if her love of food is the soul of the cafe, her daughter is the brains helping it flourish. Unlike her mother, Fiorella Acharte did not spend years envisioning opening a restaurant, but with a background in business administration and finance, she knew she could help her mother achieve her dream.
In many ways, Fiorella Acharte said, that's the ultimate gift a daughter can give.
"We know that we're meant to be together," she said. "It's just a daughter's dream come true to work with your mom."
Rosa Acharte acknowledges she couldn't do it alone and, with emotion lining her face, said she is grateful for her daughter's sacrifice.
"She's worked at big companies in New York and has a very good reputation," Rosa Acharte said. "So I say, 'My goodness. If I can make it in Peru, I can make it here with my daughter helping me.' And she does it because of love."
Patrons who visit the restaurant will immediately notice the eclectic offerings for breakfast and lunch every day but Tuesday and for dinner on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The breakfast menu is littered with traditional favorites like chicken fried steak and eggs, eggs benedict and buttermilk pancakes, while patrons can choose from meals such as a pastrami burger, blue cheese burger, philly steak sandwich, enchiladas and nachos for lunch.
The dinner menu is where the Achartes' Peruvian heritage shines through, with specials such as tallarin saltado (a Peruvian take on Chinese stir-fry), tallarin verde (Peruvian pesto pasta) and Peruvian chicken with rice.
Nearly four months after opening, the Achartes said the response to the food has been enthusiastic. They intentionally spent less time outfitting the interior of the restaurant with fancy décor than crafting a menu full of rich, natural ingredients because, they believe, it's the food that will bring people back time and again.
So far, so good.
"Our focus is on healthy, great ingredients," Fiorella Acharte said. "And I think it's working. We knew everything wasn't going to be perfect when we opened. We started from scratch. But as long as we have good food and good quality, that is our main concern."
For Rosa Acharte, who dreamed so long of opening another restaurant, the experience has been nothing short of wonderful.
"Our reward is when the people are happy and like the food," she said. "That's what I like. I say, 'How is it?' For me, my happiness is hearing, 'It's good. I like it. Can I have a little more?' People in Peru say, 'Could you give me a little more?' I love that."