New Main Street Deli owners take fresh look at established restaurant
Kathryn Babcock arrived in Park City with a 19-page document in her hand. It contained a business plan for a future deli she hoped to open one day.
So when her friend Grace McGowan asked her last year if she would be interested in opening a deli with her, it seemed too good to be true.
Now, McGowan and Babcock are the new owners of the Main Street Deli, located at 545 Main St. in Park City. The former owners, Mike and Barb Lindbloom, sold them the eatery last year after retiring from a 32-year stint running the well-known deli.
Babcock said she had dreamed of owning a deli since she was 10 years old, while living in New York and eating at a deli regularly with her dad. But she did not immediately pursue a career in the culinary world. Instead, she studied computer software programming. A foodie roommate in college taught her how fun cooking could be, and altered Babcock’s life course.
She worked in a bakery in Martha’s Vineyard and has not left the kitchen since. She moved to Park City in 2014.
McGowan arrived in Park City as a ski bum, picking up jobs in catering companies and bakeries to pay the bills. She found a love for cooking and completed a culinary program in Canada, returning to Park City to work at various restaurants.
The paths of Babcock and McGowan crossed three years ago while they were both working at High West Distillery. Babcock was chef de cuisine and McGowan was a caterer. They left to pursue jobs at other restaurants in town, but kept in touch. Last October, they were looking for their next career steps when McGowan heard from a friend that the owners of the Main Sreet. Deli were selling their restaurant. McGowan approached Babcock with an idea to take over the deli and said, “Do you think this is crazy?”
Babcock immediately showed McGowan the business plan she had been sitting on for four years, and the two started talking to the Lindblooms.
A couple weeks later, McGowan and Babcock took over the lease with a promise to keep the deli running.
They immediately got to work renovating the space. They called friends and family to help them, and were shocked to see numerous people show up to lay the floors, sand the walls, paint the chairs and install tables and counters. One friend with electrical experience even updated the wiring.
“She probably saved us $10,000,” Babcock said. “We got a lot of love.”
They thought they were ready to open by December, but a fire marshal inspection showed them much more work was needed. Park City Municipal connected them to a contractor, and they spent the next month gutting walls and putting the place together again.
By the time the deli opened in January during the final days of the Sundance Film Festival, Babcock said they were crossing their fingers and waiting until the day they were out of the red.
It was a learning curve, but one Babcock and McGowan were happy to take on. Now, they have daily customers opting for the familiar items that have been on the menu for years, such as roast beef or turkey sandwiches. Some are also willing to try new dishes, including quiche and avocado toast.
McGowan said it has been fun to be flexible with their food, changing recipes or adding menu items as guests request them. The best part, though, is the community.
“Being able to feed the community and give back, that is what appealed to both of us,” McGowan said. “It’s fun.”
After preparing food behind closed doors and rarely interacting with guests, Babcock is enjoying the drastic switch.
“We can have a conversation with someone while they eat breakfast, and I think that’s pretty awesome,” Babcock said.
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