Patrons grab a bite of something unique at the State Road Tavern
Michael Showers has heard it time and again since the State Road Tavern restaurant opened inside the massive DeJoria Center in Kamas: Before they visit, people aren’t quite sure what to make of it all.
Is it a concert venue? Is it a restaurant? Is it both, or something else entirely.
"People are like, ‘What is this? There’s a restaurant here? I can’t see it from the highway,’" Showers said. "It’s just a matter of educating and marketing."
Turns out the best way to get people to understand what the State Road Tavern is to show it off for them. Showers, the director of food and beverage for the DeJoria Center, said that patrons are blown away when they show up for the first time.
"Getting people in the restaurant does two things: It gets them fed, but it also gives them a chance to see what we’re doing and learn more about us," he said. "And the overall response has been great."
Showers is quick to clear up any confusion. The State Road Tavern is a restaurant. It just happens to be in the same building as a concert and event venue. The restaurant operates Wednesday through Saturday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Though it will allow patrons to grab a nice dinner onsite before catching a show, it will remain open whether there is an event at the DeJoria Center or not.
"I don’t think there’s anything else like this around," Showers said.
As far as the food hungry patrons can expect, Showers said State Road Tavern’s menu features dishes people who live on the East Side will crave. Highlighting the offerings are dishes such as briskets and pork shoulders, and the eponymous State Road Burger. Many of the menu’s staples are cooked in a state-of-the-art smoker. Beer, wine and cocktails are also available.
"When we were thinking about the brand, I walked it back from our location," Showers said. "So we were like, ‘Well, what’s our demographic going to be?’ It’s probably not going to be a large part of people driving from Salt Lake, and it’s probably not going to be a ton of people from Park City. We have Coalville to Francis — that is the demographic that we hovered around and focused on. So we decided on kind of a roadhouse pub. The food is extremely approachable. I’ve coined a term: We’re a fine diner."
Showers added that the restaurant will rotate the menu when the weather warms.
"I’m really proud of the menu right now, but we’re just scratching the surface of what we’re going to do," he said.
For many, music will also play a large part in their experience at State Road Tavern. While concert-goers cannot take their food and drinks from the restaurant into the 10,000-plus square-foot indoor music venue, they will get the best of both worlds in the summer. Showers said Mountain Town Music is set to hold summer concerts on the DeJoria Center lawn, which sprawls beyond the restaurant’s second-floor patio. Large garage-style doors will open to give diners the full concert experience.
"The inside becomes the outside when they’re open, and the views are incredible," Showers said.
Eventually, live music may be offered in the restaurant itself, but no plans have been set. For now, diners will have to plan on catching concerts at the indoor venue or coming for an outdoor show.
"We’re looking at the room and don’t really know what live music looks like in the room," Showers said. "Maybe when the patio opens up, there will be some opportunities, but I can’t promise anything. We’ll see. If it makes sense and our ownership is in line, we’ll do some music on the patio."
In the meantime, Showers and his staff are focused on perfecting the food and ensuring that once people give them a chance, they come back for more.
"We just want to make sure that we embrace and win the clientele here first," he said. "It’s barely been seven weeks, and people have already become very loyal to us. I’ve seen people out here five or six times, and they’re like, ‘We’re so glad you guys are out here.’ Because if you look around, there’s nothing quite like this out here."
State Road Tavern at the DeJoria Center
970 N. State Road in Kamas
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Another ski season is in the books, and much to the relief of the restaurant industry, the outlook, like the weather, is looking sunny.