Restaurateurs returns to their roots |

Restaurateurs returns to their roots

Bruce Corrigan speaks with wistfulness about his beginnings in the restaurant business.

When he and his wife opened their first restaurant, they started with a passion for fine dining. After opening several local restaurants that serve casual food — they own O’Shucks Bar and Grill locations in Park City and Salt Lake City, as well as Ahh Sushi — Corrigan is pleased to be coming full circle.

He describes his latest restaurant venture, O’Shucks The Grill at Pinebrook, at 8178 Gorgoza Pines Road, as upscale yet casual, a style he’d long wanted to bring to the Kimball Junction area. It opened in late December.

"The area is saturated with fast casual — there’s everything you could want for that," he said. "We saw an opportunity. We have a wonderful big room and we wanted to put it to a good use. So we’re coming back to our roots and reclaiming some of the things we used to do."

Armed with an eager chef, Corrigan said the restaurant is offering an eclectic menu. Highlights include elk meatloaf, lobster macaroni and cheese and Minnesota walleye pike. The restaurant also features a chef’s menu that changes frequently.

"We like to say it’s not health food, but it’s a healthier way of dining — fine cuts of meat and that type of thing," he said. "We’ve got a great chef, and it’s been exciting. Every entrée that’s on the menu has gone through multiple tastings, multiple morphs until we got it the way we like it. We’ve been doing fast-casual in Utah for the past 20 years, and to get back into the kitchen and develop recipes that have the ‘Oh wow’ factor has been great fun."

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While it’s the food that will bring people to the restaurant, Corrigan and his wife, Debra, spent plenty of time ensuring the atmosphere was just right. The interior features reclaimed barn wood from Idaho. A collection of art and rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia hangs on the walls.

"It’s very warm and cozy," Corrigan said. "Although it’s a big room, we’ve spent a lot of time creating little environments within it. The barn wood really warms it up."

Corrigan said the key to creating the right atmosphere — one in this case he describes as distinctly Park City — is the details. That’s where his wife’s expertise shines through.

"I’m kind of the big-picture guy, and she definitely handles all the details," he said. "And she’s so good. I couldn’t do it without her. Growing up in San Francisco, she’s seen it all and she knows that the difference between good and great is the details."

Customers have greeted the restaurant warmly so far, Corrigan said. Earning that reception is what keeps him going after several decades in the business.

"The restaurant is very much like show biz — it is show biz," he said. "You’ve got to have the right scene, certainly the right music, the vibe. And every night is show time. When the curtain comes up, we’ve got to be ready, and all the details are huge in our industry. I think the reason we like to do it so much is there’s nothing more invigorating than doing that in a full house with a lot of smiles from the customers."

Knowing that those customers are often friends and neighbors who have been patronizing his restaurants for years makes it all the better for Corrigan.

"We try to put together a dining experience that’s comfortable, and we’re there to serve the neighborhood," he said. "I always tell our service staff that after a week or two inside the building, you’re going to know 50 percent of your customers by name because they come back over and over. We’re part of the community. We’ve been here forever."

O’Shucks The Grill at Pinebrook

8178 Gorgoza Pines Road