Deer Valley embellishes menus
January 3, 2007
When Deer Valley opened in 1981, executives hired many employees who would eventually help them enter two new decades and even a new century.
Julie Wilson has been with Deer Valley for 26 years, 21 in her current capacity as director of food and beverage. She has seen all of the resort’s growth, watching it go from the youngest of three Park City ski resorts to one of the top ranked resorts in the country.
"Since I’ve been here we’ve added some new restaurants that have been very successful," she said. "We have Empire Lodge and the Fireside dining. The growth of Park City is the growth of Deer Valley."
Even though the mountain seems to change and develop each year, one thing remains consistent once people get a job at Deer Valley, they stay there.
"One place Deer Valley doesn’t see chance is in its personnel," Wilson said about her longevity with the company. "Our chefs and managers have been here at least 12 years, and most of them for more than 20. Deer Valley is a wonderful company to work for."
Despite being witness to the evolution of the mountain, Wilson said she, along with the other dining executives, has found something that works something that doesn’t need to change much.
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"There isn’t a lot of change that’s happened from last year," Wilson said. "With the restaurants the biggest change is adding another day for Fireside. We just try to perfect what we’re already doing."
Fireside, one of the more popular offerings at Deer Valley, is held Wednesday through Friday evenings, which is one night more than last year.
"We have one more night open at Fireside," she said. "It’s sold out so far in advance we added another night. It’s a dinner at Empire Lodge that we started where we serve European Alpine cuisine from all of our different fireplaces."
From the five fireplaces come a variety of dishes, from cheeses to stews, short ribs to chicken, sausage to lamb. There are also several vegetarian selections.
Reservations for Fireside can be made by calling (435) 645-6632.
Another on-mountain offering is the more casual Royal Street Café, located at the southwest corner of Silver Lake Lodge. Open from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, lunch and dinner are both served.
"We have Royal Street Café that is open daily for lunch and dinner," Wilson said. "It’s a little more casual; it’s nice fun cuisine. We serve during the day and skiers can take a run off and come in and eat lunch and enjoy a bottle of wine. There really isn’t anything else at Deer Valley you can compare it with."
The Mariposa, a favorite of Deer Valley guests, is located at the Silver Lake Lodge and is only open for dinner, 5:45-9 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Much like Wilson, the executive chef of the restaurant has been there from the beginning and has learned what works and what doesn’t.
"A member of our wait staff told me the other day that he can’t believe how many people leave The Mariposa saying it’s the best meal of their life," Wilson said. "Considering who are guests are, that’s a pretty incredible statement."
Rated No. 1 in the Zagat Restaurant Guide, the menu features veal, lamb, sablefish, duck and lobster to go along with other entrees a list of desserts, appetizers and wines.
"We have a wonderful tasting on the menu that gives a little sampler of the menu," Wilson said. "The rack of lamb we’ve had on the menu for 2 years. We can’t take it off because it’s the best rack of lamb people have ever had. Another thing that’s been very popular this year is the lobster tail."
The Seafood Buffet at Snow Park Lodge, open for dinner from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, gives diners another on-mountain choice. Sushi, Salmon, five different types of fresh fish and non-seafood items such as duck and prime rib make deciding on what to eat first a tough decision.
"The mountain is known for its food and gets awarded annually as having the best on-mountain dining," Wilson said. "It’s all what we feed our skiers. People remember Deer Valley for the food it’s a big part of the ski day and they plan their day around where they’re going to eat."
But it’s not all duck and lamb. "You can pick up a burger and chili fries at all of our restaurants and it’s the best chili you’ll ever eat," Wilson said. "Everything we do here we try to make it the best. We blind taste burgers and fries to make sure it’s all the best."
Although Park City is generally known as a winter town, Wilson said the food and activities at Deer Valley keeps the resort busy all year-round.
"The summers used to be a down time, now we’re just as busy in the summer as we are in the winter. On Saturdays in the summer we likely have eight different dinners going on. Busy, busy, busy."