Drafts serves up pub food with flare
Maybe you shouldn’t want to order the Everything-but-the-Kitchen-Sink Pizza and the Bacon Bourbon Brownie Ice Cream in one sitting at Westgate Resorts’ newly-debuted restaurant, Drafts Sports Bar & Grill. But then again, maybe you do.
Westgate Resort, located at the base of the Red Pine Gondola at Canyons Resort, is revamping its restaurants, starting with Drafts, the newest addition to the resort. And the menu is packed with items that seem familiar, but not at all. That’s because every item was specially created to pick up on pub food classics such as nachos and burgers but with a much looser interpretation.
Classic nachos turns into Totchos, a plate of tater tots smothered in chili, sour cream, cheeses and a house-made verde sauce. Wings come in a F’Hot-based sauce and rub variety. The bar also offers 50 varieties of beer, including 20 on-tap options ranging from the local microbrews such as Shades of Pale to the household names such as Budweiser.
"The idea behind it was to create a sports bar environment," said Brian Waltrip, the general manager of Westgate Park City, "because we felt that was something this area was really missing.
"We want to put Westgate back on the map. We wanted to rebrand and update the resort."
On the food side, Executive Chef Kyle Smith created menu after menu as new ideas kept rolling in. Smith estimated roughly two months’ worth of menu tests to get every item on the menu nailed down.
"We have a menu that is above the norm," Smith, a 16-year vet of the restaurant industry, said. "Not only do we do burgers, but we do awesome big pizzas too everything on this menu is my favorite thing."
There were moments, Waltrip said, when even he had his doubts about whether or not a recipe was going to work, that the envelope had been pushed too far. But every time Smith would reinvent the pub food wheel in some extreme fashion, Waltrip said he kept discovering his favorite new menu item.
"Everything on this menu has a twist," Smith said. "That’s the point."
Waltrip and Smith have both put their share of sweat equity into the space. From gathering research to fine tuning the menu, the two have been scouting other pub restaurants, doing the reconnaissance into what makes good bar food. In one trip, Waltrip and Smith visited 22 Las Vegas pubs and bars in less than 48 hours where they ordered a little bit of everything on the menu, took a bite and moved on to the next.
"It sounds exciting," Waltrip said, "but by day two, I was miserable eating that much food. There was a ton of great food, but what we saw was that no one restaurant did it all. Every restaurant had something they did great, a great appetizer or burger, but not everything. So we branched off our ideas from there."
Inside the recently renovated space, customers are greeted by raw woods and a painted tin ceiling, a mix of comfort and resort style. With views of the Red Pine Gondola, Drafts serves as the corner bar for those coming off the mountain, but Waltrip said he hopes the bar serves locals and out-of-town guests. Before the ski season arrives, Drafts Sports Bar & Grill will be hosting events for locals, including beer pairing tastings and a loyalty program.
"Our goal, we want people to say they’ve never heard of it," Waltrip said about the eclectic menu items. "We want to be different."
Drafts Sports Bar & Grill
3000 Canyons Resort Drive
Monday thru Thursday, 8 a.m. to 12 a.m. Friday thru Saturday, 8 a.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday, 8 a.m. to 12 a.m. http://www.DraftsParkCity.com
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The Park City lodging industry in recent weeks experienced an uptick in projected occupancy numbers during the dates of the Sundance Film Festival, but the figures remain depressed from a typical year during the largest special event on the city’s calendar.