It’s all in the name at Good Thymes
Almost every shopping complex has one. It’s a Chinese restaurant, then a toy store, then a Mexican Bistro. The building seems to be akin to the Bermuda Triangle.
But then one makes it stick.
Ilese Jaffa hopes her new restaurant, Good Thymes, will be that one.
"It’s been Sage Grill, then Nick’s Greek Café, now us," Dean Themy, Good Thymes General Manager, said. "None of them could get the volume in, but our menu makes it more of a you-can’t-afford-not-to-eat-here type of place."
Jaffa, owner of the restaurant and mastermind behind the menu and interior decor, assumed control of the building located at Kimball Junction near Smith’s Grocery Store starting May 1. She opened just a little over a month later, with the first plate served the evening of June 8.
"We had to redo everything as fast as we could," Themy said. "It was like a TV show — Restaurant Makeover. But we can make it work. It’s the niche, our menu and our idea. Our menu fits everybody’s needs. You’re not afraid to bring a family, you’re not afraid to come in as an individual and you’re not afraid to come in as a group. We think we picked a niche that no one else has."
Jaffa agrees. After being in the food service business for 19 years, she said it was time for a more simple attack on the taste buds of Park City. With a menu that includes macaroni and cheese, meatloaf, and chicken pot-pie, simplicity is the genius behind it all. Add to that a price range that includes only one item above $16, and Jaffa believes she has a recipe for success.
"We’ve already been growing a lot faster than we expected," she said. "It’s because of our quality and price. We have affordable food in Park City with high quality. We’ve taken the basics and put a twist to it. It’s a little more upscale than what you’d make at home, but we’re still affordable."
From the entrance, Jaffa wanted to make the restaurant feel familiar and homey. She said she used the idea of simplicity, once again, to bring in the customers and get them to return.
"Park City has a lot of what I call foo-foo restaurants," she said. "Now locals have a place to go where they’ll recognize the items on the menu. We’re very children- and family-friendly. We want to be a place for locals to call their own."
Jaffa also runs two catering businesses — A Taste of the Wasatch in Salt Lake City and Culinary Creations in Park City. Now all her businesses have one place to call home.
"I’m actually combining all three of the businesses, but they’re all keeping their names," she said.
Partly because of her five years as a caterer in Park City, but mostly because of her local family ties, Jaffa’s name is already familiar to Parkites.
Her family, who almost all live in Park City after moving from Jacksonville, Fla., has helped get the word out about the new restaurant. Her father is in the construction business and her brother is an architect, and both are known in the community.
"People know my family so it’s kind of like everyone knew us already," she said. "I think it’s helped tremendously. It gets people in here for the first time and the food brings them back for the second. We already have a lot of regulars who are in here every day for lunch.
"But they’re very very helpful. My mom helped me pick out the interior colors. They’re all here every day and if I ever need help, they come help."
Family and friends have been a big part of Good Thymes since it was first conceived, which is one reason Jaffa has such a strong focus on friends and families as clientele. A friend even came up with the name.
"I was just trying to think of something food related and as I was talking to a friend I said ‘thyme,’" she said. "My friend said ‘Why don’t you call it Good Thymes?’ I thought about how there’s always a basil or sage in a name, why not thyme? So I went with it."
Before graduating from Johnson and Wales Culinary School in Charleston, N.C., it was Jaffa’s mom who started her in the kitchen.
"I always liked to cook," she said." "My mom got me one of those Easy Bake Ovens and in Girl Scouts my first badge was the cooking patch. My family had to eat my Easy Bake cakes all the time. When my mom was cooking, I was always in the kitchen with her."
Good Thymes is located at 6300 Sagewood Drive at Kimball Junction. They can be reached at (435) 615-7090, and soon at http://www.goodthymes.net online. Although they do not take reservations, guests may call ahead to have a table prepared, but it is not necessary.
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Park City leaders have written another chapter in the reopening of the community even as the novel coronavirus continues to spread. The Park City Library on Monday became the latest municipal facility to welcome people inside again.