Locals only, says Main Street restaurateur
January 16, 2009
Karleen Reilly, owner of Uptown Fare, has had enough. She’s taking drastic measures: Locals only during Sundance, and she’s hiring a bouncer to enforce it.
"I get tired of the locals being pushed out of the restaurants and clubs. Everybody has experienced it," she said.
If she doesn’t recognize you (and there’s a good chance she will) you better have a driver’s license, a locals ski pass or a Park City library card.
Her stance isn’t so much about geography as about taking care of people who are normally pushed aside when, she says, they deserve to be prioritized.
For example, she’s promised to serve the set-up crews for Sony in the Main Street Mall, Slamdance in Treasure Mountain Inn and the Egyptian Theater as well as everyone who’s a festival volunteer. But she warns them not to bring any big wigs with them.
She dislikes the Sundance crowd so much she usually just closes shop during the festival. But over the past nine years she’s become friends with the work crews along the street and heard they get pushed out as well. She said she feels obligated to stay open for them and all her loyal customers.
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"The reason I’m doing it is the locals support me all year, so it’s my turn to support them. And they do, the locals really support me," she said.
Park City residents Bob Martino and Jim Wahl certainly do. They walked into Uptown Fare around 12:30 on Wednesday. Seeing no place to sit and a long line, they left but only to come back later, not to eat somewhere else.
"It’s fabulous. It’s a great little spot. She’s been around forever," Martino said.
Wahl said he loves the family-run atmosphere and said the home-made soups are "very cool."
She’s paying a bouncer to make sure people like Martino and Wahl will be able to get in next week. Her bouncer, Tony Wright, is 300-pound a former rugby player from England. He looks like he means business until he laughs.
"He’s got a great accent… he’s a really jolly guy," she said.
It’s mostly a joke, so she said to take bribes if they’re offered and not to turn Brad Pitt away.
"That’s how she is, that’s great," Martino said when he heard.
Other than that, Reilly said she’s not going to do anything different just because it’s Sundance week. She’s not staying open any later (11 a.m. to about 3:30 p.m.) and won’t be open on the weekends.
"That tells you how good the food is if she can do that," Wahl said.