Marketplace: Café Galleria channels the Italian Alps
Anyone who would like to see authenticity taken to the extreme can dine at Midway’s Café Galleria.
"It’s not really a business for us. It’s a passion, an art We want to do it differently than you’d find anywhere," says owner Cecil Duvall.
Three years ago the Duvalls followed their two adult children to the Park City area. Having grown up in New York’s dairy country, Cecil invited Mennonite builders to his new ranch in Woodland to create a dairy farm and cheese factory.
"The town I grew up in had three cheese factories," he explained.
Having run a successful marina and restaurant before moving, he bought a nineteenth-century home on Midway’s Main Street and converted it to a pizzeria.
With a wood oven he imported from Italy he began baking pizzas made from Italian flour and tomatoes using a recipe he purchased from a pizza specialist who traveled from Italy to train his staff.
The cheese on his pizzas he makes in Woodland. The milk comes from nothing less than Brown Swiss cows supposedly the best breed for cheese milk, he said. The sausage is from his whey-fed Brookshire hogs.
"Those are supposed to be the Kobe beef of pigs," he explained.
The beef for the meatballs in his spaghetti is from his ranch as well.
Duvall wouldn’t hire a pizza chef to fly 6,000 miles to train his kitchen and then trust cheese-making to just anybody. His experts in Woodland make a wide variety (including goat cheese that comes on several pizzas), many of which can also be purchased at local grocery stores under the brand Cold Creek Farm.
The wood stove is heated to 800 degrees for pizza. It cools to 350 degrees overnight, which prompted Duvall to bake bagels and offer breakfast as well. Consistent with his style, Duvall only makes his favorite kind of bagels: Montreal-style boiled.
"You’d be hard pressed to find bagels made this way anywhere east of New York," he said. "It’s just too labor intensive."
Duvall says Café Galleria was never about achieving numbers. The original inspiration for opening a restaurant was to have a place to display his son’s professional photography from Italy.
Still, sales have grown 40 percent every year since opening three years ago. Each month has been up from the previous one, he said. The Best of State Awards recently gave him best "local pizza."
He attributes his success to experience.
"I’ve been through hard times so I understand how to keep things simple," he said.
Two months ago a 500-square-foot addition to the back of the restaurant was finished to house an ice-cream parlor and a cheese case. The ice cream dipping well is the original made in 1934 for the Woodland Cash Store.
Midway is off the beaten path for some, but with eight different kinds of bagel sandwiches in addition to authentic pizzas, Duvall said he has attracted a following among the locals. With that as a base, tourists provide a boost, he said.
There’s a family from Idaho that has been frequenting the Park City hospital for specialty surgeries that never comes to town without coming by to eat, Duvall said.
Wine comes from his favorite Italian vineyard with bottles ranging from $20 to $50.
"We take the time to research and we know what we like ourselves," he said.
That’s why everything Duvall does is run a certain way, he said, adding, "We do farming in Woodland like they did 100 years ago. There’s nothing modern about it."
101 West Main Street, Midway
Opens at 7 a.m.
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Arlene Loble served as the Park City manager in the 1980s, a pivotal period that prepared the community for the boom years that would follow in the 1990s. Loble, who recently died, is credited with introducing a level of professionalism to the municipal government that was needed amid the growth challenges.