Mojo’s adds new life to PCMR Base
June 29, 2012
For General Manager Jimii Totora, changing the Eating Establishment Express to Mojo’s has been much more than a simple name change. It’s a head-to-toe rebrand, a new look to accompany Totora’s new menu.
Sitting at the base of Park City Mountain Resort, near the bottom of the Payday Lift, the longtime Eating Establishment extension is getting a facelift. Oldies like Al Green tunes still float in the background as families inspect the ice cream options. The banners outside announce something new, but inside changes are small, for now.
"It’s more than a sign saying ‘under new management,’" Totora said. "We’re going to redo the interior, make it a new place.
"Besides," he added jokingly, "the name was too long."
Over the course of the summer, Mojo’s will add more than some furniture rearranging. The re-imagined space will also include new paint, new furniture and a new vibe, Totora said, hoping to capture a taste of the 1950s California beaches. Surfboards and summer, all set against powder days, snowboards and skis and hot chocolate.
Mojo’s is owned by Rick Anderson, proprietor of The Eating Establishment on Main Street, and is managed by Totora, who moved to Park City in 1969 and found his way into the restaurant business.
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"It’s still going to be a resort food place," Totora said. "It’s not going to be like a café or something. It’s going to be a place where you know you can still get a good meal.
"When you come to Mojo’s, you get your mojo on. I want this to be a fun place."
The restaurant will still serve old classics such as deli sandwiches, burgers, ice cream and beer, but add several new specials such as Philly steaks, ribs, enchiladas and fish tacos. Totora is known in the community for his previous restaurant, Nacho Mama’s, a popular Mexican restaurant that closed shop more than two years ago.
Since he was hired in November, Totora has been working with Anderson on concepts for the restaurant and possible menu changes. But until summer hit could Totora actually move forward with those ideas.
Getting that new feel, that flare he’s hoping to bring to the restaurant, meant a lot of hard work. Totora compared the process to a bowling ball already rolling down a lane. When he came in to the business after the former manager retired, he had to change the direction of the restaurant that was already rolling on another course.
"You have to stop the direction that ball is rolling in, steer it another way," Totora said. "Right now, I’m trying to control this moving object."
At the end of the day, Totora is a purist in the kitchen, to "take your time and make it right." He believes in a formula that is repeatable, where food is fresh and made to order, and involves the microwave as little as humanely possible. The food has to be good and look good, which for him means putting food on a plate that hits on more than one of the five senses.
"I want this to be a place for locals, a place where people can congregate," Totora said.
This Saturday, Mojo’s plans to hold its grand opening to reintroduce the mountainside restaurant to the community. The menu, which Totora is laboriously revamping, will be launched in stages, with Saturday featuring his chipotle-barbecue ribs. The event will also feature live music, dollar ice cream cones, draft beer for $2.50 and prize drawings. Mojo’s will start the party at 2 p.m., with the Dr. Bob Band headlining.
Park City Mountain Resort at the base of the Payday Lift