New owners, same popular food | ParkRecord.com

New owners, same popular food

by Andrew Kirk, OF THE RECORD STAFF

Bob and Jackie Callaway opened a restaurant in Cache Valley 11 years ago in an old service station. It had eight seats. Today, Callaway’s Bistro seats over 150 and is popular with locals and destination visitors alike.

In December, the couple decided to bring that experience and commitment to customer service to Park City.

The Morning Ray Café inside Treasure Mountain Inn on Main Street needed new owners. The landlords, Andy Beerman and Thea Leonard, knew the Callaways and decided they’d be right for the job.

Morning Ray has been popular with locals, but received complaints in recent months about slow service, Jackie said. She took over management of the front staff and Bob took over the kitchen. Together, the two plan to make the café a locals’ hang-out.

For starters, being up on the second floor of the hotel makes it difficult to attract street traffic, but more importantly, locals are the lifeblood of Park City eateries, Bob explained.

"We want to attract as many of the locals as possible, keep food as high quality as we can, the service the best we can get it, keep everything reasonably priced and that’s the best we can possibly do," he said.

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Taking over a restaurant in this economy has been difficult, Jackie said, but it’s been a smooth transition. Foot traffic is down, but rents can be negotiated and great employees are easy to find.

The two knew what Morning Ray needed, and Callaways Bistro has great managers, she said. The time was right to live in Park City full-time.

"We’re hands on people and like to be on-site," she explained. "Andy and Thea wanted the space open during the ski season and we thought, ‘We can do this.’ So we came on down."

With experience catering and running a bistro, the Callaways are new to breakfast menus. The long-time cook and several regulars helped them figure out what changes to make, and what to leave alone.

In tribute to that help, the Callaways named a combo meal after their cook Miguel, and a "bean bowl" after a regular who goes by Jenks.

The "personal touch" the Callaways added is a commitment to freshness. All of the salsa, guacamole and other parts of the omelets are made with fresh ingredients, she said.

The restaurant also tries to support local vendors. They serve coffee from Park City Roasting Company and buy as many items from "Wasatch Back" wholesalers as they can, she said.

Jackie said they like their restaurants to be casual, fun and affordable. Focusing on quality food and service is the key to success.

Customer Davis Wilkinson, 14, agreed. Wilkinson said the server was nice and helpful. He had trouble keeping his mouth empty of hash browns long enough to comment much on his French toast combo plate.

"It’s delicious," he managed to get out.

Once the ski season is over, Jackie said they’re excited to repaint, install more televisions and offer the same dinner menu they developed at Callaway’s Bistro up north.

Morning Ray Café

255 Main Street (inside Treasure Mountain Inn)

615-6951