Park City in slowest time of the year
April 24, 2009
Spring break might be over for many, but it’s just getting started for restaurants in town.
It’s common for Park City restaurants to close the day after the ski resorts do until mid-May or Memorial Day Weekend.
This year, Riverhorse on Main owner Jerry Gilomen predicts half are closed.
Robust years, like the one two years ago, might inspire places to stay open that otherwise would have closed. Early Easters, like the one last year might extend ski season and shorten the span of the closures. But this year, there’s no reason to stay open when most businesses of all kinds lose money the last half of April, he said.
Bill White’s Wahso will reopen June 4, Grappo May 14. The Blind Dog is closed through May 20. Riverhorse on Main will reopen May 15, Bandits that day and Flanagans around the same. Yuki Arashi Sushi is closed until May 28. Davanza’s on Park Avenue just until May 1.
John Troilo, owner of Davanza’s, said his people need a rest after the busy ski season. The closure also provides a time to thoroughly clean.
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"Everybody just needs a break, an opportunity to catch your breath and get ready for summer season," he said.
Gilomen has been a Park City restaurateur for 23 years and also always closed in late April. It’s a personal decision, he said, but he likes the chance to perform renovations, remodels or simple up-keeping tasks.
He gives the year-round staff paid time-off.
"They really look forward to this," he said. "We’re a resort town so we want staff to take all vacations during slow times."
If everyone stayed open, everyone would lose money, he said. The half that close are saving money or losing less while benefiting the half that stay open.
"It’s an unorchestrated perfect balance," he said.
Troilo reopens so early to get the benefits of both. As much business as he gets from tourists, a pizza place needs local support as well so he needs to be open for them, he said.
Many restaurants that stay open adjust their hours to stay open fewer hours. For the locals he only cuts one hour off in the evening and stays open 11 hours a day.
Steve McComb, owner of Bistro 412 and Ciseros, said he stays open to benefit from all the others closing, but is pondering closing each for one day a week this year.
"It’s going to be a brutal off-season," he said.
Places around town were slashing prices and offering two-for-one deals the last few weeks of the season. McComb said he can’t do that to keep the cash flow coming. He’s already $5 to $10 less on his entrees than most of his competitors. He can’t lower prices more, he said.
In April and May, patrons are advised to call ahead to ensure the restaurant of choice is open.