A final fondue: Park City restaurant, a standard-bearer, will soon close
Adolph’s, drawing Parkites and celebrities, has long offered the comfort of Swiss dishes
Adolph Imboden for decades offered a classic dish as an answer to a classic winter day in Park City.
In an homage to his Swiss upbringing, the namesake Adolph’s Restaurant specializes in fondue. The comfort food and other Swiss dishes are the specialty of the Kearns Boulevard restaurant, long a popular destination for Parkites looking for a high-quality option off Main Street.
“Fondue first, because it’s an experience,” Imboden said on Monday, describing the dish as something that visitors to mountain resorts seek, and adding, “It’s something you have in a ski resort.”
Imboden in early April announced the restaurant intends to close at the end of the month, ending a decades-long run that largely mirrored Park City’s rise as an international destination.
Imboden arrived in Park City in 1971 after having been contacted about a position in the community.
“The first thing I said was ‘Where is Park City,’” he said.
Imboden became the food and beverage manager at what was then called Park City Ski Area and later became known as Park City Mountain Resort. He wanted his own restaurant, though, and opened a place called Adolph’s White Haus in the mid-1970s. The year that place closed, 1977, was the year he opened Adolph’s Restaurant. It was located on the Park City golf course in Thaynes Canyon.
The restaurant occupied a high-profile location at the golf course through the late 1970s, the 1980s and then Park City’s boom years in the early 1990s. Adolph’s Restaurant moved to the current location on Kearns Boulevard in 1997. It is extraordinarily rare for a restaurant to remain in business in Park City for longer than four decades. The restaurant over the years has attracted a loyal following of Parkites and visitors. It has also retained many staffers for years in an industry with regular turnover. A secretary has worked for Adolph’s Restaurant for 40 years, he explained.
The walls inside hold numerous photographs of international and Park City celebrities who have eaten there. There are autographed photographs of winter-sports stars like Park City Olympic skiing champion Ted Ligety and entertainers like the late Johnny Carson.
The impending closure of Adolph’s Restaurant will likely spur some to recall evenings spent dining on wiener schnitzel, veal and the fondue. It could also remind longtime Parkites of the era before the restaurant scene accelerated alongside the population growth. Even with the addition of numerous high-end restaurants over the years, Adolph’s Restaurant has remained one of the community’s standard-bearers. Adolph’s Restaurant, like the rest of the industry, most recently was forced to adjust operations amid the spread of the novel coronavirus.
As Adolph’s Restaurant enters its final weeks, Imboden said the restaurant and the landlord were unable to agree to acceptable terms for a lease extension and a new lease, leading to the decision to close. Imboden, who has lived in Thaynes Canyon since the 1970s, will retire when the restaurant closes, though he said there is a possibility he could offer catered fondue and several other items during the next winter. He otherwise plans to ski and visit Switzerland.
“Every chef … wants to have his own business,” Imboden said, adding, “You don’t want to work for a corporation.”
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