Spruce Park City opens Wednesday
July 24, 2009
The Bacchus Management Group designed Spruce Restaurant to be both a high-end, white-tablecloth dining experience as well as a neighborhood hang out where you can wear blue jeans and buy a cold beer.
That sounds impossible, but it actually depends on the neighborhood, says Mark Sullivan, executive chef.
Sullivan said the residents of Presidio Heights in San Francisco live in multi-million-dollar homes and often walk down to the original Spruce. It caters to however they’re feeling.
If they show up in tuxedos before the opera, Spruce’s cuisine is up to par. If they’re looking for a Cheers atmosphere, the bar can serve them a cheeseburger.
That’s why Spruce is such a perfect fit for the Dakota Mountain Lodge at The Canyons, explained Tim Stannard, company founder.
"It’s designed to cater to all the needs of the neighborhood," he said. "The goal was to build a neighborhood restaurant for all of Park City.
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The hotel is part of the Waldorf Astoria Collection and Sullivan describes it as luxurious and sexy, mountain rustic but elegant. It’s also a place where people live and come to have a fun, relaxing vacation. It’s a place guests can feel comfortable. That’s exactly the clientele Spruce is used to serving, he said.
"I love the mountains," Sullivan said Tuesday. "I fell in love with Park City. It’s a good fit for us."
Upon entering from the lobby, guests first encounter the bar (made from white marble) and deck seating. Pearly-white antlers will hang from the walls, he said.
As they continue down the corridor, guests will be met by a wine serving island with a large silver vase chilling a variety of vintages. The walls are wine cabinets from floor to ceiling and Andrew Green, wine and spirits director for Bacchus, is working at forming the finest wine list in Utah. Sullivan called it a "cave of wine."
Turning left, the guest will enter the actual restaurant that has private rooms for parties and can extend outside to the south for patio seating.
It will be comfortable and welcoming but also complement the class and style of Waldorf Astoria. Sullivan said he hasn’t yet seen anything like it in Park City. The original Spruce was inspired by the building Bacchus found and moved into. Spruce Park City is a perfect fit for the Dakota Mountain Lodge, he said.
That connection with place is important to Bacchus because they also prefer to use ingredients from the place as well. In California, the company has contracted with local producers to supply their kitchens.
"Our intention is to have farmers grow for us," Sullivan said. "My intention here is to prepare delicious food and focus on learning as much as I can about the local ingredients and the local farmers."
Stannard explains that connection with place as part of a larger effort to serve the highest-quality food.
"The better you control every variable, the better you can control the end product," he said. "We want to completely control the product through its entire life cycle. The more control you have, the more you can ensure the highest possible product."
That quest for perfection is also seen in the new kitchen or rather, its periphery. Set off from the main areas are cooled pastry rooms and a chilled meat room. Sullivan said the heat from the kitchen should never affect the temperature of fine chocolate or pastry dough. Likewise, meats respond differently to warmer temperatures as well.
In fact, the kitchen is so extensive it operates on two floors. That’s because in addition to the restaurant, Bacchus is also providing room service for the entire facility as well as catering to the special needs of the Golden Door Spa guests.
Green added the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control has been great in working with them and making it possible to bring in wines that haven’t been in Utah before.