The Blue Iguana is coming to Park City
Daniel Darger is taking over 628 Park Avenue.
"Friends say, ‘Don’t move there, it’s cursed,’" he said.
It has seen a steady succession of restaurants move in and move out: Irie, Buona Vita and Mediterraneo to name recent ones.
"I say, ‘I know, I cursed it,’" Darger quips.
Across from the Kimball Arts Center and just around the corner from Main Street, it’s a seemingly good location. Darger said he’s sure it is because it’s the same kind of locale that works for his Blue Iguana in Salt Lake City.
Darger owns a home in Park City and has been eyeing that location for five years, he said. In the valley, the Blue Iguana is at 165 South West Temple where it hosts theater goers, business lunches, convention attendees, partiers and other downtown foot traffic.
The reasonable prices, welcoming décor and authentic mole attract couples in formal wear with opera tickets as well as young couples in denim with toddlers, said ambiance designer Alexis Todd Darger.
Fans of the Blue Iguana will not be disappointed in its new Park City location scheduled to open by the beginning of the Sundance Film Festival, Daniel Darger said.
It will have the same chef, same menu and same portion sizes.
"We think we can do the same top-quality gourmet food at a price well below the average and be very affordable. We think we’ll be jammed," he said.
Anyone who’s lived in the area long enough may have gotten confused about the difference between the Red Iguana and the Blue Iguana. They were both started by the same family, with the Red being the older and located on North Temple west of I-15. The Blue is downtown and was bought by Darger because he loved the Red. He said they have many of the same items, but his chef has also improved upon the menu.
Now he’s bringing those recipes to Park City where he believes it will stand in a class of its own among its Mexican-food competitors, and beat out other Main Street eateries on price.
"We have elegant, gourmet, complex flavors," he said.
Alexis is charged with creating the same feel as the Salt Lake location.
She said she designs the interior as she would her own home: to be welcoming and reflect their style.
The intent is to create a warm hacienda where guests have a "Mi casa, su casa," feel, she said.
Alexis said she uses her background as a visual artist to find the natural beauty and energy in any space. Then she and the restaurant employees are relentlessly on the look-out for pictures, mirrors, antiques and art that build the ambiance and create a homey feel.
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The sculpture first resided along Main Street and was moved to the intersection of Kearns Boulevard and Bonanza Drive years later.