What to do for Valentines day?
Valentine’s Day can be, without a doubt, a tough holiday. While dozens of options exist for special Thanksgiving dinners, Christmas parties and New Year’s celebrations, only a few establishments organize special events for Feb. 14.
While in some cities Valentine’s Day packs restaurants and inspires a whole pack of special events, Park City’s entertainment establishments keep a relatively low profile. With the holiday hitting in the middle of ski season many restaurants choose to tweak their menus with a few extra additions while focusing on the tourist crowd.
However, whether a pair is looking for dinner, dancing or an escape, Park City has a few options for Valentine’s fun.
For those looking for a truly original event, the Riverhorse and Shabu are two restaurants both noted for their atmosphere offering dining events in town.
Shabu will offer a special six-course prix fixe dinner, with a glass of champagne and a rose, along with live music from jazz-guitar-man Pat Carnahan. Additionally, Valaika said the restaurant’s regular menu would also be available.
"It’s going to be real nice, real special," said Valaika. "We’re going to show all the ladies a good time."
The event, he added, would be among the most romantic on Main Street, while showcasing the restaurant’s modern flair. He said he expected the evening to be a success in its second year.
"It will be a sold-out event," Valaika said.
The Riverhorse, meanwhile, will offer some similar fare with its own twist.
"We think that Valentines Day is a very special event," said the restaurant’s owner, Jerry Gilomen.
Accordingly, the restaurant celebrates the holiday with some unique offerings.
"We are creating a special evening of fine dining, dancing and romance," Gilomen said.
The establishment, which is offering the event for the third year in a row, decorates for the day and presents the same "celebration band" that plays there on New Year’s Eve and Christmas.
Gilomen said the evening almost always sells out. Wednesday afternoon, he said that only a quarter of the tables were open; among the reservations, half are from returning customers.
"We have a very steady following," said Gilomen.
With that following and a steady demand, Gilomen said the decision to host the Valentine’s Day celebration is an easy one.
"I would have a lot of explaining to do if I didn’t do it," he said.
But while the event is popular, he also noted its inclusiveness. Many among the crowd are couples, many others simply come for a special evening.
"We have a group of 21 people who are here on business who decided, since they were in town for the holiday they should go out," Gilomen noted.
Several other restaurants will offer special items in addition to their regular menus.
Jeff Ward, general manager at 350 Main, said his restaurant will offer a few specials for the holiday, including asparagus and roasted oyster appetizers, two entrees, a filet and roasted lobster tails, and a dessert for two.
"We wanted to do something that’s nice and acknowledge the day, but we realize that it’s still a busy day in the ski season," said Ward.
Accordingly, he said, the restaurant decided not to create a set menu, choosing instead to keep its offerings open to all kinds of diners.
The Bill White-owned establishments including Grappa, Wahso, Chimayo and Ghidotti’s will operate in a similar fashion, will all offer special dishes, according to Katie Eldridge, spokesperson for the restaurants. Windy Ridge Bakery, she added, would also have several special items available.
Later in the night, a few locations will host events. The Star Bar will host a Pretty in Pink Valentine’s day celebration featuring a pair of live bands.
"Motherlode Canyon Band and Small House Quartet will be playing," said Richard Taverner, the percussionist for the Small House Quartet and the event’s organizer.
The repertoire will feature an opening set from the Quartet, followed by a set from Motherlode; the event will close with a jam session with both bands. According to Star Bar owner John Sutton, Taverner simply came to him with the idea. Taverner said he had talked about it previously with Motherlode vocalist and guitarist Dana Williams.
"The inspiration kind of goes back to community," explained Taverner. "Dana and I had talked about the bands playing together and with the holiday it seemed like a good time."
Doors will open at 8 p.m., the cover charge is $5. The event will include a raffle and a decidedly local theme, but Taverner noted, his aim was inclusiveness.
"It’s really for everybody," he said about the event.
A bit down the street, The Sidecar will also host an event.
"We are having a Valentine’s Day party," said Mike Wong, one of the bar’s owners.
The evening will include acoustic music from Ashley K and later, DJ Chris Wright, along with raffles and roses. The cover is $10.
Wong said that, like The Star Bar, the atmosphere would likely remain fairly informal.
"I think it’s going to be more toward the dancing," he said.
At the same time, there will likely be other events about town and over the weekend. The Egyptian Theatre Company will present the first two showings of its newest production, "The Full Monty" on Friday and Saturday evenings, and Harry O’s will host a special Valentine’s Pajama Party Saturday night; additionally, Mountain Town Stages will host a Mary Beth Maziarz concert at the Egyptian Theatre on Sunday.
Feb. 14 might not be Park City’s specialty, but plenty is happening around town.
For a listing of weekend events, along with those for the coming week, see The Park Record’s Calendar of Events.
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