Sundance Restaurant Recs
We're travelling to Park City with a group of 12 friends for the Sundance Film Festival in January. Does anyone have any recommendations for restaurants on Main Street that are fun, not-too-formal, have good food and also good people/celeb watching?
there are numerous posts about Park City dining recently, i'd do a search on this board for them.
most restaurants on Main Street during Sundance only offer a prix fixe menu. They're exorbitantly priced and not always the best food and super crowded in the dining room. Just about every restaurant has some sort of private event or private party—last year we happened to bump into Sting at the restroom at Wahso because he was throwing a birthday party for his daughter there. I was just there on business.
They aren't formal in the sense of black tie, but nothing uber casual given the spectacle. Shabu is always popular, lots of parties, celebs, and the food is pretty decent. Coffee shops seem to have a steady supply of folks, too. There aren't many—Starbucks and two others.
A few years ago my husband, two friends and I went to Wahso for dinner during Sundance and it was not good. Ridiculous prices (I don't pay this much for meals in Manhattan!), very snooty service and a weird vibe. We saw Valerie Bertinelli there (take that as you will).
I've found that in five years of attending Sundance the best places to eat were mid-range brew pub type of places or cheap, fast taco and pizza places between screenings.
A strong cautionary note about dining in Park City during Sundance: in addition to the unreasonable markups charged by nearly every dining establishment during a premium event like the film festival, it is EXTREMELY difficult to make reservations (or, for that matter, to walk in) at ANY of the Main Street restaurants. Should you get in, expect long lines, snippy service, and lower food quality than usual. If possible, try to dine at off hours (mid-afternoon, early evening) or seek food away from Main Street. Kimball Junction, near I-80 has several good dining options (Hapa Grill, Red Rock Brewery, Ghidotti's) and some typical fast food or chain restaurant options.
That warning given, Grappa (Italian), Chimayo (Southwestern), and Wahso (pan-Asian interpretations) are some of my favorite Main Street Park City dining destinations. For an informal meal, give the Wasatch Brewpub or Taste of Saigon (Vietnamese) a try. Good luck navigating the town amidst all the chaos!
Another thing to keep in mind: many of the Main St. restaurants will close for "private parties" during Sundance. And, yes, they do mark up during that time, because, well, they can.
Cranky servers happen because they get tired of the obnoxious customers. I know - I have several friends who are servers at different restaurants in town. They say Sundance attendees are the worst tippers. Friends who work at Eating Establishment say folks will take a table for an hour or so and only order coffee. The substitution requests on menu items are also at their yearly peak ("I'd like the spanish omlette, use eggwhites only, no peppers, but can you put in spinich and mushrooms and hollandaise instead of salsa"). The EE is right across the street from the Egyptian Theater, so it's a prime people watching restaurant. The specials at the EE during Sundance are always "eggwhite something", veggieburger chili size, whole wheat pancakes with fruit. I always make a point to go up there to the EE once during Sundance so they see a friendly face that tips well :-)