David Perkins has a lot to answer for as far as I am concerned. Describing his vision of building a whiskey distillery to a self confessed whiskey addict must surely be against some law or other. Nevertheless, after bullying me to taste some of his own whiskey creations at the High West Distillery and Saloon in downtown Park City Utah, this former biochemist turned restaurateur has achieved something quite remarkable; he can actually give Scotland a run for its money.
The High West Distillery and Saloon is both a realisation of a dream and a seriously sizeable investment to transform two pieces of Park City’s architectural history into a place of eating and drinking heaven. The genius of preserving a former livery stable and neighbouring Begg’s House, one of Park City’s poshest two storey Victorian style homes, via some serious architectural design wizardry has paid off in a way perhaps even Mr Perkins had not really bargained for.
It seems the restaurant was a by product of the distillery, here they were making all these great whiskeys, so why not utilise more of this great spare space and make some food to go with them? David’s concept is simple and highly effective; offer really good quality food at affordable prices and pair it up with flavour-matching whiskeys and cocktails. A marriage highly underappreciated in most parts.
The result s speak for themselves with the High West Distillery and Saloon one of the most popular places in Park City. Of course it did help that at one time in winter you could ski straight in from the mountain and ski out again, but town planning has put an end to that.
There is much love in evidence here. Love of whiskey in all its forms. There’s the High West own labels featuring such wonders as Double Rye (my particular favourite) American Prairie Reserve and OMG Silver and a phalanx of whiskey based cocktails all made from the distillery downstairs, to regular American whiskies like Jim Bean, Makers Mark and JD. Plus of course single malts from Scotland and blends from around the world.
Under the watchful eye of Executive Chef James Dumas who cut his teeth (and perhaps a few fingers) at New York’s River Cafe the food menu is full of delightfully daft but delicious dishes as well as the more straight laced for the less adventurous. Take Deviled Eggs with jalapeño bacon ($8) or Bison pie and suet biscuits ($17), or how about maple and miso glazed Patagonian Salmon ($21) The desserts are equally adventurous with more than hint of whiskey such as High West Manhattan laced no-bake cheesecake, molasses, Graham Cracker crumb and vanilla whipped cream (£6) or my favourite apple, rhubarb and wild berry cobbler with double rye laced ice cream ($9)
Park City may have its roots in mining but these days the folks around town are more suited to owning mines than digging in them such is the draw of Park City’s fabled skiing. With the exclusive Deer Valley, Canyons and Park City Mountain resorts just a few minutes away, plus the annual Sundance film festival crowds, the High West Distillery and Saloon has to share its downtown space with fancy eateries, art galleries and antique shops. Yet somehow, this rustic mix of quality food and great drinks at value prices keeps them rolling in the aisles.
For me, I will just let David bully me into sipping another High West inspired Manhattan.
all images (c) Andy Mossack
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High West Distillery and Saloon 703 Park Avenue, Park City, Utah.
Tel: 435-649-8300 E: email@example.com