The Rabbit Gnocchi provides a nontraditional item to the Fireside menu. Photo: Talyn Sherer

Soft lighting and wood décor create a cozy atmosphere for this eatery, located next to the Eccles Theater on Regent Street. With bar and table seating, it offers quick service for theater-goers and a quaint environment for everyday meals with family and friends. A Google search would suggest Italian/American fare, yet it brings the vibe of an East Coast Broadway eatery, and took me back to my days in New York watching The Producers in Mel Brooks’ seats when Matthew Broderick was the lead. It’s classy yet subtle, offering both an explorative menu alongside everyday staples to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters.

With Rabbit Gnocchi on the menu, it may appear a little out there, but the menu is on point, with a bit of something for everyone. I took my friend Taylor with me—she likes food but is not a foodie, and I am happy to report that it turned out to be a great experience. It’s fun to take someone out to dinner that doesn’t get all giddy—like me—about all the blends of flavor that swirl on your palate. It adds a new perspective to the dishes.

We started with the house pulled mozzarella. Created in-house, the dish sits atop a zucchini fondue with olive oil and chives. The fresh, clean taste allows the mozzarella to truly stand out.

The Milk Run is Fireside’s take on the margherita-style pizza, bringing on ricotta cheese, homemade mozzarella and fresh basil. Photo: Talyn Sherer
The Milk Run is Fireside’s take on the margherita-style pizza, bringing on ricotta cheese, homemade mozzarella and fresh basil. Photo: Talyn Sherer

Next up, a wood-fire pizza. Why stop at one when you can order three and take it home for leftovers? Taylor opted for the good old standby, The Superior. It is the classic pepperoni, mozzarella, red-sauce goodness we all know and love—in true New York style, the thin, just-crisp-enough crust brings the Big Apple to the senses. Fireside’s wood-fired creations are spot on, and if you want to be part of the action, sit at the bar to embrace the crackle of the fire. Their take on the classic Margherita style pizza is called “Milk Run.” Topped with fresh basil, homemade mozzarella and ricotta cheese, this pie comes to life with a thin crust that makes the basil pop in your mouth.

After having a couple of basic staples, we decided to bring it up a notch with a Pink Pine slice. If you are looking for some exciting flavor and a little bit of spice, this is your slice. Pork fennel sausage, tomato, mozzarella, Sandhill Farm young onion and jalapeño herald in your first bite—oh, snap. The inviting fennel sausage offers a sweetness that is complemented with the finishing kick of jalapeño. This arrangement provides the lingering after-sensations of wanting more. Be careful, though—you may just indulge in the whole pizza.

While wood-fired pizza and appetizers are an easy jam for theatergoers and everyday patrons, the entrées deserve mention. The menu is well-rounded with, options of quail, scallops, chicken, steak and a house-made carbonara pasta. I love how Chef Mike Richey brings stables fresh from the kitchen to life. I decided to go off the beaten path with The Gold Potato Gnocchi. It’s not the gnocchi that takes it above and beyond the ordinary but the rabbit that accompanies it. Consisting of Meyer lemon, braised rabbit, brown butter, pancetta and heirloom tomato, this dish melts in your mouth. The rabbit with the brown butter offers a little bit of sweetness that accompanies the gnocchi perfectly. I typically love heirloom tomatoes, yet found them to distract from my personal flavor palette in this combination.

Let’s talk drinks for a minute. I know it’s on your mind because with any food pairing, it is on mine. Fireside offers several wines by the glass—including a nice bubbly option—and also allows bringing in your own bottle of wine for a $10 corkage fee. The cocktail menu is well-done, with options of whiskey, rum, tequila and gin cocktails. I am beginning to see a trend of no house vodka cocktails on menus, which is my standard order, so I went with the Rose Gin Tonic. Big Gin London Dry, lime and tonic with complementing rose water was a beautiful start to our meal.

We ended the meal with dessert, of course, and we could not pass up beignets—I am a sucker for a good one. These brought a smile to my face, reminding me of New Orleans’ Cafe Du Monde. Fireside’s spin on this intricate French pastry is a beautiful consistency of pastry with a sugar-and-cinnamon dusting atop ice cream and fresh fruit of the day. Made fresh, the beignets intoxicate the taste buds.

Well done, Fireside. You have paired yourself nicely with bringing big city, Broadway-style show dining to life in Salt Lake City in a low-key yet sophisticated atmosphere. One last thing to mention: If you don’t want to go into the restaurant, call in for a pizza order to go—your belly and taste buds will thank you.

Rob Sergent, Alpine’s Managing Director (distiller and founder), hails from family of Kentucky moonshiners and distillers. As a fifth-generation distiller, his idea to create a quality sipping gin pays homage to his father. Photo: LmSorenson.net

Park City’s downtown boasts fresh powder that invites skiers and snowboarders through winter, while innovation in craft spirits weaves a deeper story of this mountainside haven. Two craft distilleries have become part of the vibe of this world-renowned destination. High West paved the way for Utah spirits to be recognized globally, and now with relative newcomer Alpine Distilling (at SLUG Mag’s Brewstillery, Nov. 17, at Union Event Center), both are providing nostalgic experiences that draw in locals and visitors alike.


Alpine Distilling
350 Main St.
350main.com    alpinedistilling.com
435.649.3140

Photo: LmSorenson.net
Photo: LmSorenson.net

With a spirits shop in the window front of 350 Main, Alpine Distilling has partnered with the restaurant to provide guests with a one-of-a-kind gin experience. At this location, a four-course menu paired with creating your very own botanical-infused gin is something unique to the distillery, whose stills are located in Silver Creek. The intimate dinner allows space for eight guests, and is currently by reservation only on Friday evenings, with more days of the week coming during the winter season in Park City.

Rob Sergent, Alpine’s Managing Director (distiller and founder), hails from family of Kentucky moonshiners and distillers. As a fifth-generation distiller, his idea to create a quality sipping gin pays homage to his father. When Sergent attended school in London as a young man, he felt as though success looked like his father in a suit sipping gin after work daily. Creating a quality gin that compares with European spirits was his goal. I would say that he hit the mark with Summit Gin—the spirit can stand alone on the rocks or mix nicely. The nose on the gin is clean, while the taste is a beautiful composition of juniper and orange, making it the perfect substitute for orange juice in a mimosa.  Yes, that is right—Summit Gin plus sparkling wine is delicious.

I love that each of Alpine’s spirits tell a story. Spur Blended American Whiskey was originally created as an exclusive for The Spur on Main Street, and then everyone agreed that it needed to be shared with the world. Lafayette Spiced Bourbon Whiskey was created for Sergent’s wife. Infused with apricot, primrose, and cinnamon, this is a gentle-to-drink whiskey that is easy on the tongue with a hint of spice going down. Sergent’s wife didn’t enjoy whiskey, so he created one for her in order for them  to sip the spirit together. Similarly, his grandfather added apricots to their moonshine in an effort to please his grandmother’s taste buds for the strong spirit.

In creating your own, unique gin, with staff onsite to help you choose botanicals, you are able to make a bottle that satisfies you and your palate. Whether you save it or drink it now, you will never forget the memory created with a friend or loved one. Alpine believes in spirits creating a conversation and a bond in the moments of sharing a drink.

Bartenders on staff at the P.C. Saloon get together a few times a year to craft new cocktails and work on creations that visitors will fall in love with. (L–R) David Perkins and Jane Perkins. Photo: LmSorenson.net

Park City’s downtown boasts fresh powder that invites skiers and snowboarders through winter, while innovation in craft spirits weaves a deeper story of this mountainside haven. Two craft distilleries have become part of the vibe of this world-renowned destination. High West paved the way for Utah spirits to be recognized globally, and now with relative newcomer Alpine Distilling (at SLUG Mag’s Brewstillery, Nov. 17, at Union Event Center), both are providing nostalgic experiences that draw in locals and visitors alike.


High West Saloon
703 Park Ave.
highwest.com
435.649.8300

Photo: LmSorenson.net
Photo: LmSorenson.net

High West is a Park City staple. They carved the path for other distilleries by lobbying for the ability to sell alcohol on Sunday and to sell their spirits from their own store. In 2006, High West became Utah’s first legal distillery since 1870. Founders David Perkins and Jane Perkins had an epiphany while visiting Maker’s Mark in Kentucky, and a new whiskey company was put into production in Park City. Starting out blending, a lot has happened since its humble beginnings.

Having earned the respect of many bartenders, the spirit is a staple in many bars across the country and locally. Bartenders on staff at the P.C. Saloon get together a few times a year to craft new cocktails and work on creations that visitors will fall in love with. I sat at the Saloon bar to enjoy a burger and cocktail. I tasted the Little Hollywood, which includes guava with double rye and is incredibly worthy of a sunshining day. Its strawberry-and-pear-like taste counterbalances its spicy-rye whiskey kick. Initially, I was wary of guava plus double rye, yet it was both pretty and scrumptious in its tiki elegance. High West’s  most recognized whiskeys include: American Prairie Bourbon, Double Rye, Rendezvous Rye and Campfire, a nice smoky blend of scotch, whiskey and bourbon. Their seasonal release of “A Midwinter’s Night Dream”, is a variant of the Rendezvous finished in French oak port barrels,  was being released the day after I was in Park City. I love the name of another seasonal, Yippee Ki-Yay, which is rye whiskey aged in wine barrels and is available for  purchase year-round in their shop.

High West is expanding their operation. With their spirits in demand, they are adding an additional still at their Wanship location. Their whiskeys are now in all 50 states, and having penetrated the major markets such as New York, San Francisco and Chicago, they are looking align with smaller markets spreading their craft whiskey love. Their distillers are constantly playing with new flavor ideas, and they could not share what may be coming next in terms of whiskey. However, High West is also launching a beer. The American Standard lager, a pre-Prohibition-style lager has a nice spiced finish from aging in bourbon barrels. It is a nice, everyday lager made with corn rye and barley that will be a good edition to the High West selection. Perkins has worked with Ballast Point in creating their newest craft.