Park City • During the Sundance Film Festival, Park City locals are often treated like second-class citizens, unable to get a table at their favorite restaurant — or any restaurant — because directors, producers and other industry folks fill the seats or the space has been reserved for private parties.
One exception is Karleen’s Uptown Fare, where Hollywood types get the snub.
For the 10-day run of the festival, which opens Thursday, Jan. 17, owner Karleen Reilly hangs a large banner outside her soup-and-sandwich shop at the top of Main Street that reads “locals only club.” She also stations a doorman at the main entrance who politely turns away anyone from out of town.
“I have a password, but I pretty much know all the locals” said the no-nonsense Reilly. “Besides, you can tell a Sundancer a mile away. It’s pretty obvious.”
This will be the fifth year that Reilly has made residents royalty. Her decision to go rogue is a way to thank the regular diners who support her the rest of the year. “I’ve had some devoted customers who have been coming for a long time,” she said. “I think they appreciate it.”
She also does it to help film festival volunteers, most of whom call Utah home. “They only have a certain amount of time to get lunch,” she said. “They know they can run in here and get a quick meal in 15 or 20 minutes.”
It hasn’t always been this way. Years ago, when Reilly — and the festival — were just starting out, everyone was welcome in the tiny shop at 227 S. Main, next to the Treasure Mountain Inn. Reilly proudly points to the photographs of actors Nick Nolte, Minnie Driver, Billy Bush, Scott Wolf and others who came in and enjoyed her food.
But a few years ago, the festival outgrew her restaurant, which only seats about 20 people. “They would camp out in here with their computers, order two cups of coffee and stay four hours,” Reilly said. “I don’t want that or need that.”
She could have closed down for the festival, but that’s not her style. Of course, Reilly’s not heartless as some rumors suggest. “I don’t turn away pregnant women and children,” she said. “And skiers are always welcome.”
A long-time Park City resident, Reilly opened Uptown Fare about 13 years ago after spending more than a decade as a caterer. “I had always thought about opening a place,” she said, “and then one day I heard Oprah talking about how if you do what you love, you will do well.”
Today, she operates the restaurant with the help of her daughter, Nivin Lloyd, and employee Beth Falk. Locals are drawn to this hidden gem for its unpretentious atmosphere and menu. Low ceilings, narrow eating spaces and an eclectic mix of donated furniture and thrift-store finds makes it feel like your grandmother’s kitchen. There’s even a sign that reads, “There will be $5.00 charge for Whining,” a nice change from the white-tablecloth establishments that fill Park City’s Main Street.
Uptown Fare’s menu includes several homemade soups, which rotate with the seasons and Reilly’s culinary whims. There also are sandwiches made from fresh roasted meats, salads and baked goods. While customers say it’s all delicious, Uptown Fare is best known for its tomato bisque and turkey/cranberry sandwich.
Every day Reilly carves her way through a whole roasted turkey, which she special orders from North Carolina. When all the meat has been served on sandwiches and salads, the carcass is used to make a variation of turkey soup.
“We get here as often as we can,” said customer Kellee Shea, during a recent visit with her youngest daughter, Savannah
Shea, wife of 2002 Olympic gold medalist in skeleton Jimmy Shea — whose photo is also on the wall— said the turkey/cranberry sandwich is her favorite. “I’m usually planning around breakfast to come here and get it for lunch.”
Greg Gaudet is another ski season regular. Last week, he brought in a group of friends to try the food and meet “the characters who work here.” He tells his guests about the “locals only” policy and said he appreciates that the atmosphere doesn’t change just because Hollywood decides to drops in for a few days.
“It’s a family place,” he said. “And everyone that comes in you know.”
Good food fast at Sundance
People go to the Sundance Film Festival for the movies; which means they don’t have a lot of time — or the cash — for a fancy sit-down dinner. So here are 10 places where you can get good food — fast.
Back Door Deli • 136 Heber Ave.; Park City; 435-647-9200. Located one block off Main Street. Serves soups, salads, sandwiches and coffee.
Deer Valley Grocery Cafe • 1375 Deer Valley Dr., Park City; 435-615-2400. Soups, chilies, stews, salads, paninis and coffee drinks. Located near the Snow Park Village with a easy parking.
Flanigan’s on Main • 438 Main St, Park City: 435-649-8600. Irish pub fare including potato leek soup, corn beef and cabbage and fish and chips.
Main Street Deli • 525 Main St., Park City; 435-649-1110. Breakfast items, sandwiches and locally roasted coffee.
The Market at Park City • 500 Snow Creek Dr., Park City; 435-645-7139. Get made-to-order breakfast sandwiches, fresh soups, salads, sandwiches and coffee inside this locally-owned market, which shares a parking lot with the state liquor store. Inside seating for about 75 people.
Nick’s Greek Cafe • 1600 Snow Creek Dr., Park City; 435-658-2267. The only “Greekinese” restaurant in Utah — or the world. The menu offers gyros and spanakopita, as well as Japadawgs, Vietnamese sandwiches, noodle bowls and rice bowls.
Park City Pizza Co. • 1612 Ute Blvd. #111, Park City; 435-649-1591. Located in a strip mall near Kimball Junction, diners can get regular and gluten-free pizzas, salads, sandwiches and pastas.
Red Rock Junction • 1640 Redstone Center Drive, Park City; 435-575-0295. Another local option in Kimball Junction that offers a quick menu of salads, sandwiches, pizzas and entrees.
Silver Star Cafe • 1825 Three Kings Dr. Park City; 435-655-3456. Away from Main Street but near the Park City Mountain resort, this restaurant offers plenty of parking and serves classic comfort food including hamburgers, sandwiches, pastas and entrees.
Windy Ridge Bakery • 1250 Iron Horse Dr., Park City; 435-647-2906. Breakfast items, salads, sandwiches, and other specialty items available for sit-down dining or to go.