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Since then, he has impressed those in the food and business communities.
"He is incredibly talented with food, but also an incredibly smart businessman," said Jason Mathis, executive director of the Downtown Alliance.
Mathis said part of what makes Salt Lake City’s downtown food scene work is the close working relationships among chefs who benefit from each other’s accomplishments. "Ryan has been a critical piece of what makes that so successful."
Mathis, like many food fans, will miss Plum Alley: "I"m kind of addicted to the ramen," he said. But he knows when it reappears, it will be a good fit. "Ryan has consistently hit it out of the ballpark, so I have every reason to believe the next venture will be a wild success."
Back to Plan A » The decision to change Plum Alley came about six months ago, when Lowder finally was granted the hard-to-come-by club license from the UDABC. He decided it was time to "turn the space into what I originally envisioned."
No wonder Rachel Hodson, who designed the interior for Plum Alley and is overseeing the remodeling, called Lowder a "serial entrepreneur."
"Ryan has worked in many places and countries and there’s a lot of value to that," she said. "He has seen what makes things work or not work in a lot of different settings."
The Copper Common interior is inspired by Thomas Edison’s laboratory in Menlo Park, N.J., a nod to the street sign in front of the Salt Lake building, said Hodson, who also is co-editor and owner of Salt Lake’s Edible Wasatch magazine.
While the kitchen will stay put, everything else will change, from moving the entrance to adding a 22-foot bar designed by an Old World millworker. The bar will offer wine, beer and cocktails as well as a menu of small plates and entrees. Look for an oyster station and probably a few holdovers from Plum Alley, including the beloved pork-belly buns.
Lowder hasn’t set a firm opening date, but his goal is late February.
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