After nine months of sitting vacant, the building on the northeast corner of 1300 South and 1700 East in Salt Lake City is showing signs of new life, including a new sign above the door that reads: One0Eight.
While the number 108 has long been considered a sacred number in Hinduism and yoga, this won’t be a place to practice downward dog or plank, said James Dumas, the former executive chef at Park City’s High West Distillery. “But it’s been a good cover during remodeling."
Dumas, along with his wife, Kris Dumas, told The Salt Lake Tribune they will be opening a casual bistro in the spot that was previously the troubled Sea Salt restaurant.
The One0Eight name, according to the couple, is a tie to the restaurant’s 84108 ZIP code.
One0Eight, which is expected to open in early November, will serve comfort food in a casual atmosphere. Kevin McDonald, the new chef de cuisine, will use seasonal ingredients and made-in-Utah products whenever possible, said James Dumas, who had worked for more than a decade at High West before leaving about a month ago.
“We want to showcase the best of the state,” he said. From the coffee and tea to jams, chocolate and, of course, the whiskey, “we want to pay homage to the hard work that everyone is doing.”
Dumas decided to leave High West after the Utah-based distillery was purchased by Constellation Brands, one of the largest alcoholic beverage companies in the world.
“They are a great company,” the 58-year-old said. “But they are a beverage company, not a food company.”
Elisabeth Flaherty, who worked with Dumas in the High West kitchen, was promoted to be his replacement.
Knowing he wanted to be his own boss, Dumas — who lives in the 1300 South neighborhood — immediately contacted the building owners when the “for lease” sign went up on the Sea Salt building in February.
When One0Eight opens, customers will notice remnants of the breezy Sea Salt atmosphere, including the open kitchen, marble counter and wood-fired oven, which will be used for pizza, roasted meats and baked goods.
There are new touches as well. The Dumases are dividing the open — and noisy — dining room into smaller, more intimate sections with booths and cushions using modern wood and metal accents. Outside, they are adding a large communal table and fire pits to the patio.
One0Eight also is expected to get a full-service state restaurant license, which will allow for beer, wine and spirits to be sold. With plenty of square footage, the restaurant was able to forgo the state’s 8-foot-barrier requirement — aka Zion Curtain — and instead create a 10-food buffer around the bar, where those 21 and younger are prohibited from sitting.
With a prime location, well-trained owners and a focus on Utah-made products, One0Eight seems to be delivering all the right numbers.