The most talked-about dining question in Salt Lake City this week has revolved around the Paris Bistro and Zinc Bar.
Has the French-inspired restaurant — and its neighboring bar — on the corner of 1500 South and 1500 East closed for remodeling? Or has it closed for good?
Chef/owner Eric DeBonis said Thursday it’s the former. “The Paris is undergoing a much-needed renovation,” he wrote in an email with a bit of his trademark sarcasm. “The aging building is getting a new roof, restructured building infrastructure and Botox.”
In fact, crews were repairing the roof earlier this week.
The renovation came without warning. There are no signs telling would-be patrons about the upgrade or when the restaurant might reopen. Several customers who discovered the doors locked — when normally it would be filled with diners — contacted The Salt Lake Tribune inquiring about its status.
“My husband and son tried taking me to The Paris (my favorite restaurant) for my birthday last week,” wrote one reader. “Our calls weren’t answered or returned. We drove to The Paris. The tables and chairs are moved into the center of the main dining room.”
Employees were never told the business was closing, even if just temporarily, said Flo Blank, a waitress at the restaurant for 15 years.
Blank said The Paris was open Dec. 31 and closed — as scheduled — on Jan. 1 for the New Year’s holiday. On Jan. 2, when she called to get her new work schedule, she was told that there wasn’t going to be one.
Since she hasn’t been told when she can expect to return, Blank believes it may be au revoir for the 18-year-old restaurant. “It’s so sad,” she said.
DeBonis hasn’t responded to inquiries about how long the eatery may be closed.
Employees have felt for several weeks that things weren’t going well, Blank added, as many of the menu items and regular wines weren’t available.
If the restaurant is shuttered permanently, it would be the second restaurant in less than a year that DeBonis has mysteriously closed. In February 2017, he shut down Sea Salt, his Italian restaurant at 1709 E. 1300 South.
When DeBonis opened The Paris Bistro in 2001, his became one of the first Salt Lake City restaurants to serve fruits, vegetables and ingredients produced in Utah.
DeBonis also was trying to open Oddfellows Food Hall.
For more than two years, he has been working on the eatery at 260 S. 300 East, Salt Lake City. In September, he and his business partner, Lori Nielsen, changed the concept from a restaurant to a bar. At that time, Nielsen was granted a club license from the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.
The business has yet to open.
In December, the Utah State Tax Commission filed a tax lien against DeBonis for $12,817.25, according to a 3rd District Court document.