The person behind two Mexican restaurants in Park City is busy preparing a third, in Salt Lake City’s 15th and 15th neighborhood, set to open in early December.
Utah restaurateur Alan Galeano, who operates El Chubasco and Don Gallo (formerly Crystal Park Cantina) in Park City, is opening Buena Vida at 1500 S. 1500 East — in the space once occupied by the longtime Italian eatery La Trattoria di Francesco.
Galeano said he’s looking forward to opening a restaurant in Salt Lake City, because he can operate it as a year-round eatery — compared to the seasonal rhythms of Park City.
Buena Vida, he said, would focus on affordable Mexican food, priced in the same range as what Caputo’s — a few doors south on 1500 East — charges for sandwiches. A burrito, he said, would average about $16, though that “depends on what you’re ordering.”
“It’s going to be super reasonable, because I’m not doing this short-term. My restaurants are long-term,” Galeano said. “I need to work with the public, and the people down there — we asked around and my real estate agent asked people what they wanted there, because I have Italian restaurants, Spanish restaurants, burger places, Asian restaurants. I have a pho place, I have a Thai place. So they wanted Mexican.”
The prices planned for Buena Vida are a contrast to the exorbitant meals served at La Trattoria di Francesco. That restaurant became famous, or infamous, for serving the most expensive and extravagant steak in Utah — a 48-ounce Fiorentina steak with shaved truffles and encrusted with edible 24-karat gold, for $260.
Galeano opened Buono Vita, an Italian restaurant, in Hermosa Beach, Calif, 30 years ago. He sold it in 2015, and now operates eight restaurants in Utah — including Buono Vita locations in Park City and Lehi.
The menu for the new restaurant would feature standard Mexican menu items, such as burritos, tortas, tacos and tostadas. Many items, he said, would have a twist — for example, they will serve octopus tacos and spicy salmon tostadas.
“We’ll have ceviches,” he said. “So it’s shrimp, it’s red onion, it is pineapple, ti’s cilantro, yerba buena, a little bit of white vinegar and a little bit of olive oil, salt, pepper and avocado.”
A bar area in Buena Vida will have the only TV sets on the premises. “We have a full liquor license, so we’ll have everything,” he said.
Galeano said he also wants to do Sunday brunch, “so everyone can just come and hang out and enjoy. … I wanted to do it inexpensively, because I want everybody to be able to come a couple times a week and not break the bank. I don’t want it to be a place that people come once a month, or for a birthday or when they’re celebrating something.”
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