Despite enjoying comfy spots like Spin Cafe, Tony’s Tacos, and venerable Chick’s Cafe, I don’t really get over to Heber City very often. However, that’s going to change. Because with the opening of Afterword By Tupelo Park City, Heber now has a dining destination that is well worth going out of the way for.
Afterword is the creation of partners Maggie Alvarez and Matthew Harris, who previously brought Tupelo restaurant to Park City’s Main Street. Chef Harris also oversees the culinary program at RIME Seafood & Steak at The St. Regis Deer Valley and RIME Raw Bar on the slopes of Deer Valley Resort. Speaking of the recent closure of Tupelo – hopefully only a temporary one – and the launch of Afterword, Maggie Alvarez said “It has been an honor to serve our guests in the heart of Park City for the last five years, and we are thrilled for the opportunity to offer this new experience to the community we call home. An afterword is a commentary, not a conclusion. We’re excited to explore this fresh, playful variation of the Tupelo Park City vision, while maintaining our signature standards for warm hospitality and quality ingredients.” Well, check, check, and check. Mission accomplished.
Afterword is located in the historic Main Street brownstone built in 1888 that previously housed Main Street Social. In order to accommodate diners who prefer being seated outdoors during the pandemic, Alvarez and Harris recently created the Winter House at Afterword by enclosing their sprawling restaurant patio. The Winter House is spacious, fully heated and very inviting, and adds additional seating to the restaurant’s regular indoor dining.
Afterword is a true farm-to-table eatery with a menu chock full of dishes with ingredients supplied, mostly, by local ranchers, farmers and producers, as well as from Harris’ and Alvarez’ own micro-farm in Midway, called Tupelo Farm. “We are so proud of our sustainably caught seafood and locally sourced meats offered at RIME at St. Regis,” said Tupelo Park City Chef & Owner Matthew Harris. “Our intimate new dining experience, award winning wine list, and craft cocktail program at Afterword is the perfect complement.”
You’d be nuts not to kick off a meal at Afterword with Chef Harris’ completely addictive buttermilk biscuits ($8), sprinkled simply with sea salt and served with homemade honey butter. Harris hails original from Georgia and knows a thing or two about Southern-style cooking. To wit, these amazing biscuits, as well as his outrageously good dill pickle-brined organic fried chicken ($34), which comes with collard greens, spicy pickles, mashed spuds and pan gravy. Seriously: I’ve never had better fried chicken …. ever.
Tempting starters at Afterword include deviled farm eggs (4 eggs with creme fraiche and crisp country ham); smoked Idaho trout toast ($12); butternut squash soup with toasted pepitas and chile oil ($10); Rock Hill Creamery cheese fritters ($12), and more. My wife and I both were impressed by both the flavor and presentation of an artful dish: burrata and warm squash with nuts, pumpkin seeds, black and white sesame seeds, sherry reduction smoked paprika, and brown butter vinaigrette, topped with fresh microgreens ($16).
Although it’s listed as a “starter,” the duck confit ($16) I ordered could have easily been an entree; the portion was very generous. It was a duck leg and thigh, given the confit treatment in-house, and served with a hearty side of baked Sea Island red peas with tomatillo salsa verde and orange. The duck confit was a very good choice of appetizer; but I’m also eager to try the honey-garlic glazed quail ($16) on our next visit to Afterword.
There’s a cozy bar area at Afterword which, due to its liquor licensing, is a 21-and-over restaurant. So guests can enjoy craft cocktails like Naked in the Tent, Mezcal Mule, Cowgirl Poetry, and A Simpler Thyme, as well as a very good selection of wine, beer, liqueurs and such. Non-drinkers might enjoy an apple & spice soda, rosemary lemonade, or perhaps spicey pomegranate soda. If you’re feeling flush, explore the reserve wine list with gems like 2010 Château Léoville Poyferré Bordeaux, 2015 Ridge Monte Bello Estate Vineyard Cabernet, 2015 Jean-Marc Boillot Grand Cru Bâtard-Montrachet, and many more. Wine Director Paige Williams created a top-notch wine selection and, indeed, Harris and Alvarez have put an all-star team together that includes Chef de Cuisine Nick Zocco, Sous Chefs Brandon Esposito and Josephine Hansen, and Restaurant Manager Dustin Nordman.
I’ve had, and loved, the aforementioned fried chicken and dishes such as wild shrimp and yellow corn grits from Chef Harris’ kitchen. So, this time I decided to try something new. I made a very good choice by selecting the smoked pork shank ($36) for an entree. This was a ginormous shank of smoked pork – meat falling off the bone – with scrumptious Italian polenta, “chow chow” slaw, apple butter and braised collard greens. It’s a completely satisfying dish for pork lovers. Next visit I plan to give the Rocky Mountain elk Bolognese a go.
My wife selected an equally delicious entree, albeit a tad on the lighter side: roasted Idaho trout ($32). This was two perfectly cooked trout fillets stacked upon a bed of Carolina rice risotto with sauteed kale, roasted turnips, julienned radish, microgreens and house-made hot sauce. Yep: it was every bit as tasty as it looks.
Dishes like the ones described here are available in-house at Afterword for dinner and weekend brunch, but also available to order online for takeout. Afterword’s online takeout options also includes their “supper club” dinners like the smoked pork shank, fried chicken, and elk Bolognese in packages designed to serve 2-3 people and include biscuits, deviled eggs, market salad and chocolate cupcakes.
I have been a fan of Chef Matthew Harris’ cooking since he was hired to open J&G Grill – Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s restaurant in The St. Regis Deer Valley ten years ago. And my wife and I came to love his and Maggie Alvarez’ wonderful Tupelo restaurant in Park City. Now, the talented (and super friendly) couple have taken Heber by storm and raised the culinary stakes there with Afterword. I plan to return to Afterword soon, but I also eagerly await seeing what this creative couple has in store for us next.
Photos by Ted Scheffler
Culinary quote of the week:
“If you like good ol’ fashion Southern soul food then, yes, I am a good cook! My specialty is chicken dumplings and poke salad.” — Dolly Parton
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Originally trained as an anthropologist, Ted Scheffler is a seasoned food, wine & travel writer based in Utah. He loves cooking, skiing, and spends an inordinate amount of time tending to his ever-growing herd of guitars and amplifiers.