Food & Drink

Star Chefs Make Park City Shine

Park City has a lot to offer including world class dining, thanks to some innovative and talented local chefs.


Matt Fischer’s Friendly Fare

Eclectic American Izakaya at Banchan

If there is a chef/restaurateur in Park City that is more of an avid winter sports enthusiast than Matt Fischer, I haven’t yet met them. When you visit his American Izakaya restaurant, Banchan, you’ll see what I mean. 

The decor at Banchan reflects his passion for skiing and boarding, especially a large mural that is the dominant feature of the main dining room, painted by local artist AD Allegretti, who goes simply by the name AD. Matt has said that he “believes the après culture of Park City’s mountains closely mirrors the after work and street food model of the Japanese Izakaya and this is reflected in our menu and atmosphere.”

Izakaya is a Japanese term for an informal bar that serves drinks and snacks, similar to a tapas bar in Spain. The atmosphere is usually casual and pub-like. And that’s the laid back vibe at Banchan. It’s not surprising that Matt settled on an izakaya style menu for Banchan since he’s had tons of experience working with Asian cuisine and sushi in restaurants like Shabu, Sushi Maru, Blind Dog Restaurant & Raw Bar, Kampai, and Yuki Yama.

Matt explained to me that banchan is a word used to refer to Korean side dishes such as kimchi, pickled onions, sanjeok and such. Thus, the emphasis at Banchan Izakaya is on tapas-style plates to share. He also wanted to create a restaurant that would be inviting and priced so locals could afford to eat there, and he hosts a weekly locals night with discounts on Mondays. 

As a chef, Fischer’s approach is an eclectic one, with a menu that ranges from kimchi miso soup and seki sunomono salad, to Korean fried chicken, bulgogi egg rolls, gyoza, smoked ribs, yakisoba, and woodfired pizzas. 

My favorite izakaya comfort dishes at Banchan include Matt’s bodacious carnitas bao buns, wherein Chinese steamed bao buns are filled, taco-style, with slow-smoked pork shoulder and served with Banchan BBQ sauce, house pickled shallots, and microgreens. Whether you’re just stopping in for a craft cocktail or some sake at the Banchan after a day of shredding, or settling in for a multi-course meal, Matt Fischer has created a rad eatery with a vibe that couldn’t be any more friendly and inviting.

Alex Malmborg, Director of Food and Beverage at Park City Mountain.


Park City Mountain’s Alex Malmborg

Running the Food and Beverage program at a resort as sprawling as Park City Mountain requires wearing many hats and being in numerous places seemingly at the same time. But as Director of Food and Beverage at PCM, that’s what Alex Malmborg does on a daily basis, overseeing the resort’s 13 restaurants, as well as the banquet department and special events. That’s one reason why the PBS food show, Moveable Feast, chose to feature Alex and his team in an upcoming episode airing this fall. 

Alex is originally from Massachusetts, where he learned to cook from his mom before landing his first job on the way to a culinary career — as a dishwasher — where many great chefs got their start. Since his dishwashing gig in an Italian restaurant, he’s worked in restaurants ever since. He served for three years as Executive Chef at Bill White’s Grappa restaurant as well as Executive Chef at Canyons Resort, and did a stint as Executive Chef at the St. Regis Deer Valley before moving over to Park City Mountain. 

An avid extreme sportsman and self-described “adrenaline junky,” Alex has a competitive side as seen on Guy’s Grocery Games with Guy Fieri during Season 12, on which he competed with two other chefs making a steakhouse dinner using only six pounds of ingredients. At Park City Mountain, he deftly maneuvers between comfy casual eateries like Backyard BBQ, Murdock’s Cafe and Pizzeria, and Red Pine Lodge, to upscale dining destinations both on-mountain and off, such as Lookout Cabin, The Farm, and Red Tail Grill, plus grab-and-go outlets like Jupiter Java, First Tracks, Umbrella Bar, and Treat & Sweets. 

Perhaps surprisingly, given his day job, Alex told me that when he’s away from work, “I love to cook at home.” Alex is a Swiss army knife chef who’s right at home in any kitchen no matter how small or large.

Chef Matt Harris. Photo by Maggie Alvarez.


Chef Matt Harris A Man of Many Hats

Park City diners should thank their lucky stars that Atlanta native Matt Harris decided, some 14 years ago, to relocate to Utah to help open Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s J&G Grill at the then-new St. Regis Deer Valley. 

After training with Vongerichten in New York City, Matt opened the popular Market by Jean-Georges restaurant in Atlanta. Prior to that he had worked with Kevin Rathbun and Pano Karatassos at the renown Atlanta hot spot, the Buckhead Diner, eventually becoming Executive Chef. 

As a consulting chef for the St. Regis Deer Valley, Matt does some heavy lifting, overseeing the culinary programs at multiple outlets including RIME, Brasserie 7452, The St. Regis Bar, La Stellina, Astor Bar, The Vintage Room, and more. Oh, and did we mention that in 2015, Harris and his wife Maggie Alvarez opened their own restaurant, tupelo Park City? They also operate RIME Raw Bar at Deer Valley Resort during the winter ski season. The very recent addition of a newborn daughter makes one wonder, when do Matt and Maggie sleep? 

Although Southern flavors shine throughout Harris’ cuisine — especially at tupelo Park City — his and Maggie’s extensive global travels and study of worldwide food cultures have strongly influenced his approach to food and cooking. At tupelo, you’ll find butter bean hummus on the menu next to smoked cheddar hominy grits, dukkah, Maine crab fritters, grilled Iberian pork shoulder, and lobster pasta with Calabrian peppers.

 Although Harris favors sustainable, local ingredients and products — many from his and Maggie’s own farm in Midway — the flavors at tupelo and the St. Regis restaurants are from a global spectrum — always inventive and often surprising. 

To repeat; we’re lucky Matt decided to make Utah his home.

Top photo of Maine Lobster at RIME. Photo by Ted Scheffler.

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