“Metropolitan put us on a par with the world,” says John Becker. The downtown restaurant, opened by Christophe Olsen and brought to its peak by his sister Karen, aimed higher than any Utah restaurant ever had. The opening chef came from Charlie Trotter’s, then the Chicago-based epitome of American dining, and the design of Metropolitan’s dining room matched the aspirations of the kitchen. The ever-changing menu reflected Karen’s never-ending travels and research into the work of notable chefs all around the world. This kind of boundary-pushing American cuisine wasn’t always an easy sell in conservative Utah, but over the years many of the state’s best chefs passed through Metropolitan’s kitchen and each was allowed creative input—a stint at Metropolitan could be name-making. Its DiRoNa rating, invitations to cook at Beard House and consistent multi-star ratings proved the passion of a core of Utah foodies and encouraged and inspired other restaurants to experiment.
Fun Fact: In 2010 Metropolitan dropped foie gras from its menu after being harassed by animal rights activists who broke the restaurant’s front window and vandalized the plumbing.
See more inside the 2017 May/June Issue.