The restaurant business is notoriously volatile, as anyone who’s worked in food service or caught the first two seasons of “The Bear” can attest. That’s especially true in a mountain community like Park City where businesses are subject to feast and famine economics and the oscillating whims of tourist spending habits. In such an environment, the success of restaurants under the Bill White Enterprises umbrella is nothing short of remarkable. The first restaurant in the portfolio, Grappa, opened more than three decades ago in 1992. The team behind the latest addition, Pine Cone Ridge, aims to add to the successful lineage that’s come to define Park City’s fine dining identity.
Chef Gudrun Thorne-Thomsen has curated a contemporary American concept fusing local cuisine concepts with influences from her past and the culture of her colleagues. Thorne-Thomsen is a veteran of Park City restaurants, having worked with Bill White restaurants for 15 years. During that time she served as the executive chef at Ghidotti’s in Kimball Junction for five years and frequently developed menus and cooked for the restaurant group’s extracurricular and special events. Now she’s channeling that creativity into Pine Cone Ridge.
“When they asked if I was interested in starting a new restaurant on Main Street with the support of the biggest, most successful restaurant group in town, I jumped at the chance,” says Thorne-Thomsen. “This is the first restaurant opening I’ve been part of. Working with so many skilled people who have different strengths has allowed us to focus intently on the menu concept knowing all the details are getting proper attention.”
The cuisine at Pine Cone Ridge is a reflection of Park City’s restaurant community. “We worked from a starting point of classic American cuisine and included local ingredients, regional comfort food components and a lot of Mexican-American influences. We’re really proud of that because of how influential the Mexican community has been to Park City’s identity,” Thorne-Thomsen says. “I’ve been able to bring some of my perspective coming from New England as well with unique proteins and a lot of seafood. The Miso Chilean Sea Bass is a dish I just love. We overnight live lobster from Gloucester, Mass., which isn’t something you see a lot in mountain towns.”
The menu rotates seasonally to highlight as many local ingredients as possible, as one of Thorne-Thomsen’s aims is to feature the freshest, most local produce from the Wasatch Back. Come to Pine Cone Ridge to taste the flavors of Utah as reimagined by Chef Gudrun and some of the finest, most experienced cooks in Park City. 577 Main St., 435-615-0300, pineconeridgepc.com.
Local Name, Local Game
The restaurant’s name is inspired by the eponymous two-mile ridge at Park City Mountain running from Scott’s Bowl off the Jupiter Chairlift to the mid-station of the Quicksilver Gondola. Just as Pinecone Ridge serves up some of the area’s best long, steep powder runs, Pine Cone Ridge dishes out some of the area’s finest ingredients like the local lamb T-bone chops and the seasonally rotating selection of produce.
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