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‘Republic of Park City’ offers 47 dining pleasures

SHARE ‘Republic of Park City’ offers 47 dining pleasures

Bring your forks, but leave the pocket dictionaries at home.

Park City restaurants whipped up an independent republic Friday. The fresh country has passports, a fearless leader, enough filet mignon to make it through the next ski season, and plenty of tables of four for foreign visitors — even those from the Wasatch Front.

The 47 eateries appointed Hans Fuegi as their dictator — er, spokesman — and the man's first official move since Friday morning's secession was to invite everyone to dinner.

Fuegi's Independent Republic of Park City (its "flag" shows an upright fork as the downward stroke of a "P" ringed by 16 stars) announced its bold move Friday with four-column ads in The Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret Morning News. The ad thanked Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. for his hard work and invited him and his seven family members to dinner.

"You'll find the air is fresher in our country and the food; well, the food, it's amazing," the ad said. There are "unique, one-of-a-kind restaurants where the atmosphere, service and cuisine are, shall we say, just more genuine. With all that in mind, we felt like it would complete the experience for people if we were a different country. We hope you're cool with that."

It sounds as if he is.

Huntsman "is a diplomat and he will resort to diplomatic means before force," said Tammy Kikuchi, spokeswoman for the governor. The governor and his sense of humor look "forward to discussing the complete and safe restoration of sovereignty over the dinner table of one of Park City's fine restaurants."

Touting the rights of every man, woman and child to life, liberty and the pursuit of a tasty meal, Fuegi said Park City is uniquely equipped to break the summer eating ruts of backyard barbecue burgers and hot dogs. Where else so close to home can one eat red snapper, melon soup, heirloom tomato gazpacho, or scarlet orange sorbet?

"We have so many restaurants and all of them serve different cuisines," Fuegi said. "That's quite frankly the beauty of our small town — so many good and different restaurants."

Passports from the republic have room for stamps from the restaurants; patrons who spend at least $15 per person will get a stamp. Ten stamps earn the bearer coupons and discounts for lodging, shops and ski lifts in Park City. If a person happens to gather a stamp from every restaurant, he or she will be part of a drawing for a free weekend and meal in town.

It's not the first time Park City has distinguished itself from less cosmopolitan neighbors. A 1988 ad campaign in ski-industry magazines drew attention to "Park City, Colorado," then crossed out the "Colorado." Taglines said "an easy mistake to make," and "the town in the state of Utah with a different state of mind." Those ads targeted out-of-state skiers with big bucks to spend. The current campaign seeks the pocketbooks of Wasatch Front residents.

Spring, summer and fall are traditionally slower seasons in Park City, known to the rest of the world primarily for its world-class ski resorts and Sundance film festival. The passports are meant to give locals incentive to visit the city, said Jim Dissett, a spokesman for Fuegi's endeavor.

"I think that we certainly don't want people to think that we're trying to say that we are better than anyone else," Dissett said. "We welcome everyone to come up. We're pretty lax on the whole border control thing."


E-mail: kswinyard@desnews.com