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The Claim Jumper in Park City to close

Steakhouse has been on Main Street for 34 years

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Park City residents Tammy Johnson and Mark Krantz enjoy a meal on patio outside The Claim Jumper.

Park City residents Tammy Johnson and Mark Krantz enjoy a meal on patio outside The Claim Jumper.

Kim Raff, Deseret Morning News

A Park City institution will serve its last steak dinner tonight.

After 34 years on Main Street, The Claim Jumper Steakhouse is closing its doors. The historic, three-story brick building has been sold to out-of-state developers.

"We've had a following forever," said Tammy Ringwood, Claim Jumper president. "I would see the same people year after year. They go skiing in Park City and then they go to Claim Jumper. I'm going to miss that. Even tourists have made this their place."

While the booming resort town has drastically changed since the '70s, The Claim Jumper's owners have striven to keep their establishment simple.

Hours have always been 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., seven days week, all year long. Outside of a brief experiment with breakfast, dinner is the only meal served. And the menu has rarely varied, keeping baseball steak, prime rib, king crab legs and Utah trout the specialities. That adds up to a total of 23 menu items and one salad dressing.

"We've always been open, 365 days a year," Ringwood said. "Never, ever closed."

The building — with high ceilings, dark wood and an Old West flair — has traditionally kept the restaurant on the main level and a bar downstairs. The third floor, however, has had a variety of occupants.

Originally the New Park Hotel, the building housed and fed Park City's mining community. It switched hands and became The Claim Jumper in 1973, and the establishment left the top floor as a hotel.

But in the late '80s, a fire burned the building, and damage to the hotel rooms was so great that the owners decided to transform the third floor into corporate office space. That marked the third fire the building had survived.

Ringwood, daughter of Claim Jumper owner Richard Ringwood, remembers the days of the hotel. Often in the '70s, tourists would stay in some of the dorm-style rooms as a cheap place to stay and ski.

People have attempted to buy the building for years, Ringwood said, but her father sold it this time because the time and price were right. It's unknown what the new owners plan to do with the building. However, The Claim Jumper owners will continue to operate their other restaurants at their Heber and Park City locations.

"It's sad to see this particular restaurant go," Ringwood said. "Of the three, I'm personally more attached to it. I grew up in Park City. I've seen it evolve my entire life. It's sort of a part of me."

Staff members of the restaurant and downstairs bar are also sad to see the landmark close.

"It's one of the local favorites," said bar manager Stacey Nawahi, who has worked at The Claim Jumper for eight years. "They forget about it once in a while, but every now and then, it kicks back in."

The bar has been a "secret hideout" for many locals, he added. "We've had a good close-knit crew that's always worked together, and I think that has to do with the locals coming back. They remember the people that have waited on them for years and years."

E-mail: astowell@desnews.com