Skiers and snowboarders visiting Snowbird, Utah this season will be delighted to learn there is a new dining option in town…and it is a good one! Thanks to a combination of a complete remodel of the floor space, a new chef and a new manager, Aerie Restaurant, Lounge and Sushi Bar – Snowbird’s flagship restaurant – has transformed itself into the perfect destination at which unwind and dine after a hard day of tearing up the slopes. When the restaurant reopens for business in mid-December, patrons can expect an entirely new dining experience on the 10th floor of The Cliff Lodge.
“Snowbird is excited to continue offering award-winning dining to both our local and out-of-town guests alike,” said Bob Bonar, President of Snowbird. “As our flagship restaurant, The Aerie deserves this renovation in design, management and cuisine.”
The remodel required Aerie to close its doors for the first time since the restaurant originally opened in 1986. The new design will have the capacity to welcome 200 guests in the restaurant, 75 in the lounge and 150 in private dining rooms. In addition, an entirely new staff has been hired to serve guests of the new Aerie.
Soft grey carpet and cork flooring will accompany a new stage, which will house après ski entertainment throughout the year. Lighting will also be installed to provide a warm ambiance to complement the evening alpen glow from the restaurant’s 15-foot windows. A new standing bar will be located in the middle of the restaurant, and comfortable barrel chairs and couches will line the windows. The bar will feature 3form countertops, clear on top and frosted on the sides. To offer a clear view of the mountain, the back of the bar will be constructed of glass.
The newly hired chef, Ken Ohlinger, hails most recently from Devil’s Thumb Ranch in Winter Park, Colorado. Prior to that, Ohlinger worked at several Relais and Châteaux restaurants. Ohlinger graduated with honors from The Culinary Institute of America, and was an apprentice for Michelin three-star chef Heinz Winkler in Germany. In 2003, Ohlinger was named one of Bertolli’s Top 10 Sous Chefs in the United States.
Lucette Barbier, the new manager of the Aerie, first entered the restaurant world working at the Michelin two-star restaurant “Le Cerf” in Alsace. This experience and others inspired her to earn a master’s degree in Hospitality and Restaurant Business in France. Her skills then blossomed with many experiences including time at the highly-rated Relais and Châteaux the Point in upstate New York, Fairmont hotel group, and most recently as the manager of Snowbird’s Seven Summits Club, bringing many years of experience to her new position.
The new Aerie Restaurant menu will feature a modern American gastropub cuisine. Ohlinger plans to use mostly local Utah ingredients with a focus on sourcing seasonal organic and sustainable ingredients. The Aerie will serve a skier’s breakfast buffet in the winter, and dinner year-round. The Aerie Sushi bar will continue offering fresh seafood in its classic sushi rolls created by Chef Yasuyuki Kanegae.
Just about the only thing to stay the same is Aerie’s award-winning wine list , which will continue to serve more than 950 wines. The beer will flow from specialist draught beer dispensing equipment, developed by Australian firm Hoshizaki Lancer, and includes glycol chiller plate technology and multi-tapped iced founts. The Aerie is the first restaurant in the United States to implement this new beverage dispensing technology.
The Aerie remodel is part of a nearly complete renovation of the Cliff Lodge, including conference rooms, lodging rooms, the Cliff Spa and common areas.
Offering the longest ski and snowboard season in Utah, Snowbird is scheduled to open for the 2011-12 season on Saturday, Nov. 19, weather permitting. For more information about Snowbird, visit www.snowbird.com.