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Restaurant Happenings  May 2003

New Look, New Menu, The New Slickrock Cafe!
by Annabelle Numaguchi

Walking into the light-filled atrium at the recently renovated Slickrock Café, I felt transported from the arid desert into a tropical paradise. A three-tiered fountain, lush foliage and an airy spaciousness give the atrium a relaxed island atmosphere.

The most noticeable feature is the almost floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Main Street and the snow-capped LaSal Mountains beyond. The coolest (in every sense of the word) aspect of these enormous windows is that they roll up garage-style and transform the atrium into an enclosed terrace.

Last year, owner Hans Fuegi, a Swiss restaurateur who also owns The Grub Steak in Park City, became the sole proprietor of the Slickrock Café after many years of partnership, giving him a chance to incorporate his vision of sprucing up the twelve year old restaurant.

His desire to make the place “refreshing, light and fun,” manifested itself in extensive renovations over the winter and have culminated in a lovely ambiance and attractive restaurant. He has managed to incorporate the influences he discovered in his extensive travels through the Caribbean and South America.

The historic building that dates back to 1907 certainly lends itself well to the open airiness and appeal Fuegi envisioned for Slickrock Café. During renovations, constructors uncovered beautiful brick walls hidden behind plaster which now frame the atrium on the north and south sides. The two story high ceiling gives the space light and openness and the rotating palm-leaf fans contribute to the tropical allure.

Modern features such as air conditioning and the moveable windows allow Slickrock to control the temperature, an important feature in the desert where temperatures soar and plummet.

The atrium features a dozen or more tables for dining and a full-service bar which includes six local beers on tap. A fully-trained bartender oversees this area of the atrium, which includes top-shelf liquors, wine, beer, appetizers as well as breakfast items, such as bagels, muffins and cappuccino.

Slickrock Café offers a breakfast menu from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., at which time the restaurant switches over to the lunch and dinner menu. Realizing that many visitors in town either skip lunch and want a reasonably priced dinner or eat a sizeable lunch to fuel themselves through an active afternoon, Slickrock Café decided to offer one menu for both meals, making both the portions and prices satisfying.

Catering to families with children is another aspect that Fuegi wanted to emphasize in his restaurant, which features a kid’s menu, an arcade and games to keep them patient and happy.

The menu is an eclectic selection of ethnic dishes, incorporating influences from the Caribbean, South America and Asia. Slickrock still includes traditional American staples such as hamburgers, fries and wraps, but many of the entrees and appetizers feature exotic flavors such as Creole sauce, Argentinean Chimichurri sauce, Jamaican jerk spicing, and Japanese Miso.

Fuegi decided to breathe new life into Slickrock Café, inside and out, by hiring new, energetic staff, including Chef Jeffrey Navarro, who has helped to create fresh new tastes for the café.

Another brilliant addition to Slickrock is General Manager Mika Golding, a two-year resident of Moab. Golding manages the extensive operation with a slickness easily associated with the restaurant’s name. She exudes energy and hospitality, the very traits Fuegi wants associated with the café.

Having wide experience in the restaurant business, she felt up to the challenge of running the expanded restaurant and its accompanying gift shop and cyber café, which includes five state-of-the-art computers.

The Authentic Critter Gear collection, an original brand of merchandise only available at the Slickrock gift shop, features T-shirts, playing cards, Frisbees, sunglasses, and sundry memorabilia. A map located at the rear of the gift shop attests to the popularity of the Critter clothing by using pins to represent sightings around the world of the Slickrock Café T-shirts. The multitude of pins spans the entire globe, from longitude to longitude and latitude to latitude.

For Fuegi, a world traveler who speaks four languages, there must be a certain satisfaction and amusement in the way he is literally leaving his mark on the world.

Slickrock café is located at 5 North Main Street and opens at 7 a.m, closing at 10 p.m. and can be reached at 259-8004 or www.slickrockcafe.com (where Authentic Critter Gear can also be ordered). Entree prices range from $7 to $ 15..

Recipe of the Month

Bayou Pasta
recipe by Chef Jeffery Navarro
Slickrock Cafe

1 1/2 oz. sliced red onion
2 oz. red and green bell pepper mixed
6 oz. pre-cooked Mexican Chorizo sausage
1 oz. olive oil
1 oz. roasted garlic paste
4 oz. vegetable stock
2 Tbsp. Cajun seasoning
9 oz. cooked Orecchiete (shell-style pasta)
1 Tbsp. butter
1 oz. chopped green onion for garnish

Sautee onion and peppers in oil until almost soft. Add the Chorizo sausage, cooking until warmed through. Now add the vegetable stock and Cajun seasoning. Reduce stock by half. Then warm pasta in separate pot of warm water. Add the warm pasta and butter, tossing until butter is melted and mixed in well. Plate and garnish with green onion.

Optional: You may add grilled chicken or grilled shrimp

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