many visitors to Moab pass through without a stop at the
town’s oldest pub and brewery, Eddie McStiff’s.
Perhaps this is because McStiff’s has managed to
blend bar atmosphere and family dining into one establishment.
Or perhaps it’s because this was one of the first
restaurants to cater to the outdoor tourism that revitalized
our desert town, and it’s still standing, in fact,
thriving and expanding.
In the spring of 1991,
when Moab was just emerging from its slumbering neglect
after the uranium boom of the Fifties, three guys came
out here and had a vision. Eddie Snyder, Mike McTigue and
Steve “Stiff” Patterson envisioned creating
a microbrew-slash-pub in the heart of a little dying desert
town. This vision must have seemed more like a hallucination
considering this brew pub would exist on the inside edge
of a state known for having liquor laws only slightly easier
to comprehend than gymnastics’ Olympic scoring.
Nonetheless, the three men persevered and opened Eddie McStiff’s
thirteen years ago. Each contributed a part of his respective name
and has left an indelible mark on this successful venture.
Eddie McStiff’s has expanded from a micro microbrewery whose
operation took place in a glassed-in “fishbowl” surrounded
by the dining area. Six years ago, the brewing part of this enterprise
had grown large enough to warrant moving it to its own location south
McStiff’s has evolved into a restaurant that offers an outdoor
patio and multiple environments indoors. A large room features family
dining, while a smaller atrium full of natural light and leafy plants
offers a quieter atmosphere.
The main dining area reflects the beer origins of McStiff’s,
in part because the center of it used to act as the “fishbowl” where
the beer making operations took place. The lighting is more subdued
in this area and it borders the long bar and open-mike stage, where
live music frequently entertains patrons.
Although many people associate the name of Eddie McStiff’s with
eating, the establishment has managed to expand its restaurant while
retaining its pub origins. The full-service bar offers an exceptional
variety of liquors and cocktails as well as twelve beers on tap, all
hand crafted McStiff microbrews.
The selection includes expected beers, like Hefewiezen, ales and stouts,
but also features some out-of-the-ordinary choices, like a Moab Raspberry
Wheat, a Moab Lime and a Jalapeno, which has only a mild kick, but
leaves a pleasant residual taste of pepper.
An upstairs room features game tables ranging from Foosball to Blackjack.
Casino night takes place every night and offers patrons a chance to
play or learn how to play a variety of gambling games. Although professional
in-house gamers offer tips and explain the rules, the Casino is just
for fun, no gambling takes place.
Entertainment for kids takes place downstairs in the form of a weekly
magic show. A magician visits tables throughout the restaurant performing
convincing illusionary deceptions to regale young diners.
caters to so many interests that it would be easy to understand
if the food took the back burner in this enterprise. Thanks
to the vigilance of Darwin Barker, who has been the general
manager since 2002, and a well-staffed kitchen, the menu
keeps current and interesting. Darwin began his career
with McStiff’s as head brewer in 1992, moving to
the position of Master Brewer a few years later, and has
a great appreciation for the quality of both the brews
and the food.
Although the fare consists primarily of dishes one would expect to
find in a pub/restaurant, the quality is higher than usual. Darwin
adds seasonal entrees as different produce becomes available, particularly
locally. The kitchen no longer serves farm-raised salmon, only wild,
since reports have shown the wild fish’s superiority. And the
burgers are fresh ground 1/3 pound USDA chuck hand packed by the reputable
local butcher, Ye Ol’Geezer’s Meat Shop.
The menu offers a great variety of meals, including salads, burgers,
pizza and pastas. It also features heartier possibilities, such as
Ribeye steak, Rosemary Chicken Parmesan and Grilled Wild Salmon Puttanesca
(see recipe). The array of seafood includes trout, halibut, shrimp,
cod and wild salmon.
Because of its diverse menu and ambiance, Eddie McStiff’s is
a good fit for most parties, including dinner dates, family dining
or group outings. This in part explains the restaurant’s popularity
with visitors and locals alike. This brew/pub restaurant seems like
such a natural extension of this small tourist town in the desert that
it’s easy to see why the three entrepreneurs established it.
However, at the time that they envisioned opening Eddie McStiff’s,
it must have been mostly imagination fueling this endeavor. Fortunately
for the diners, beer-lovers and night owls of Moab, they were able
to brew their dreams into reality.
Eddie McStiff’s is located at 57 South Main Street, at the back
of McStiff’s Plaza. They can be reached at 259-BEER (2337). They
open for dinner at 5 p.m. every night and serve lunch on Saturday and
Sunday starting at noon. Prices of entrees range from $5.50 (Chile
Con Carne) to $17.50 (Ribeye Steak).
of the Month
2 oz. Olive oil
10 Kalamata olives
2 Tbsp. Capers
1/3 cup tomatoes, diced
1 tsp. Garlic
½ tsp. Cayenne pepper
8 oz. Wild salmon
1-2 cups cooked Penne pasta
Broil or grill salmon until cooked through. While the salmon
is cooking, heat olive oil in a separate pan. Add anchovies
and cook until they are dissolved. Add garlic and cook until
it is translucent (be careful not to burn the garlic). Add
olives, capers, tomatoes and cayenne and sauté until
hot and aromatic. Add the penne pasta and mix well with other
ingredients. Put the pasta and sauce on a plate and place
the salmon on top.