can’t walk by it without wanting to enter. Especially
on a hot afternoon when the atrium sends a mist of cool
air onto the sidewalk. Or when you see little groups gathered
around tables, sipping yummy drinks with umbrellas in them.
Or when your nose picks up a hint of the chipotle barbecue
ribs. Next thing you know, you’re asking for a table
and struggling to choose from the daily specials.
If the Slickrock Café, on the corner of Center and Main,
doesn’t pull you in with its atmosphere alone, then its
new manager, Bruce Begeman, will with his southern spirit of
hospitality. Begeman has worked across the country, as a chef,
manager, and as a consultant to restaurants such as Lonestar
Steakhouse. Most recently, he comes to Moab after running a
resort in Juneau, Alaska. His enthusiasm for serving up the
best food and service is palpable. Along with Chef Emilio Martinez,
he has revitalized Slickrock Café into the oasis Moab
Owner Hans Fuegi gave the Slickrock
Café its Caribbean and Latin flavors after a renovation
in 2002. He opened up the historic building with unique
front windows that retract to the ceiling and create a
festive ambiance. Much of the menu is influenced by his
extensive travels through Southern and Central America,
as well as Asia. Even the décor is an eclectic mix
of authentic finds, such as the Buddha that greets you
in the Gear and Gift shop, coming to Moab from Vietnam.
Chef Emilio Martinez and
Front Manager Bruce Begeman
Last year Fuegi’s best find
was Moab born-and-raised Emilio Martinez. He has added
a southwestern spin to several dishes, increasing the offerings
of the café. Begeman and Martinez make quite the
pair; each loves to experiment with tempting dishes. They
bounce ideas off each other, and you never know what they’ll
come up with next. While we can’t predict tomorrow’s
lunch or dinner specials, Martinez has hinted at creations
featuring buffalo and ostrich in the weeks ahead.
The menu is as lively as the setting.
Some of the biggest draws are the pasta dishes, such as
Pirate’s Pesto, a linguine dish featuring sun-dried
tomatoes and toasted pine nuts with a cilantro pesto. The
St. Martin Pasta serves fettuccine with chicken, portabella
and button mushrooms in a wine and cream sauce. Puerto
Angel is a spicy penne offering made with shrimp, roasted
red peppers, mushrooms, and onions, served in a spicy tomato
sauce with tequila.
OF THE MONTH
From Slickrock Café
With Bourbon Sauce
Makes 24 servings. Adjust for
family size recipe.
Grease a large hotel baking
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
5 lbs Jiffy muffin mix
10 slices sour dough bread cut into ½ inch
1 cup bourbon
½ cup vanilla extract
½ gallon whole milk
3 cups of sugar
2 lbs fresh blueberries
Mix well by hand. Add a small
amount of milk if too dry. Mixture should be loose
and wet. Drizzle the top with melted butter. Bake
for 35 to 45 minutes. Let the middle set up, but
do not overcook.
If the center is oily, cook
a bit longer. Cut into 24 servings.
2 lbs melted butter
1 cup bourbon½ cup vanilla
8 cups powdered sugar
Heat in double broiler until smooth.
If pasta isn’t your thing,
there are other temptations here, from burgers with seasoned
steak fries or big plates of nachos, to fancier fare like
the Maui Mahi plate. Everything is made fresh daily. The
first thing Martinez decides each morning is which soup
he wants to make, along side the Mama Yuki miso soup that
is always available. Even the desserts are made on site,
though you won’t find them on the menu. Begeman knows
it will be much harder for you to resist when your waiter
presents a delectable tray of cheesecake, sorbets, or bread
Vegetarians will find much to choose
from as well. The mushroom wrap and tofu burrito stand out,
but Martinez emphasizes that anything on the menu can be
made to order. “We aim to please, and will do anything
we can to accommodate you.”
“We won’t let you walk out of here unhappy,” ensures
Begeman. The amplified attention to service is drawing in
repeat visits from tourists and locals. The 20% local discount
on Mondays through Thursdays helps as well. Midweek bar specials
include an appetizer. They also serve local wines and both
Dishes range from $8.75 for burgers to $16.75 for a steak
plate. The Slickrock Café offers a kid’s menu,
and an impressive breakfast menu with a full espresso bar
as well as smoothies. The reggae music in the background
adds to the lively, fun atmosphere that Begeman describes
as a permanently “weekend state of mind.”
A meal at the Slickrock wouldn’t be complete without
venturing into the gift shop. The Critter Gear collection
is available only at the Slickrock gift shop or their web
Slickrock also offers an internet café – a traveler’s
favorite kind of oasis! And if you explore the upper mezzanine,
you’ll discover Accent Creations, which features jewelry
designed and created by Olga Tatarovich. Listening to her
stories and admiring her creations was one of the highlights
of my most recent visit to Slickrock Café.
Begeman is enthused about meeting Moab’s people and
visitors. “Please come in and introduce yourself,” he
beckons. “We’re here creating the best food with
the best service, and having fun doing it.” You’ll
find that the fun is contagious at this oasis.
5 North Main
Open everyday from 8 am to 10 pm.
Call for take-out or reservations during busy weekends.