This article originally written by Ski Utah, all photographs, video and it’s editorial property remains owned by Sk Utah. Heber Valley Tourism was granted permission to republish.
BY COURTNEY NOVEMBER 30 2020
Just minutes down the road from Park City and only 45 away from the Salt Lake City International Airport, Heber Valley is a magical winter destination for families. Nestled in between two major ski resorts—Park City’s Deer Valley Resort and Provo’s Sundance Mountain Resort—Heber Valley has delicious food and drink options made for celebrating a great day on the hill.
Après ski means something different for everyone—some are looking for a place to grab a cocktail, some want a sweet treat and others are looking for a full meal after a day outside, whether it’s a casual bite to eat or a more upscale dinner. We’ve outlined our favorite spots under each category below for you to check out this winter.
3 PLACES TO GET A DRINK
Heber Valley Brewing Company is making the best beer in Wasatch County… and we’re not just saying that because it’s the only craft brewery in Wasatch County! Started by Olympic ski jumper Clint Jones and Olympic nordic combined coach Greg Poirier, the two left behind a life of competitive skiing to create delicious brews in the Heber Valley. The little spot has quickly become a neighborhood hang, perfect for post-skiing beers and snacks from the often present food trucks. We recommend their Wasatch Back IPA (which includes locally grown hops) and the WOW Wit (named after the famed Wasatch Over Wasatch mountain bike trail).
Pro tip: You’ll likely run into an Olympic skier or two here (not counting the owners!), so wearing your finest ski pants and Team USA hat is advised
Midway Mercantile is just down the road from Heber in Midway, and provides a cozy spot for après on their fabulous patio or in front of their roaring fireplace. The owners have maintained the historic building’s charm—it was built in 1876!—making it a perfect place for a big glass of red wine, rich beer or innovative cocktail. For a beer, we suggest their own Midway Mercantile Amber Bock or for a cocktail, the Rosemary Gimlet, which has Utah-based Beehive Gin, housemade rosemary syrup, lime and Elderflower liqueur. For a pre-dinner snack, we’ll always advise you to select the M.M. Raclette Cheese Fondue appetizer, because after skiing all day, you deserve melty cheese.
A new treat in Heber City right on Main Street, Afterword opened in the summer of 2020—a tough time to open a restaurant. But it didn’t seem to matter. Created by the former owners of Tupelo on Park City’s Main Street, Afterword became an instant hit to locals and tourists alike. The restaurant sports a thoughtful wine list (Tupelo won a Wine Spectator award in 2019), craft cocktails, and of course, a series of beers from Utah and other mountain state breweries. It’s a little more upmarket than your normal après spot but deserves a visit so you can try their Smoke On The Water cocktail (mezcal, aperol, falernum, passionfruit and lemon) while you sit on their patio and listen to the live music the restaurant often provides.
3 SHOPS TO SATISFY YOUR SWEET TOOTH
Midway was founded by Swiss settlers, who dubbed the mountains surrounding the town “Utah’s Swiss Alps,” so it seems only appropriate to have a cookie company whose name means “sweet” or “cute” in German. Winner of Salt Lake Magazine’s 2018 award for Utah’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookie, this shop offers a whole spread of flavors, including Pumpkin Cheesecake, Cocamel, Ginger Snap and of course, their famed Classic Chocolate Chip. Jess Larson, the owner of Süss Cookies, makes all of the treats in small batches and they’re best warm—so swing through on your way back from a morning of cross country skiing at Soldier Hollow!
Pro tip: If you can’t get enough of Jess’s cookies, she ships all over the U.S., so you can enjoy Midway’s favorite delicacy anywhere.
Owned by four generations of a local family, the Dairy Keen has been a popular spot since 1946 for burgers, fries and shakes in downtown Heber. Their fry sauce (it’s a Utah thing) is unbeatable and while you’ll certainly have to wait in line to get one, you can’t miss their ice cream shakes.
Need a cup of coffee and a jolt of sugar to perk you up after riding all day? We feel you. Luckily, there’s Judy’s Donuts & Coffee in Midway, which provides both of those things. Operating in a restored 1890s home, owner Mandy Wright makes all of her pastries by hand. We’re obsessed with her Pershing Buns and Bizmark Donuts, but their Raspberry Dream (filled with raspberry jam and topped with housemade raspberry buttercream) is what wins all the awards.
Pro tip: Judy’s is only open from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., so if you want donuts as an après treat, be sure to hit the shop on your way to the mountain and store them in your car. (We don’t judge if you scarf down one or two early without telling anyone.)
3 PLACES TO EAT CASUALLY AFTER SKIING ALL DAY
The OG Cafe is a great place to unwind after a day on the slopes and grab a quick cup of coffee, a leisurely lunch or an early dinner. Because we’re talking about après, we’ll highlight their burgers—we recommend the Panch Villa (bacon, guacamole, mayo, jalapeno frites and cheddar on a brioche bun)—but if you’re up early and on your way to Deer Valley Resort for the day (OG Cafe is less than 15 minutes aways from DV's gondola!), we love the Chupacabra breakfast burrito. It gives you a choice of smoked chuck roast, bacon or sausage and combines it with green chili, caramelized onions, crispy potatoes, cheese and salsa. Yum.
What started as a popular food truck in Heber has now morphed into a wildly revered fast-casual restaurant in Midway. Every ingredient is sourced locally and organically and everything is made from scratch—even the bread is made by the owner’s dad. Their Fried Chicken Sandwich (hand-battered and fried chicken breast, citrus aioli and bread and butter pickles on Lola's organic potato roll) has been a showstopper over the years, but their Lamb Gyro (on housemade organic pita!) and Ahi Tuna Quinoa Bowl are also killer.
Owned and run by a husband and wife team, Spin Café is known for from-scratch cooking with an Italian flair. The husband learned how to cook from his Italian immigrant grandparents, so while there are plenty of eclectic options on the menu like a Korean Beef Bowl (spicy gochujang-marinated beef, jasmine rice, kimchi slaw, hardboiled egg with a sweet soy sauce) and the Miss Piggy (grilled cheese with lots of cheddar, pulled pork and mustard slaw), we like his pasta options. Give the Ravioli with Sage Butter a shot (fresh pasta filled with ricotta, parmigiano, asiago and mozzarella in a sage butter sauce) and we promise you won’t be hungry when you’re done!
Pro tip: They make their own gelato here and it’s excellent—and they will even combine the dessert with a shot of something stronger to make sure you’re feeling nice and warm after a day skiing at Sundance Mountain Resort.
4 SPOTS FOR FINE DINING IN HEBER VALLEY
We talked about Midway Mercantile’s après drink program earlier in the article, but it's now time to explore the incredible wood fire-grilled food created by chef/owner John Platt. With easy pub options like their Von Wagoner Cheeseburger and Fries (local beef, caramelized onions, sriracha aioli and local cheese) and pizzas, to higher-end options like their Grilled Olsen Lamb Chops and handmade pastas, there are options for everyone. Plus, the atmosphere in the Midway Mercantile feels like après ski, with a big open fireplace, a gorgeous bar and historic charm abound.
In what was once Heber’s first bar is now the Back 40 Ranch House Grill, a popular spot on the side of Highway 40 as you come into Heber City from Park City. The restaurant is complete with a locally sourced, from-scratch menu that offers high-end pub food. Their parmesan parsley fries are exceptional and their Pastrami and Swiss (pastrami, swiss cheese, fry sauce, swiss cheese and pickled cabbage on marble rye bread) pairs nicely with the game on TV in front of you as you thaw out from a day on the slopes.
A gem on Midway’s scenic Main Street, Café Galleria has new owners and the coolest outdoor seating options we’ve seen during the COVID era. Meet the Alpenglobes—cozy private dining shelters with panoramic views of the mountains, allowing you to stay warm and safe while après-ing this winter. Each shelter offers eight seats and are available by reservation—and they’ve been going fast! While sitting in your little snow globe this winter, be sure to order one of their Italian-style pizzas, which are all cooked in a wood-fire brick oven. For a post-ski snack, we love their Buffalo pizza, which boasts San Marzano tomatoes, mozzarella, fontina, Parmigiano, buffalo sausage, roasted bell peppers, oregano and red onion, paired with a glass of Italian wine.
Pro tip: If you’re taking a morning off skiing, we highly recommend Café Galleria's breakfast. You can’t go wrong sitting on their gorgeous patio overlooking the Wasatch Mountains while eating crepes with whipped cream or a hearty bagel sandwich.
The Corner Restaurant promotes itself as “upscale comfort food” and it’s exactly that. With a beautiful bar and even prettier patio, you can eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at this restaurant, but we think it makes for a great stop after a day snowmobiling in the Uinta Mountains. Their Stroganoff—made with short ribs and maitake mushrooms—is the perfect stick-to-your-bones meal you’ll be craving or give their Burgermeister Hot Ham and Swiss a try. The sandwich is an homage to the Burgermeister Restaurant that once occupied the space, started by the owner’s grandparents back in the day.
We love the Heber Valley’s massive amount of options for every member of your family. Let us know what après spot you want to visit this winter!