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Trestle Tavern Brings Old-World Comfort to Salt Lake

Salt Lake City—When Scott Evans was thinking about whether to buy Fresco, he considered keeping the Italian-inspired restaurant going—and then he thought about keeping the spirit of Fresco alive through a new restaurant that would also fill a hole in Salt Lake City’s gastronomic scene.

The result is Trestle Tavern, which has made a place for itself in the cozy space as a bar that seeks to be as friendly to those looking for a bite of Eastern European-inspired comfort food as those coming for a cocktail.

“I felt like, for the community, we needed to do something a little different,” he said. “There’s a really healthy, robust restaurant scene in Salt Lake City, but we haven’t filled all those gaps [in cuisine]. I feel like we’re filling one of those gaps, so the whole restaurant scene is better.”

The nook, which has 48 seats in a dining room attached to The King’s English with seating for another 60 to 70 outside, was a good fit for the Pago Restaurant Group’s next venture, said Wendy Evans, Scott’s sister and another co-owner in the restaurant group. The 15th and 15th neighborhood has a strong community feel, making the restaurant seem comfortable.

“There are just enough businesses that you can walk [between them], but it’s still mostly residential,” Wendy said. “[The restaurant] is like a house that got turned into a restaurant, which is what it is.”

Comfort is paramount for Trestle Tavern. Scott said he has tried to make the atmosphere feel more like a coffee shop or bistro than bar, more like how many watering holes are in Europe rather than the quintessential American bar. Although the dishes are inspired by Eastern European cuisine—a nod to Wendy and Scott’s great-grandfather who emigrated from what is now the Czech Republic—a lot of effort has gone into making them feel as familiar as possible.

“When you eat the food, it doesn’t feel foreign; there’s just a foreign element to it,” Scott said.

One of Trestle Tavern’s central dishes is chicken or mushroom paprikash, which is, as the name suggests, spiced with ample amounts of paprika. Wendy said although the name and specific dish might be unfamiliar, the goal is for people to feel a familiar sense of comfort when eating it.

“It’s paprika, it’s olive oil, it’s garlic, it’s all of these things that people love,” she said.

Scott’s idea for an Eastern European-flavored restaurant started long before the Fresco space became available, and the menu went through two years of drafting before becoming the list of dishes given to diners. Like other restaurants owned by the group, Trestle Tavern seeks to incorporate local ingredients in its dishes. Salt Lake City-based Solstice Chocolate, for example, gets center stage in the restaurant’s crème brulee dish.

Overall, Scott Evans said he hopes the restaurant finds its place in the 15th and 15th neighborhood as a casual, comforting dining place where people can feel at home.

“The food is comforting and that’s what we wanted to make the whole restaurant like: a relaxed, casual get-together spot in the neighborhood,” he said.

Trestle Tavern, located at 1513 S. 1500 East, opened Monday for dinner, and will be expanding its hours and menu to include lunch and weekend brunch in the near future.