Favorite Local Restaurant Celebrates 20th Anniversary

Mountain Express caught up with Kris Cappaert and Ed Primosic, owners of the popular Blue Iguana restaurants located on Main Street in Park City and in Salt Lake City. Winner of numerous awards including “Best of State,” City Weekly’s “Best of Utah” and “Experts Choice” from Trip Expert, the Blue Iguana is celebrating its 20th anniversary. In our interview below, Kris and Ed share some of their joys and challenges.

Mountain Express: Do you have a restaurant background?

Kris: I have a business background, but I’ve always wanted to get involved with restaurants. I’m from Salt Lake, and I used to go to the Red Iguana a lot—I loved their food—and I knew the parents, the original owners. In 1997, their second location, the Blue Iguana was going out of business, so I bought it.
Ed: I was in the real estate/mortgage industry. I came out West from Ohio in 1976 to ski and never went back. My first restaurant experience began at La Caille, and I met Kris my first day on the job.

Mountain Express: What was your original vision for the restaurant?

Kris: Our goal for Blue Iguana has always been to create an experience that is as authentic as possible, from the traditional menu rich with Old World recipes, to the furnishings, fl ags, colors and lighting. We go to Puerto Vallarta oft en and try to bring a taste of Mexico back with us.
Ed: We wanted Blue Iguana to have a fun, festive atmosphere, almost like celebrating Cinco de Mayo every day! We even have mariachi bands that play weekly at our Salt Lake City location.

Mountain Express: Who develops the menus?

Kris & Ed: We work on the menu together with our team. Our chef, Manuel Castillo has been with us for 19 years, and he cooks up some of the most mouth-watering Mexican food. He’s shared some closely-guarded, generations-old Aztec recipes and applies those techniques to create dishes with a modern twist. We’re particularly known for our Moles and smoky Chile Verde.

Mountain Express: What was your biggest challenge?

Kris & Ed: Our location in Old Town Park City was in a very challenging three-story building. Th e small basement kitchen didn’t have much storage, and servers had to climb two flights of stairs to deliver food. In the upper dining room, people loved the “Corona” patio umbrellas at each table. What they didn’t know was that it wasn’t for aesthetics, but because the roof leaked!

Mountain Express: What do you love about the Blue Iguana?

Kris: Defi nitely the people! Most of our employees have been with us for over 15 years. It’s not just a restaurant, it’s a family! We’ve watched them grow up, met their parents, and every year we take the whole clan on an overnight bus trip to Wendover. It’s very rewarding.
Ed: Kris is very humble. She has such a devoted staff and has supported 50 plus families in our community. It really is a family!

Mountain Express: What are some new things we can expect to see at Blue Iguana?

Kris & Ed: On our recent trip to Mexico, we brought back unique saffron spices, so we’ll be featuring some new Paella dishes this season. Also, we’re adding a special bottling of red and white wine to our list. We hope you’ll come celebrate with us!

SOURCECorinne Humphrey
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