La Caille restaurant transports you from Utah into the French countryside.
Cross the brick driveway, pass through the leaf-covered gates, and find yourself amid a 20 acre landscape that includes vibrant ponds, lush gardens, myriad wildlife, and a new vineyard. A ceiling of voluminous tree branches pass overhead, and your eyes are drawn left and right to the never-ending visual feast outside your car windows. After about a half mile, the driveway comes to an end in front of a grand fountain that dances in the sunlight. Striking high-pitched cries and a flurry of green and blue plumes greet you when you depart your car: peacocks, resting ubiquitously on rooftop shingles and patches of lawn. To your left, footbridges adorned with lamps and hanging flower baskets traverse a shaded lagoon.
The restaurant itself is the crown jewel of the estate. Built originally as a house to accompany a smaller restaurant on site, the structure fascinates on every level. Circular staircases, patios, balconies, small cloisters, and ornate hallways each contribute to the impression that architectural surprises lie around every corner. From interior fish ponds to roaring fireplaces to lavish art on every wall, no detail is overlooked. This majestic, iconic niche simultaneously leaves nothing and everything to the imagination.
A tragedy in 2010 left La Caille at the mercy of today’s real estate market and many feared that new management would capitalize on its prime location. However, when owner Kevin Gates purchased the property in 2011, he viewed La Caille from a commemorative perspective, believing the property to be “a work of art to be restored rather than torn down and developed.” The property’s Director of Marketing, Wendy Caron, affirms some of the renovations that celebrate La Caille’s renaissance. “We completed a quarter million dollar kitchen renovation, we planted three acres seyval blanc vines with new irrigation and trellising, and we are applying for licenses to produce and bottle La Caille wine,” she describes. “It is a magical place with unlimited potential.”
La Caille’s changes also incorporate greater public interests. A three-quarter acre community garden grows products for the Utah Food Bank, and an open house market in late summer will donate all proceeds to the Food Bank. New weekly events seek to acquaint the community with the day-to-day joys of the property so that patrons may consider La Caille as a place to enjoy fine dining anytime (and not only for special occasions). Daily afternoon ‘La Caille’ Hours from 4pm-6pm feature the Commonwealth menu (a special menu with smaller plates and lighter fare), Commonwealth Tuesdays host the namesake menu all day, and Thursdays offer music on the patio.
La Caille’s ability to accommodate a thousand people also enables the property to host events such as family parties or corporate affairs. A renewed emphasis on the vineyard involves events such as wine-maker dinners and tasting opportunities. By far, though, designing a once- in-a-lifetime wedding is the most engaging use of the property. The passion and romance found in the surroundings, the history, and the architecture crafts a wondrous ambiance that will enthrall friends and families alike.
Executive Director and Executive Chef Brandon Howard, once personal chef to Presidential Candidate Jon Hunstman Jr, is enthusiastic about La Caille’s changes. Howard is particularly charmed by the way in which La Caille endeavors to remind people that fine dining is an experience to be cherished. “A chef can work his whole life and never have the chance to run a property like La Caille,” he says. “It is a dream come true.”
La Caille, 9565 Wasatch Boulevard, Little Cottonwood
Canyon, 801-942-1751 lacaille.com