Squatters Pub Brewery is proud of its, um, brews, which have won numerous awards over the place's 20-year history.
But Squatters should be equally proud of its menu of diverse, creative, environmentally correct pub food that shows the same whimsy and painstaking craft that won all those medals.
I was a little hesitant to take the whole family to lunch at Squatters, wondering if a brewpub would be welcoming to my four kids.
But my husband, a Squatters fan, won me over with visions of tasty food, and as we walked in, I was relieved to see a sign informing us of the availability of a kids' menu.
I was further relieved when our server turned out to be a laid-back sort who nonetheless kept the meal moving and the drinks filled (and the kids' cups lidded!), with a friendly, funny attitude.
Squatters has a noisy, casual vibe, and we all enjoyed the place's personality, with its high, no-frills ceiling, super-long bar and little touches such as a kids' menu featuring riddles and optical illusions and an entryway bench made of skis, with a snowboard back.
We started with orders of beer-battered onion rings and chips, salsa and refritos. The onion rings had tender insides and fabulous, barely sweet batter that crisped up to a beautiful golden-brown.
The chips, house-made and nicely crunchy, featured three solid dipping options: fresh, mellow red salsa; sharp and bittersweet tomatillo sauce; and mellow black bean "refritos."
I used the phrase "environmentally correct" a few paragraphs ago, but I don't want to put off those of you who think that means organic sprouts and twigs. There's a lot of organic stuff on offer; in fact, you can learn the origins of nearly every dish right on the menu.
But it is still hearty, satisfying fare, like my husband's lunch, the daily-special bacon-wrapped meatloaf with mashed potatoes, gravy and spinach. The meatloaf was almost impossibly full-flavored and meaty, with a subtle gravy. He didn't eat the spinach, not being a fan, so I enjoyed its super-fresh, emerald-green, buttery and bitter earthiness.
My lunch, the ahi spring roll salad, was on the opposite end of the food spectrum with its yellowfin tuna wrapped in arugula and rice paper, flash-fried, sliced on the diagonal and served atop a bowl of greens, shredded red cabbage and pickled ginger with sesame ginger vinaigrette and, for dipping, wasabi aioli.
This salad was nigh on perfect, a continual taste revelation.
The ultra-rare tuna was rich and beautifully textured, and bits of its crispy wrapping fell off as I ate, adding crunch to the salad. The greens and cabbage were highlighted by the light vinaigrette, while the aioli added spice and intensity.
The kids feasted on mac and cheese with a sharp, creamy sauce; rigatoni pasta with fresh marinara; and a cheese pizza with a pleasant, chewy crust. Their portions were big enough to take some home as leftovers, or to share between two small kids.
We were really too full for dessert, but we made a big sacrifice in the interests of journalistic thoroughness and ordered the house-made cheesecake, simple and beautifully prepared with a graham-cracker crust and a sprinkling of chopped pistachios.
We also suffered — though only for about a minute, until we finished it off — through the molten lava cake, super-rich and dark cake giving way to a fudgy interior, with clouds of whipped cream.
Appetizers $5.99-$10.99, soup and salad $4.49-$14.99, pizza $8.99-$10.99, burgers and sandwiches $6.99-$10.99, kids' meals $4.99, entrees $9.99-$24.99, desserts $5.99-$6.99.
Where: 147 W. 300 South (other locations in Park City and at Salt Lake International Airport)
Hours: Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-1 a.m.
Saturday, 10:30 a.m.-1 a.m.
Sunday, 10:30 a.m.-midnight
Payment: Major credit cards accepted
Wheelchair access: Easy
Also: Breakfast served Saturday and Sunday 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m.; late-night menu available
Stacey Kratz is a freelance writer who reviews restaurants for the Deseret News. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org