People here are nervous. The town's oldest - probably Utah's oldest - and most well known restaurant, The Bluebird, is up for sale.
"Yes, people are worried about it. They don't want to see the place change," agrees Guy Cardon, owner of the 74-year-old landmark at 19 N. Main.Cardon doesn't blame them. Some of his customers have been coming in daily for 50 years. The thought of a new owner turning the Bluebird into a trendy seafood and pasta place - lots of ferns, new wave music in the background and 18-year-old waitresses - makes their blood run cold.
But Guy Cardon will turn 70 in January and wants to hang up his apron. He says he wouldn't mind keeping the restaurant in the family but none of his children are interested in taking it over. His son Joel used to work there "and that's what made up his mind to be a physicist," laughs Cardon.
So, The Bluebird is on the block. Cardon is asking "about a half-million" and he's not interested in talking any financing deals.
"I want to be cashed out," he said. "I don't want it left hanging here for the family to worry about when I'm gone. Everybody has a different way of running an establishment and I don't want to see any changes while I'm still involved with it."
Cardon said there have been some "interested parties" but, so far, no one has come up with the $500,000. When a buyer does come along, he'll have Cardon's full understanding if he wants to put the venerable eatery on a new course.
"No one wants it to change, but that's why I want to get out," said Cardon. "The new owner will have to use new, innovative ideas. With the food service business the way it is, they'll have to. It's changing every day."
The Bluebird has 60 employees including those who work in the candy manufacturing plant located at 75 W. Center. With the holidays coming up, the candy operation is currently going "full blast," Cardon said.
At the Bluebird, the menu hasn't changed all that much since Guy's father O. Guy Cardon and his partner, M.N. Newberger, first opened the doors in 1914. And they still do things the old fashioned way.
"We still cook whole hams with the bone in them and whole turkeys with gravy made in the pan," he says. "We're not too hot on the French names and the sauce with the wine in it and all that. We just make natural, good food."
And the malts, banana splits and frappes whipped up at the old marble soda fountain are still made the same way. The only thing that has changed is the prices. One long-time customer remembers a time decades ago when patrons went out on strike when the price of banana splits jumped from 20 cents to a quarter. Didn't last long, though.
The original Bluebird was located on West Center Street. Cardon Sr. and Newberger relocated to the current location in 1923. An old dry goods store on the site was torn down and the new Bluebird erected in its place thanks to what Guy Cardon terms the "inestimable" help of John Bennett, founder of the Bennett Glass & Paint Co. and his son, Wallace F. Bennett, who served in the U.S. Senate in the 1960s and '70s and now lives in Salt Lake City.
"John Bennett decided to help those two young men get started in business," recalled Cardon. "He put up some money and gave them advice. I don't think it would have happened without him."
So, if you've always wanted to run a restaurant, and you don't mind having customers who don't cotton much to change, give Cardon a call.