Going Local: The New Yorker

Tucked downtown amidst a collection of fine dining is The New Yorker. Photo credit: theletsgoeatshow.com
Tucked downtown amidst a collection of fine dining is The New Yorker. Photo credit: theletsgoeatshow.com

Restaurants which are not on the ground floor have different sets of challenges, including visibility and exposure, whether they are upstairs or in a basement. However, downtown Salt Lake City is home to several excellent restaurants which are in downstairs locations, and on their reputations alone they often thrive. One of these is a VIP Limousine favorite: The New Yorker, a beautiful establishment along Market Street. Easily accessible from I-15 coming into downtown SLC, it’s also within walking distance of two UTA TRAX stations near the heart of the city center.

Even though it’s in a basement, the artwork and sign on the building are difficult to miss. It’s like descending into a secret world of haute cuisine in Salt Lake, and it gets even better inside. The New Yorker is pure class in the dining room, with an airy atmosphere that’s not overly bright but is welcoming and brings guests back upstairs, figuratively. The centerpiece of the dining room is the faux chandelier of stained glass that is concave into the ceiling, making it feel bigger and inviting. In connection with this feature, the entire place slowly spirals down staggered by levels and stairs. This would, even just on the surface, be at home in the world’s culinary capitals.

The beautiful central stained glass ceiling inside The New Yorker. Photo credit: sltrib.com
The beautiful central stained glass ceiling inside The New Yorker. Photo credit: sltrib.com

However, to compete with those giants, an establishment has to be more than just skin-deep in terms of execution, and The New Yorker delivers like it belongs. The service is warm, friendly, and attentive without being overbearing, enabling clients to focus on their company and the great food. Our server, Ali, checked in on us, answered all of our questions, and was courteous from start to finish. Everything which our team and our own clients have tried on their menu was delicious and prepared to high standards, from the appetizers all the way up to the entrees. One of the specialties in The New Yorker is the fresh seafood. It is not easy this far inland from the ocean to obtain the best of the best, but if the salmon dishes are any indication, this place knows not only what to do with it, but also how to compete with establishments on the coasts and big cities in terms of presentation, preparation, and the accompanying food on the plate.

We started with the crab cakes for appetizers, which were delicious. Accompanied by the bread, we thought that alone was fairly satisfying, but then the main courses arrived and stomachs reopened for business. The salmon filets with the potatoes tasted as if they had just been caught off the Pacific coast, and the Angus Steaks were cooked beautifully. Accompanying vegetables shone on their own as well. There were not only no complaints, but everybody here will become a member of the Clean Plate Club.

Even when we thought we were full, there was dessert still left over. The creme brulee and chocolate cake were both to die for. Once again, nothing was left on the plate to clear away. All around, it was an excellent meal and dining experience.

Most restaurants make their mark by doing one thing well and sticking to it. The New Yorker is one of the special few, at least in Utah, that can take on a variety of cuisine and execute such high standards; it makes for a balanced experience. Whether it’s just for two or with a larger group, we at VIP Limousine definitely recommend The New Yorker for a nice night out.

The Online Author at VIP Limousine

Greetings to all who read our blog!

Generally, this has been composed as a representation of the company itself in the third person or referring to the team as “we.” This one is a bit different, because I’m going to speak for myself.

My name is Philip Keeve. Some call me Phil, but in business I go by Philip. I’m a native of Liberty Lake, a small town near the Idaho border in Washington state. I play cello on the side, I am a politics, news, and travel junkie, I ski more than is probably reasonable, and I love transportation; specifically, planes, trains, and automobiles. Mobility is a passion of mine. I graduated from Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, just outside of Chicago. After my time there, I high-tailed to Salt Lake City for mountains and opportunity. I’m currently in graduate school at the University of Utah and have the distinct pleasure of serving with this company as the assistant manager.

Yours Truly pictured here. Photo credit: CJ Strong
Yours Truly pictured here. Photo credit: CJ Strong

It has now been one year since I was drafted into management at VIP Limousine. I didn’t think I would be involved in transportation, let alone the private sector or small business, when I moved to Salt Lake City. But now, four years after making Utah my full-time home, here I am.

You might ask why I’m writing this particular posting. Shouldn’t the blog be strictly about the company? Rest assured, it still is. I want to take time to reflect on the ride that has been the last year or so.

Rewinding to the end of January 2017, around the time of the update post from El Rocoto, and we had all the makings of a business that needed a revamp. While we have continued to have some solid fundamentals, we had an antique website, no management of marketing or social media, a mishmash of vehicles that needed some TLC, out-of-touch pricing and costs, and a management system that wasn’t working.

I’m not going to claim complete progress or complete perfection. That’s not realistic. We at VIP Limousine have a lot of goals still on the table, but we have established ourselves once again as Utah’s favorite black car and limousine service, with 5 stars on Facebook, 4.8 stars on Google, and 5 stars on Yelp.

Our office manager works long hours to properly dispatch and take reservations. I have made ourselves known online and gotten everything shipshape, as well as overseen all of the vehicles. Our programmer has constructed a shiny new website for us. Our chauffeurs keep striving to offer the best service around while simultaneously looking to up their game.

The collapse of All Resort Group brought us a fresh crop of great chauffeurs and a wonderful set of new clients, whose needs we have been able to meet or exceed. We have beautiful pictures and regularly-functioning social media accounts. Our videographer has helped us create funny ads for our services (including the one below for Valentine’s Day 2018). Every member of our team interacts with potential or current clients through a variety of media in a timely manner.

Essentially, we have come together and built up. And not only am I far from done, we as a whole are not done either.

As our clients deserve the very best, whether a long-time regular or a first-time booking, we are constantly looking at possible improvements to our services, our fleet, and our team. That definitely includes my own self, as I seek ways to continually tweak what I do, the example I set, and lead effectively.

None of it, however, is possible without our team of chauffeurs and our clients in Utah and from around the world. We have decades of combined experience behind our steering wheels, and we work with a wide variety of affiliates, including but not limited to Elite Limousine Plus, LTS Nationwide, STS Limousine, Crown Limo, Motor City Limousine, and BLS Limousine.

With our increasingly-wide network of clients and affiliates, strong service, and attention to detail, I’m proud to be a part of a company that is Driven. Better.

Going Local: Jon M. Huntsman, Sr.

Jon M. Huntsman, Sr., with his wife Karen. Photo credit: philanthropy.com
Jon M. Huntsman, Sr., with his wife Karen. Photo credit: philanthropy.com

Today, Utah lost one of its all-time greats in the state’s short history. Jon M. Huntsman, Sr., passed away at the age of 80. He will be forever known as one of the great minds, businessmen, and philanthropists in the region.

Jon Meade Huntsman was born in Blackfoot, Idaho to a family steeped in education pursuits. His father attended Stanford for graduate studies; the young Huntsman graduated from Palo Alto High School and attended the University of Pennsylvania on scholarship, subsequently completing graduate work at the University of Southern California. Huntsman got his start in the plastics industry there, eventually branching out on his own to found the Huntsman Container Corporation and, eventually, Huntsman Chemical.

Huntsman Chemical in Salt Lake City, Utah. Photo credit: The Boyer Company
Huntsman Chemical in Salt Lake City, Utah. Photo credit: The Boyer Company

Huntsman Chemical was started in Salt Lake City in 1982 and became extremely successful, between innovation, acquisition, and expansion. The business is still in the family but is also now publicly-traded.

The Huntsman Cancer Institute overlooks the Salt Lake Valley from the University of Utah. Photo credit: huntsmancancer.org
The Huntsman Cancer Institute overlooks the Salt Lake Valley from the University of Utah. Photo credit: huntsmancancer.org

Philanthropically, Huntsman has given billions to charity over the years. His most prominent project has been with the Huntsman Cancer Institute, located next to the University of Utah. A four-time cancer survivor himself, HCI became closely personal to Huntsman and the rest of his family, and it is on track to be one of the largest cancer research institutes and hospitals in the world. Huntsman was also a major factor in the success of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, giving generously to the cause. In addition to the HCI and the Olympics, Huntsman has backed education at the University of Utah, University of Pennsylvania, Utah State University, Southern Utah University, and Brigham Young University. Huntsman was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He served as a mission president in Washington, D.C. Huntsman Sr. also served as an Area Seventy from 1996 to 2011.

The Huntsman Center is home to basketball for the University of Utah. Photo credit: stadium.utah.edu
The Huntsman Center is home to basketball for the University of Utah. Photo credit: stadium.utah.edu
Jon M. Huntsman Hall at the University of Pennsylvania. Photo credit: hillintl.com
Jon M. Huntsman Hall at the University of Pennsylvania. Photo credit: hillintl.com

The legacy that Huntsman leaves behind also includes all of his honors. These include multiple awards from his alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania, while he was an undergraduate student. He also received awards from Armenia, Cuban Americans, the American Academy of Achievement, the Freedom Foundation, and the Caring Institute. Further recognition includes the Horatio Alger National Award, Entrepreneur of the Year from Ernst and Young, the American Red Cross, the American Cancer Society, emeritus recognition from the University of Pennsylvania, induction into the Idaho Hall of Fame, the National Award for Charity, Innovator of the Year from The Wall Street Journal, recognition from Insider and Fortune for generosity, 13 honorary doctorate degrees, and the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy. There’s no questioning of the man’s generosity to his community locally and around the nation, let alone the world.

Huntsman was greatly involved in politics, though he never held elected public office himself. He worked alongside the Nixon administration in its first term and played a key role at the state level for the elections of Reagan and Bush Sr. He took positions in the Bangerter administration and helped his eldest son, Jon Huntsman Jr., during his presidential run in 2012, ultimately endorsing Mitt Romney. He wasn’t an enemy, though, of different ideologies. Friends included Glenn Beck and Harry Reid, and he endorsed individuals of both parties over many years.

Jon M. Huntsman, Sr. leaves behind 9 children and 56 grandchildren. His second-eldest son Peter is the CEO of the Huntsman Chemical Corporation as of 2000 and also runs the Salt Lake Tribune newspaper. His eldest son Jon Huntsman Jr. is currently the U.S. Ambassador to Russia, having formerly served as the U.S. Ambassador to China, Singapore, and as the governor of Utah and a Huntsman Chemical Executive. Huntsman Jr. has also served in the Brookings Institute. Huntsman Sr.’s granddaughter, Abby, is a reporter and host for the Fox News Channel.

Clearly, in the Huntsman family, giving and serving others is a way of life. It started from the top with Jon Huntsman, Sr., who had been, unquestionably, one of Utah’s leading lights for many years. He will be dearly missed.