Lehi, Utah: Our Home, Part 28

In celebration of launching our second location in Utah County, we’re commemorating the cities and great things to do in the area. We thought we would start with the first city to the south of Salt Lake County, a place which is starting to rival Salt Lake City itself for business and living.

This is the city of Lehi, which sits at the center of Utah’s overall population. It was first settled in 1850, and became known as Lehi in 1852, named after a prophet in the Book of Mormon, one of the sacred texts used in the doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, whose headquarters is a short drive to the north in Salt Lake. While Lehi is not the biggest city in Utah, it has experienced some of the greatest residential growth in recent memory, with the population more than doubling between 2000 and 2010, and tripling from 2000 to present day. Part of the city near the historic downtown is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and has everything from popular fairgrounds to quaint restaurants.

It may look sleepy, but the contrast provided by Main Street in Lehi is part of the city's charm. Photo credit: protophoto.com
It may look sleepy, but the contrast provided by Main Street in Lehi is part of the city’s charm. Photo credit: protophoto.com

However, some would argue that there are two Lehi’s in one, and it’s not by class; rather, it’s by layout. The old downtown is nowadays a hidden gem and can take its time being laid-back, because most of the attention now is focused on the new, up-and-coming, booming business sector near the I-15 corridor and the Utah Transit Authority‘s FrontRunner commuter rail station. A wide array of businesses, from startups to restaurants to established corporate giants, now have their offices located in Lehi.

One panoramic look around this junction is all one needs to see a plethora of businesses: Adobe, Vivint Solar, Younique, Durham Jones & Pinegar, Kirton McConkie, and many others, all sit right around the freeway. Just up the hill is The Outlets at Traverse Mountain, a steadily-growing shopping complex with a hybrid indoor-outdoor design for its shops. Farther east are companies such as IM Flash, a joint venture between Micron and Intel. Surrounding all of them is a plethora of family- and business-friendly hotels from a variety of brands and companies, making it easy to stay.

Not all technology assets are in Silicon Valley; some are in the Silicon Slopes, and increasingly so! Adobe's Utah offices are located in Lehi. Photo credit: forbes.com
Not all technology assets are in Silicon Valley; some are in the Silicon Slopes, and increasingly so! Adobe’s Utah offices are located in Lehi. Photo credit: forbes.com

If one has never been by this part of Utah before, it’d be safe to assume that the core of Lehi is all work and no play. However, there is plenty of play to do, and in Lehi it centers on the sprawling and beautiful campus of Thanksgiving Point. Founded in 1995 by Alan Ashton, the non-profit farm, garden, and museum complex has become a new north-central Utah treasure. Ashton is best known, originally, for being the co-founder of WordPerfect. After selling, he decided to open up the multi-purpose location by starting with a large garden, now known as Ashton Gardens.

From any angle, it's easy to see that Lehi is growing. The Thanksgiving Point water tower is a reminder of the local beauty within its borders. Photo credit: YouTube
From any angle, it’s easy to see that Lehi is growing. The Thanksgiving Point water tower is a reminder of the local beauty within its borders. Photo credit: YouTube

Other prominent features at Thanksgiving Point include the Museum of Ancient Life and the Museum of Natural Curiosity. The former has one of the largest collections of mounted fossils in the world, and serves as a great learning gateway to the archaeological studies and history in Utah, while the latter is heavily oriented towards children and has a multitude of exhibits.

Thanksgiving Point is also home to the largest public golf course in Utah and was designed by Utah resident retired pro-golfer Johnny Miller. The campus is also home to special events and festivals, ranging from the annual Tulip Festival and Luminaria to corporate events, weddings, and high school prom.

Lehi has a lot to offer to the greater Salt Lake metro area as well as to Utah as a whole, what with being a part of the so-called Silicon Slopes. No longer just a bedroom community south of the “point of the mountain,” this ambitious and growing city is a great place to work, play, and live, featuring a little bit of everything for everyone.

Hello, Utah County!

As we continue to make changes here at VIP Limousine, one of the things we like to do is find new and better ways to serve our current loyal and new clients. So we are boldly making a move down south to Utah County!

In fact, we’re opening up a branch specifically for service inside of Utah County, with special pricing for the area that differs from our Salt Lake-based offerings. It’s the same superior experience you expect from VIP Limousine, but with new more affordable options for Provo, Orem, Lehi, Alpine, American Fork, Lindon, and other cities to the south of the Salt Lake valley.

When any service has to go out of its way from where it is primarily based, it is going to be more expensive for both the provider and the client, regardless of the industry type, which makes it more difficult to access.

However, with our loyal clientele already down in Utah County, we want to make our elite black car and limousine services more accessible for more people. It’s a growing area served by an airport with commercial flights to Phoenix and Los Angeles, increasing street traffic and more limited parking, and a young, bright, and motivated populace.

In celebration of this new venture and in recognition of the area that is Utah County, we will be starting a new blog series about the cities and businesses there. It’s an extension of our home, in which we are very proud to serve and also enjoy as visitors and Utah citizens. Follow along with our journey as we continue to explore our home state.

Going Local: The Copper Onion

The “Going Local” blog series at VIP Limousine has covered a lot of local hot spots in Salt Lake City and other nearby areas in Utah and across the Wasatch Front, but it has been missing a local favorite in downtown for a long time. Today, however, we look to remedy such an oversight with our most recent write-up on area restaurants.

Tucked away on the first floor amidst a myriad of tall buildings, The Copper Onion is nonetheless the gateway to a world of delicious food, whether you sit inside or outside. Photo credit: Lisa Dang
Tucked away on the first floor amidst a myriad of tall buildings, The Copper Onion is nonetheless the gateway to a world of delicious food. Photo credit: Lisa Dang

The Copper Onion is nestled inside of the striking Broadway Theatre complex near Gallivan Plaza and the business district in Salt Lake, now known as “The Blocks,” with easy access from the Utah Transit Authority Blue and Green lines and nearby thoroughfares and freeways. It appears to be relatively unassuming at first glance from the street, but this gem packs a powerful American culinary punch near the heart of the city. The atmosphere at the Copper Onion is clearly modern and clean, with a busy yet somehow simultaneously, and thus paradoxically, collected vibe that lends itself to the casual and business crowds with aplomb. Whether seated indoors or out, service is friendly and efficient and it’s a supremely comfortable experience.

Being an American restaurant, there is no excuse for not getting the basics right, and this is one area where The Copper Onion clearly excels. A house burger with basic ingredients is turned up to 11 with a few small but powerful signature twists. It is easily one of Salt Lake’s best, and messiest, burgers available. We also like how there is a reasonable amount of customization allowed on a variety of menu items, such as being able to swap sides and proteins, to adapt to different tastes.

Another winning entree is the pasta carbonara, which comes finished with bacon, because why not? It’s a delicious bowl of great food which is also very satisfying for quite some time after, as the portion sizes here are not overwhelming, but also not too large for timely consumption or overeating.

Being that The Copper Onion is close to a lot of businesses, one of its most attractive features is a quick service. Executives cannot waste a lot of time during working hours, so it is imperative that what time they do spend out of the office is done so in an effective manner. The Copper Onion’s overall pace of service is perfect for this, with the right balance of quality and speed. Of course, if you so wish to take some extra time, it will allow for further savoring of the menu and the atmosphere.

In the mood for a quick drink at the bar? Or do you want to watch the chefs in action? Or both at the same time? The Copper Onion says "Yes!" Photo credit: Gastronomic SLC
In the mood for a quick drink at the bar? Or do you want to watch the chefs in action? Or both? The Copper Onion says “Yes!” Photo credit: Gastronomic SLC

If you’re still hungry, The Copper Onion also has a brief list of excellent dessert options suiting a variety of tastes. For lunch, this includes a cobbler, pudding, tart, and a daily special ice cream flavor made in house. On select days, they have their brunch menu available with delicious breakfast items and other unique options not available during lunch and dinner.

The Copper Onion is definitely a hit spot in Salt Lake City which is a great fit for a wide variety of occasions, whether just for a quick lunch or an extended fun night out. We at VIP Limousine definitely recommend this establishment be put on your Utah culinary map and experience their food, drink, and ambiance.

Safety First with VIP Limousine in the news

Recently, we had the pleasure of serving multiple clients for a concert out at Saltair, a state park and concert venue located along the shores of the Great Salt Lake. Our highest priority with our clients is safety, as we look after them from start to finish.

One of the benefits of renting with VIP Limousine is the attention to safety, which we make our #1 priority for every trip we take. Furthermore, our services themselves enable greater safety by reducing risk for other vehicles on the road, as our large groups are under the steady hand of trained chauffeurs. With concert events, we want our clients to be able to enjoy themselves but also to travel safely and to be safe at all other times.

A shocking incident not related to our company occurred recently at the Saltair, as an inebriated concert-goer fell off of an overpass and was killed by the fall and the traffic below. It’s a very tragic event; preventable or not, it’s important to discuss and also to provide our sympathies.

One of our chauffeurs was witness to the aftermath of the event, and was interviewed by the local Fox TV affiliate. He described the incident as scary and harrowing. Our hearts are with the family at this time.

Safety is extremely important to all of us here at VIP Limousine. Our vehicles are only the safest varieties in the industry, and our chauffeurs are trained to manage all sorts of incidents before they even happen. It is our hope that whether or not somebody uses our services that they make it home safely at the end of the night.

A Superior Change

Standard offerings for livery vehicles have been in place for a very long time. The Lincoln Town Car sedan dominated black car service for years and years, with its spacious cabin, smooth engine, and classic look. Chevrolet stepped in with an upgraded Suburban, ditching the cheap plastics and panel gaps to go for a cleaner, more professional look while still maintaining four-season capability. But then Lincoln axed the Town Car after a 30 year run, and the Suburban is starting to show its age.

At VIP Limousine, we love a good challenge, but upgrading vehicles can be difficult when the market changes. The uncertainty is further heightened when getting closer to the end of a design’s lifespan, as we want our clients to ride in up-to-date style, whether they live in Salt Lake City, somewhere else in Utah, or are coming from the outside.

Our resident car guru, Philip Keeve, conducted a plethora of research in order to make the right choice, whether it was a Suburban or something else, to start a series of fleet upgrades. Ultimately we made a decision with his guidance which sets a new trend in Utah’s SUV livery service.

VIP Limousine now proudly chauffeurs clients in the Ford Expedition Max.

LED lighting galore! The business end of the Ford Expedition Max.
LED lighting galore! The business end of the Ford Expedition Max.

In the past, Ford’s full-size SUV options have trailed the competition. They’ve been plenty big, but they were not quite up to the quality and refinement standards expected for livery service. The new Expedition Max, though, is a game-changing vehicle, which is why we chose it over the offerings from General Motors.

As cabins go, Ford has this one nailed with a balance of form and function. Highlighting the space are real chrome and wood trim pieces, coupled with soft-touch plastics and knurled knobs. The interior space is superior in all three rows of seating, with good visibility all around and easy access, even to the very back. At VIP Limousine, our focus is always on the rear rows of passengers, and the Expedition Max has a lot of legroom, easily accommodating tall passengers. The second row can recline and slide back and forth easily, and the third row has an electric recline, as well as a flat floor for better legroom and seating position. Automatic climate control and USB charging ports are in place for all of the rear rows for maintenance of comfort and extended life of peripherals; the second row also has a 110V power outlet and a standard cigarette lighter-style plug-in. A plethora of cupholders ensures that occupants stay well-hydrated at all times, with at least one for each seating position. The stereo system is by Bang & Olufsen and kicks out amazing sound, while thicker glass and extra sound deadening mean that passengers hear more of what’s inside the cabin and almost nothing outside.

The Expedition Max spec’d out for VIP Limousine is jet black with a lot of chrome accents, making it stand out on the road. LED exterior lighting looks sharp and classy, without being overwrought. The vehicle may also have 22″ wheels, putting the Cadillac Escalade to shame.

The quiet standout on the street.
The quiet standout on the street.

So, how does it drive? In spite of those big wheels, the ride is comfortable but controlled, which keeps passengers from being tossed about and still providing a comfortable experience. Ford has the EcoBoost powertrain under the hood of the Expedition Max, so the engine’s muted growl is the only indication that it is whisking the vehicle along at a smooth and steady clip. With more power and better fuel economy than GM’s standard V8, the Expedition Max is the best it gets for a big SUV.

In case one has a lot of luggage to carry, the VIP Limousine Expedition Max has more than enough space. The seats are endlessly configurable to best balance people and cargo, and the cubic footage is enormous. Extra storage bins add up to even more space inside. Ours is also equipped with a trailer hitch in case of even more luggage, enabling use of the luggage trailer.

VIP Limousine’s new full-size SUV offering is the best in Utah, balancing style and comfort and standing out on the street. We look forward to chauffeuring clients for years to come in this type of vehicle, and we’re proud to be members of the Ford family. A very special thanks to Performance Ford in Tooele for helping us obtain our class-leading SUV!

California Dreamin’: A Road Trip with our newest limousine!

Having established itself as the pre-eminent limousine service in Utah, VIP Limousine is making some changes, and is starting by the augmentation of its Salt Lake City-based fleet. Our assistant manager, Philip Keeve, chronicled his journey in a video (shared below), but there are some amusing details we also wanted to share.

First of all, we want to start by thanking our new friends at JWD Limo Sales in Fontana, California, for finding, preparing, servicing, and ultimately providing us with a beautiful new addition to our limousine fleet. They have a unique selection of limos for sale, and Rick was great to work with, even agreeing to meet us on a day off so we could complete the transaction. Thanks to them, we are now the proud owners of the best black stretch sedan in the state of Utah.

The journey begins with finding the vehicle online, and then getting together a flight for Philip to travel down to California. He flew into LAX on Friday evening, and then took the LA Metro and Amtrak to Ontario to crash for the night before continuing to neighboring Fontana early the next morning. For whatever reason, he enjoys a bit of adventure on the cheap, even if it takes longer, but especially if it also can save money and lead to interesting places.

A collage featuring a sneak peak of the limo, as well as shots of the Blue and Green Lines of the LA Metro.
A collage featuring a sneak peak of the limo, as well as shots of the Blue and Green Lines of the LA Metro.

Philip met up with Rick from JWD on Saturday morning, and headed over to the nearby local Ford dealership, Sunrise Ford of Fontana, where the vehicle was being serviced and inspected. First impressions were that it had been well-maintained and was in excellent shape, with beautiful coachbuilding completed by Executive Coachbuilders. However, nobody wants to risk driving 12 hours in an unfamiliar vehicle without it being given a clean bill of health, so the dealership took extra precautions and prepped it for the road ahead.

On test once done in the service bay, Philip found the engine to be very powerful and responsive, connected to a smooth transmission and just-right suspension settings. It was easy to drive and any sense of nervousness quickly subsided. Once done, Philip was able to close out the deal and confidently set off from the dealership. He stopped by a set of stores along historic Route 66 for a bite to get on the road, and then set off on the 650 mile journey from San Bernardino County to Salt Lake City.

The first big test in limousines is to see how well their powertrain can handle a significant gradient at reasonable speeds. Philip set the cruise control and let the vehicle do the work to see what would happen; it flew up and out of the valley along I-15 without a hitch. No sign of overheating, no sign of real strain, just effortless smooth power. Once flattening out, the limo settled down for a comfortable and cool cruise towards Nevada, with the air conditioning keeping the cabin just right in the 108 degree weather which prevailed.

Philip traveled nonstop all the way to Henderson, Nevada, just outside of Las Vegas, when the vehicle needed to be refueled for the next leg of the journey. The heat continued to pound down in the Sin City suburbs, and Philip was sweating profusely, but the limo was unfazed, especially after getting a full tank. Skirting around Las Vegas to rejoin I-15 was a cakewalk, but the next stretch got more interesting.

In the area prior to Mesquite, Philip and the rest of the traffic were suddenly caught up in a nasty storm, with extremely high winds and rain so thick that everybody spent about 5 minutes driving blind. What was once an area to safely travel at 85 miles per hour became a danger zone where 25 seemed like 250. Wipers on full speed didn’t seem to do anything either, and the wind fought a tough battle against the long limo body, but ultimately both chauffeur and vehicle made it through without a scratch.

Eventually, the city of St. George beckoned just across the Utah border, which was the perfect opportunity for Philip to refuel himself and take a break. It didn’t last for long though, because shortly afterwards he was back on the road headed to Fillmore, a city in central Utah which was located in an ideal location for refueling prior to the final stretch.

Finally, at 12:30 in the morning, Philip eased the limousine into Salt Lake. As it was ticking cool, he noticed the new temporary insect adherents to the windshield and accumulated dust from driving through the desert after the storm. However, the entire journey for the vehicle had been no sweat, both literally with the crisp air conditioning and the solid powertrain, and figuratively with the logistics of travel around greater Los Angeles, meeting with JWD, and having a trouble-free journey…besides the storm. Trip completed, Philip got some rest and prepared the limo for duty at its new home with VIP Limousine.

Salt Lake City's Premiere Limousine Service