Going Local: Ruth’s Chris Steak House

This location of Ruth's Chris Steak House is inside of Hotel Park City, right next to the world-class skiing of Park City Mountain Resort. Photo credit: prophoto.com
This location of Ruth’s Chris Steak House is inside of Hotel Park City, right next to the world-class skiing of Park City Mountain Resort. Photo credit: prophoto.com

Under most circumstances, “Going Local” does not focus on chain businesses based in other states, especially when it comes to food. However, we at VIP Limousine will make an exception without hesitation when it comes to Ruth’s Chris Steak House. Why? Simply put, each location is unique and we personally recommend their restaurant for a delicious and special night out. So we would like to explain why we, like the local KSL NewsRadio host Doug Wright, recommend Ruth’s Chris.

Each individual establishment of Ruth’s Chris has its own atmosphere designed to take in the surrounding area and themes to fit in. The Salt Lake City location (pictured below) is nestled in the heart of downtown, and has a modern style inside and out to meld into the city.

The downtown Salt Lake City location of Ruth's Chris Steak House. Photo credit: gastronomicslc.com
The downtown Salt Lake City location of Ruth’s Chris Steak House. Photo credit: gastronomicslc.com

Once inside, the restaurant bathes its guests in dark wood, bright linens, and modern finishes which rival the class of any other high-end establishment. Guests feel right at home with their hospitable service and even the private dining area. See for yourself!

The main dining room at Ruth's Chris Steak House Salt Lake City, with private dining in the background. Photo credit: tomstuart.com
The main dining room at Ruth’s Chris Steak House Salt Lake City, with private dining in the background. Photo credit: tomstuart.com

Northern Utah does have a special blessing, however; we are home not just to one Ruth’s Chris location, but two! Tucked up high in the Wasatch Mountains is the Ruth’s Chris Steak House Park City, located inside of Hotel Park City along Park Avenue. This location is right next to the slopes of Park City Mountain Resort and delivers mining-town charm and luxury in spades at the same time. It’s only a 30-minute drive from Salt Lake City itself, making it quite accessible from the Wasatch Front.

Stepping inside the Park City location continues the local design theme. Along with the crisp white linens and high-end place settings is ski lodge decor, complete with natural rock and wood. The dining room windows open up with a spectacular view of the mountains, giving an airy feel to the space.

With a lodge-inspired design, the Park City location will make you feel right at home in the mountains. Photo credit: dishingpc.com
With a lodge-inspired design, the Park City location will make you feel right at home in the mountains. Photo credit: dishingpc.com

After all of this talk about appearance, atmosphere, location, etc., why does VIP Limousine highly recommend Ruth’s Chris?

It comes down to the food. At each of these two locations, the food is consistently stunning. Since 1965, the restaurant has operated with extraordinarily high standards at every location, sourcing the finest in meats and catering to each customer to make each experience mouth-watering and memorable. We can vouch for the goodness of their steaks, which arrive still sizzling and with simple seasoning allowing the flavors of the meat to speak freely with every bite.

Their other courses are no less desirable. The drinks are freshly-squeezed and other plates are cooked to order where appropriate. The chefs treat the side dishes with great care, allowing flavors to pop. And of course, there’s a dessert on the menu for every appetite…even if you’re stuffed, you’ll somehow manage to make room for more!

With unique locations, consistently high service standards, and glorious food, we at VIP Limousine don’t hesitate to recommend Ruth’s Chris Steak House. Our clients are regular and satisfied patrons of both Utah locations, and we count ourselves among those who have had the pleasure of eating there. So get dressed up; grab a significant other, family, or friends; climb aboard a classy ride; and be transported into the world of great steaks at Ruth’s Chris.

9th and 9th in Salt Lake City, Utah: Our Home, Part 10

Not to be overlooked, the compact 9th and 9th neighborhood is a hidden gem in Salt Lake City. Photo credit: Utah Realty Association
Not to be overlooked, the compact 9th and 9th neighborhood is a hidden gem in Salt Lake City. Photo credit: Utah Realty Association

So far, VIP Limousine has explored some fairly obvious parts of why we love Salt Lake City and are proud to call it home. But as we continue on our virtual tour, we want to highlight one that might get overlooked. That area is the rather simply-named 9th and 9th neighborhood, and there’s a good reason why the locals love it.

The area gets its name from the intersection at its heart, which is the meeting point between 900 South and 900 East; locals refer to these streets more simply as 9th South and 9th East, based on Salt Lake City’s grid system and street naming methods. It’s also at the intersection of two Utah Transit Authority bus lines, the 9 and the 209. The shops are all small, independent, and local, and include a gelateria, a jeweler, dry cleaners, a pub, and an independent movie theatre, The Tower, run by the Salt Lake Film Society.

The focus of the neighborhood is around one particular corner, so everything is easily walkable. It’s also well-decorated, with a lot of custom pieces standing in for otherwise standard utility fare. This includes the bike racks and the street lights, as well as decorative concrete around the crosswalks and sidewalks. You can tell this place is special to its local residents.

If you want to escape from Salt Lake’s downtown, we recommend having a look at 9th and 9th for a unique flavor of our hometown.

Going Local: Pig & A Jelly Jar

With southern charm, local attitude, and great food, Pig & A Jelly Jar delights all bites. Photo credit: 10best.com
With southern charm, local attitude, and great food, Pig & A Jelly Jar delights all bites. Photo credit: 10best.com

Nestled on a street corner near downtown is a small establishment. It’s not much to look at initially, it seems, but a closer glance is not only revealing, it’s fully merited. Pig & A Jelly Jar is a funky, charming restaurant full of southern flavor and charm, with local attitude and fantastic food.

Founded by a restauranteur from the south who now calls Utah home, Pig & A Jelly Jar is a newcomer to the Salt Lake City dining scene. After a fire within its first year of operation, the business rebuilt the destroyed section of the building and kept on moving forward. This did not stop them from starting to serve up great food.

The restaurant sources from local growers and producers and does all of their work in-house. Their orange juice, for example? Fresh-squeezed.

Everything on the menu is available at all business hours, and they have a great special on Thursday evenings. A particular favorite is a Pennsylvania Dutch and soul food hallmark: chicken and waffles. This is a staple in southern cuisine, originally sourced from the Belgian/German influence in New York and Philadelphia as well as African-American heritage and culinary history. The rendition at Pig & A Jelly Jar is definitely worth a try. And by the way, it’s the aforementioned Thursday evening special.

We at VIP Limousine, love to highlight what our other local businesses offer, and Pig & A Jelly Jar has become a favorite amongst our staff and families. Give them a try and be prepared to be blown away by one of the best restaurants in Salt Lake City. They also have a new location in downtown Ogden with the same charm and menu, beginning to spread the gospel of southern food along the Wasatch Front.

What is a limousine?

A 2017 Lincoln Continental limousine by Specialty Conversions driving down the Las Vegas Strip. Photo courtesy of LimoForSale.com.
A 2017 Lincoln Continental limousine by Specialty Conversions driving down the Las Vegas Strip. Photo courtesy of LimoForSale.com.

If you’ve ever wondered “What is a limousine?”, we might be able to help! At VIP Limousine, we have the largest fleet of them in the state of Utah, but a limousine may mean something a little bit different to you or me. In fact, the term meant something very different in the earlier days of the car, and sometimes still does, but for different reasons.

The term “limousine” is a word with French origins. It comes from the administrative region of Limousin in France, disbanded and reorganized in January of 2016, and refers to a type of hooded cloak worn by inhabitants of the region. The earliest limousine vehicles somewhat reflected this in that many of them left the chauffeur exposed to the elements! The vehicles only had a roof over the passenger compartment. If the chauffeur was lucky, sometimes there was a detachable cover which could be fitted between the B pillar and the windshield. In time, as the vehicles became increasingly upscale, the roof extended over the entire interior of the vehicle.

In many countries around the world, the term “limousine” stands simply for a standard sedan body. In England, these are referred to as “saloons.” As soon as they are stretched, though, our U.K. friends also refer to them as limousines. This includes the long-wheelbase models of standard cars, such as the Audi A8L, for example, where the manufacturer inserts several additional inches of legroom without requiring any extra customization.

In the United States, “limousine” almost always refers to a stretched luxury vehicle, whether it is done by a coachbuilder or the manufacturer. Some examples include the Lincoln Town Car Executive L and Signature L, which were lengthened versions of the standard Town Car sedan and were often fitted with extra luxuries. A multitude of coachbuilders have made many stretched Town Cars over its 30-year lifespan though, including Executive Coach Builders, which is a supplier of the VIP Limousine Fleet. Some of these vehicles come from the factory with special built-in points or features to help make limousine manufacturing easier. With the Lincoln MKT crossover SUV, for example, Ford puts plugs in the wiring where the vehicle gets cut and then also supplies a connector cord to put between them once the vehicle is stretched. Chrysler keeps the beltline of the 300 sedan flat and level with the ground below in order to make fitting the new windows and body easier. It also helps keep the styling clean.

In recent years, the limousine market has included demand for SUV limousines. We see them in the forms of the Hummer H2, Hummer H3, Cadillac Escalade, GMC Yukon, Mercedes-Benz G Class, and some specialty SUV options such as the Range Rover, Audi Q7, and Infiniti QX80. However, with the exception of a few and with the impending production of the new Lincoln Navigator, the SUV limousine market is thinner than it once was. Bling is out; discretion is in.

This is where limousines, too, can really shine. Enter the new Lincoln Continental. Even in the 1960s, this low-slung machine was a stately king of the road, but it wasn’t flashy and it didn’t stand out. It did, however, have leading-edge comfort and those sweet suicide doors, and was one of the last four-door convertibles ever to come off of a production line. The newest Continental is not a convertible, but it is definitely a vehicle of presidential qualities. The sleek styling and commodious, high-quality interior, especially in stretch limo form, make for a truly unique experience. Lincoln gifted the new Continental with LED lighting, slim door handles, a powerful and efficient engine, and the latest in technology for a quiet, luxury ride. In standard wheelbase form, the Continental really shines with its still-generous interior proportions and luxurious features. It also highlights a move to build in extra legroom as standard without having a special “L” model for more space.

But beating the newest rendition of the Continental to the punch was an unlikely source: Mercedes-Benz. When the coachbuilders discovered they could make the humble Sprinter van into a full-scale luxury party bus, they took off in appeal. The Sprinter is now easily one of the most popular limousine vehicles for several reasons. First, they’re extremely easy for anyone to get in and out of, thanks to the massive sliding door, generous steps, and the wide entryway between the seats. Second, with the space in the back it’s easy to move around inside and get situated. Plus, it’s very easy to customize thanks to all of the space within, so they’re very much limousines in terms of style and design. Third, because they’re built by Mercedes-Benz, the powertrains are endlessly reliable, so the limousine companies are able to use them for a long time and keep running costs lower. They’re also cost-effective because they don’t have to be stretched…they’re already massive! With the new Continental back on the market, Mercedes-Benz has work to do keeping the Sprinter relevant, but it opened up a new niche for limousine clients.

At VIP Limousine, to us, a limousine is a statement. It is something which speaks of fun, celebration, coming together, enjoying company, a special occasion…really, it’s whatever YOU use it for. That’s what it means to us. Whether the vehicle of choice is a traditional Town Car, an updated Continental, an imposing SUV limousine, or even one of the Sprinter party buses, a limousine is all about you and your experience.

When Things Go Wrong

Most of the time with VIP Limousine, everything runs extremely smoothly, including vehicles and staff.

Most of the time.

Sometimes, things go wrong. So we’d like to take a few minutes to reflect and hopefully laugh a little bit, too, but also highlight that if and when they do, why you should choose VIP Limousine for your transportation needs. Nobody in any of the following incidents have been named to save embarrassment…though the management team knows who they are!

One of these particular recent incidents involved an overnight trip back from Nevada. Everything was going smoothly until suddenly…SNAP. Even after inspections and checks, the belt changed its mind about staying in one piece. At 3 a.m. In the middle of nowhere. Blast.

Now why, in light of this incident, should you choose VIP Limousine? We have the largest limousine fleet in Utah, and as a result, this possibly-ruined trip actually turned out well for our passengers.

Upon the incident’s occurrence, we immediately dispatched a chauffeur with another limousine to their location and picked up the passengers so they could arrive home in as timely a manner as possible. Plus, they got to experience a fresh chauffeur and a freshly-cleaned limousine.

Some years ago, while getting ready to pick up a passenger at the Salt Lake City International Airport, one of our chauffeurs was rear-ended by a Cadillac Escalade. Thankfully, our Suburban was unscathed, but in order to make sure everything got settled, we sent another chauffeur in another Suburban so that our passenger could still be picked up in a timely manner.

However, sometimes we’re less lucky. Two days after repainting the back bumper of our Lincoln Town Car limousine, somebody else ran into it. It was dented and scratched from the hit-and-run. These days though, the bumper looks good as new, and we willingly paid for its repair.

The air conditioning in one of our vehicles quit in the middle of a corporate run during the summertime. It turns out it was the compressor exploding into little pieces under the hood, and losing all of the Freon and pressure in the process. We dispatched a back-up vehicle immediately to the scene; the passengers continued on their way in the fresh limo, and we quickly got the affected vehicle repaired and pumping crisp air back into the cabin. Melting in the Utah summertime heat is not acceptable to us.

Another vehicle once smashed into the front of one of our Sprinter limousines, rendering it useless for several weeks, so we utilized a substitute until it was road-worthy again. We used genuine Mercedes-Benz parts for the full repair…lesser substitutes don’t fly with VIP treatment.

While getting into our Lincoln Town Car, a passenger went to sit down and the spring came up through the seat into her jeans. We immediately took the vehicle to an upholsterer and got upgraded materials. The bench seat is now as good as new, and no more mortified passengers have been there since.

In addition to these incidents, we have the VIP Limousine Wall of Shame, full of memories of moments of wrongdoing. They include the following:
-A smashed taillight from a Suburban
-A Hummer engine fluid line clip which took five hours to remove
-A radio antenna which was ripped off in a car wash
-A Cadillac Escalade bumper

The point is, we at VIP Limousine work hard to take care of our vehicles, even when mishaps happen. If we take care of our vehicles, we can always take care of our clients, regardless of the incident. Each of these problems was swiftly dealt with and attended to by expert mechanics and repairmen to keep or return the vehicle into top shape, and we always make sure something else is serviceable just in case.

Trolley Square in Salt Lake City, Utah: Our Home, Part 9

With its signature water tower lit up at night, it's hard to miss Trolley Square. Photo credit: counterjihadreport.com
With its signature water tower lit up at night, it’s hard to miss Trolley Square. Photo credit: counterjihadreport.com

Circling back down the hill to the east of the downtown core, Salt Lake City still has more businesses hiding as treasures. Some, though, are a bit more obvious to those living on the eastern side of the city, since they are housed in the historic Trolley Square shopping center.

Located along 700 East, one of the main thoroughfares in Salt Lake and its suburbs, Trolley Square gets its name from its original intended function: storage for the old Salt Lake City streetcars which previously plied downtown and The Avenues. It operated 37 years, but was eventually dismantled, and the facility sat unused until the 1970s. It was then that the building was converted into a shopping center, a function it has maintained ever since.

Trolley Square has undergone several makeovers since it was converted, however these primarily consist of trying to maintain the quirky and older atmosphere of industrialism and brick-and-mortar build. The hallways wind around in different directions creating a cacophonous set of corridors and a slightly mysterious world. Wrought iron is featured in a wide variety of architectural and decorative features, lending further character from the early 20th century. Much of the brickwork and the floor has been left and maintained as close to original as possible, filling in track gaps and making the building walkable throughout. These period features are coupled with a modern network of elevators, parking garages, directional lighting, full accessibility, updated windows and technology, and an array of local and large business establishments.

Some of these places include Lululemon, Whole Foods, and Pottery Barn, as well as The Rodizio Grill Brazilian Steakhouse and Google Fiber. Trolley Square is also home to a branch of The Falls Event Center, an expansive space which caters to many different needs and occasions.

It may not be centrally located, but Trolley Square is worth a look. It’s another reason why we love our home in Salt Lake City.

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