Business Spotlight: Uptown Steakhouse


This business spotlight is brought to you in collaboration with AJB Broadcasting.

By C.J. McManus

Coming to life and thriving during one of the most difficult years in recent history, the Uptown Steakhouse is ready to celebrate its first anniversary right here in the heart of Utah’s Castle Country. At the Uptown, big ideas were paired with big flavor to create the area’s most popular steak experience. To appreciate just how special this anniversary is, one only has to realize that the Uptown flourished amid a worldwide pandemic and sprung forth from a 20-year friendship.

The Uptown is the brainchild of decades long friends Mandy Cripps and Elizabeth Lofley, a fiery pair who bring their passion to the food they create.

“It was always Mandy’s dream for us to have a business, something, just anything, that we could build together,” explained Uptown Kitchen Manager Elizabeth Lofley. “And then we discovered this stone and learned there is no way to cook a steak wrong with it. We tried it, loved it and waited for someone to invest in it.”

The stone Lofley is speaking of is an 800 degree black basalt stone that is delivered to the customer’s table with a fresh cut steak. From there, the experience is all up to the patron.

The initial investment needed by Lofley and Uptown General Manager/Partner Mandy Cripps would come from Anthony J. Basso, who like Lofley and Cripps, was on the lookout for something new.

“I got excited right away to share in their vision because cooking this way provides our guests with an experience, something they can have fun with and remember,” said Basso.

“We loved cooking on this stone from the beginning,” continued Cripps. “We believed people would love this and we staked our restaurant’s menu around it.”

Having worked together for so long, Lofley and Cripps now had the ideas and investment capital they needed to truly make something of their own.

“I created this menu during COVID, so I really had some time to think about how pairing these flavors would work,” explained Cripps. “We wanted to make food that would surprise your palate, but also food that could be made with a very consistent flavor.”

According to Cripps, timing was a big factor as they were dealing with national and local restrictions on indoor dining. Because of this, they waited for June 2020 to open, even though the restaurant was ready in March.

“I think that was a major factor in the restaurant’s success. Because if we had opened in March and had to close, we may have never made it,” she explained. “We timed our opening right and it made all the difference. That’s why this first anniversary is so joyous for us; we made it.”

That extra time in the spring of 2020 gave Lofley and Cripps the time they needed to refine the Uptown’s amazing menu. One of those refinements included sweet coconut rice, which can be had with any dish, adding just a touch of sweetness to any of the steakhouse’s signature meats.

“I wanted to feature that side because I love Rumpy’s rice,” laughed the steakhouse’s general manager. “So, I had to make something for us that I liked even better.”

Adding to this, Cripps and Lofley then moved on to items that could be heated on the stone even after being served.

“The stone comes to your table and all of a sudden the people you’re eating with want to put everything on it,” said Cripps. “It happened at our homes when we were testing it, and it happened with our first customers. The stone draws everyone together. It just worked out so well in our dining environment.”

According to Lofley, another thing that was a major factor in the success of the Uptown environment was the staff.

“We have watched so many places struggle this year not being able to keep staffed with reliable people, and it’s hard,” said Lofley. “Not to say we haven’t struggled as well, but the ones who have stayed with us are such great people. They work so hard to make this a place people look forward to visiting with their families.”

As it is paired with the Sports Page Bar inside of the Ramada, the steakhouse is also able to offer a full bar menu, the final piece to an amazing dining experience.

“The bar makes all the difference,” concluded Cripps. “Being able to come in here and have a great beer or cocktail in a new environment with a new food experience gives our customers a lot of options and we are so very proud of what we are doing.”

Come celebrate great food with a lot of fun this month at the Uptown Steakhouse as they celebrate their first year in business here in Carbon County.

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