Utah Tales: The Shooting Star Saloon: “The Real Après Out West”
(Part 6 of the 7 part series: Utahan Tales a 5/5 “Frolic in Utah”: ’11-12 ski season)
This watering hole was an after though to our visit to Snow Basin on the 3rd day of the Utahan Tales 5/5 ski trip in the ’10-11 ski season.
I often ask of any local I may share a chair going up, “What is your recommendation for a stop and a brew after the lifts close? More than once I was told, “Get to the Shooting Star especially if you’re up in Ogden.” Well we were skiing Snow Basin, so that took us through Ogden. But more accurately it is Huntsville, UT that’s home to The Star.
It is just a few miles from either Powder Mountain or Snow Basin. And Huntsville is not a large town, so easy enough, we stumbled into the Shooting Star – the oldest saloon west of the Mississippi!
Carolyn was our bar keep this day. She was as colorful and as historic as the establishment itself. She knew all about the place, wasn’t shy and did make “smack” from any fast-talking skiers from back East. She can hold her own. Numerous original photos hang on the wall and spur the curious to ask, And Carolyn shares all she knew. It was fun and fascinating, even if perhaps exaggerated.
I’m a history guy, remember? I ate it up – tales and stories of Doc Holiday, Teddy Roosevelt and other historical legends I am vaguely aware of.
On the wall directly over our booth was the head mount of “Buck”. He is (or should I say “was”?) the beloved St Bernard associated with the saloon. A character at the Star loved his dog so much, he had his head mounted to preserve Buck into posterity. Of course, I recall Jack London’s classic novel, The Call of the Wild, which relates another saga of a St Bernard and his adventures in the gold rush of ’92 and the Alaska frontier.
Now the beer was enjoyable, but the burgers were to die for. Yes we were famished after our full day of adventure and activity, but the “Shooting Star Burger” (two patties with a polish sausage in between) was truly delicious. But chips only here. Fries are probably too much work. But no matter, the platter was generous, tasty and filling.
But then I was chagrined to learn, they didn’t accept credit cards. WHAT! I don’t, or at least enough to cover the cost of the three meals I had promised to lure Jeff and Bob there. Thank the Lord, Bob carries cash. And all three of us agreed, it was well worth our time. It’s an experience I will repeat if possible.
The not so surprising fact is: We did have hamburgers three nights in a row, but each was delectably different. And hey, all men like hamburgers. And we go Mexican on another night. Oh yea, and then there were the donuts stops for desert.
Jeff was our designated driver who didn’t mind the sobering responsibility because he did report to work on a couple of our ski days. Bob always rode “shotgun”, and I rode the “mother-in-law position, sols in the SUV back seat. It was a good spot because I often had to slap Bob upside the head when he got out of line. (And that was not infrequently.)
(You can link to other Apres experiences)