Food in Review: A Bistro, a Café, or a State of Mind?


By Dawn M. Aerts

Iron County Today

CEDAR CITY–When Rex McArthur, general manager at the newly-opened Clarion Inn & Suites, came up with a novel vision for Bistro 435 — it was all about adding value for his hotel guests, catering to gourmet taste buds and finding the right niche in Cedar City.

McArthur, who brings over 20 years of experience to the hotel-and-hospitality market place takes pride in his long years working with the La Quinta Inn chain (Salt Lake City), as well as more than five years at prestigious Five-Star Hotels like the Venetian Inn and The Palazzo, Las Vegas.

In his world, the likes of Wolfgang Puck and other renowned chefs were mostly right around the corner.

“I have to say that I am a ‘big foodie’ when it comes to dining,” says McArthur, who now rides his bike to work at both locations. “This was the locale of the first major hotel in the Southern district of town,” says McArthur of the 17-year-old building that needed a lift. “So when (the Clarion Brand) decided to completely remodel and renovate, I ran with the Bistro concept in mind.”

It is both hotel guests and the restaurant-driven public that McArthur hopes to woo in a hospitality industry that continues to expand and transform.

The lobby, which opens into the Bistro-kitchen counter design, allows for some additional seating with a view of the distant range and modern décor that reflects the layered attitudes of the community. “It’s all about offering convenience for guests and for the public too,” says McArthur of both atmosphere and taste.

According to McArthur, the $ 1.6 million upgrade for the Clarion Inn & Suites took eight months to complete (opening May 2017), adding unique outdoor (second floor) patio space, fire-pit, the now upscale bistro-dining design, additional family-sized Suites, with state-of-the-art kitchen and technology features.

While most older hotels often feature a breakfast nook or offer a modest snack, the hotel and hospitality industry continues to evolve and respond to market research and a traveling-public that expects more value, convenience, atmosphere, fine dining with a unique, home-town experience.

“This is a gourmet bistro setting which caters to those who want real value,” says McArthur of the Brand and features. For guests, that value can be seen in the Bistro 435 menu which features specialty (Five-Star) ice cream desserts, boutique charm, and a well-thought-out choice of dining fare, to include domestic beer (from the Wasatch) and signature blends from the downtown I/G Winery.

McArthur projects that there will be close to 40,000 patrons and visitors coming through the door in the coming year – and he is hoping to deliver an upscale experience. “We want this concept and bistro to reflect our Southwest life – everything from local landscape and event photography to offering native craft beer and Utah-inspired wines.”

That said, if you’re looking for a place that offers a good burger in the afternoon or a nicely-prepared late night supper (open till 10) – Bistro 435 offers a cozy but modern atmosphere with open dining and kitchen-counter seating. Menu prices range from $ 8 to $ 9 for burger or chicken entrée with two signature dinner choices at around $ 14.

McArthur recommends the braised beef short ribs, cooked in red wine reduction sauce, served with asparagus, bacon and red-skinned mash potato. “This is a community that loves theater, festivals, and sometimes that means providing an ‘impromptu’ dining space where people can gather before or after an event.”

In other words, you shouldn’t wait in line for a bistro-table.

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