You are out for a night (or afternoon) on the town and you come across this quaint, but inviting, restaurant. Realizing you’re hungry, you decide to check them out. As soon as you step across the threshold, you are engulfed in a warm and very social environment that hosts friendly staff, modern/rustic décor, and some of the best food you have ever eaten. Seriously!
Loving the image we have created for you? If so, then you’re in luck! This restaurant we have just described to you really does exist! It’s called Communal. Truly a hidden gem within our fine city of Provo, Communal is definitely a restaurant you must visit as soon as you are able. And, may we even suggest you doing so on or around Valentine’s Day? There really isn’t a better place in which you could choose to go and celebrate the holiday of L.O.V.E.!
Now, we know some of you have been to Communal at least once, or are maybe even known as regulars there. Either way, we’re pretty sure you don’t know everything you should know about this incredible eatery. Luckily for you, we recently stopped by Communal one night for dinner and got to spend some time with the brains behind the restaurant, Colton Soelberg.
Here’s how our conversation went with him…
Q: How did you get involved with the restaurant industry?
A: I started as a chef at the age of 16 and have been drawn to this industry ever since. The first restaurant I worked at was Sundance and from there I traveled to places like New York and San Francisco and worked and learned at restaurants in those areas as well. Eventually I came back to Utah and once again was working again at Sundance as a chef in the Tree Room restaurant. It was then that I met Joseph McRae-who was a pastry chef there-and we began talking about how the restaurant industry in Utah was lacking. We wanted something better. So we created the Heirloom Restaurant group and through that, started Pizzeria 712, Mountain West Burrito, and then Communal.
Q: What kind of place did/do you want Communal to be?
A: A place that could provide both a fast and casual eating experience along with a formal fine dining experience. But, most all we wanted it to be a place that was comfortable to hang out. Where people could enjoy having a more intimate meal with the people they came with or enjoy the opportunity of getting to meet other people if they sit at our large family style table.
Q: So, why the name Communal?
A: We always noticed that whenever we went out to eat with friends, we were always sharing what we ordered. And along with that, we also loved the concept of family dinner where you put everything on the table and just eat. To us, love equals sharing; and through sharing, you are able to create fabulous bonding experiences. We had been thinking of name that would somehow tie all of this together and finally got it from an excerpt in a book I was reading which stated, “There’s something about a communal table”.
Q: Tell us about the food you serve here at Communal.
A: We start with real food and cook it. Because of this most of our food is gluten friendly; and if it’s not, it is easy to omit things since we don’t manipulate our food. We work with what we got.
Q: Do you buy local produce?
A: Our concept is to buy and serve the best of the best. Since our menu is seasonal (we change our menu 3-4 times a year), it can be hard to buy certain menu items in their best from just here in Utah. Though we do buy some things from here, we also branch out and support the communities that are producing the best of each product we need.
Q: What do you do you see in the future for Communal?
A: We love our current location, so we would love to stay here as long as we can. Along with that, we would love to find a private, big space that people could use for larger events.
There you have it friends. Everything you need to know about Communal in a nutshell. But, if you were to take our advice, don’t just go off of this interview alone. Find some time to eat at Communal and actually experience it for yourself! Thanks to their high quality/delectable menu and knowledgeable/friendly staff (FYI-the whole restaurant team has a family meal in the middle of the day so they can debrief and revamp for the dinner portion of the evening!) Communal really is the place to be this time of year. Oh! And when you do go, make sure to try at least one of the following items…
House Made Sausage
House Made Drinks-We tried the Gingerale, Grapefruit Spritzer, Fresh Lime and Hot Chocolate; equally loving each!
Potato Kale Gratin
Roasted and Curried Cauliflower
Pork Loin with Squash Puree
Roasted Chicken with braised endive in a maple vinaigrette
Butterscotch pudding with homemade whipped cream, salted caramel topping and crushed chocolate cookies.
Along with Communal, there are also many other things that Provo has to offer. One of which is a community that cultivates and thrives off of the self-made creative. From The Rooftop Concert Series to the monthly Gallery Art Stroll, there is always some type of event going on to celebrate and feature the creativity of all us folks who call Provo home.
If you haven’t heard already, one such event is Provo Fashion Week! Founded in the spring of 2014, Provo Fashion Week is a semi-annual event that brings together “local independent fashion designers, fashion style bloggers, photographers, industry insiders, and fashion-lovers”. As you can see this event truly does have something to offer for everyone!
So, make sure to mark your calendars on February 27th-28th for their 3rd semi-annual event that you definitely won’t want to miss! For more info on what will be taking place, visit Provo Fashion Week’s website, provofashionweek.com. Us Mumsy gals will be at most of the exciting events for this so, if you go, make sure to come on over and say, “Hi!” We’d truly love to meet you!
Hope you have a splendid February!
Michelle and Natashia
The Mumsy Blog