Can't Miss It!
Cute Little House Motel
What a fun looking motel sitting in the shade of the trees, with an almost fake-looking mountain range just beyond. It looked inviting enough with the porch and rocking chairs, but what really had me excited was that we had spotted this place in our old retro cookbook. Here was a chance for yet another dining/cookbook adventure!
A Late Lunch
We entered the cozy lobby and were pleased to know lunch was still being served. We spoke with a young man at the old desk who said his grandmother had managed the hotel & restaurant for years.
He pointed to the framed photos on the wall and told us his grandmother had some great stories about some of those movie stars. Kanab had evidently been nicknamed Little Hollywood long ago. Over 100 movies and TV episodes had been filmed in the area.
In 1924, local brothers got some temporary work when a Hollywood movie was shot for the first time in Southern Utah. The brothers helped with transporting some of the crew who came to film a "picture" starring Tom Mix. Within a few years, the area was swarming with Hollywood folks. The Parry Brothers built their motel in 1931 to accommodate the stars and crew members. At one time, the lodge itself became part of a movie set for the film, "The Girl in the Black Stockings".
Built Around an Old Farmhouse
The Parry brothers built their motel/lodge around what was then a farm house. They provided lodging, food and transportation for Western film stars like John Wayne and Clint Eastwood, as well as more serious actors like Gregory Peck and Sidney Poitier. I imagine some of those big trees were there when the lodge was built. Too bad they lost their sprawling lawn in front, when the highway cut through. But that was the highway that helped us discover the place.
We were invited into the sunny dining room with flowery wallpaper, ruffled curtains and more Hollywood photos. I was sorry that the hostess was fairly new and didn't have much more input for us.
It's always fun to see what kind of reaction we get when we share one of these old Ford Cookbooks with a server or cook. Often the recipes are outdated and no longer used. Often the illustration gets a good laugh or gasp.
But I held the book back a while and studied the menu. No pot roast offerings, so I went for the salad bar.
I took my time piling my plate with greens and crispy bacon and chopped egg. I scooped up some chili that turned out to be pretty tasty. And I chatted with a nearby couple at the only other occupied table.
Don ordered the Special of the Day for $7. 95. Beef patty with onions, mashed potatoes & gravy...and of course some good old peas, corn and carrots.
It kind of looked like a meal they might have served in the 1940's or '50's.
Cary and the Cookbook
While finishing our meal, this fellow came out from the kitchen and asked playfully, "How was your food today... because I cooked it!" I ended up showing him the book and he was thrilled. He said he'd been experimenting with old lodge recipes, like one for dinner rolls and another for Chicken and Dumplings. He chuckled that customers had complained about too much salt in that one.
Darla and the Book
Someone got word to Darla, the manager that there was a vintage cookbook in the dining room. She came in and joined us and shared some old postcard images of the lodge.
She was eager to copy the Pot Roast recipe for their records and then she showed me around outside. She studied the book's illustration and we imagined how nice the porch sitting would have been with no highway and parking lot. She pointed to some rose bushes and told me they'd been there since the place opened.
A Peek at the Pool
Darla pointed towards the pool and said Frank Sinatra had some influence in getting that put in, when he and the Rat Pack stayed. Sinatra must have had his wife with him at least some of the time, since he made a special request to the Parry Brothers.
Darla said he talked the brothers into building a suite for his mother-in-law... at the opposite end of the complex!
Our dining adventure was more about the Hollywood history than the food. I hope next time we come, we can stay over, for a Notable Night experience. Then we'll have a little more time to enjoy dining and lingering in the Coffee Shop.
The Dining Blog
This is a blog about Dining Adventures. Sometimes, I talk about food. Below, you can read how this started.
On July 4th 2011, I set a goal to try 50 culturally diverse restaurants in one year! (I knew that was possible, living in the Houston area) I spent the year pulling in friends and family to join me, on some unusual dining adventures. I met some curious people, tried some scary foods and explored places and cultures I never would have otherwise. Even though I met my goal, I learned too much to end my adventures in dining. I have continued blogging about memorable dining adventures of all kinds, near and far... and all the discoveries and funny things I've learned along the way!
Locations and types of dining adventures, are listed further down.