There is something to be said about a familiar place to eat. Friendly faces that greet you every time, consistently amazing quality of food and service, and not to mention the fresh aromas that delicately permeate the air as you walk past the kitchen. For many in the valley, this familiar place is Snake Creek Grill.
When asked what his favorite thing about owning a restaurant is, Dean Hottle (who is also the head chef at Snake Creek Grill) replied, “I love working with and seeing my regulars, as well as new faces coming through the door each night.” That attitude and passion is what Hottle puts into every entrée and dessert at his beloved restaurant.
Hottle takes great pride in the freshness and quality he provides at Snake Creek Grill, right down to the hand-butchered beef tenderloin he serves with an incredible whiskey cream sauce and wild mushrooms. It is clear that he takes pleasure in making sure that his ingredients are harvested at the peak of their season. “I am always sourcing anything and everything locally that I can,” he said as he presented Morgan Valley Lamb chops to a regular.
His lamb chops are just one of many items he sources locally. He has served farm-raised elk meat for over six years and loves the diversity of his menu. Hottle pairs his elk — which has a distinct and earthy taste — with roasted root vegetable risotto and hearty seared greens; perfect for an early fall entrée. This practice and philosophy of locally sourcing make his flavors clean and bounce off your pallet.
At Snake Creek Grill there is a consistency that is unlike other eateries here in the Heber Valley. Hottle attributes that to the incredible group of vendors he has cultivated over the 15-plus years he has been with the restaurant. “I am always so pleased to feature locally-grown produce from our valley… Chris from Rustling Aspen Farm in Midway has been supplying us with the freshest and most beautiful produce all summer,” Hottle said.
Along with Rustling Aspen Farm, Hottle harvests all his rhubarb, peaches, beef and buffalo locally. He explained, “Even if the price is more, I will pay for locally-produced items to serve to my guests.” It is also typical for him to go to Buffalo Run Ranch and pick out a couple bison to be harvested for the restaurant — something that you really only find in European cuisine.
“I am always so pleased to feature locally-grown produce from our valley.”
Hottle loves playing with a wide host of textures in his food. From the velvety beef tenderloin paired with mashed potatoes and sautéed fresh vegetables, to the wildly popular fresh calamari with fresh Asian slaw, the menu is filled with one knockout after another.
To create a varied menu, you have to have the salty and sweet coupled with the savory and acidic; something that will brighten the flavor profile and allow the entrée to dance across your tongue. He accomplishes this by skillfully using fresh lemon or lime juice, or if needed, a splash of balsamic vinegar. This play on flavors and textures is paramount in the cuisine at Snake Creek Grill.
Snake Creek Grill was started by Barb and Mike Hill and opened on Nov. 19, 1998. Hottle worked with the Hills for six years before buying the restaurant. He kept a lot of the original recipes but has added some incredible items that incorporate his own style and flair. The best way to classify Hottle’s cuisine would be “comfort cuisine.” As clichéd as it is, it is very much accurate.
This coming spring, Hottle will have owned Snake Creek Grill for 12 years. As he continues to add new items, delicious wines and familiar faces to the Snake Creek family, locals and guests of the valley can always count on Hottle for a delicious meal that’s locally sourced and served with the same passion he puts into every bite.