Pepperlane

By Kate Burroughs

Sandra and Rod Weese are business owners who aren’t afraid to bring a little heat to the Valley — in the form of jalapeño jelly — that is. A popular holiday treat served with crackers and cream cheese, this classic dish has been elevated to new heights in the Wasatch Back.

A little over a decade ago, the dynamic duo were sitting on the front porch of their Midway home, planning their next great adventure. Only to, quite serendipitously, receive a call a few weeks later, offering them an opportunity to partner with another couple running a small jelly and jam company out of a family basement in Wanship. The Weeses began their exciting venture in October of 2009, bringing a new ‘it’ factor to the business. Sandra has an impressive marketing resume, and Rod spent 20 years as a chef in Park City.

The couple loaded up the trunk of their car with the delicious homemade jalapeño jelly and headed south to deliver product and find new vendors. One of their first stops was the Payson Market. After a quick taste, the cheesemonger called the market buyer, and they ordered 5 cases. A similar thing happened at each of their stops and by the time they reached St. George they were out of stock. With family in Grand Junction, a delivery route in Colorado was appealing to the Weeses. On their initial visit, Gourmet Food Store placed an order for 250 cases of Pepperlane jams, and within the year, their products were in Gourmet Food Stores everywhere. Currently, Pepperlane Products can be found in more than 30 states, thanks to five different distributors. “Lee’s Market Place in Heber has been a big supporter from the very beginning, as well as Smiths, Associated Foods, and Harmons,” adds Sandra. The Weeses delivered their product for two and a half years until 2014 when Sandra and Rod became the sole proprietors of Pepperlane Products and moved the business to Midway.

Sandra contributes their success to the passion they have, “The secret to our success and our products is the amount of love we put in every jar at Pepperlane.” Pepperlane Products are made and jarred entirely by hand; nothing is automated. Their staff of three, reduced from seven due to recent cutbacks, is comprised mostly of single parents, and the employees’ children frequently visit Sandra’s office to play.

Pepperlane Products boast a product line of 14 unique flavors ranging from mild to “Myer, Myer, Lemon on Fire” with habanero peppers. The Sneaky Hippie Line combines superfoods with the classic jelly format. Currently in the works is a flavor called “Passionate Hippie” made up of chia seeds, passion fruit, and dragon fruit, which will be available this summer. All of the preserves have fun names that pay homage to their creation story. “Rod is the mastermind behind most of the flavors; he enjoys experimenting,” explains Sandra.

To purchase, visit Pepperlane Products in Midway, on their website, or any local grocer.

Imagine yourself on a warm summer evening, dining al fresco under twinkly cafe lights with a light breeze blowing. A bearded man plays a recognizable tune on his guitar from the corner of the patio, softly serenading you as you dine on dish after dish of delectable cuisine. The sun is setting beyond the trees, a lush green lawn spreads out beneath you like a blanket, and the glow of chandeliers from inside is illuminating your table as the stars slowly start to appear.

Now imagine that you don’t have to imagine it at all! You can find all of this right in our valley at Midway’s The Corner Restaurant. Although a new fixture on Midway’s main drag, The Corner Restaurant carries a long history. Longtime residents may remember when former mayor Gene Probst and his wife Darlene owned the Burgermeister restaurant in the heart of Midway. The Burgermeister (which means “mayor” in German) was a cozy gathering place where people could eat good home-cooked food and make memories, and many people did until 1997 when it closed down. The couple’s grandson, Burkley Probst, grew up at the Burgermeister and really missed Midway’s family gathering spot. He decided in 2017 that Midway still needed that sort of community place where friends and family could gather together and make memories over a table of great food. Together with his dad, Karl, he opened The Corner Restaurant.

In 2018 when plans to renovate an old home into a restaurant were deemed implausible, Burkley and Karl enlisted the expertise of local architectural firm Lythgoe Design to build from the ground up. Together they created a new space with elements of community and family thoughtfully incorporated into the building. The result was a restaurant with sleek design that was both welcoming and meaningful. Visitors can instantly pick up on the warm decor and inviting space that The Corner Restaurant provides, but most don’t know the effort that has gone into creating all the special touches housed within the building. For example, the front door faces the Midway Town Hall, which the majority regards as the heart of the town. The stone on the front of the building is potrock, a stone native to Midway, found when excavating the site where the building now stands. Even the gladiolas at the counter when you walk in pay homage to Darlene Probst, Burkley’s now deceased grandmother and original owner of the Burgermeister. They were her favorite flower.

Their menu is rife with comfort food and good ole’ Americana cuisine, but with a strong foodie influence. A touch of paprika oil gives that extra something to the clam chowder, and a blackberry chipotle barbeque sauce brings a sweet and savory kick to their chicken drumettes. Those who remember the original Burgermeister Ham & Swiss will not be disappointed, because it’s on the menu too! Years of history in the making blend the old and new into The Corner’s menu, and you can feel the perfect balance of old and comfortable with new and trendy.

My favorite thing about The Corner Restaurant is the ambiance. Inside, the natural woods and chandeliers warm the space. The staff has taken care to ensure that surfaces are sanitized and that they are adhering to all health and safety recommendations. Now, in the age of social distancing, the patio is the perfect place for those who feel safer in the open air of outdoor dining. Those adhering to stringent precautions can still enjoy The Corner’s delicious food by partaking in the extensive take-out menu. You will miss out on the twinkly lights and the cool breeze, but you can still enjoy a hearty stroganoff or a nice steak dinner without having to do the dishes.

The Corner Restaurant is a family. Burkley is the front-of-house manager, and Karl is the pastry chef, baking those delicious bread rolls (his wife’s recipe) and whipping up cream pies. Cousins, Carol and John, work with the financials. Burkley’s wife and Karl’s wife and daughter are also part of the team. And those who are not blood-related are part of the family as well. Everyone who works there loves talking with the patrons and hearing their stories, sharing the delicious home-cooked family recipes, celebrating their birthdays and anniversaries, and welcoming them to the family.

The Corner Restaurant is located at 195 West Main Street in Midway. For more information, check out midwaycorner.com.