Everything at the Utah Parks Company controlled lodges reflected the care which the UPC took to reward their guests. The dining room became the center of the lodge. Three times a day it was opened and closed and produced a variety of treats that matched the surroundings in every way possible – if you were a guest that is. Employees were usually fed the previous night’s dinner, but very few complained.
Meals were chosen on a weekly basis by Company headquarters and groceries were sent every few days by delivery truck. Guests were usually given a choice between two entrees and a variety of deserts and beverages. One of the items always included on the menu was the relish tray. This large platter of olives, pickles, and various other fresh vegetables proved notoriously hard to carry. Many stories have been told of rogue olives falling down a visitor’s dress or of watching in horror as the tray crashes to the floor, spraying innocent onlookers with pickle juice.
Every care was taken to please the sensibilities of the guests. The small menus came with colorful postcards attached. Most of the UPC tours included room and board in the package price, so the dining room became a prime spot to provide stand out service. The Grand Canyon dining room featured large bay windows and the tables near them were difficult to get.
Additionally, Grand Canyon had a large organ at the dining room entrance and every evening guests would hear the Grand Canyon Suite played while they ate. For those easterners who feared the backward ways of the West, these dining experiences proved a welcome relief from the dusty trail.
Although not a traditional overnight stop on the Loop tour, the lodge at Cedar Breaks proved to have the most remembered dish – fried chicken. Every bus would stop at Cedar Breaks and partake of this wonderful treat. The chicken dinner with all the fixins’ soon became the only item on the evening menu. Some drove all the way up from Cedar City for a taste of this local delight. Those who ate at the UPC dining facilities left with crumbs on their shirts and smiles on their faces.