Friday 14 November 2008

Funky, Homespun, Artsy Feel Fills Bathroom at Remote Burr Trail Grill

Burr Trail Outpost and Grill
HWY 12
PO Box 1515
Boulder, UT USA

Where is it?

From the main entrance, enter the dining room, head past the modest bar on the left (which, more than anything, is an opening in the wall that lets people sitting in that art of the dining room look into the kitchen -- with a small counter and some stools in front of it), to the small display of T-shirts of other novelties for the place, as well as regional beers and wines for sale.

Turn left at the end of that, passing a small cooler containing various baked goods, go up a lone stair, into the back wing of the dining room, and take a left after the entrance to the kitchen. You'll see a modest-looking door with a Rest Room sticker sign on it, as well as a piece of paper reading, "PLEASE KNOCK! BEFORE ENTERING. gracias."

What's it like?

This small outpost, in the minuscule town of Boulder, UT (which, according to research, has a population of only 225), isn't easy to get to. You have to take Utah's Scenic Byway 12 (or HWY 12) past Bryce Canyon and through the northern end of the spellbinding and vast Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, one of my favorite places in all the American West.

As a result, you will have to travel through some truly breathtaking scenery, as well as some very twisty, remote roads taking you through and over some very steep mountain terrain. (HWY 12 ends on beautiful Torrey, which is next door to Capitol Reed National Park.)

Boulder is in the dead center of the road and gives you access to the nearby Burr Trail, a very rugged road which goes from Boulder back through the Grand Staircase to Lake Powell.

The Burr Trail Grill is quite possibly the only place to eat during the journey from Bryce Canyon to Torrey. Given that, you'd expect the place to be a bit of a hole in the wall. Surprisingly, it isn't.

More than anything, this funky eatery works both as an art gallery displaying works by local artists and a comfortably little diner with some very good food.

Granted, the menu isn't expansive, but for decent sandwiches and burgers (and the meat here has some unique spices mixed into it, giving it a complex flavor you don't expect) to chili con queso dip (highlighted by chipotle pepper sprinkled over the top) to cold draft beer from local breweries, it does a fine job and makes for a welcome stopping place. The service is friendly and down to earth, the dining room clean. It's worth a stop when you're passing through.

The bathroom here is small, a bit makeshift in design (really, just a built-on closet the owners put in here), but it's got an artsy feel to it and some funky decor, which make for an enjoyable visit. More than anything, it reminded me of the bathroom at the Soho South Cafe, only with less wear and tear and a bit less pretension (and without the hordes of people lining up to use it).

This is a one-bagger, of course. The walls here are made of wood and painted in golden browns and matted greens. There are some basic wood shelves put up to house the essentials, like the paper towel holder, some extra rolls of toilet paper and a boot holding some fake flowers (as if it were a vase). The toilet paper roll beside the toilet is fixed to the wall via a horseshoe, which is a nice touch.

The walls have posters and paintings of area sites, like scenery from nearby national parks and such, as well as some locally produced artwork. The floor has some golden patterned linoleum tile on it.

The toilet and sink aren't much -- standard white porcelain, cheap-o models from Home Depot or somewhere similar. But they're clean, as is the entire place. And odor free -- you don't even smell the smells from the kitchen next door, which is impressive.

It is a bit noisy -- you can hear the goings on in the kitchen -- but it's not so much of a distraction that you are bothered extensively by it.

Not a great bathroom, but it's clean, homey, unpretentious-yet-artsy and comfortable, and when you're this far in the middle of nowhere, that counts for a lot. The fact that the designers tried to make it unique, artsy, humorous and comfortable for visitors says a lot, I think.

Marks out of 10:


Comments to the Management:

If you can diminish the kitchen noise some, that would be great. Otherwise, this is a great, fun place, as is the rest of your grill and outpost. A joy to visit, I thought. Hope to be back someday soon.

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