The Bridge Cafe runs on real-word know-how
By Monika Guendner
Emerson Oliveira may have been programmed to become a restaurant owner.
“My mom and dad, they taught me a lot about food when I was a child [in Brazil.] My dad would take me to the market, and my mom cooks incredibly good food,” he said.
He didn’t start his adulthood as a chef or waiter, however. His foray into the restaurant industry came after he earned a degree in computer science, and he came in to set up point of sale systems in restaurants.
Real world know-how helped him do his job, and Oliveira spent several years working all areas of local restaurants, on the dining room floor and in the kitchen.
“You gotta have a real knowledge of how the restaurant business works in order to make the system functional. I needed to know how everything works in the front of the house to the back of the house,” he said.
The connections he made during that time put him on a different level.
“It was an opportunity [that brought me in as a restaurant owner]… the place became vacant in 2008. We started a conversation with the brothers. Mike Sweeney was the first one to approach me, and we figured out this was an opportunity to do my own thing,” he said. “We built a relationship and the opportunity came in and we decided to jump in and do it.”
Oliveira began The Bridge, named after its location next to the ski bridge by the Town Lift, with friends, but runs the restaurant with his wife Juliana Klein now, and will celebrate The Bridge’s 10th anniversary in 2018.
Ten years has been full of new learning experiences, said Olveira.
“At the start, you put your passion and heart in it when you try to run a business, and you start knowing more as you’re in it,” he said. “I keep learning.”
Seasonal income and stretching earnings over the offseason offered a significant learning curve, as well as broadening into weddings, corporate events, and outdoor summer dining. The Town Lift Plaza next to the restaurant has been key to holding bigger events on site.
The Bridge offers comfort, casual fare with a Brazilian twist. The entire menu – every breakfast, lunch and dinner dish – are available the entire day.
His mother can cook everything perfectly without tasting it, and Oliveira is lucky to be able to do that as well. Going to the market with his father every week has helped him work with vendors now.
His Brazilian upbringing has influenced many dishes on the menu: from steak and fries with chimichurri sauce and a fried egg to moqueca baiana, a Brazilian fish stew of white fish, shrimp, mussels and baby clams simmered in a coconut milk and palm oil broth.
And then there’s the eggs. So many eggs. The two-egg breakfast and brazuca omelets are the two best sellers on the menu said Oliveira. With breakfast offered all day long, pancakes, French toast and, of course, omelets come out of the kitchen from open until close.
This winter, The Bridge will experiment more with dinner dishes in addition to the returning dishes. The restaurant can see up to 600 diners on a busy peak day, and it’s not unusual for some visitors to come for multiple meals on the same day, Oliveira said.
The restaurant industry has kept him busy enough to lose his computer programming savvy, and now he has to rely on others to help him with new systems.
“I became a bad user of new technology,” he said, laughing.
But he has no regrets.
The Bridge Cafe and Grill is located at the Town Lift Plaza, 825 Main Street in Park City.
The restaurant is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
For more information and reservations, call 435-658-5451 or visit thebridgecafeandgrill.com.