Buy Now Cathy Allred Robert Trepanier has been the owner of Porter’s Place on Lehi’s Main Street for 21 years. He sold the building, an 1855 original, to Lehi City and is constructing a large log and stone restaurant in Bluffdale near the Rockwell Center. Trepanier hopes to open Rockwell Station before December 2008.
Another landmark on Main Street is preparing to close.
Gary Nelson closed The Lehi Colonial House Reception and Catering Center slightly more than a month ago, now Porter’s Place owner Robert Trepanier is preparing to move off Main Street.
"I always jokingly said when I have a pawn shop on one side of me and a karate studio on the other, it’s time to move on," Trepanier said. "And that has actually come and gone."
He attributes traffic on Main Street and limited parking near his on 24 W. Main St. business for his need to close restaurant doors.
"The parking has just killed it," he said. "You can’t park here, you can’t eat here."
Trepanier wants to move his restaurant to Bluffdale next to the Porter Rockwell Center west of I-15 at Point of the Mountain and rename it "Rockwell Station" with "Porter’s Place" in small print underneath the new name.
"As soon as my restaurant is done, I can leave," Trepanier said. "Historically, it will be more accurate. It’s literally a stone-throw away from the Porter Rockwell Hotel and Pony Express Station."
Built of lodge pole, square logs, and of stone, the building will emulate the 1860’s and Rockwell’s time period. One level, it will have a full basement and a mezzanine and be built to serve 300 with 91 parking spaces.
His regular customers will be following him.
Mac Powell started going to Dr. Will Worlton at 24 W. Main St. when his dentist office was where the restaurant is now and just kept on going when it became Porter’s Place in 1971.
His favorite was the Porter’s Favorite and a "good old vanilla shake."
"We used to hold our Elder’s Quorum meetings down there," Powell said of his LDS 9th Ward meetings that were held in the back of the restaurant at a large round table.
Trepanier purchased Porter’s Place 21 years ago, but the building was constructed in 1915 originally housing the Lehi Sun newspaper office.
"They used to tether the horses outside and come in," he said of customers.
Dennis and Frank Huggard began the Porter Rockwell themed restaurant, building an addition on in an existing alley between their structure and Super Quality Market on the east. Russ Snyder bought it in 1980 who in turn sold the building to Trepanier in 1986.
"When I got here Lehi still had that small town atmosphere," he said. "We had viable businesses in those days."
Lehi City, the new owner of the building is letting Trepanier stay until Dec. 31, 2008, or earlier if his new restaurant is done before that date.
The red tractor seats, the bar room mirror, the buffalo head, everything will be gone including a large painting of Porter Rockwell that hangs on the wall behind the counter. The complete series of Porter Rockwell and his biography by Richard Lloyd Dewey is displayed by an antique cash register along with stick candy of a variety of flavors.
Trepanier said the back of the huge mirror hanging behind the authentic bar counter is the flooring from the old 1st Ward building built in 1855.
"Porter Rockwell very likely walked on that floor," he said. "Although probably not too often."
Porter’s Place is known for its steaks, buffalo burgers, halibut, scones, smoked beans and nonalcoholic specialty drinks like Rattlesnake Venom, One-Eyed Jack and Diamond Lil. The popular Porter house steak will still be there along with their grilled halibut.
"Basically our menu will be the same," he said of Rockwell Station fare. "It’s been a great 21 years, I hate to leave. I really do, but it’s the economics of the times. You either change with it or die."