Moab’s Main Street restaurant scene has a new and colorful edition. Twisted Sistas’ Café, run by sisters Terri and Julie Gutterson, celebrated their grand opening in the historic building on the corner of Main Street and 100 North last Friday. Though the restaurant will serve soups, salads, and sandwiches – the specialty will be tapas, a wide variety of appetizers that originated in Spain.
The Gutterson sisters are not strangers to the food service industry. The two started busing table as teenagers in their hometown in rural Vermont. Now, with a combined half-century of experience in food service, they are opening their own restaurant.
“I’ve been in the business since I was 16, so for 32 years,” said Terri Gutterson, who has worked for cruise ships and in Alaska.
In earlier years Terri Gutterson worked in the front of restaurants, serving customers and mixing cocktails. Then, 13 years ago, she was put in the charge of the kitchen at the Old Mill Golf Course in Salt Lake City. There she learned the ins and outs of the back end, which will serve her well in her new role at Twisted Sistas’ Café.
Julie Gutterson worked with Terri Gutterson to run the Old Mill’s restaurant, but her focus was more on the office and front-end side of the business.
She was forced to learn restaurant management after blowing out her knee while skiing at age 22. The injury seriously limited the type of work she could do in the restaurant, but ended up providing her with a valuable skill set.
When Terri and Julie Gutterson decided a year ago that they were ready to start their own restaurant, they came to Moab. Having visited Grand County many times they loved the location and the small town atmosphere. It reminded them of their hometown in Vermont, Julie Gutterson said.
For the last year the sisters have been working as carpet cleaners in town, saving money, working on their menu, and waiting for an ideal location to open up. When the historic building on Main St. and 100 North became available they jumped at the opportunity.
Twisted Sistas’ Café became the name for their new project because “we think we are two crazy people because we have been doing this (type of work) for so long,” Julie Gutterson said, laughing.
When deciding on the menu the sisters did their research. They went to the other restaurants in Moab and tried to figure out what they could offer that wasn’t already in town. They settled on tapas.
Tapas restaurants have started to become popular on both the east and west coasts of the USA. The sisters thought that the appetizer-size portions could find a niche in Moab.
“A lot of the Europeans that come, that’s their biggest complaint, that our portion size is way too big,” Julie Gutterson said. “We want a place were you can bring your group in and sit down and enjoy a family style dinner.”
The dishes that will be served at Twisted Sistas’ Café have largely been influence by the different Asian, Caribbean and Latin American countries that the sisters have visited.
Though terrestrial dishes such as pecan crusted chicken skewers and seared sirloin will be available, a big focus of the menu will be on fresh seafood, with dishes like sautéed calamari in pesto cream and curried coconut shrimp.
Everything will be homemade from scratch, with nothing canned or frozen (except for the seafood, which needs to be shipped on ice). Where possible the sisters also want to source their food from local growers and producers.
The café’s fully stocked Trail Bar will offer a range of unique cocktails that have been influenced by the surrounding area, such as the Slickrock Sunrise and the Corona Arch Cosmo. But that’s not all.
“We hope to be known for the best Bloody Marys in town,” Julie Gutterson said.
The two said getting ready to open the restaurant had its challenges.
“We have been planning this for so long that by the time we came we were ready for it,” Julie Gutterson said.
They’re ready for business.
“We want people to walk in and go ‘wow, this looks really fun in here’,” Terri Gutterson said. “We want to hear laughter and ‘yummm!’. That’s what we want to hear.”