He plays a bumbling dad on ABC’s “Modern Family,” but in Salt Lake City, Ty Burrell is trying out for a role as restaurateur.
Burrell has just opened Beer Bar, a beer garden-like eatery that serves 150 beers paired up with an array of house-made bratwursts, local breads and Belgian fries. The restaurant, which has high ceilings and long tables and benches to evoke that Bavarian beer hall feel, is next door to the cocktail bar Burrell co-owns with an equally simple name, Bar X.
“It’s a super simple menu, which is what we wanted from the beginning,” the Emmy-winning actor said. “Basic, but well-made and local. Instead of putting the energy into a lot of elements, making sure you have fewer elements and you are taking the time to make them right.”
The bar and restaurant cement Burrell’s roots in Salt Lake City, known less for attracting Hollywood types and more as host of the 2002 Winter Olympics and home to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Though born and raised in Oregon and schooled in Pennsylvania (he receieved his M.F.A. from Penn State’s theater department in 1997), Burrell said he now feels very much like a “Salt Laker,” having lived in the city since 2008. He and his wife, who was born and raised in Utah, live here part of the year with their two young daughters when Burrell is not in Los Angeles filming “Modern Family” or working on other projects.
Burrell said he often gets bemused looks from his Hollywood friends when they find out he owns a bar and beer garden in Utah — famous for its teetotaling culture and strict liquor laws.
“There’s usually some sort of confusion about why I’ve opened a bar in Salt Lake,” he said Burrell, laughing.