By RUTH CASTILLO
The celebration of Hard Rock Cafe’s grand opening shook up Salt Lake City Friday.
“Salt Lake City has come of age,” said Mayor Deedee Corradini at the celebration.
Jim Berk, president and CEO of Hard Rock Cafe international, Inc., said the restaurant, at 610 Trolley Square, was the 89th Hard Rock Cafe in the world.
“It’s only rock ‘n’ roll, and I like it,” said Gov. Michael Leavitt.
Leavitt believes the cafe will be a major tourist attraction.
“I think GreyHound(buses)are changing the Salt Lake City Tour as we speak,” he said.
Berk said Utah is proud to share the single largest catalogue of rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia with Hard Rockers around the world.
Berk also said the collection began in 1971 with Eric Clapton’s guitar and now includes items from famous Utah artists who have contributed to the world of music and pop culture.
Patch work boots worn by Marie Osmond on the “Donny and Marie” show are one of many items of memorabilia which heavily decorate the walls of the cafe. The latest item added to the cafe is a pair of custom-designed snow skis, displaying a guitar and the Hard Rock Cafe Symbol, provided by Evolution Ski Company. They are a gift on behalf of Salt Lake City.
Berk said he believes the cafe will bring great philanthropic opportunities to the city. Ninety-six percent of the cafe’s employees are from Salt Lake City.
“We will make you proud,” Berk said.
Hard Rock Cafe Inc. partnered with the Assistance League of Salt Lake City to raise funds for needy school children in the area. A total of $20,000 was raised, of which $5,000 was given on behalf of Hard Rock Cafe Inc.
Saharon Bowers, a waitress at the cafe, said local bands will be performing in the cafe’s private club upstairs. Memberships can be purchased at the cafe.
The “New Generation Gospel Singers” from Salt Lake’s Calvary Baptist Church started off the grand opening by singing “This Little Light of Mine.”
Group members said they chose this song to emphasize that the light is at Salt Lake City and Hard Rock Cafe helps to illuminate that light.
“The people that are here are rocking the town already,” said Rita Gilligan a Hard Rock Cafe waitress since 1971.
Gilligan said she believes everyone has to visit a Hard Rock Cafe at least once in their life time.
Hard Rock Cafe Salt Lake City will be open from 11 a.m. to midnight Sundays through Thursdays. Fridays and Saturdays, it will be open until 1 a.m.