By S. Wade Hansen
Roasted artichokes are pleasing taste buds and satisfying stomachs in the heart of Provo.
Kent Werner, a native of Provo, started his restaurant, The Roasted Artichoke, two years ago.
“I”d never tasted an artichoke until I opened the restaurant,” Werner said. “We just came up with the name and built the food around it.”
Werner graduated from the University of Utah in exercise sports science but decided to pursue an entrepreneurial career in the restaurant business.
“When I graduated, I wanted to be a coach and a teacher in high school, but I was making twice as much being a server.”
When the building in historic Provo where the restaurant is now located became available, Werner decided to take the opportunity and run with it.
By doing the renovation work himself, Werner was able to finance the restaurant development on a budget of $15,000.
The restaurant opened on Jan. 18, 1999 and was quite successful.
“Business picked up really well right from the beginning,” Werner said. “It was all word of mouth advertising. People were pleased with what the restaurant was all about.”
The restaurant is designed to provide patrons with good food and fun music in a setting where people can just sit down and chat.
Werner prepares 100 percent of the food from scratch and uses artichokes from California that he obtains from a local food supplier in the recipes he has developed.
Roasted Artichoke patrons can expect not only freshly prepared food but also a different taste to each dish every time they try it.
“None of the recipes we make are measured,” Werner said. “I try different things all the time to make the dishes better.”
The food at The Roasted Artichoke has a Mediterranean base with an American twist.
Patrons can choose among different soups, salads, sandwiches and pasta dishes such as cream of artichoke soup, a roasted artichoke club sandwich or pasta prosciutto.
Many non-artichoke dishes are also available for those who enjoy rich European food but do not care for artichokes.
The food is a high-quality alternative to other lunch spots, according to many Novell employees.
Music is as much a part of the dining experience as the artichokes.
Weekend patrons can enjoy the acoustical-guitar music of local musician Joey Dempster while experiencing the cuisine.
“He”s been here since the restaurant opened, and people love him,” Werner said.
Dempster said he enjoys playing his music for great audiences in a nice location.
Werner is currently looking for other local bands to croon to dinner guests during the week.
The restaurant is also available after hours to local bands that want to hold concerts and charge a cover at the door.
Werner plans to continue his entrepreneurial endeavors by opening a second restaurant in Salt Lake City.