PARIS, ID – Making an investment in a Paris restaurant with no Eiffel Tower or Louvre could be a risky proposition. When the eatery is in Paris, Idaho, with a population hovering around 500, it could be a big gamble. When there is a historic Mormon Tabernacle attracting 60,000 people from May to September across the street, the boost in tourism makes it an opportunity.
Construction on the Tabernacle finished in 1888. The building was constructed by early members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that settled in Idaho in 1863.
Owners of Cody’s Gastro Garage looked at the location at 48 South Main St. Paris, Idaho, remodeled it and decided to give it a go. So far, it has proven to be a good gamble.
Richard Kristofferson, the General Manger for the grills in Paris and Garden City, said the restaurant has been a great investment for the county seat of Bear Lake County. Their Garden City location, at 88 South Bear Lake Blvd, opened three years ago and is keeping up with all of the other eateries in town.
Kristofferson has been in the business for 30 years. After high school he went directly to a culinary school in the Boise area and has never looked back.
The grill in Paris has been open for a year and a half and they feel like they have a strong presence in town and county. They have a fair share of visits from people around Montpelier, he said.
“The community has supported us and we have tried to support the community,” he said. “We do a scholarship for the high school students at Bear Lake High School in Montpelier, and our place in Utah gives a scholarship to students at Rich High School.”
The scholarships are for “C” students that may not go to college if they don’t have help.
“Of the four we have given, three have gone to Bridgerland Technical College and the other one went to Idaho State University,” Kristofferson said.
The eatery also supports other community events.
When Kristofferson designed the menu for the restaurants, he planned for people to eat many meals at the restaurant, so there is plenty of variety for repeat customers.
“We are mostly known for our Unbelievable Burger in both locations,” he said. “It’s a half-pound ground beef cooked with a special seasoning, topped with Gouda cheese, seared tomato, apple wood smoked bacon with a special sauce served on a special toasted bun.”
Chris Shurian, a developer from Utah County who loved cars, opened the first restaurant using automobiles and other vehicle themes for decorations. The name came from the owner’s charismatic son, Cody. They have combined uniquely themed restaurants with delicious menus.
The restaurant in Garden City opened in 2017 as part of the Water’s Edge Resort. Cody’s Gastro Garage soon became one of the favorite restaurants for locals and visitors to Bear Lake.
So far, they have been busy in Paris, and if things keep going well they may open Gastro Garages in Logan, Pocatello and some other cities, Kristofferson said.