Local Favorite Après Ski Burger Bar in Peril

By Pam's Plate Dec 29, 2013
A “For Sale” sign recently went up in front of The Cotton Bottom Inn, an historic bar in Holladay. Is it the end for Utah’s best garlic cheese burger?
Local Favorite Après Ski Burger Bar in Peril

If you’ve never finished off a glorious powder day with a garlic cheese burger from The Cotton Bottom, the tone of this post may seem a little dramatic. You just don’t understand—and may never understand—if The Cotton Bottom’s days are numbered.

A few weeks ago a real estate sign went up in front of The Cotton Bottom, sounding the alarm among skiers and burger lovers. A popular après ski spot since the 1960s, located near the mouth of the Cottonwood Canyons, the bar is an easy in-easy out, mellow place to wind up the day. Winter and summer alike, the bar is a favorite among skiers, bikers, sports lovers, locals and business folks.

The Cotton Bottom Inn isn’t fancy. It’s clean yet dark and divey. The kitchen is tiny but somehow able to crank out more than 300 burgers a day during the busy season. The service is friendly and quick. But the burger…let’s talk about the burger. Its one and a half patties of juicy, garlic-loaded beef on French bread. The bread is soft but grilled—a perfect, sturdy envelope for the layers of classic toppings, i.e. shredded lettuce, tomatoes and pickles. It’s the little things: the toppings are seasoned with salt and pepper. The right amount of cheese glues it all together. It’s just pure, flavorful goodness.

As a Cotton Bottom employee told me recently, the bar was inherited by four siblings. One has “poured his heart and soul into the place” while the other three have “never stepped a foot on the property” and want to sell the .84 acres of prime Holladay real estate. The asking price is $1.75 million in an area where quaint old estates are bulldozed right-and-left and replaced with 20,000-square-foot mansions.

Is there an angel investor out there, willing to rescue the bar for burger lovers to come? Or will the faded neon bunny go forever dark? Today, after a gorgeous bluebird ski day at Alta, I spoke to cook Sharon who was working the line, dishing out burger after tasty burger to the packed house. “I don’t think it will sell,” she said. “There are too many memories here. Too many people want it to stay The Cotton Bottom.”

In the meantime, get to The Cotton Bottom while you can, while its future is still uncertain.

Insider Tips:

  • Do not ask for fries. Burgers are served with a bag of Lay’s Classic potato chips.
  • If you walk in and there are no tables available, just order at the bar and wait. Tables open up pretty quickly.

The Cotton Bottom Inn

2820 E. 6200 South


Open M-S, 11:00am -11:00pm,

Sundays and Holidays, 11:00am - 9:00pm