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PARK CITY, Utah — The Mustang’s unique story is closely linked to owners Ryann and Dustin Stein, who have maintained the establishment’s legacy since they took over in 2014. Their journey through challenging times and unwavering commitment to the restaurant provides a glimpse into the restaurant’s 20-year history.
Dustin Stein’s journey into the restaurant industry began during his days at Park City High School when he worked as a dishwasher. He later explored other career paths, obtaining a degree from the University of Utah and working as a stockbroker. Eventually, he returned to Park City and the restaurant industry, driven by his dream of owning a restaurant. His experience, from managing Easy Street on Main to becoming the food and beverage manager at the Stein Eriksen Lodge, paved the way.
Ryann Stein, originally from Florida, has been in Park City for 15 years, working in the community’s restaurant industry.
Bill Hufferd, an accomplished Executive Chef, played a significant role in Riverhorse On Main’s history. In 2004, he, along with his wife Kelly, founded The Mustang.
Dustin’s path intertwined with Bill and Kelly’s when he joined The Mustang as a server in 2008. Their collaboration continued for six years until tragedy struck with Bill’s unexpected passing. Like the regrowth of wildflowers after a fire, new life breathed into The Mustang. In 2015, the Stein’s became the restaurant’s new owners.
To this day, Hufferd’s award-winning Local Red Trout entree remains on the menu as one of its signature dishes.
“We met at the restaurant,” said Ryann Stein. “We actually just recently got married on September 29 at the restaurant; we finally tied the knot. We have a three and a six-year-old and another one on the way. It’s been a pretty exciting nine years for us.”
The Mustang not only caters to visitors from around the world, but it has established a sense of community for guests and staff, transforming the community into friends and extended family. In the summer months, the restaurant offers local specials, like $30 off the purchase of two entrees.
The COVID-19 pandemic brought about a significant closure for The Mustang, lasting 19 months. During which Ryann and Dustin Stein faced unforeseen obstacles.
In 2020, the Steins celebrated the birth of their daughter and bore the burden of The Mustang’s sudden closure due to the pandemic. Reopening during the summer of 2020 proved challenging, and they soon realized the difficulty of operating while ensuring staff safety. The following winter saw operations at just 50% capacity, labor shortages, food supply shortages, and increased demand. However, their determination remained intact.
With the arrival of snow and tourists, The Mustang Dining Experience emerged as a solution to maintain excellence while avoiding overcrowding. This approach allowed The Mustang not only to survive but to thrive in circumstances where others faltered. The Mustang Dining Experience is still in place during the winter months, allowing a create-your-own menu with the choice of an entree and two other dishes, be they both desserts, an appetizer and salad, or any combination.
In the aftermath of that transformative pandemic, The Mustang received accolades as Park City’s Best Fine Dining Restaurant in 2022 and 2023. The overwhelming support from the community has been heartwarming. The Mustang remains a place where the owners personally attend to their patrons, where everyone knows your name, and where the essence of what makes it special is preserved.
“We’re just so grateful to have made it through the tough times and still be part of the community and we just love what we do,” she said.