Ty and Lyn Wells get ready for another shift at their home away at the Cowboy Club. Ty and Lyn are responsible for creating and cooking the masterpiece that has become the Saturday Night Special. This weekly five course meal is a great way to enjoy a night out in Carbon County and taste some very creative cooking from two of the Castle Valley's up-and-coming chefs.
When Glen Wells and his partner Ralph Stevenson started the Cowboy Club in 1972, it would have been hard to image that Wells envisioned the rowdy cowboy bar as a place to spend quality family time. Nearly 40 years later, however, a family affair is just what the Cowboy Club has become.
With a reputation for fine dining, a newly refinished interior and a kitchen staff that includes Wells' wife Tammy, daughter Lyn and son Ty, Wellington's CC Kitchen is as tasty and family friendly as a club can be.
"The food in this place started as nothing more than a pizza kitchen," laughed Wells from his establishment Wednesday morning. "While the pizzas were great, if you wanted to be on top in the local bar trade, you had to run a steak house."
According to Wells, in 1974 major renovations were made to the Cowboy Club's property and the staff began serving the menu many locals are familiar with today.
"I tell you it was touch and go during some of those early years," said Wells. "To tell you the truth, we simply had no idea about how to run a steak house. One time after things got a little 'hot' in the kitchen and I lost my entire staff, I had to walk across the road and ask Carolyn McLean to help me out. She was running the local cafe at that time and she came right on over and started teaching me to cook."
McLean stayed on for a few years according to Wells and things at the Cowboy began to turn around. Going into the 1980s and '90s the CC Kitchen developed and maintained a reputation for great food, served in a fun atmosphere for a great price.
As Wells' kids, who grew up around the restaurant, got older it became apparent they had a taste for entertaining all their own.
"I was signed up for Pro-Start the first year they taught the course at Carbon High," said Wells' son Ty, who described Pro-Start as advanced Home Economics. "I was all set to drop the class the first day of school but my mom asked me to try it for one day. I did, I had a great time and I have been involved with cooking and entertaining ever since."
Ty went on to graduate from Utah Valley University with a degree in culinary arts and made his way back to Carbon County and his family's establishment.
His sister Lyn, the baby of the group, is still taking classes at UVU working toward her bachelor's degree in hospitality. The family as a whole loves to cook and they love to eat.
"We take vacations based solely around food," laughed Ty. "The whole family will go down to Las Vegas just to try some new food. You know, trying out different kinds of food is the way we come up with many of our local specials."
Those local specials have brought the family closer together and turned up some of the most original food to be seen in the Castle Valley. The crew's "Saturday Night Special," brings together five courses and includes an appetizer, main course and dessert which would be at home on any Food Network show.
"This whole idea started with my very first cooking competition," explained Ty. "I stole my sister's famous Caesar Salad recipe and we blew the judges away with a rack of lamb entree."
Ty's presentation took fifth in the state overall and brought home the best entree honor to Carbon High. From these humble beginnings, a tradition was born. Every Saturday night, Ty, his sister Lyn, Glen and Tammie put together an eclectic blend of western flavors for local palates to enjoy.
Saturday night appetizers move from Chili Rellenos wrapped in Won-Tons then covered in Chili Verde and Jalapeno Sour Cream to Ahi Tuna with Mango Chutney. Entrees are anything from Steak Au Poivre to Lyn's Lamb Shanks. Desserts include Stacked Apple Pie, Peanut Butter Cup Mousse and fresh Doughnuts made in house along with coffee ice cream. All ice cream served at the Cowboy Club is made from scratch and in the restaurant.
"It's funny, Lyn is the baby but she pretty much runs the show these days," said Ty of his soft spoken sister. "She puts the menu together most weeks and is responsible for making most of the desserts. And I have to say we couldn't do this without our mom's help in the kitchen."
Whoever is doing the cooking, the Saturday Night Special at Wellington's Cowboy Club is not to be missed.