1950, ’60s, & ’70s
In The Beginning
The inner dining room held two pool tables; the old bar was in the front room, much smaller than now. Fishing licenses and sandwiches were also available. Springdale was awfully slow and quiet then, in the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s. There were only a couple of restaurants in town, a few hotels, and lots of Peach, Apple, and Pecan orchards, many of them first planted by the Mormon pioneers, the first white settlers in the area from over 100 years ago. Visitors to Zion National Park, around 2 million people a year in 2010, were measured in the tens of thousands 50 years previous.
A Gathering Place
In 1981, it was still pretty slow around here, compared to now. The original owners of the Bit and Spur, Logan Hebner, Marcus Thompson, Ian Gamble, and George Kahrl, wanted to keep the feel of a gathering place in the bar, for hikers and climbers and boaters, locals and tourists alike, and serve Mexican food in the restaurant. Through the efforts of one incredibly creative and adventurous head chef, Michael Perry of Hurricane Utah, the food, and the restaurant, soon came to be known world-wide as a place to get exceptionally unique and flavorful food, in an unbelievable setting. The bar was a place to shoot a game of pool, see occasional live music, and huddle around the wood-burning stove in the winter.
Photo Credit: Brian Shaner
Legendary Venue and Festival
Musical Bit and Spur
The bar is still a place to grab a local microbrew and shoot a game of pool, but partner Alex Pelton, here since 1994, has brought a whole new vibe to the live music scene. The Bit and Spur have been the site of many legendary live shows, from the Mother Hips to Banyan, the Uninvited to Commander Cody, and the Lost Planet Airmen. Alex has also been instrumental in bringing the Zion Canyon Music Festival to Springdale. The festival started in 2008 and is held at the majestic OC Tanner Amphitheatre in Springdale and features two stages, vendors, and food trucks.
More information at Zioncanyonmusicfestival.com
Joe Jennings and his wife, General Manager Trish Jennings, owners since 1992, have dedicated over 25 years of their lives to the Bit and Spur. They have been a part of the huge transformation that southern Utah, and Zion, has undergone in that time. Some of the things they are most proud of, in addition to the award-winning food: The Bit and Spur recycle over 90% of its solid waste, and the frying oil is donated to local vegetable oil car owners; the inner dining room hosts a rotating art show, all proceeds of which go to the artist; local events, such as the big St Patrick’s Day celebration, and the big Earth Day party, are held on the lawn of the Bit. Most important to the owners, many of the employees have spent ten years+ here, and are a big part of our success.
Photo Credit: Brian Shaner
Be Sure to hit in Zion Vacation
"Super efficient. Food was awesome! Make sure to get the guacamole! Servers are friendly and great love music from the back deck"