Is there anyone who hasn’t heard of Taggart’s Grill in Taggart? The establishment has been serving lunch and dinner for nine years, and its fame has spread far and wide. It began as a gas station in the 1930s when two Taggart boys asked their uncle for some money to start up a station and some cabins. It expanded to a place that sold burgers and fish bait. At one point, a bobcat was kept on the porch. In the 1970s or early 80s, it burned down and Howard Taggart sold it to Elaine Stoddard, who owned it from 1996 to 2003. It is now owned by the Tuttle family and if you haven’t been there, you are missing a treat!
Steven and Lori Tuttle moved to Porterville in 1997 and have turned Taggart’s into a thriving business. It is a family business and their son Berk and daughter Kelsea own it with them.
I talked my husband into taking me out to dinner to Taggart’s for Valentine’s Day last week. We went early Thursday night because I know Taggart’s is always crowded on the weekends and holidays. We got there about 5:15 p.m., and there was a 45-minute wait. The lobby was already full of customers waiting for a table. You can call ahead if you will be there in 30 minutes so they can try to accommodate your party, but officially, they don’t take reservations. We should have done that, but since I wanted to interview customers, this gave me an opportunity to do so without disturbing their meals.
Just in the 10 to 20 people waiting, people had driven from Syracuse, West Haven, Coalville, Henefer, Enterprise and Mountain Green. All were return customers, and I asked them what their favorite meal was at the restaurant. Some people said the shrimp and another couple said they liked to split the pot roast dinner. Another couple said the prime rib and gave me an added tip, “If you come for lunch, you can get a prime rib sandwich for $8 and it is wonderful.”
One lady, whom they should hire for advertising, said that everything there was good. “All the breads and desserts are made from scratch,” she said. She said she had never had a bad meal and recommended the Jalapeno burger. She said, “It’s not too hot but is made with jalapeno jelly rather than jalapenos.” She also recommended the artichoke soup. On one website, a man said he drives to eat there 10 to 11 times a year for the spinach enchiladas.
When I interviewed Berk Tuttle, he confirmed that his mother, Lori, comes in every morning and cooks the desserts, breads and soups from scratch.
Valentine’s night, the specials were Dutch Oven Pot Roast, Prime Rib, Pan Seared Halibut with Risotto, and a 10 ounce tenderloin with blue cheese bacon crème cheese spread.
It was 45 minutes on the dot when we were called back to our table in the corner. The waitress was Johnny-on-the-spot to serve us. We placed our orders from the special Valentine’s menu, and I decided to try the tenderloin. I usually order the salmon with the teriyaki marinade, and it is always wonderful. But I decided to try something new. Both entrees come with sautéed veggies (squash and carrots) and au gratin potatoes. My husband ordered the shrimp scampi and a salad.
While waiting for our food, we noticed the beautiful stained glass hung in the windows and a picture of a peacock hanging above our table. Taggart’s is always charming and clean. The inside room seats about 17 people and the porch area about 25. I’m sure they could fill up more space if the restaurant was bigger.
Berk said, “We have no plans to expand. We are trying to make this the best little restaurant around. We don’t have plans to open another location.”
We have been to Taggart’s a few times before for a County Adjustment Board party and with friends and family. We ate lunch outside on the patio for the first time last July. The ambience outside was wonderful with a fountain and peacocks, and we ate under the umbrellas which shielded us from the direct sun. I think I had the salmon sandwich.
Be aware, however, children can’t eat outside because of the rattlesnakes or the peacocks. So, our son and daughter-in-law who we ran into at the restaurant couldn’t join us outside with our grandson.
Eating outside is a delightful experience, though, and Berk says, “Summer is our busiest time.”
The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner from Tuesdays through Sundays from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Noted on one website is that they have Sunday brunch. The food is always well presented on square or rectangle, stark white dishes, and the servers are attentive. I can say our meal was delicious and the artichoke soup was a real treat. The portions are ample, and I ended up taking half my entrée home. All in all, it was a wonderful evening.
When we exited about an hour after we sat down, the lobby was even fuller than before. Of course, it was Valentines, but it seems it is always crowded at Taggart’s.
Berk says the cuisine is eclectic. They have a mix of American food, Mexican entrees and even some Italian dishes. Their best sellers are their burgers and desserts. After many recommendations, we took a piece of carrot cake home and it was wonderful.
If you haven’t given Taggart’s a try, it is a special treat. They are listed on Facebook and you can see pictures of some of the menu items.