His generous spirit and gifted imagination have helped Hearth and Hill survive a crisis in which many restaurants were early casualties. "It was all about being creative and giving back to the community," Brooks said. "We found new revenue streams - curbside is now a big part of business and will be for a long time. We came up with ideas like farmers market bags to support local growers and Cinco de Mayo Mexican feasts delivered to homes with a live mariachi band." The restaurant also offers curbside packages for family holidays such as Thanksgiving, Easter and Mother's Day.
It hasn't all been smooth sailing. "The first half of the ski season was rough," Brooks recalls, noting the power of travel came along just in time. "The strong second half was huge for us and the entire food industry of Park City. Without it, we would have seen many restaurants close."
He notes travelers and his local customers affect each other positively, which helps business. "In our location, tourism is important, but it is not 100%. We are more local-centric. Tourists seek us out because they want to go where the locals go."
As restaurants continue an unpredictable recovery, Brooks keeps his associates in his thoughts and actions, as he has from the beginning. "In the first month of the pandemic, we called every associate once a month to check in and see how everyone was doing," he said. "We would communicate as much as we could and be transparent. There were many emotional moments where I thought, "What is the best thing to do?" Everyone was and is going through different personal situations, and we constantly work on how to support everyone."
Brooks says he learned how to give back from former bosses, restauranteurs like Steve Solomon and Peter Merriman of Merryman's in Maui. "I hope I can benefit people I supervise the way they benefited me," he said.
The COVID crisis taught Brooks that his instinct for creativity is sound, and his enthusiasm shows. "Don't be afraid to throw everything against the wall," he advises. "Some ideas will be wildly successful, and others will fail, but that is ok because you don't know until your try!"
With the business support of his father, David, Brooks and his wife Catherine are all about family as they care for their baby, Callen. Brooks says his love for sharing moments with friends, family and others is a also a hallmark of Park City, where everyone – traveler and resident – can feel at home. "We have a restaurant and hotel community that cares about our staff and our guests," he concludes. "We want the best for everyone."