Saturday marks final last call at Canyon Inn; owner claims cops drove customers away

Posted at 9:31 PM, Oct 24, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-24 23:31:39-04

COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS, Utah -- A popular watering hole that has been a staple in the Cottonwood Heights community since 1948 has officially closed its doors.

The Canyon Inn is no longer in business, and they claim the local Cottonwood Heights Police Department forced them out.

On Saturday, the owners threw a going away party for their most loyal customers and staff.

"It's more than just coming here and serving drinks or having a drink with them: It's home. It's family," bartender Matt Taylor said.

Tori Mannos' first job in Utah was at the Canyon Inn. That was 19 years ago. She never left.

"I just can't believe it's the end, I thought I'd be here forever," Mannos said.

Jim Stojack bought the business 25 years ago. He said his goal was to always cater to the locals, and that it was theirs as much as it was his.

"During the Olympics, we were known as locals-only, all the other bars were giving free memberships out in those days, I said, 'No, if you didn't have a Utah ID you couldn't get in," Stojack said.

Stojack even met his wife at the bar. That was the only time he broke his golden rule: No freebies.

"I bought her drinks, her friends drinks, to impress all of them, and a year later we were married," Stojack said.

This group is like Cheers, you have a Frazier, you have a Woody and you have a Norm.

"Good people and good friends, and you always feel welcome here," said Sean Hilton, a Canyon Inn regular.

Stojack said he had plans of handing the bar down to his kids, but those plans slowly began to deteriorate, after he turned down an offer to sell the property to make way for the Canyon Center Development. According to Stojack, the police have been hassling customers in retaliation, causing him to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars.

"Their newest thing is just driving into my parking lot and breathalyzing people through the window, no FSD test, just breathalyzing them," Stojack claimed.

Stojack decided to sell the property to his neighbors, the Lift House Ski Shop, who plan to expand their own business. It leaves this community with a void they don't know how to fill.

"We got to meet someplace, so it's going to be an end of an era for all of us," said Paul Kidman, a Canyon Inn regular.

Cottonwood Heights City Manager John Park adamantly denies that the police department has anything to do with the Canyon Inn deciding to close.