homepage logo

The Base Restaurant & Bar has an Air Force theme and a menu for everyone

By Valerie Phillips special To The Standard-Examiner - | Feb 24, 2021
1 / 6

Owners Gordon Davidson and Karlyn Walters at The Base Restaurant & Bar, located at 694 W. Antelope Drive in Layton.

2 / 6

The BBQ Blue Burger ($11.29) is a half-pound patty topped with melted blue cheese, tangy BBQ sauce and a crispy onion ring at The Base Restaurant & Bar in Layton.

3 / 6

The Works Pizza ($14.99) includes toppings of mozzarella, parmesan, ham, sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, red onions, green peppers and black olives at The Base Restaurant & Bar.

4 / 6

Buffalo cauliflower appetizer ($8.59) features chunks of cauliflower dipped in spicy batter, deep-fried and topped with blue cheese crumbles at The Base Restaurant & Bar in Layton.

5 / 6

One of the $7.99 lunch deals is golden-fried halibut with seasoned fries at The Base Restaurant & Bar in Layton.

6 / 6

The Philly cheesesteak ($12.29), is made with thin-sliced ribeye, topped with sautéed onions, red and green peppers, and melted cheese blend on a toasted hoagie bun at The Base Restaurant & Bar in Layton.

What’s a great name for a restaurant that’s located near a military installation?

“The Base Restaurant & Bar” was a no-brainer for owners Gordon Davidson and Karlyn Walters when they opened it last year at 694 W. Antelope Drive in Layton.

“We thought, what’s Layton known for? The mountains, F-35s and Hill Air Force Base,” said Davidson.

He and Walters were longtime employees of Boston’s Pizza Restaurant & Sports Bar, a chain eatery at that location since 2007. But Boston’s was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, and layoffs were expected.

“Our contract was up with Boston’s, so we decided to step up,” said Davidson, who was Boston’s general manager at the time. Walters, a bartender and manager, joined with Davidson to leave the franchise and start their own restaurant.

They’ve found both challenges and advantages to reopening and rebranding.

“When you are part of a franchise, they provide everything for you, and you just follow it,” said Davidson. “So we had to create everything from scratch — our own policies and procedures, our menu.”

But an advantage of local ownership is being able to use other local businesses, such as a local bakery for breads and another small company for desserts.

Another advantage: “We gave almost every person in the kitchen a raise, by using the franchise fees we had been paying,” said Davidson.

“Also because we’re locally owned and operated, we could be creative with our menu,” he added.

Their kitchen managers, a husband and wife duo, helped create their recipes.

It’s an extensive menu with burgers, sandwiches, seafood, pasta, pizza, salads and ribs — “something for everybody,” Davidson said.

A signature dish is the Philly cheesesteak ($12.29). “It quickly became our No. 1 bestseller as soon as we put in on the menu,” Walters said.

Mounds of thinly sliced ribeye steak, a cheese sauce blend with sautéed peppers and onions are piled on a hoagie bun sturdy enough to hold it all together. The creamy-with-a-kick jalapeño sauce served on the side is so popular that “People ask to use it as a fry sauce or salad dressing; they want us to bottle it and sell it,” Walters said.

Signature appetizers include deep-fried Buffalo cauliflower ($8.59) and deep-fried garlic cheese curds ($8.99).

The Base is also known for gourmet-style pizzas, such as The Works — a chewy crust, generously topped with marinara, mozzarella, Parmesan, ham, sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, red onions, green peppers and black olives. It’s $14.99 for a small size — enough to feed at least two people.

The BBQ Blue Burger ($11.29) is a half-pound patty dripping with barbecue sauce and melted blue cheese.

“People order our BBQ ribs ($20.99) and when it’s dropped off at the table they say, ‘Whoa! That’s a lot of ribs!'” said Davidson. “For not being a smokehouse or rib joint, they’re really good.”

The budget-minded can choose from a $7.99 lunch menu, served 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday-Friday. It offers 10 different options, including wings and fries, quesadillas, soup/salad combo, pasta/salad combo, halibut and fries, and the “Base-ic” burger.

Walters would like to see more customers try the chicken piccata ($14.59). “I’m a huge fan of it, and our kitchen managers were able to come up with a really good recipe. It’s a hidden gem,” she said.

Another hidden gem, said Davidson, is the Rocky Mountain spaghetti and meatballs, which at $19.99 is large enough to split with two or three people. He once offered a Base T-shirt to a man who bragged that he could eat the whole portion on his own. But 10 minutes later, “He was stuffed. He couldn’t finish it.”

The desserts are made locally from scratch.

There’s a full bar in a separate room, with lots of TV screens for watching sports events.

Many customers are military and civilians who work at Hill.

“We offer an excellent military discount, and a great atmosphere for our military men and women,” said Davidson. “But because of COVID restrictions, we don’t get the large groups and parties like we used to.”

The décor pays homage to Hill Air Force Base, with drawings from a local artist, and many historic photos such as the 1940 base groundbreaking. On the bar’s main wall is a tribute to Lt. Col. Dillon “McFly” McFarland, an F-16 pilot from Layton who died in a training mission crash in 2002. His friends and family sometimes drop by.

“This is like home for our regulars, who we consider both friends and customers,” said Walters. “It’s become like a big family.”

Walters started at the Layton Boston’s when it first opened in 2007, as a 20-year-old single mom with two kids. Although she went back to school twice, she stayed at Boston’s.

“This job has supported my kids and me for all these years,” she said. “And when the opportunity for ownership came up, I took it. When I started working here, my son was 3 years old. Now he works for me as a busboy.”

Davidson’s wife, Mandy, also works with them. She was a bartender at Boston’s and initially helped him get hired there when he left a job in property management.

“It was supposed to be temporary, but eight years later, here we are,” Gordon Davidson said.

Walters noted that there’s a closeness among the staff, and not just those who are blood-related.

“If you’re not family by blood, you are family because you work here,” she said.

The restaurant is open seven days a week: from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.

It offers curbside pickup, takeout and DoorDash delivery. Customers can also order and pay online at thebaselayton.com.


Join thousands already receiving our daily newsletter.

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)