Dinner with Phil Dunphey at The Chalk Garden

Monday, January 14, 2013


I love this guy.

Do you watch Modern Family? YOU MUST! YOU MUST! It is such a delightful show, and Phil happens to be my favorite character. When given the opportunity to spend an evening helping to host a party for him I hip-hip-hoorayed. 

So here's the deal: You know my bestie, Justin? The one who owns By Invitation Only and does all the fancy, fun dinners? Ty Burrell (aka, Phil Dunphey) contacted him and asked him to do an intimate dinner at his store in downtown SLC. That's right--not only does Ty own a bar in SLC (oxymoronic? OxyMormon?) he is also part owner of JMR Chalk Garden. The Chalk Garden Co-Op has always been my favorite boutique store in Utah. It used to be located at Trolley Square. They just opened one up across from City Creek and it is to die for. The design, the building, the clothes...it is essentially a miniature department store. They have a shoe section (TOMS and other amazing leather boots that are 50% off right now!), a jewelry section, an art gallery section, clothing, AND A LUNATIC FRINGE SALON inside. It is just so, so darling. Not to mention everything they carry is of the best quality and design. I'm a little obsessed.

So the dinner was held IN the Chalk Garden. The guest chef was KELLY from the DOJO in Salt Lake. Listen to me: TO      DIE      FOR. Please go get the Dojo Ramen noodles. Please. I beg of you.

There were about 25 guests and I got to be Miss Vanna White for the evening--welcoming everyone at the door, taking coats, schmoozing, etc.

Ty and his wife were the first to arrive and let me just tell you--so nice. SO NICE. So sincere and genuine and warm. I got to chat with him upon his arrival as well as after dinner was finished. His two kids are the same ages as Peter and Zoe (playdate!). At the risk of over-sharing, I decided to tell him one last thing as we were saying goodbye. It went something like this...

"I lost a daughter 4 years ago. Our lives have been really heavy. Hard. But I have to tell you that Modern Family is the one television show that we watch and at the end of our grief-filled days, it was always such a joy to be able to watch your show and laugh. We have needed the lightheartedness of your show so much. Thank you."

He was so kind. And just to show you what a great guy he is--he didn't say, "Oh, THANK YOU! I'm so glad you like it." He said, "Oh, I'm so sorry. I will pass that on to the entire cast...especially the writers. They are the ones who deserve all the credit."

So that was my evening with Ty Burrell. His wife is lovely. The setting was beautiful. The food was OUT OF THIS WORLD (I can't say this enough, people--Dojo, Dojo, Dojo) and I was so happy to be "window shopping", eating, mingling with Phil Dunphey, and talking to stylists from Lunatic Fringe all at the same time--with my husband and best friend. A combination worth repeating.

In summary:

-Go to the Chalk Garden (74 S. Main Street). Just soak it in. Be inspired. Shop the sale! Maybe run into Ty Burrell.

-Eat at Dojo. EAT>>> AT>>>DO>>>JO. Do you hear me?

-Ask for Darren Willison at Lunatic Fringe Salon inside of the Chalk Garden (he's the stylist who cut my hair during the "nude wedding" conversation last week. He's fabulous! Tell him I sent you). Tell them you want their "3 for $60" deal. Cut, color, and deep conditioner for $60 to new customers!!

And there you have it.

And I say these things...from the bottom of my heart.


  1. Honestly - Modern Family is one of the few shows that makes me laugh out loud - even when I never thought I would laugh again. Sounds like a wonderful evening. They couldn't have picked a better Vanna

  2. That is such an awesome experience! We heart Modern Family around here!

  3. When I read your last line I automatically said amen... Also, I'm a huge fan of his and totally living vicariously through you!!

  4. Wednesdays are so much better because of Modern Family! We love the Chalk Garden too...it's my husbands favorited "corner" in Salt Lake. Will have to try Dojo, thanks for the recommendation!


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