104-year-old Layton Train Station has new life with rehab, open of Cafe Sabor
Ally Chacon, of Farmington, and Melissa Jenkins, of Layton, have a farewell lunch for Ally before she moves to California at Cafe Sabor, formally the Layton train station, in Layton on Tuesday, August 16, 2016. The 100 year-old building has been vacant for the past several years. "This is my tenth time eating here," Ally said about Cafe Sabor. "I highly recommend it."
BRIANA SCROGGINS/Standard-Examiner

104-year-old Layton Train Station has new life with rehab, open of Cafe Sabor

LAYTON — After sitting vacant for nearly seven years, the 104-year-old historic centerpiece of Layton is back in business.

Mexican restaurant Café Sabor has moved into the Historic Downtown Layton Train Station, 200 S. Main St. Mayor Bob Stevenson said the restaurant has already begun serving food with a “soft opening” earlier this summer and will hold a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony at 11 a.m. Friday.

As new developments like the Kay’s Crossing Apartments have been sprouting up around it, the city has been trying to find a use for the building for several years.

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According to Layton City, the train station, also known as the Layton Depot, opened in 1912 and originally served the Oregon Short Line Railroad, a Union Pacific subsidiary. 

UP closed the depot in 1972 and the building was physically plucked from its foundation and moved to its current location, about 600 yards south along the rail path. After rail operations closed, a restaurant called Main Street Station occupied the building from 1972 to 1992. 

Another popular restaurant, Doug and Emmy’s, occupied the building from 1992 until 2009, when the Utah Department of Transportation began plans to build the $97 million Layton Parkway and Interstate 15 interchange. Doug and Emmy’s closed and the state bought the building.

UDOT initially planned to demolish the station, but the city approached the state and struck an agreement to preserve the landmark, said Kent Andersen, Layton’s Deputy Director of Community and Economic Development  UDOT transferred ownership of the building and associated property to Layton in September 2013.

Cafe Sabor opened in the 100 year-old Layton train station in Layton on Tuesday, August 16, 2016. The building has been vacant for the past several years.
BRIANA SCROGGINS/Standard-Examiner

Logan-based Highmark Construction recently completed a $600,000 rehabilitation on the building. Principals of the construction company also own the building under the name Layton Station, LLC. Andersen said the rehab project was funded through grants and by private and public investments from multiple agencies including UDOT, the Utah Transit Authority, Highmark and Café Sabor.

Stevenson said the station has been a priority for the city since it became vacant.

“It was an eyesore and quite honestly, probably a safety concern with the condition it was in,” he said. “But it’s a historic building and it’s an important part of the community. A lot of our residents have memories there, so we wanted to make sure we preserved it.”

Andersen said the city is working to get the structure listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Café Sabor has four other restaurants in Utah and Idaho: Logan, Bear Lake, Idaho Falls and Island Park. The new Layton location is the chain’s second establishment in a historic train station, after opening a restaurant at Logan’s Historic Center Street Depot in 2002.

Café Sabor Owner Justin Hamilton said he’s thrilled to be a part of Layton’s resurgent historic downtown area. 

You can reach reporter Mitch Shaw at mishaw@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at @mitchshaw23 or like him on Facebook.