Alan Pennay came to live in Sun Valley in 1972 to ski and play piano. Originally from Australia, he built Pennay's at River Run where he had an employee named Claudia Greer, now the owner of Cosi rerstaurant, in Trail Creek Village on Main Street in Ketchum.
Fast forward to 2010 and Pennay, along with singer Cheryl Morrell, will play Friday nights from 5:30-8 p.m. beginning this evening through the summer at Cosi. Greer is also the owner of Comme Les Filles clothing store in Ketchum.
"One of the musical delights in the world is to accompany Cheryl Morrell," Pennay said. "We are constantly working on our craft."
Pennay and Morrell are a known Sun Valley duo, having performed at the Sun Valley Jazz Jamboree festival and a variety of venues around the Wood River Valley. Expect to hear classic tunes with jazz influences in the tradition of Sarah Vaughan and Rosemary Clooney.
"We do lots of standard songs most people have heard but with a twist," Pennay said. "I feel that Cosi is a great party restaurant with an emphasis on fun and romance."
In addition, Pennay said special guests will appear throughout the summer.
"Main Street will start to have a buzz this summer," he said. "The more activity, the better."
Greer calls Cosi a dining experience "under the Tuscan tent" serving Mediterranean cuisine using recipes created by her son, a Michelin-starred chef in France. Cosi also has a sister restaurant in Dijon, France, owned by Greer's sister Helene.
"I am European and Sun Valley has lots of European influences, so Cosi is like a little island in Ketchum," Greer said. "I renovated it to feel like a Tuscan tent with lots of personality, including crystal chandeliers."
Greer has created an Italian café with homemade Tuscan cheesecake and crème brulee as well as delicious olive oils and savory dishes, including Fricassee d'Escargots with spicy sausage, mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes served in a light cream sauce with toasted focaccia bread.
"If you catch a trout, bring it in and we will cook it for you," Greer said. "This is what you get in France, not just service but a family-friendly atmosphere with lots of room for kids. We even have kids' games."
Greer said Cosi is four-star European cooking on Ketchum's Main Street, and for her, a dream come true. Cosi opens nightly at 5:30 p.m. with table seating or at the bar.
Sabina Dana Plasse: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ketchum's new café culture
· Moose Girls Café & Bar on 360 East Ave. serves breakfast and lunch from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dinner and full bar service are planned for the future. The café is the reincarnation of the Rustic Moose restaurant, which was on Main Street next to the Clarion Inn.
· Wood River Café on 200 First Ave. across from the Magic Lantern movie theater, specializing in wood-fired pizzas, is open for dinner.
· Bluebird Day Café will open this summer next to the Clarion Inn on Main Street for breakfast and lunch.