What’s more impressive than a double rainbow? More exciting than finding that unexpected $20 bill in your back pocket? Even better than waking up dreading the alarm before quickly remembering it’s your day off? A whole list of brand spanking new restaurants to set your teeth into – that’s what!
O.k. you’re right, I’d take the lie in and twenty dollars too, clearly I’m getting a tad carried away. Still, who can blame me, SLC’s dining scene gets more vibrant and richer by the nano second. Here’s a recap of some of the more interesting places to open since our last new restaurants roundup.
BTG Wine Bar* – One of SLC’s finest bars just got even better. BTG Wine Bar recently added a whole new menu of appetizers and entrees. The menu comes direct from BTG’s own new kitchen, no longer from Caffe Molise – though the two remain owned and operated by the same team.
The new food should be a stellar addition to an already fabulous bar. Stop by most nights, and pick the brains of top sommelier Louis Koppel (formerly of Spencer’s Steakhouse) – a fun guy who knows his stuff. He will be sure to steer you in the direction of something interesting or new. Here’s a a picture of the new menu I snapped in mid-late June:
63 100 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84101
BIZE Dessert Studio – In my day we only had lowly cake shops, these days though, Ogdenites susceptible to the odd sweet or three have full blown studios. From the businesses Yelp profile:
“BIZE – dessert studio… Is a creative twist of elegant patisserie with a romantic lounge, inspired by French renaissance aristocratic style. We offer a variety of cakes, pastries, chocolates, mousses, shakes, and other select famous European desserts, along with embellishments, and various edible decorations, made with locally found ingredients with no preservatives or artificial ingredients.”
O.k. enough of my snark, that sounds damned delicious. I’ll take ten please.
4844 Harrison Blvd, Ogden, UT 84403
Debbie’s Deli – Over in South Salt Lake, you might’ve noticed this new operation move into the space formerly home to the Pakistani/Indian eatery Ali Baba. The deli title might be a stretch, the raison d’être of Debbie’s Deli seems to be mainly sandwiches – running $6.49-$8.49 with a particular special being the Buzz Bomb, a sandwich with an extra thick cut roast beef.
2646 S 700 E, Salt Lake City, UT 84106
Galley Grill – Not much detailed info to report on this new eatery just yet. No website, no Facebook page, no nothing. In fact, if it wasn’t for their Yelp page here – you’d never know that a new Russian eatery opened in this strip mall location, just over the road from Harmons Brickyard. Fans of borsch, shashlik and pelmeni, report back with your findings and let us know.
1295 E. Miller Avenue, Salt Lake City, Utah 84106
Grandma’s Taqueria – Another off the radar joint is this relatively new taco operation in Glendale. The menu reads full of fine stuff like barbacoa, lengua, chicharon and al pastor; and according to this bowled over Yelper you even get to hand load up your fixings from a fresh and varied salsa and condiment selection.
1320 Swaner Rd Salt Lake City, UT 84104
GR Kitchen – Does the Salt Lake valley need any more fast casual Greek offerings? This isn’t rhetorical, the answer has already been decided for you – and it is yes – at least according to the folks at GR Kitchen. The approach looks set to be akin to the Subway of Greek fast food: pick a type of plate, pick a protein, pick toppings, pick sides etc. Me, Ill take a gyro with a side of gyro meat topped with, er, you get the picture…
7702 Union Park Avenue, Sandy, 84047
Kotako – The seemingly unstoppable force of nature that are the team behind the Cupbop food truck sensation show no sign of letting up. Hot on the heels of their bricks and mortar outlet in Provo, comes their latest mobile concept, this time fusing Korean cuisine to Mexican . Options include Korean style burritos ($8-$9), Korean style tacos ($8-$9) and Korean style quesadilla ($9-$10). Most of those dishes come in chicken, beef or pork configurations and undoubtedly, given the popularity of their existing creations – long, long queues.
Little Saigon – I remember the day that folks used to whisper about great Banh Mi’s in SLC, like spies exchanging secret dossiers – all secret handshakes and winks. Not these days, the jig is up, you can find these fine French-Vietnamese sandwiches all over town. The latest addition to the landscape is Little Saigon on the edge of Sugarhouse.
In addition to the more traditional Vietnamese flare, and in keeping with the de rigueur trend of the day, there are also several fusion items. If you ever wanted your Vietnamese food, with a Mexican twist and served burrito or taco style – your dreams have been made reality.
2021 Windsor St, Salt Lake City, UT 84105
Memphis Jack’s Steak House & Grill – Previously this location was home to the more sedately named Christopher’s Steakhouse. Obviously, more razzmatazz was needed for the good folks of Draper, hence the sparkly new monikered restaurant. Steak still seems to be the order of the day, but alas, their website at this time does not work, so that’s where info ends. Let us know if you’ve tried this one.
1122 E Draper Pkwy Draper, UT 84020
Padelis Street Greek – Does the Salt Lake valley need any more fast casual Greek offerings? Wait, deja vu you guys. This spotted via Twitter recently – looking set to open in the former Good Dog space downtown:
Porch – We reported on this new Daybreak restaurant in our last new restaurant roundup, but at that time the restaurant wasn’t quite open. Since then the restaurant has opened it’s doors. As part of some recent work for the Salt Lake Tribune, I also had an opportunity to speak with Jen Gilroy, chef and owner of both Meditrina and Porch.
“I have been in the restaurant industry since I was nineteen years old”, she told me. “I got my feet wet putting my self through college in Nashville, Tennessee by waiting tables. I always selected small family-owned restaurants to work – or those whose Chefs had become noteworthy in Nashville. In other words, the type of restaurants that encouraged me to play with them in the kitchen or ask as many questions as I could. I do not have a formal culinary degree. I have chosen to gather experience in different areas of the restaurant over time and many times by trial and error. If you have a hard time being wrong, this method will probably take some time – as it has for me;).
In opening Meditrina, I conceptualized something that was common in many of the other cities I had visited but not so much in Salt Lake City when we opened in 2008 – the quaint neighborhood restaurant with amazing and creative food, incredible service, and a fun and eclectic atmosphere. I also wanted to incorporate small plates-style in the concept. I enjoy sampling many flavors when I dine and wanted my guests to experience that as well. Now I am about to open Porch in Daybreak. This restaurant is a tribute to what I consider my culinary roots – Southern American cuisine – with a twist, of course. I love to play with food and fuse different elements whenever I can.”
Porch’s menu looks to be perhaps the of the most adventurous and eclectic in the area with items such as: Pickled Crawfish ($10, butter lettuce, shaved fennel, cucumber, grapefruit, tarragon) and Southern “Brick” Chicken ($16, Mary’s airline breast, sweet tea brine, mac & cheese, spiked watermelon slaw). On top of that there’s also a range of high end cocktails like the Daybreak Fizz ($10, Jackrabbit Gin, St. Germaine, house sour, soda, Boston bitters) to whet your whistle with too.
11274 Kestrel Rise Road, Building C, Suite G, South Jordan, Utah 84095
Queen Asia – Filipino, Vietnamese, Thai, Korean, Japanese and possibly even more, all under one roof. In theory this could possibly be either a) a recipe for masses of multicultural confusion and chaos or hopefully b) an exciting panoply of South East Asian cuisine. Here’s hoping for b, because the menu for Queen Asia is a fascinating read.
From easily recognizable dishes such as Pad Thai, Korean Kalbi and Vietnamese Pho to dishes that are far more obscure: Bopis (combination of heart, liver, spleen in a tomato based sauce and chili), Laing (rich, creamy coconut milk with pork belly and dried fish) and Crispy Pata (deep fried pork leg with chili soy sauce and vinegar sauce) the menu is eye popping.
And then, as if that wasn’t enough, the menu ends with the “Queen Asia Boodle Fight” which is described as “a unique dining experience, one week reservation is required”. It’s a completely new term to me and I’m not easily foxed, but some quick Google-fu seems to point to a smorgasbord of wonder to share with 6-10 of your closest friends (priced $100-$150). And, who can say no to a smorgasbord? No one, that’s who.
9155 S Redwood Rd, West Jordan, UT 84088
Ruth’s Creekside – Ever gazed at the building adjacent to Ruth’s Diner, while waiting for breakfast and wondered why the heck it wasn’t a restaurant too? Well now it is, and much more to boot. From the same owners as Ruth’s comes this new mixed concept business. The cafe is open seven days a week and serves simple quick casual food like pizzas and panninis – and some intriguingly left field dishes too, there’s a range of house made (oddly named) Aussie meat pies for example.
Perhaps more worthy of note is the Creekside Market aspect to the business. Essentially a modest grocery store where you can not only buy grocery staples, but also as a type 2 package agency (you can see others here its one of the only places I know of in SLC where you can legally buy a loaf of bread, a pint of milk and a bottle of wine all in one transaction. It’s like the real world or something. In Utah. The mind boggles.
4170 Emigration Canyon Rd. Salt Lake City, UT 84108
Seoul Garden – Not a hint of fusion cuisine here, well not unless you bring your own bratwurst to chop into your bibimbap; German-Korean you guys, it’s coming next, I swear. This new Korean restaurant moves into the former digs of Jang Soo Jang on 27th South. It’s the same old rickety looking building, but I have it on good (nay, great!) authority that the food is light years ahead of their predecessors. A cursory glance at a few online sources seems to suggest the owners are very tuned in to making the experience even better. One to watch.
2701 State St, South Salt Lake, UT 84115
Smokey’s BBQ And Grill – BBQ lovers of Ogden rejoice, your meat dreams/prayers/sacrifices (insert your level of commitment here) have been answered. Joining the ever expanding roster of 25th Street’s dining options comes this new Q hotspot. Check out their Facebook page for some cool shots of the space revamp and if you visit, let me know what you find – I don’t make it up North nearly as often as I should.
207 Historic 25th St Ogden, UT 84401
Spitz – Whether you back their Kickstarter or not one, of my favorite downtown SLC hang outs has arrived in the continually evolving (see: construction site) Sugarhouse. Spitz’ unique take on the doner kebab is now open in Sugarhouse and slinging their loaded wraps as I write.
If you do decide to flex your philanthropic muscles, you’ll be rewarded with personal gain; for just a few more days or so, donors contributing to the funding for a fun patio space at the new location will get some pretty fine discounts. Check out these shots of the new Sugarhouse location interior, imagine how exciting that patio will be:
Under Current – Finally, one of the hottest new destinations on the downtown drinks scene and generating a metric ton of buzz – and deservedly so. The new bar addition to the adjoining seafood-centric restaurant Current is a well needed grown up space for our blossoming city. The bar operates separately from the restaurant (indeed there’s no internal way for customer’s to cross from one to the other due to DABC rules) and features its own menu of bites such as oysters ($2.75 each), steamed Asian buns ($5) and “UC” Tacos ($4).
I recently had a chance to check out the chic space as part of an Absinthe And Oysters educational session just a few weeks back, and had an excellent time. I mean how could you not? The bar is now offering this to the general public for a second go around on July 22nd (8 p.m.). Led by general manager Amy Eldredge and Jim Santangelo (pictured below in full flamboyant flow), the evening focuses on the singularly unique and exotic history of the ‘green fairy’. There will be tasting notes and pairing of four different absinthe brands (Corsair, Kubler, St George and Pernod) and three sets of paired oysters. Cost to attend is $50 for the absinthe pairings and $25 for the oysters and other paired treats. RSVP by calling (801) 574-2556 or emailing Amy@UnderCurrentBar.com. Here’s some more shots from my own session with la fee verte:
270 S 300 E, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
* Gastronomic SLC is a proud local partner of BTG.
Hi, I’m Stuart, nice to meet you! I’m the founder, writer and wrangler at Gastronomic SLC; I’m also a former restaurant critic of more than five years, working for the Salt Lake Tribune. I’ve worked extensively with multiple local publications from Visit Salt Lake to Salt Lake Magazine, not least helped to consult on national TV shows.
I’m a multiple-award winning journalist and have covered the Utah dining scene for the better part of fifteen years. I’m largely fueled by a critical obsession with rice, alliteration and the use of big words I don’t understand. What they’re saying about me: “Not inaccurate”, “I thought he was older”, “I don’t share his feelings”.
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