It’s been a while since my last new restaurant round up, but in the spirit of the New Year resolutions, mine is for more consistency in 2016! To kick things off then here’s a flurry of new restaurants, bars, cafes and more – all to hit the local dining scene over the past several months.
As for yourself, if you’re still deliberating on a realistic resolution for the year, let me suggest tackling one of the following new spots – rather than that starting up that diet, which deep down, we all know where that’s headed.
Bar Down Sports Bar And Grill – When life dictates I leave the safe, reassuring boundaries of Salt Lake City, I start to get worried. I frantically search Yelp for signs of life, AKA, bars. Sometimes, the outlook is bleak beyond slumming it at a chain. Despite the closing of the Fox Hole in Taylorsville, there’s still some sign of civilization with this new bar slash pub grub business. No word if it’s simply a rebranding or a new business though, their Yelp page is the only sign of life bar.
7078 Redwood Rd, West Jordan, UT 84084
Chedda Burger – Everything is cyclical, well, at least cylinders and the restaurant game. We’re now starting to see SLC food trucks open up their first brick and mortar variants. Chedda Burger brings the calorific treats of the Chedda Truck to a permanent home in downtown SLC.
The overall business is the work of chef and owner Nick Watts who counts BLT Steak and the tutelage of Laurent Tourondel on his past CV. This undoubtedly contributed to the current menu of which Watts says, “My food philosophy is to take really great ingredients and then combine them in ways you wouldn’t expect.”
He’s not wrong. On the burger side of the menu you will find items like The Green Mile which has mac n’ cheese, bacon, green chilies, and mustard on a brioche bun or the Killing Me Softly which has bleu cheese, bacon, arugula, and cranberry sauce served on a…wait for it… a Krispy Kreme donut.
Pictured above is one of their gourmet shakes, the Urban Campfire, that comes delivered billowing plumes of smoke from the incinerated marshmallow. And I haven’t even mentioned the tater tots that drive the crowds wild yet. My guess is you’re going to hear a lot about these guys in 2016.
26 E 600 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
Cubby’s Chicago Beef – Joining the ever dizzying reconstruction of Sugar House comes Cubby’s first SLC opening, adding to existing locations in Lehi, Provo and Spanish Fork. You can see construction of their new space over on their blog. Bonus points: they also recently put the business on wheels too, and you should see a Cubby’s food truck on the roads now.
2130 S Highland Dr Salt Lake City, Ut 84106
Chef Gao – There’s no stopping the Sichuan pepper fueled march of Chef Gao, contender for Salt Lake’s finest Chinese food. The local mini-chain now comprises three outlets with this latest opening: downtown, Midvale and now Orem.
If you haven’t yet been, just go. The service is notoriously quirky, but the food is drop dead delicious. Try the spicy boiled fish pictured above, or any of the dishes replete with Szechuan zip and zing.
220 West 7200 South, Midvale, UT 84047
Chile Amor – Given the popularity of Mexican cuisine, I’m often surprised by the relative lack of new restaurants in these roundups. This new North Salt Lake eatery certainly offers a menu that’s interesting reading; offering a selection of moles and parilladas in addition to more common dishes like burritos and tacos. Beyond that I’ve heard absolutely zero about this joint, let me know if you know more!
220 U.S. 89, North Salt Lake, UT 84054
CY Noodle House – Truly have it your way, as you “Create Yours” at this latest opening in South Salt Lake’s China Town. Ordering is a five step process and includes your choice of: cooking method, noodle, protein, veggies and broth. Extras, apps and a range of smoothies complete the picture. I already know a couple of people developing unhealthy addictions to this place, which is usually a good sign.
3370 State Street, Salt Lake City, UT 84115
Donut Boy – What do people love more than mysteries? Donuts. And this new opening in WVC offers both. Beyond some fairly decent Yelp reviews I can find nothing at all about this donut shop. No press, no website, no Facebook page. Donut and Scooby Doo fans should investigate immediately and report back.
2194 3500 S, West Valley City, UT 84119
Empanada Express – Virtually every world cuisine loves to wrap things in pastry and bake or deep fry them. And all people of the world agree: this is very good thing. The menu here features 10 selections and each runs a budget friendly $3-$4. Combo plates are available too for more complete meals.
7178 Union Park Ave, Midvale, UT 84047
From Scratch Bake Shop – From the folks who brought you the original From Scratch, comes this new mini bake shop – conveniently located right next door. Owner David Brodsky shared the concept by email with me, “We do everything in house and ‘from scratch’ just like the restaurant. Nothing but super high quality ingredients. Valrhona and solstice chocolates, organic cake flour etc. current selections include house blueberry jam infused glazed cake donuts, lemon cake donuts with fresh lemon zest, brownie/cookie sandwich with orange liqueur vanilla buttercream. Bulleit bourbon vanilla bean donuts, peanut butter cookie sandwich, brioche cinnamon rolls with brown butter frosting to name some.”
62 Gallivan Ave, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
Galilee Grill And Bakery – My guess is that you’re pretty familiar with dishes such as falafel and hummus at this point. Even shawarma has started to puncture the public consciousness in recent years. But what about minaiish? The Arabic pizza featured above is topped with feta cheese and za’atar spice and can be found with many other Middle Eastern treats at the new Galilee Grill and Bakery in Lindon.
131 S State St, Lindon, UT 84042
Ice Haüs – Brats. Beers. Burgers. What more do you want? O.k. there’s salads here too if you’re feeling all dainty and delicate, but my guess is, you’re gonna get strange looks ordering one. This Bavarian infused pub replaces the former 5 Monkeys in Murray.
Pictured above from their Facebook page – The Greek Brat: A chicken and Greek sausage brat served with sliced tomatoes, chopped cucumber, fresh red+green peppers, onion drizzled with Haus made tzatziki and finished with crumbled feta. The price? Less than six bucks during a recent holiday special.
7 E 4800 S, Murray, UT 84107
LA Moon – Formerly housed in the Leonardo downtown and now relocated in Sandy but also worthy of a mention, due to what has to be one of the most unusual menus in recent memory. Possibly keen to the fact that Thai food is ten a penny in this town, LA Moon also features European *and* Latin American cuisine. So let’s say you’re in the mood for Pad Thai and your better half an Argentinian steak with chimichurri sauce, well my friend, you’re in luck here.
9460 S Union Square, Sandy, UT
Lua-O – I remember a time when banh mi was talked about in hushed tones in this town. Like a cache of hidden WW2 gold, online forums blinked with talk of secret banh mi stashes from hole in the wall grocery stores. Now you can find this staple of Vietnamese cuisine, in the mall, in Murray. All the good stuff is here: pho, banh mi, fresh spring rolls, boba and more. The concept is also seemingly the currently voguish one where everyone is an a damn rush. Ala Oh Mai, Little Saigon, Zao Asian Cafe and so many more the vibe here is fast casual.
6191 S State St, Salt Lake City, UT 84107
Manoli’s – Man can not live on gyro alone (well except for me) and for that alone I salute Manoli’s. This Greek take on the small plates dining approach offers more than a greasy fry and dry souvlaki. Other than Aristo’s this is really quite a departure from the Grecian delights you know and love around SLC.
All those Greek flavors and more are here in abundance though, just in a finer and more elegant package. Lamb belly sliders with smoked feta, seared scallops with citrus-ouzo vinaigrette, cocktails with local liquors, the list goes on. The word on the street so far is this place is something special. Definitely keep an eye on them.
402 E 900 S #2, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
Nuan’s Thai Kitchen – It seems mind boggling that there would be room for any more Thai restaurants in the Salt Lake Valley, but if you live in Cottonwood, you have one more option for South East Asian cuisine. I’ve no information as such to report here, let me know if you’ve tried this place out and if it rocked your world.
2350 East Fort Union Blvd, Salt Lake City, UT 84121
Passion Flour Patisserie – – If vegan bakeries popped up during the witch trials of yore, no doubt they’d be burnt at the stake for their devilish ways of making dairy free pastries tasting *that* good. The latest addition to the SLC vegan scene is this new Patisserie, the work of Jessica Davies.
Davies shared her thoughts on the business via email with me, “The ideology behind Passion Flour grows from my extensive education and experience within French baking, and my ethical alignment with veganism. Combining these two passions has been a journey of mine for the past couple years, and being from Salt Lake City originally, I sought to share it with our community. Passion Flour is different than any other bakery in Utah, let alone the United States. We focus on using purely vegan, 100% non-gmo and 98% certified organic ingredients because we believe in protecting the health and sustainability of our bodies and the environment.
Passion Flour offers everything from macarons, tarts, to pain au chocolate (chocolate croissants), accompanied by local roasters Blue Copper Coffee [see attached photos]. Since our recent opening we have been greeted with immense support and celebration from vegans and non-vegans alike.”
165 E 900 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
Porcupine Pub And Grille – The long awaited second location of this perennial favorite is now open by the U – replacing the Market Street Broiler in the former fire station building. The popular menu from the Cottonwood location is here in all its glory and the prices are seemingly unchanged too (according to the online menu). All that’s new is the brand new shiny space and presumably the return of the parking nightmare to this part of town – hmm that’s the same as the original Porcupine now I think about it.
258 South 1300 East, Salt Lake City, UT
The Pickle Jar – Located in the former Chez Betty space in Park City comes this Jewish Styled deli. Declaring somewhere a true Jewish deli is invariably a hot topic button but I will say The Pickle Jar offers corned beef, pastrami, roasted turkey, kosher salami, turkey pastrami, 1/2 sour dill pickles and rye bread all shipped from a reputed supplier in Detroit, MI that also supplied Zingermans in Ann Arbor Michigan. Pickles are served with every sandwich, there’s matzo ball soup, potato knish and chopped liver on the weekends. Sounds legit to me at least.
1637 Shortline Rd, Park City, UT 84098
Red Hot – You can now get your “grilled all beef kobe hot dog” fix in Sugar House as well as downtown SLC. This SLC operation sports nine gourmet dogs on their menu, plus a few banh mi and specialty fries such as poutine.
The buns come from Stoneground and the meat from Snake River Farms franks is 100% American kobe. The new location is conveniently next to the Cinemark theater in the heart or Sugar House so no longer do you have to suffer the indignity of ordering a cinema dog with mysterious origins.
R&R BBQ – A former Denny’s location is set to be the home for the second coming of these local BBQ messiahs. South Jordan-ites can rejoice now at this temple to all things meaty being in their hood.
Rod Livingston confirmed to me, “The new location will seat 97 with additional outdoor seating. This location will have all the same championship BBQ ribs, brisket, pork and sausage with our dinning in specials like brisket tacos, bacon wrapped meatloaf and smoked wings. We will also be serving beer on tap from Wasatch and Unita brewery.” News has it the new location is pretty much complete set and the announcement for their opening will hit any day now.
10646 South 300 West South Jordan, Utah
SOMI Vietnamese Bistro – Opposite the Sugar House Spitz outlet and gleefully contributing to the redevelopment chaos that is now Sugar House central is this new chic take on a South East Asian favorite. You’ll find familiar standbys like pho and bun, but the restaurant looks to be setting its sights on far more fancy fare.
Simmered oxtail with herbs, spices and taro; Chilean sea bass with plum wine sauce; pan search duck breast with bourbon sauce – just some of the dishes you will find on a menu that certainly has me intrigued.
1215 Wilmington Ave, Salt Lake City, UT 84106
Sushi Burrito – Another local mini chain with plans for world domination – this time with overstuff maki rolls. The latest opening sees a new outlet in West Jordan join those in SLC and Provo. You can my read my review of the original Sushi Burito for the SL Tribune last year here.
9105 Redwood Road, West Jordan, UT 84088
Thai Issan – Just when you thought it couldn’t be done. Yes. Yet another Thai restaurant, this time for the good folks of Taylorsville. In fairness, this part of town isn’t overly abundant in non chain dining, so I should probably put my smart ass comments to better use elsewhere.
2644 W 4700 S Taylorsville, UT 84129
Tonkotsu Ramen Bar – The ramen revolution continues in West Valley City with this restaurant focusing squarely on the popular Japanese noodle soup. The menu also includes a largely Japanese leaning selection of apps, rice bowls and rice plates, but the star of the show are the six ramen options ranging $8.95-$11.95.
Images taken from the quite beautiful Tonkotsu.us Instagram account.
1898 3500 S #10, West Valley City, UT 84119
Twist – Is it a bar? Is it a restaurant? Is it in a former boiler room and operated by a ton of old faces from Port O’ Call? Yes, yes and three times yes. Twist is home to some of the cheapest cocktails in downtown SLC (starting at four bucks for simple stuff like a Collins) and a slightly oddball bar menu that happily serves up items like duck confit or oysters alongside typical pub grub like burgers and wings.
32 S Exchange Pl, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
World Famous Pho Noodle House & Grill – Can anyone say hubris? This new restaurant which is apparently famed world over is also headed up by “Renowned Executive Chef Sabin Te” and promises “a unique taste that must be experienced”. At this point I might make a snarky reference to the menus cream cheese wontons you’ll find on the menu, but instead I’ll point out that beyond the namesake pho there are some possibly interesting items here such as burgers with an Asian twist; and the Yelp reviews are solid too. Please though, Teriyummi Chicken?
154 E 2500 S, Ogden, UT 84401
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”. Want to know more? This is why I am the way I am.
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