In less than a month’s time, Salt Lake Magazine’s annual Tastemakers bash returns to downtown SLC. Now into its eighth year running, this years celebration of food and drink will be held once again at The Gateway. This years event runs on June 14th and 15th, 5.00-10.00 p.m. both nights, mark your diaries now.
If you’re new to this event (scroll to the bottom to see pics from 2017), here’s a quick synopsis of the two day affair:
The main attraction is held in the center of The Gateway al fresco. You wander from restaurant to producer, tasting a bite here and a sample there. Rinse/repeat until you’ve tasted the lot. Each time you stop and taste, the restaurant will mark this off on your Tastemakers badge. The Pavilion also features outdoor seating, a cash bar and live music.
Pro tip: get to the event as early as you possibly can, because everyone else does too; and in my own past experiences vendors these means vendors can sometimes run out of food earlier than they’d planned for.
The Tasting Tour Bus
Starting at the South side of The Gateway, the Tasting Tour Bus runs in a loop around certain downtown restaurants – New Yorker, Spencer’s, Finca, Ruth’s Chris etc – and passes each location every 15 minutes. The idea is to hop on, hop off, and enjoy a casual restaurant crawl on wheels, at your own pace. You can’t take drinks on the bus, but each restaurant will offer guests alcohol to purchase while they’re tasting. Again, each restaurant will mark your pass once you’ve tasted what they’ve got. And if you want to linger longer and order from their regular menu, they’ll be more than happy to have you in my experience too.
If you stump up some more cash you can grab yourself a VIP ticket. This grants you access to another 15 tastings in a separated VIP area. Pro tip: this is indoors and AC-cooled, so if the Summer sun is out to play, it can make for a handy respite. VIP guests also enjoy a private terrace and lounge area overlooking the festival, exclusive craft cocktails and private bathrooms. The VIP pass includes 5 free drinks too.
The general pass is priced $45 and the VIP pass (including access to the extra tastings, lounge and 5 drink tickets) is $85. In my experience, I’d definitely go with the VIP pass. The calmer break from the crowds and drink tickets more than make the extra $40 splurge worth it. Tickets can be purchased online at tastemakersutah.com.
Participating businesses for 2018 include:
Pig and a Jelly Jar
Park City Culinary Institute
Redstone Olive Oil
Stone Ground Italian Kitchen
Texas De Brazil
Yoshi’s Japanese Grill
Beehive Cheese Co.
Creminelli Fine Meats
Del Mar Al Lago
Dented Brick Distillery
Dough Co | The Garage
Harbor Seafood and Steak
Kid Curry| Flemmings
New World Distillery
Provisions | Ruin
Sugar House Distillery
Talisman Brewing Co.
Market Street Grill
Ruth’s Chris Steak House
Spencer’s Steak House
A portion of the proceeds will be donated to KidsEat Utah. Here are some shots of the Tastemakers 2017
Disclosure: I usually receive free tickets to the event from Salt Lake Magazine to cover this event each year.
Hi, I’m Stuart, nice to meet you! I’m the founder, writer and wrangler at Gastronomic SLC and The Utah Review; I’m also a former restaurant critic of more than five years, working for the Salt Lake Tribune. I’ve worked extensively with other local publications from Utah Stories through to Salt Lake Magazine and Visit Salt Lake.
I’m a multiple-award winning journalist and have covered the Utah dining scene for more than a decade. I’m largely fueled by Uinta Cutthroat, alliteration and the use of too many big words I don’t understand. I ate all the pies.