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Wine dinners and soft openings – five of the best

Birdhouse - peri peri chicken sandwich

With the holidays looming large and plates turning to turkey and turnips – now’s the time to treat yourself to something different. Before your diet turns to nothing but cruciferous and root veggies, here are five of the best coming up over the next week or so.

SLC Eatery

SLC Eatery - prep kitchen at work
SLC Eatery – prep kitchen at work

On Monday December 16th (6.30 p.m.) California wine maker Rick Longoria will hit up one of SLC’s best restaurants. Chef Logan Crew will be preparing a multi course menu paired with Longoria’s award winning wines. Cost is $80 per person ($40 for wine and $40 for food). This is a 21+ event and reservations can be made via

As for Longoria – the winery was established in 1982 and to this day remains a small family owned business. Longoria himself has been involved in the CA wine industry since 1976 and his namesake winery is known for producing acclaimed artisanal wines from some of the finest vineyards in Santa Barbara County.

1017 Main St, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
(801) 355-7952


Longoria will also be reprising his role as host-and-pourer in chief on December 17th at our favorite downtown wine bar. Cost is $90 per person (45 food, 45 wine) and reservations are a must. The 21+ wine dinner starts at 7 p.m. and food will be prepared by Caffe Molise’s Fred Moesinger

63 W 100 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84101
(801) 359-2814


Birdhouse - peri peri chicken sandwich
Birdhouse – peri peri chicken sandwich

While this 9th and 9th spot has been in soft opening mode for a while, owner Scott Evans is now formally taking the wraps off and inviting the neighborhood over. If you haven’t yet checked out the new chicken spot, head on down this Saturday (December 14th, 11a.m. through 5 p.m.) as the restaurant hosts an open house. Details as follows from Evans:

It’s a family friendly, open house event, so stop in to say hi anytime between 11am and 5pm and get free chicken samples, soft serve ice cream, and fun giveaways! After launching 6 full-service dining establishments, I have to say I’m excited to have our first fine-casual restaurant.  I see growing demand in the market for chef-driven menus and high-quality sourcing in an affordable, casual format, and Birdhouse is my answer to that.  

Birdhouse - interior
Birdhouse – interior

The menu at Birdhouse is inspired by a broad range of cuisines with creative takes on chicken sandwiches, salads and meals, plus soft serve ice cream for dessert.   From a four-piece chicken meal with mashed potatoes and gravy to a classic fried chicken sandwich with crisp lettuce, tomatoes & pickles to a grilled chicken soba noodle salad, the menu provides for a broad range of palettes, including the younger ones (thinking of you, chicken fingers).  View the current menu here

Our house specialty, and my personal favorite, is the Piri Piri Chicken Sandwich (choice of fried or grilled) drenched in a Portuguese/South African piri piri hot sauce.  The unique sauce is made from slow-stewed chili peppers and fresh lemon juice, which combines for a lighter, warmer and more flavorful spiciness than the typical vinegar-based hot sauce. 

Birdhouse - Magners cider
Birdhouse – Magners cider

We remain committed to quality ingredients, locally sourced when possible.  Birdhouse use Mary’s Chicken, which are free-range, fed an all-vegetable diet, and hormone and antibiotic free, plus locally made bread from Stone Ground Bakery, and other locally sourced ingredients to produce bright and clean flavors across a range of dishes.

On the drink side, I wanted a thoughtful and fun beverage menu with a curated selection of craft and local beer and cider, wine and spritzers, and bottles of bubbly.  If you haven’t had sparkling wine or champagne with fried chicken, you’re in for a treat – it’s a surprisingly perfect pairing that cuts through the richness of the fried chicken with a light and refreshing finish.

856 East 900 South, Salt Lake City, Utah 84105, USA
(801) 441-2213


Tsunami - spicy masa roll
Tsunami – spicy masa roll

Just over the road, the revamp of the former Alamexo Cantina space is pretty much complete. Tsunami 9th and 9th will be opening soon and to kick things off the restaurant will be hosting a fundraiser benefiting Girls on the Run Utah.

The event on Wednesday, December 18th will offer an evening of specialty sushi, sake, wine,
and handcrafted cocktails; plus a chance to get a first look at the newest restaurant in this local chain’s empire.

The event is 21+ only, tickets are priced $100 per person and 100% of proceeds will be donated to Girls on the Run Utah. Purchase tickets online here.

9th and 9th | 1059 East 900 South, Salt Lake City, UT 84105 | (385) 900-0288
Sugar House | 2223 S. Highland Dr. Salt Lake City, Utah 84106 | (801) 467-5545
Midvale | 7628 S. Union Park Ave. Midvale, Utah 84047 | (801) 676-6466
South Jordan | 10722 River Front Parkway, South Jordan, Utah 84095 | (801) 748-1178
Lehi | 1616 W. Traverse Parkway, Lehi, Utah 84043 | (801) 770-0088

High West

On December 20th High West Distillery in Park City is the next spot for the ongoing Park City Plated Series; a sort of rotating food festival, a way for locals to sample what’s going on around town.

The dinner will be served in a communal setting (at the distilleries Nelson House just off of Main) and will showcase a new prix-fixe menu created weekly by High West’s culinary team. And yes, there’s an optional whiskey pairing to complement each course. The dinner is $85 per guest with optional whiskey pairings priced at $40-$65 per guest. Reservations can be made at OpenTable. 

651 Park Ave, Park City, UT 84060
(435) 655-7309

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