Those with September 8th (the start of football season proper for you non sports ball types) circled in their diary will want to pay close attention to this one. With about six months or so under their belt, Flanker Kitchen in downtown SLC have retooled their menu. The unveiling also accompanies the appointment of new chef Roman Contreras, whose new dishes more finely align with what the business is all about. Plainly put, Flanker wants to be the sports bar of your dreams. Forgot those sticky floors, flickering TVs and abjectly miserable food.
But wait, Flanker, huh? If you’re still playing catchup, let me bring you up to speed. Flanker Kitchen + Sporting Club (to be precise) is a mammoth 18,000 square foot space located in The Gateway. The location was once home to Punch Bowl Social, the experiential concept gobbled up whole by Covid.
Flanker first opened their doors in the Winter of 2021 following several licks of new paint – not to mention plenty of eye popping art from local Trent Call. The karaoke rooms from the prior tenant remain, as do two of the mini-bowling lanes, found adjacent to the revamped cocktail lounge known as The Parlor.
Most notably for sports fans, the space has been kitted out with more than 60 TVs, which apparently add up to more than 400-square-feet of combined LED coverage. I can only imagine the fun and games that come from managing the remotes… Let’s have a look at the new menu then. Here are a few snaps from a recent trip I made:
The stars of the reworked menu for me are the constellation of new taco offerings, unsurprising given that chef Contreras called SoCal home before moving to Utah. Selections include carne asada, carnitas, vegan chorizo/potato, as well as fish. All are thoughtfully put together, the battered fish tacos for example switch out bland cabbage for sweetly tinged jicama.
If you’re particularly indecisive I’d nudge you towards the “Big Tacowski”, an instagram worthy presentation loaded with a duo of each. The tacos are accompanied by tajin-spiked tortilla chips as well as two generous servings of roja and tomatillo salsa. The tomatillo in particular is a zesty lip-smacker and take the platter from good to great. I’m told it’s a closely guarded family recipe of one of the kitchen crew. This dude in particular, abides. Please take a moment to pause, and consider your own Lebowski puns.
Elements from the old menu remain. There are the chicken wings served table side with sterno burner and handy claws. Grab em, crisp em, love em. There are the spicy tuna bites attached to crunchy rice ‘cakes’ with spicy mayo glue. And take it from me, the fries hot from the fryer are just like those you always crave your local arches could manage. I could probably write a whole article on that alone. I’ll spare you.
And hey, if your team let you down, you can turn your armchair quarterbacking into the (almost) real deal – check out Flanker’s sports simulator rooms out back which include a number of games – football to baseball to golf.
There’s a lot to enjoy here, but intriguing to me is that the SLC location is something of a test-bed for a national rollout. The Vegas-based owners have plans as grand as their obviously deep pockets and it’s a huge coup for little SLC. The Beehive base will shortly be followed by a Vegas outpost in the Mandalay Bay – handily located on the way from the casino to the Allegiant stadium. More locations will follow with similarly sportsy associations. Utah will forever be number one though, how often do you get to say that?
Flanker are currently open Wed-Sunday but with the advent of Monday night football you can expect them to open daily from September 12th onwards.
6 N Rio Grande St Suite 35, Salt Lake City, UT 84101
Disclosure: Flanker are a sponsor of our website and invited me down to sample their new menu.
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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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