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Three more restaurants in Utah calling it quits

Lefty Montoya and Brian Zinsmann (Valerie Phillips)

Wimpy and Fritz

Valerie Phillip’s fabulous blog on Northern Utah dining tipped me off to this one. Ogden’s Wimpy And Fritz – winner of Utah’s best taco at the 2019 SLC Taco Fest – are closing after five years. Owners Lefty Montoya and Brian Zinsmann (pictured top, credit Valerie Phillips) confirmed the news on Facebook writing, “We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude for the incredible support you’ve shown us over the past five years. As our lease draws to a close, we’ve made the difficult decision to close our brick-and-mortar business. “

Wimpy And Fritz first flickered to life at the Ogden Farmer’s market, before taking up perma-digs first inside Weber county’s Yes Hell bar. A migration to the Riverbend development at 352 Park Blvd. in Ogden came next. Phillips first covered the dishes and story of the business back in 2021 in this article.

Epicure Fine Food & Drink

After my last recap of shuttered spaces, readers tipped me off to the closure of this Midvale stalwart. The restaurant’s website now confirms this, offering the following note to customers:

“It is with a heavy heart that we must announce the closure of our beloved restaurant, Epicure Fine Food & Drink. This decision was not made lightly, and it comes as a result of circumstances beyond our control. We want to take a moment to express our deepest gratitude for your unwavering support throughout the years.

Since the day we opened our doors, our mission has been to provide exceptional dining experiences and to create cherished memories for each and every one of our customers. The loyal patronage and smiles that filled our restaurant were the driving force behind our passion.

Unfortunately, we find ourselves in a position where we must close our doors permanently. This decision was incredibly difficult, and we understand the disappointment it may bring to you, our cherished patrons.

We want to extend our sincerest apologies for any inconvenience this may cause. We are immensely thankful for the friendships we’ve formed, the celebrations we’ve shared, and the support of our valued customers over the last 18 years!”

The American restaurant anchored the heart of the strip mall at 707 Fort Union Blvd.

Slopeside Smoke Shack - pulled pork and smoked mac
Slopeside Smoke Shack – pulled pork and smoked Mac (Gastronomic SLC)
Slopeside Smoke Shack - brisket and beans
Slopeside Smoke Shack – brisket and beans

Slopeside Smoke Shack

One of the better BBQ options in the state as far as I am concerned, and now off to greener smokier pastures. The food truck recently took to Instagram to announce their Utah departure. The BBQ business wrote, “The end of the Slopeside Smoke Shack chapter will be concluding this week… It has been a great run in Utah but a door has opened leading to the New River Valley of Virginia. Thank you Utah folks! Virginia, we’re coming to you with our meat in the form of New River Barbecue!”

Again, a real shame, over the course of 2023 I’ve been trundling up and down the valley, not least chasing down BBQ trucks aplenty – assessing the state of the local Q scene; Slopeside was one off the better examples I’ve found so far this year.

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15 thoughts on “Three more restaurants in Utah calling it quits”

    1. I’m sad! Can you relocate? I can not go on without your Flatbread with the chicken & cranberry cheese. It was my favorite. Please start a new restaurant and be sure and have Flatbread!

  1. Please, guys, there is no apostrophe in a plural! It’s “restaurants” not “restaurant’s”. An apostrophe denotes a contraction or possessive. Like, “the restaurant’s customers stopped coming, so they closed.”

      1. Thank you for the article. I am very saddened to hear that Utah is loosing small food businesses. It just is sad to see these big companies no matter who it is in the tech world or food world take over. The flavors, diversity and creativity we will loose.
        I also find it sad that people have nothing better to do but to get online and criticize others for a very simple mistake. I am sorry that you had to endure such poor treatment. Keep your chin up and hang in there.

        1. Thanks for your kind words Ozzie, it’s all cool. I’m big enough and ugly enough to take that it on the chin. A particularly smushed chin after all these years hehe.

          1. It broke our hearts that Celeste’s in Murray has closed. We had no warning until we decided to go to dinner and it was just gone. Not even a sign on the door. I guess Covid killed more than just p. So sad.

  2. We have lived in the area for 40 years and were saddened to read this. We enjoyed many dinners with family and friends over the years that you have been open. The food was always delicious and music entertaining when performing. Good luck in future ventures. Gary and Fran

  3. I’ really’ enjoy’ you’re (that one is especially for the apostrophe police) work’. Slopeside is loss, but I have not eaten at the other two. Keep eatin’.

  4. Wow! Can we get a break from the Internet police for a few minutes? My mother was a stickler for proper grammar and verbally caned my friends mercilessly for language mistakes. I believe that the rules of language are integral to the foundation of a successful society. But when a comment to an article becomes a grading exercise about the writer’s grammatical expertise instead of the intellectual content of the subject matter it makes me wonder if you may or may not have a life. Let’s all ease up and go back to having conversations and dialogue that’s fun, politically incorrect, offensive to some at which point they can walk away, and save the obedience to rules for the lawyers. I can’t wait for the analysis of that free wheeling run on sentencing stream of consciousness stuff to wake up the easily offended populace with nothing else to do but look for easy opportunities bitch about other people while hiding behind a made up anonymous “handle” on social media to talk the talk but run away when it comes to walking the walk.

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