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A look at three dozen new names joining the Utah restaurant scene

The Local - Reuben sandwich (Gastronomic SLC)

With those thermometers starting to creep back up, I’m willing to bet you’ve been peaking out the window once more asking, “is it safe to go back out now?” Let me confirm. Yes, yes is the perfect time to dip your toes back into the local restaurant scene. Here’s a look at all the new names to join us over the past few weeks, and a look ahead to what’s next.

The Local Eatery & Bar

This month sees four new concepts debuted at this Downtown Salt Lake City food hall. Opening in February 2023 (see my first previews here) the concept has gradually iterated over the year that followed. In the last few weeks, the following new concepts have sprung to life inside the facility. Descriptions provided by The Local:

  • Habibi – serves up fresh Mediterranean & Middle Eastern fare, including warm pita bread freshly baked from a hearth oven and Middle Eastern favorites like savory chicken shawarma and mezze dips
  • Enko Ramen – sip, slurp & savor authentic ramen and Japanese classics like tonkatsu and karaage chicken wings with a contemporary twist
  • The Salt – a New York City-inspired Jewish delicatessen with delicious hot & cold sandwiches and soups (pictured top, credit Gastronomic SLC)
  • Super Chingon – Mexican taqueria offering a variety of menu options packed with flavor, including tacos, tostadas, quesadillas, and agua frescas

The quartet is joined by existing vendors Pokeologist (poke) and Pop’s Burger (burger dogs), as well as the on-site full bar – Good Bar.

Felt Bar & Eatery - bar area (Gastronomic SLC)
Felt Bar & Eatery – bar area (Gastronomic SLC)

Felt Bar & Eatery

Richard Romney is the name behind this new one for downtown’s Main Street. The name will sound familiar to many – Romney being the long-term GM of Takashi and Post Office Place. After some eighteen years of working for the award-winning Japanese restaurant, Romney has now gone solo partnering up with chef Travis Herbert on a completely new venture. In doing so the duo are looking to reboot the space vacated by Pago On Main. The restaurant joins the buzzy strip of Main that feature names like Whiskey Street, White Horse, Bodega and more.

The interior of the Felt Building space (341 S. Main) has been given a notable refresh, the former restaurant’s central kitchen area has been torn down, and in its place, a more convivial bar counter seating area. Licensed as a 21+ only bar that means you can enjoy Felt for just drinks, snacks, or a full-blown meal. Maybe all three.

I stopped by just last night, expect a fuller profile piece on these guys to follow in the days ahead.

Kafe Mamai - grilled red snapper
Kafe Mamai – grilled red snapper

Kafe Mamai

One of the latest names to grow out of the Spice Kitchen Incubator – the organization focused on helping refugees and disadvantaged individuals start their own food businesses. Pictured is the dish I enjoyed most at Mamai (49 E Gallivan Ave) when I stopped by in a snow-laden January.

Grilled whole snapper is finished with a coconut and tamarind sauce. On the side a yucca/plantain mash, and also collard greens. The latter deployed with a blistered, smoky flourish, all bitter and blackened. Great stuff. Here are some pictures of the menu, a melange of African and Caribbean flavors. I’m fairly certain no other menu in the state reads like this one.

98K Fried Chicken

Fryer fans will no doubt want to inspect the menu at this new casual spot in South Salt Lake’s Chinatown. Fried chicken sandwiches take center stage but the menu quickly riffs on other popular fast food dishes, as well as the more intriguing codfish burger, and shrimp burger. The menu is listed as being halal-friendly and in these inflated times, is laser sharp price-wise. A fried chicken sandwich combo with fries and a drink is priced below $10. You’d be hard-pressed to match that deal at some of the big national names quite frankly.

Bhansa Ghar

Now open in the building once home to a location of Kathmandu (250 W 2100 S). The menu piqued my particular greedy interest, replete with several dishes I’ve not encountered on South Asian menus in Utah to date. Chicken do pyaza was a favorite personal dish of mine before calling Utah home, relying on a double dose of onions to provide layers of sweet flavor.

The restaurant debuted on February 29th with a buffet spread featuring no less than 29 different selections. After some 100+ reviews on their Google review profile, the business maintains a five out of five rating – no mean feat.

Blacksmith Ice Cream

Head to Millcreek (1295 Miller Ave) for the second location of this artisanal ice cream parlor. Blacksmith’s name alludes to their unique preparation which begins with fresh cream poured onto a frozen anvil, From there? “We combine all of our ingredients together with the cold cream on the frozen anvil until it freezes. Once frozen, we roll the ice cream into small batches to get it ready for serving.”

Bonnie & Clyde’s

A new “1930s-inspired cafe serving coffee, pastries, salads, and sandwiches” in downtown Salt Lake. This Spring should also see the business add an after-hours speakeasy-styled bar as well. Sandwiches tackle familiar favorites like the club, and turkey pesto.

Culture Coffee

Serving up the good stuff for denizens of the Fairpark neighborhood. The stuff in question, a variety of beverages and food options.

Devil & Angel Desserts

Another newcomer to South Jordan’s ever-developing Mountain View Village complex. D&AD can be found in the unit just behind burger-flippers Stack 571. The South Valley location is the first Utah outing for the dessert operator that maintains a variety of Californian outlets. Soft-serve ice cream, boba, doughnuts, and croffle form the core of the sweet treats on offer.

House of Corn - tacos
House of Corn – tacos

House Of Corn

Making the move from Sandy, this Mexican eatery has now opened up shop in the once-upon-a-time downtown Even Stevens store (414 E 200 S). In late 2023, owner and chef Armando Guerrero spoke with KSL about a complete closure of the restaurant. Hopefully, things have since improved and the next spot serves them better. Bonus reading, here’s a story we ran on the Sandy restaurant, with the in-depth meaning of that name.

Huckleberry Grill

Perhaps add this one to your list for pre/post-Costco trips. Huckleberry recently pitched up across the road from the SLC location (335 W 1830 S). With their arrival, the owners hope to build on the success of their comfort food-focused food truck that came before. Regionally minded dishes include selections such huckleberry sauced pork, and good ol’ funeral potatoes.

Kimi’s Oyster & Chop House

This former staple of Sugar House has now completed its move to updated digs in Holladay (4699 S Highland Dr). Fans of owner Kimi Eklund’s work should note that the concept of upscale seafood and steak house with Nordic influence remains the same.

Kluck’s Krispy Chicken

This fried chicken joint has now made the boat ride over Utah Lake, opening a second location in Saratoga Springs (282 Crossroads Blvd). The sophomore location brings the same fried fun as the Orem original, a menu primarily built around chicken sandwiches.

Louk’s Greek Baby Donuts

American Fork sees a new appearance for this brand, joining the existing Utah operation in Cottonwood Heights. Louks, short for the Greek donuts loukoumades are the star of the show here.

The Meat

One for Utah Countyites, this new Provo food truck with a specialty of Cheesesteaks. The menu is concise with gobs of meat, cheese, and peppers loaded up in your choice of hearty roll, or pile of fries.

Napoli’s Italian Restaurant

A classic Italian menu has now arrived in Midvale (7640 Union Park Ave), a second location for a business that began life in Ogden. Specialties of the kitchen include lobster ravioli,

Noodlehead

A hat tip to the ever-wonderful Salt Plate City for sending me the info on this one. Noodlehead is the latest business to join the roster at the increasingly bustling Millcreek Common and also happens to be owned and operated by Tyler Stoke’s fancier neighborhood sister, Provisions. NH affords a bright, modern dining room, and a menu stacked top to bottom with noodles. Italian, Japanese, Vietnamese – it’s all here.

Palomino Bar

A new bar for Park City’s swanky Main Street, opened by the adjoining Riverhorse On Main, and the award-winning Seth Adams. Here’s the full press release from the company’s PR team:

. . .

Palomino, a spirited clubhouse from Riverhorse on Main, has officially arrived to Park City’s Main Street. With award-winning Executive Chef Seth Adams at the reins, the newest venue of the Riverhorse collection offers a refined bar scene of laid-back elegance, inviting friends – old and new – to gather in Park City’s new favorite watering hole.

“Our dream of opening an upscale bar as part of our Riverhorse offerings has finally come to life, and we are excited to welcome the community to experience it for themselves,” says Executive Chef Seth Adams of Riverhorse Hospitality Group. “Palomino’s signature cocktails, beer, wine, and spirits menus, paired with our inventive bites and small plates, complement the perfect après outing, night on the town, or any reason to celebrate.”

Saddled up right next door to Riverhorse on Main at 540 Main Street, Palomino ushers in an elevated bar experience that feels right at home. Artfully crafted menus include a variety of spirits, fine wines, artisanal beers, and signature cocktails such as the Lodge No. 7 of Rendezvous Rye, Carpano Antica, Luxardo, and espresso, The Seamstress of Alpine gin, fresh heirloom tomato juice, St. Germain, fire bitters, peppercorn, and housemade jerky, and The Gold Digger of Casamigos mezcal, Cointreau, lime, agave, and Veuve. Savor a snack trio of marinated olives, Marcona almonds, and buffalo jerky, and other small plates of goat cheese pockets and smoked salmon potato pancakes. Seafood selections include oysters, caviar, sous vide lobster tail, and jumbo lump crab, along with shareable plates of French onion sliders, petite lobster rolls, buffalo quail bites, and caprese flat bread. Save room for decadent treats of key lime pie, a Palomino Cloud, or a Manhattan ice cream sandwich featuring High West ice cream and Ritual Chocolate cookies.

Destined to capture the authenticity of Park City’s Main Street, the Palomino space was expertly designed by Casey Adams of FORM Design. Her incredible eye guided the purposeful vision for the bar’s inviting atmosphere and intentional spaces. Set to a subdued color palette adorned with thoughtful art pieces, Palomino’s sophisticated style and warm surroundings create the perfect ambiance for an unforgettable experience. For more information about FORM Design, visit formdesignit.com.

Peppered Vine

Thanks to Mile High Food Fairy for another great tip on this one. Now open in Sandy’s Union Square (9476 S). The Peppered Vine is the work of Le Cordon Bleu grad Renee Poe. The focus is on fresh cooked meals to go, the menu featuring a variety of staples, bolstered by entrees that change each day. Monday begins with homemade meatloaf, and piri chicken while the week ends with a nod to blightly with English curry and chips, alongside cottage pie.

Tsunami - spicy masa roll
Tsunami – spicy masa roll (Gastronomic SLC)

Tsunami

This Japanese restaurant is now back in business in Sugar House (2223 S Highland Drive) after several years closed. Expect the same extensive menu of Japanese fare that the other four locations in the group serve.

Roux

This new chef-driven spot is the work of chef Adam Cold in tandem with chef de cuisine Dominiquee Roberts. Handmade pasta is central to a menu that also dabbles with a variety of global influences. Lamb shank birria, miso black cod, harissa Brussels – three examples of the kitchen crew taking a whirlwind culinary tour. Find them at 515 E 300 S in Salt Lake City.

Shwe Letyar Sushi

A recent addition to the Woodbine Food Hall. Burmese-born Jadim Lahpai is the owner, and another business launched by the Spice Kitchen Incubator. As well as such expected to find plenty of Burmese dishes such as glutinous rice pyramids, and fermented tea leaf salad.

Toro Steak And Cocktails

Prices are strikingly affordable at this all new steakhouse option for South Jordan – a restaurant category where numbers can reel off in dizzying fashion. A 12oz ribeye is priced at $28, the filet is two dollars more.

Big Dipper - She's Shrimp-ly Irresistible
Big Dipper – She’s Shrimp-ly Irresistible (Gastronomic SLC)

Coming soon

Big Dipper

File this one under rumor and intrigue. See: me perusing the comments of various social media accounts. If what I’ve read pans out to be true, this Park City sandwich shop will be making its way down Parley’s – opening a second location in SLC proper. I was a big fan of their concept and execution when I dropped by the Summit county original in 2022. Here’s what I wrote back then:

I finally made it up to Park City and greatly enjoyed this sandwich spot that lives underneath the Star Hotel and bar. The restaurant rhetorically asks, what if the humble French Dip was just the start of the conversation? What if we talked late into the small hours about sandwiches and the perfect dip. And then it’s all of a sudden no longer rhetorical as a wide-eyed menu unfurls before you. Korea, Mexico, France, Italy, Vietnam – and plenty of others – they all get the dippin’ treatment – a sandwich paired with suitable side dip.

Pictured is the She’s Shrimply Irrestible, a po boy with crispy rock shrimp and remoulade. On the side some clam chowder for dunking. The bread pudding made from apple fritter is excellent as well.

Benji’s

Another one I’ve seen mooted on social media briefly – a new Taylorsville location for Benji Stalling’s BBQ business. You might recall Benji’s Bar-B-Que Shack behind the Century 16 theatre in South Salt Lake several years back.

Crepe’s & Coffee’s

Not too many details yet, but this post over on Facebook points to a new build for this name coming in 2024.

Crust Club

A new location should be coming to Logan soon per this post to the Logan Foodies Facebook group.

Kevin Costner

Check this one out. The famous actor is targetting Utah for not only a multi-million dollar studio, but also a restaurant. And not any restaurant at that – one themed around the famous star himself.

Little India

With two existing locations in American Fork and Heber, this Indian eatery announced an upcoming third spot over on Instagram. The business wrote:

Little India is delighted to share the exciting news of our 3rd location in Alpine/Highland, made possible by the unwavering support and love of our cherished customers. We are truly grateful for your blessings and unconditional loyalty. It is with heartfelt gratitude that we express our sincere appreciation to each and every one of you. We eagerly anticipate the opportunity to serve this wonderful community in the upcoming months. Thank you for being a part of our journey.

Lolo Hawaiian

Another one for foodies up in Logan, the Hawaiian restaurant aiming to build on the success of their existing five locations in Draper, Ogden, Roy, Taylorsville, and West Valley City.

Scovilles (Salt Plate City)
Scovilles (Salt Plate City)

Scovilles

Coming to Sugar House in the unit that was once home to FeastBox, and Habit Burger before that. When branding for a new capsaicin-looking restaurant appeared, the local Reddit sprung to life. A poster on the thread quickly clarified requests for more info as follows:

Long time lurker, first time poster. I am the owner, many of you have probably met me or been to one of my previous businesses. For about 10 years I owned and ran a very well known wing company in town (I’m sure you can guess). After being wrapped up in an ongoing legal battle with my old partner for the last year I have decided to do my own thing. I’m very excited to share a bunch of new ideas and improvements to what I have already done, along with a sexy new bar. I’m crossing my fingers to be open in a couple months and am so excited to be a part of the community of Sugar House again.

Taboo Pizza

A second unit for this pizza spot was recently announced on Instagram. The business writes:

It’s official! We have signed a 35 year commitment to expand our operations and bring pizza back to the Riverwalk in 10/2024! This 2nd location will be a little different than our shop on Harrison (which will continue to operate in full force). Our second Taboo will be a full service restaurant complete with Beer, Wine, and Spirits. We will be expanding our dine in menu to accommodate the full service atmosphere while remaining true to our origins.

Vicious Biscuit

This story over in QSR Magazine confirmed that the Southeast-based South Block is plotting to open five locations of their biscuit-forward business here in Utah.

VB first sprang to life in Mount Pleasant, SC back in 2018. As you might gather from the name, the menu centers around “over-the-top Southern biscuit creations”. Dishes such as the fat boy, the flame thrower, and the vicious apparently had locals lining the block. Expansion followed with locations in North Carolina, Florida, and Ohio following in due course.

No timing for the Utah expansion has yet been announced as far as I know, but you know the drill…watch this space…

Permit watch

Finally, here’s what’s cropped up perusing some of the planning permits being filed in SLC the last few weeks:

Chinese Restaurant. Details.

Crepe restaurant. Details.

Early Owl. Details.

Handosaki Sushi Bar. Details.

Koko Kitchen remodel. Details.

Red Fuego. Details.

SLC Coffee. Details.

Sugar Spot Boba. Details.

Settler’s Lounge. Details.

Previously mentioned with no further update

We’ve previously written about the following restaurants in posts tracking new restaurants around Utah. We’ve heard no further news on these at this time – but that’s not to say they didn’t open! If you know of any business opening that eluded our gaze, please do get in touch.

Opening a new restaurant in Utah? Be sure to read our restaurant resource section which includes info on everything from marketing through POS systems.

Want to stay on top of the SLC food scene, minute by minute, dish by dish? Here are a few other places you should follow along:



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9 thoughts on “A look at three dozen new names joining the Utah restaurant scene”

  1. The Herriman Slackwater opened up last week. The Hoppers Bar & Grill in Daybreak is still unfinished, but at least the building is largely constructed and its neighbors are filling in (Beard Papa’s, Mozz Pizza, Sukihana, and soon Spilled Milk and Chip).

    1. I’ve heard the same too, previously saw someone mention they were hiring in Sandy, but since then (2 months again) I haven’t heard anything I’m afraid.

    1. It looks like, according to planning permits, another location might be in the works for the Trolley Square area. I think that’s the one you’re looking at, in the bottom of the page list? That said, I haven’t heard of anything for some time. When that happens, I usually let the info slide of the “mentioned before” list 🙂

    1. Thanks for the heads up Jesse, it looks like these folks opened up towards the end of February, I will be sure to get them on the very next roundup!

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