ON THE STREET 

The other day Pago on Main had a ½ hour wait for lunch. Sad face, right? But in this case, we’re happy for them–having a busy lunch service downtown means people are returning to their offices–and that is great news for the urban core’s retail and F&B outlets.

As the kids say, “this is going to be Gucci…”
West Quarter is the massive development on the block of Royal Wood Office Plaza (btw, even when new, there was nothing royal about it). Construction is happening in phases, but eventually there will be residential, retail, restaurants, and in October, the first tower to open will be Le Méridien. Kitty-corner from Vivint Arena, this upscale, design-focused international hotel brand will bring 144 guestrooms and Adelaide Restaurant and Bar, a farm-to-table concept. Our eyes lit up like Christmas morning when–near the end of the press release–these two magical words appeared: rooftop bar. 

Our hearts just grew three sizes! Now you have our full attention. 

Rooftop bars are sexy, they cultivate cool vibes. Do you know how often conventioneers ask where they can find a rooftop bar?! Oh… wait, press release, what now? You buried the lede? Now there are not one, but two rooftop bars at West Quarter!!! Another lounge will be perched atop Element, a longer-stay hotel brand from Westin. 

Journey with us, drink in hand (Grey Goose up a little dirty, three blue-cheese stuffed olives) as we watch the sun dip below the Great Salt Lake from the outdoor garden on the 13th floor. Email us if you’d like to be invited, we’ve already set a Google calendar alert.

Speaking of ascending, Pulp on Gallivan Avenue has permanently closed. Wait, no, they are launching a new concept,  Ascent Kitchen. It isn’t all about us, but this is a two minute walk from our office, so we’re happy this lively little space with great service will return. We spy an expanded menu with very yummy-looking Orange Kitchen, Thai Peanut Chicken Salad, and more. 

Oh Village Baker, how we miss your Meatball Sandwich. The space in the handsome 111 Building will soon be the new home of ALPHA Coffee. Sounds macho. Can’t wait. 

Next door, City Creek Center has set a date for The Capital Grille of March 25th to open this emporium of steak! Owned by Darden Restaurants, we hope this opens the door for more of their platforms to our market, including Seasons 52, Eddie V’s, and Yard House. 

Eva’s Bakery has expanded  into McKay Diamond & Jewelry. (Don't worry McKay, moved .01 miles to Regent Street. Even better: Eva’s plans to keep and refurbish the iconic neon sign).The new space will serve the grab-and-go crowd with faster coffee service, and rumor has it that ice cream is on its way!  

Have you been to the Winter Market at The Gateway? From 10-2 every Saturday, this bustling community experience is a healthy, wholesome way to start your weekend. Aziza, owned by Menna Rashwan, is new to the market and her Egyptian desserts, including kunafa cups and baklava are insanely good… we almost don’t want to let this secret out of the bag. For real. 

We can be frank about this: we welcome the triumphant return of J.Dawgs to downtown! Get your buns moving to their new location in City Creek, facing Temple Square in the Kirton McConkie building. This is a real weiner! On these chili days, we relish their reemergence downtown. We’re going to ketchup with them soon and often!

Published in Downtown News and Blog
January 11, 2022

ON THE STREET | JANUARY

The Downtown class of 2021 is in the books, and we are impressed with the freshman class that included 14 new retail shops and 22 new restaurants and bars. We applaud these merchant’s chutzpah! We too are bullish on the downtown economy: the downtown residential community will double by 2025 and employers are growing and relocating to downtown. The momentum continues, we count another dozen businesses opening soon in 2022… including:

Bourbon House Group is delighting us once again with the announcement that Edison, a petite street packed with potential, will be the newest addition to their storied collection of restaurants. Across from Brick & Mortar, The Warhol, a renovated warehouse offering luxury rentals, will house the new concept on the ground floor. With the new liquor store expected to break ground soon, and the existing ROCTACO, Copper Common, Diabolical Records, and Mortar & Pestle, this lusty little lane is going to get even more loads of love from us.

Congratulazioni to Salt and Olive, opening between Under Current and Gourmandise. One roof, two concepts: a cafe/bodega opens every day from 8am-8pm, and a restaurant open 11:30am-11:30pm. Don't you just love consistency? Stop in for an espresso and croissant in the morning; return for a leisure lunch over chianti and a hand-tossed margherita pizza; swing in later and say, "Ciao!" with bucatini and linger longer with a semifreddo affogato! Bellissima!

We’ve been sitting on this for a few months, so we’re delighted to share that Salt Lake’s second food hall is under construction at the Avia on 300 East 400 South. The Local Market & Bar will bring seven concepts and one bar with Chef Akhtar Nawab at the helm. This guy is kind of a big deal and it says a lot about SLC that we nabbed him. A Kentucky-born chef who was a protege of Tom Colicchio and mentor to David Chang, he has an Indian heritage and embraces Mexican cuisine… You can imagine his flavors are complex and innovative. He’s consulted around the world, opened restaurants around the world, and his next is in your backyard.

We love dark wood paneled walls with white table cloths, so we’ll be first to make those rezys at the long awaited The Capital Grille when it opens in the next four months. Another top secret high-end steak restaurant is expected in this same neighborhood later this year, that is in addition to Scott Evans' new meat-centric creation coming to Hope Gallery… this area is quickly becoming Carnivore Country.

Looking to open a restaurant? Hines, the owner of the historic, handsome and newly renovated Kearns Building is looking for a restauranteur for the ground floor that once was home to Jos. A. Banks. This soaring sanctuary would be a sublime shrine for a supreme star– with sweeping views of SLC’s Main Streets and literally seconds from the Eccles. Going once, going twice?

Another available retail space is opening up at 272 South 200 East, Misc Boutique, the well-edited vintage clothing boutique on Broadway is adjusting their business model and owner Missy Baber reports the landlord is great to work with. 

Got a tip about coming retail or restaurants in downtown Salt Lake City? Drop me a line:  

Published in Downtown News and Blog

We’re not playing favorites, really, but we’re over the moon for Martine’s plan to reopen. Once thought lost forever, they are revamping the menu and looking for a triumphant return in mid-November. Just around the corner, another beloved restaurant, Tin Angel at the Eccles Theater is now open before performances. 

At The Gateway, Italian Graffiti, a new high-end Italian dining concept from the partners at HallPass, are in build-out of the CPK space, eyeing a spring opening. This is the second ‘get’ for The Gateway after the announcement that Vegas nightlife impresario Sean Christie will open his first concept in the nation (under his newly-formed Carver Road brand) on the north end of the property. Expect a star-studded event when Flanker opens next month in the space that formerly housed Punch Bowl Social.  

Two lawyers are pho-filling their dreams (no groaning allowed). North of Beerhive, Tamarind will begin serving Vietnamese cuisine in the next couple weeks. Perfect timing for a big warm bowl of Pho, made with a secret family recipe. On deadline, we also noticed Poke & Sushi Hut has a banner out, south of Plieku. (Anyone know what happened to LemonShark Poke? A year and a half later, a lonely sign still beckons, ‘coming soon.’ Time is relative, we suppose).

Speaking of the lonely ‘coming soon’ sign… A long--long--time ago the space next to Undercurrent was supposed to be Oddfellows Food Hall. For months you could peer into the space and see slow to no progress. Then, over a year ago, a striking modernist sign announced that Niccoli’s would be ‘opening soon.’ The folks behind the now-shuttered Sea Salt never produced. Now, according to Stuart at Gastronomic, the space has a third operator and concept called Salt and Olive. We hope to see it ‘soon.’

Brick & Mortar has softly opened in the Campos space on Edison Street, we’re glad this airy, bright space has been activated with a youthful, energetic feel. (Oddly, Brick & Mortar is not related to Mortar & Pestle 200 feet diagonally across the street.)  

Up in City Creek Center, CoreLife Eatery across from Cheesecake Factory closed quietly sometime in the last few months, replaced by Utah’s favorite smothered pork burrito: Cafe Rio

We ran into Governor Cox at the grand opening of Fenice on Regent. Wonderful ambiance with a side of duck confit carbonara was perfectly rich for a rainy day. Pro Tip: sit at the counter and learn all about the food from the chefs. Downtown luminaries also attended Pago on Main’s opening and treated to boar meatballs and amazing beef tartare. Two takeaways: Fenice is 21 and over and Pago is serving until midnight on the weekends.

Here are two tropes that operators are elevating and echoing--lack of liquor licenses are slowing the opening of exciting concepts in Salt Lake City. Fourteen restaurateurs crouched at the last DABC meeting ready to pounce on just three licenses. However, perhaps a more urgent roadblock to new and existing restaurants is the labor shortage. There are a couple new concepts downtown that have not opened  their doors yet because no one is applying. And, some restaurants are shortening their hours due to this labor crisis. 

Attn: Restaurateurs! C.W. Urban, the developer of under-construction the RANDI at 200 East and 200 South, is actively looking for an operator for their prime, ground floor, corner space with giant windows. With nearly a thousand new apartments under development within a  block of this location, this spot seems like a winner.

Published in Downtown News and Blog

It’s starting to feel like we’re in the home stretch of the pandemic with vaccine distribution finally underway. We are looking forward to the summer months when the impacts from the vaccine start to take hold and outdoor dining becomes an option again. Until then, our retail businesses need customers as much as ever. Let’s be sure to support our shops and restaurants to make sure they make it through for us to enjoy after the pandemic!

Recently Opened:

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The Ivy | 55 West 100 South
This cocktail bar-restaurant has been in the works for a little while now and was finally able to open its doors recently. It considers itself a modern American bar offering a contemporary, ingredient-led menu. Personally, I’m hoping the falafel waffle tastes as good as it is fun to say, but there are plenty of mouthwatering options available. Look forward to patio season as they are reinvigorating the old Caffé Molise patio, and they’re working on a secluded outdoor space for private events.


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Janela Bay | At City Creek Center
Based in Orem, Janela Bay designs stylish but modest swimsuits for all body types. You’ll find a selection of one-piece suits and tankinis, and they even have maternity designs and kids’ suits.

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Paper Source | At City Creek Center
This stationary chain opened just in time for Valentine’s Day! Visit to get your hands on custom cards and gift supplies to send to all of your valentines even if you won’t be able to see them in person this year. Of course, you can visit year-round to get everything from custom stationary and calendars to craft kits and party supplies.

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Varley | 63 West 100 South
Sister concept to The Ivy, Varley is located right next door. They even share a kitchen so you can order from a selection of the food menu in addition to one of the signature cocktails. The space is outfitted with custom wood tables and other elegant finishes. Varley is brought to you by the folks behind Soundwell, so we expect to see some great live music over time.

Opening Soon:

Ascoli Espresso | 30 East Broadway
Its flagship store is at Pike Place Market in Seattle, but Ascoli Espresso is preparing to open a location in the center of Downtown SLC. You can expect a true Seattle coffee experience as they bring their signature blends and pastries. The coffee shop is expected to open for business next month.

Cotton On Kids | At City Creek Center
Hailing from Australia, Cotton On has proven to be a popular fashion outlet among hip Salt Lakers. City Creek Center is preparing to add a version geared specifically toward an even younger audience.

Edison Street Brewery | 229 South Edison Street
We’ve been hearing rumors for a while about a brewery going in on the east side of Edison. While we still don’t know much about it, we did receive confirmation just last week. You know we’ll share details as soon as we know more!

Karma | 122 West Pierpont Avenue
We recently noticed the signs change on the spot that most recently featured Button Down. It is set to be another nightclub, maintaining the growing nightlife in the area. 

Niccoli’s I 270 South 300 East
I shared this one with you a few months ago, but have since learned more details that it only felt right to provide an update. Behind the Italian market featuring high-quality local and imported goods, Niccoli’s will include a fine-dining space featuring special chef tasting menus. They are planning 3 private suites that will be utilized for special events and available for private functions. There also some unique amenities in the works, like a water sommelier as is trending in many major cities. Niccoli’s is expected to open next month.

Regent Street Restaurant | 126 Regent Street
The team behind Silver Star Café in Park City is coming down the canyon to develop a new restaurant concept in SLC. The space was formerly occupied by Fireside has sat vacant for a while now, but is sure to see new life with this activation anticipated to open by early summer.

Roctaco | 248 South Edison Street
This storefront on Edison has been a work in progress for quite some time. Its Instagram feed features some gourmet-looking taco concoctions. If nothing else, we can appreciate the enormous octopus mural made by local artist Chris Peterson on the exterior! Did I mention there’s a walk-up window?

TruFusion | At The Gateway
The Gateway will soon be home to a 13,000 square foot gym. This will be the first location for TruFusion, a national boutique gym chain with an innovative focus on group fitness and yoga. Situated on the corner of 100 South and Rio Grande, the gym will prove to be a valuable amenity on the west side of downtown as workers start to return to their offices and residential density continues to increase. Keep an eye on The Gateway as we hear there are some other new concepts in the works!

Uniquely Utah Souvenir Co. | 122 South Main Street
Tourism may not be at its peak right now, but Uniquely Utah will be ready for visitors as early as next month. They are working with local artists and businesses to curate a selection of unique merchandise for anyone to bring home memories of Salt Lake City. The store is perfectly situated on Main Street just south of City Creek Center.

Why Kiki | 67 West 100 South
Drive down 100 South and you’ll notice a new pink facade just in front of the Salt Palace. Downtown Salt Lake City will soon be home to a tiki bar called Why Kiki. Their Facebook page features a recently-posted video touring the space, which looks ready to open very soon. It also previewed some tiki glasses, so get excited for some tropical drinks!

Do you know of a new business I missed? Got a tip of one getting ready to open? Let me know at !

Published in Downtown News and Blog