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
December 01, 2021

ON THE STREET | DECEMBER

Christmas is several weeks away, but a few anticipated presents will be unveiled this week! A diverse pipeline of restaurants are set to open--from quick fare to classic French--there is a concept for every taste. Savor the holidays and head downtown to experience something magical.  

Ryan Lowder’s Copper Common reopens December 1 after a renovation of the interior and with a new menu. It’s a bit of a head-scratcher as we keep asking ourselves what was wrong with the old space. However, knowing Lowder and his desire to frequently revitalize his enterprises, we know he won’t let us down. Just keep that C.O. Burger, please! (@coppercommon)

As reported, Tamarind, the bright and colorful Vietnamese restaurant owned by two downtown lawyers, is set to open December 2 across from the Eccles Theater. They’re offering healthy, quick and flavorful Pho from a family recipe. There have been some special preview nights, we know because we walked by like Charlie Brown, having not been invited. Not jilted, just excited-- Pho-real. (@tamarindslc)

Laurel opens December 4 and is set to be the most expensive restaurant ever built in Utah--yes, more than The Mayan (bonus points for remembering). Grand America has gutted their restaurant and imagined a modern brasserie. This stunning space is on a scale rarely accomplished in Utah and an outdoor patio is expected in the spring. (@laurelslc) 

On December 8 you’ll find us at the opening of Flanker Kitchen and Sporting Club at The Gateway. We’ve been teasing this location for a couple months and are excited for the Miss Piggy, Tiki-Pena, and Rendez Vous--cocktails created by the world-renowned mixologist Francesco Lafranconi. This guy hangs with everyone from Ferran Adria to Lionel Richie. So, we’ll consider ourselves in good company next week. (@flankerslc)

Shades Brewing expanded to downtown (actually on the same block as our office, so watch out). This boho chic location is a little hard to find unless you’re looking for it above Himalayan Kitchen at 366 South State Street. Shades Tap Room offers beer to go and is open daily 11am to 1 am. Have you tried the Plum? It’s the best sour made in Utah. (@shadestaproom) 

With a face made-for-tv, Bambara re-introduces us to Chef Jerry Pacheco. He’s ignited some of the most notable restaurants downtown, including Copper Onion, Pallet, and Avenues Bistro. While the blue cheese potato chips stay--thank God--expect a well-deserved overhaul of the menu as Pacheco leans-in to his Mexican heritage. (@bambaraslc)

Finally, Carson Kitchen unveiled a mouthwatering winter menu that we will be savoring soon. The 10 new dishes from chef/owner Cory Harwell, including a savory pork meatloaf and foie butter and jelly sound delightful. Our recommendation from past visits is to find yourself at the bar or exhibition kitchen and ask the mixologist or chefs to plie you with their talents. They’ll make you a believer. (@carsonkitchen)

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

Denver has LoDo. In Austin, it’s Sixth Street. L.A. boasts Culver Boulevard. And here, one of downtown Salt Lake City’s hippest locales is a block bordered by 200 South, 200 East, East Broadway (300 South) and State Street, known simply by the alley that bisects it from north to south, Edison.

You probably already know about Edison’s dense concentration of murals, an ever-changing, open-air gallery of local and international street art and graffiti lending this block its unique aesthetic. (El Mac & Retna’s Ave Maria—arguably Salt Lake City’s most-photographed public art piece—is there high on the east side wall of the Fice Gallery & Boutique building.) Pairs of old shoes hanging from overhead cables and fire escapes add to Edison’s distinctly urban vibe. But it’s Edison’s mostly independent shops, restaurants and bars that give this area artistically gritty soul.    

A handful of proprietors, like Gallenson’s Gun Shop, Diabolical Records and Fice, have called Edison home for a decade or more. Several new businesses have taken up residence there recently, adding to an eclectic vibe not found elsewhere in Utah’s capital city. 

Restaurants

What began as a food truck in the San Francisco area, is now the country’s fasted growing Indian-inspired fast-casual restaurant chain, Curry Up Now (152 E. 200 South). (Utah locations include another in Midvale.) Approachable Indian street food is the rule here. Think slightly Americanized versions of pani puri, samosas, vada pav, daha puri and much more.  

When you’re craving a wide slice of pizza, made with a characteristically thin, hand-tossed crust and dripping with gooey mozzarella—a la New York City—make a beeline to the locally owned Este Pizzeria (156 E. 200 South). Note: the wings, Stromboli and calzones there are as good as the slices.   

One of SLC’s friendliest, most inclusive coffee shops—The People’s Coffee (200 E. 200 South)— relocated to Edison in May. Walk into this inviting and airy space—with high ceilings and whimsical green-stained chevron-pattern hardwood flooring—any time of the day, and you’ll likely find hours have passed when you finally tear yourself away to leave. 

Made-to-order guacamole; creative, seasonally-inspired tacos; and tasty cocktails made with fresh ingredients is what you can expect at Taqueria 27 (149 E. 200 South). Dine inside this modern, minimalist space or outside on the umbrella-shaded patio.   

Proving that everything tastes better when wrapped in a tortilla, the ingredients used within Roc Taco’s (248 S. Edison) “freestyle” tacos—defined as having “zero restrictions in the flavors and techniques employed”—run the gamut from Korean short ribs, Daikon radish and chicken tikka masala to Cuban carnitas, grilled Mahi Mahi and citrus tabbouleh. When you go, be sure to try one of Roc’s deliciously creamy batidas—the citrus avocado is a local fave.

The time is now to get a final fix of the expertly roasted beans, café eats and friendly ethos at Campos Coffee (228 S. Edison). The owners announced they are closing all of Campos’ North American operations July 15, 2021, including the charming café on Edison. Campos very quickly became a popular destination for locals and visitors. Numerous other craft restaurant operators are considering what they could bring to this unique location. Stay tuned for what’s next for this lovely downtown space.

Bars

From the moment you pass beneath the old-timey, light-bulb façade into Bar X (155 E. 200 South), the focus of this hip, speakeasy-esque watering hole is crystal clear: relaxing with an expertly made cocktail. Rows and rows of illuminated bottles serve as a backdrop against which a team of  pro mixologists create anything your palate is desiring. 

Hard booze not your jam? No worries. You’ll find 30 beers are on tap and hundreds more in cans and bottles next door to Bar X at the Beer Bar (155 E. 200 South), dubbed by its owners as “a love letter to the beer of the world.”

The third in Edison’s Second South tavern trifecta is Johnny’s on Second (165 E. 200 South), a gratefully divey, come-as-you-are bar where you can get a beer and a shot for $4. Just the place to spend an afternoon sitting on the sidewalk patio sipping a cold one or inside watching the game and shooting pool.  

Though the dinner offerings are fantastic, where Copper Common (corner of Broadway and Edison) shines is as one of downtown’s most inviting places to meet up with friends. Cozy up in one of the intimate booths inside or sit outside on the patio, verdantly festooned with potted herbs, flowers and lush plants. Not-to-be-missed events at Copper Common include Taco Tuesdays ($6 margaritas) and the no-cover Copper C’mon patio concert series on Friday and Saturday nights.  

It’s hard to grasp the character and sense of place that little, hole-in-wall bars bring to a locale. But that indescribable appeal is just what you’ll find inside the chic and cozy Mortar & Pestle (152 E. 200 South). With the same ownership as Curry Up Now, much of the signature cocktails menu is Indian-inspired and all are made with fresh ingredients and housemade syrups. 

Shops

In a world where digital music is king and record stores are an endangered species, somehow  Diabolical Records (238 S. Edison) has managed to thrive, thanks in large part to its curated selection of indie music on vinyl and tape. Watch for the store’s free weekly concerts with local and touring bands to return in September 2021.

Anchoring the edgy street ambiance endemic on Edison is Fice Gallery & Boutique (160 E. 200 South), stockists of a huge selection of hard-to-find sneakers and artist-driven t-shirts and hoodies. Fice has also built a brand on hosting community-building events, like the monthlong art sale it held in February to mark Black History month and benefit Hoods in the Woods.

Russian immigrant William Gallenson founded Gallenson’s Gun Shop (166 E. 200 South) as a tailor shop on the nearby Regent Street in 1916. Nine years later he changed his business model from men’s clothing to guns and ammo. After a series of moves throughout the downtown area, Gallenson’s landed on Edison in 1990, where it remains Utah oldest firearms dealer.       

Tattoo Parlors

Named for the term of endearment owner Taylor Millet’s mother gave him as a child, Sailor Taylor Tattoo (215 S. Edison St) has been a defining presence on Edison since it opened in 2015. In addition to one of Salt Lake’s most revered sources for fine art-quality tattoos, Sailor Taylor also offers original jewelry, art pieces and piercing within its rococo-style parlor. (Fun fact: The red light next to Sailor Taylor’s door is an artifact from the year Millet ran a speakeasy out of his tattoo parlor—open, when the light was on, from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m.)    

Formerly Cathedral Tattoo, Edison’s Mercy Tattoo (180 S. 200 East), is a definitively hip tattoo parlor employing a staff or young and up-and-coming artists who specialize in American traditional, Japanese Traditional and fine-line tattooing. 

Living

Though many of the buildings on Edison and its environs house living spaces above the street-level businesses, theRandi (218 S. 200 East), when completed later this year, will be Edison’s first luxury-level apartment building. The 61 for-rent condos there range from one to three bedrooms within 478 to 2,208 square feet.

Published in Downtown News and Blog

For many, being served a meal outside feels just a little more special and festive than eating indoors. But following this last year of eating restaurant food out of to-go boxes, we’re anticipating that this season’s return of patio dining will be particularly sweet. Following is a round-up of downtown Salt Lake restaurant patios, decks and sidewalks where you can partake in a fantastic meal or cocktail in the great outdoors. Cheers!       

Upscale Patios, for Date Night or a Girls Night Out 

Exceptional Italian fare with a thoughtfully curated wine list served against the backdrop of a verdantly elegant patio is what you’ll find on the lovely patio at Caffé Molise (404 S. West Temple). Though the opening of its neighbor, the Broadway Cinemas is still TBD, the team at the Copper Onion (111 E. Broadway) are now serving the elevated comfort food they are so well known for both inside and outside on the covered patio.  

Plenty of greenery gives the brick-walled patio at Current Fish & Oyster (279 E. 300 South) a distinctly hip and modern vibe. The seafood-centric menu, well-assembled wine list and creative cocktails there are pretty impressive, too.  
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Though certainly outside, the intimate back patio at Eva (317 S. Main St.), festooned with hanging plants and string lights, is a charming backdrop for the well-executed small plates and drinks served there. Scheduled to open nearer to Mother’s Day. 

Bars, Brewpubs and Other Casual Joints

There’s nothing quite like sitting outside in the sun on a balmy day and sipping a perfectly poured pint. If that sounds like heaven to you, then you’ll love the Beer Bar (161 E. 200 South). 

The wooden-slat walled patio at the Copper Common (Broadway & Edison Streets) is an ideal place to quaff a Mountain Medley (the house’s riff on a Moscow Mule) and nibble on an order of roasted beets or a spicy pizza while you watch the world go by on Broadway.
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Ginger Street (324 S. State St.) paints a pretty wide brush in terms of the Southeast Asian cuisine you’ll find on the menu at this fun, energetic spot, including dumplings, pad Thai and a French dip/ban mi sandwich mashup.

See and be seen at Gracie’s (326 S. West Temple) fun rooftop deck, where the party is always just getting started. What’s more, an ample and well-executed dinner menu makes Gracie’s an ideal destination for more than just-drinks.   
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Though you can get Sunday brunch, lunch, dinner and late-night snacks at the Green Pig Pub (31 E. 400 South), most people go for drinks and one of the Green Pigs many themed event nights, which include trivia, karaoke and a blues jam.

Whether their claim of “the largest outdoor patio in downtown SLC” is true or not, the patio at The Ivy (55 W. 100 South) certainly is roomy, allowing plenty of space to stretch out and partake in one of the mixologists creative cocktails or something from the enticing dinner and small plates menu.

The Staten Island-esque vibe at Maxwell’s East Coast Eatery/Fat Kid Pizza (357 S. Main St), gratefully located in the heart of downtown SLC, is all about hospitality, old school Southern Italian fare and good times. Watch for the outdoor dining to reopen here when the exterior construction is completed later this summer. 

A canopy and hanging flower baskets make sitting on the small sidewalk patio at Red Lotus Bistro (329 S. State St) a lovely way to spend your midday or evening meal. Doing so while sipping this eatery’s kumquat basil seed refresher makes the experience even better.   

A staple of the downtown brewing and dining scene since 1994, Red Rock Brewery (254 S. 200 West) offers consistently tasty fare and expertly crafted beer served on a comfortable, family-friendly patio.  

Those in the know head down to The Gateway to gather around the firepits in front of the hip Seabird Bar & Vinyl Room (7 S. Rio Grande). There you can sip seasonal craft cocktails (or beer and wine) whilst listening to vinyl-recorded tunes.   

The lavash wrap sandwiches, aka doners, are the cornerstone of the satisfying menu at Spitz (35 Broadway). When you go, however, arrive hungry, and consider getting an order of the to-die-for Berliner Fries, too. Along with a cold draft beer or glass of icy sangria, of course.
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The enclosed back patio at Squatter’s (147 W. 300 South)—the first brewpub to open in Salt Lake City in 1989—is the ideal setting for sampling a flight of craft beers alongside an order of their famous fish and chips. What’s more, well-behaved dogs are welcome on Squatter’s patio, too.

You’ll forget you’re dining downtown at Stoneground’s (249 E. 400 South) private and protected patio, where you can nosh on New York-style pies and housemade pasta.

Conveniently located next door to Bar-X, the sidewalk patio at Taqueria 27 (149 E. 200 South) is a popular spot to sit under the cheery red umbrellas for margaritas, tacos and an order of housemade chips and smashed-to-order guacamole. 

String lights and pro DJs light up most nights on the huge outdoor patio at Twist Bar & Bistro (32 Exchange Place), located on the historic Exchange Place cul-de-sac. 
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For a neighborhood-tavern vibe with satisfyingly excellent food, head straight to Poplar Street Pub (242 S. 200 West)—the perfect spot to watch the game, even from outside on the big outdoor patio. 

Herbivores have no dilemma about where to go for vegan fare, well-made cocktails and live music in downtown SLC: the patio at Zest Kitchen & Bar (275 S. 200 West).

Fast Casual

Precious few eateries in Utah can claim the food-institution status enjoyed by Caputo’s Market & Deli (314 W. 300 South), where you can knock out some grocery shopping after you sit on the Pioneer Park-facing patio eating your yummy made-to-order deli sandwich.  

If you haven’t been to downtown’s midblock thoroughfare between Main and State (bookended by 100 and 200 South), it’s high time you paid Regent Street—aka good-eats alley—a visit. There you can indulge in a delectably drippy fried chicken sandwich and can of rosé at Pretty Bird Hot Chicken (146 Regent St); good-for-you acai bowls, smoothies and toasts at Honest Eatery (115 Regent Street) and authentic Mexican street food at Maize Tacos (135 Regent Street)—all three of which offer sidewalk seating.

Published in Downtown News and Blog