Let’s crack some eggs and break some news: Curry Up Now and Mortar and Pestle are no more. The national chain that took over Cedars of Lebanon and served Indian fast casual populated the space for just two years. We’ll miss their tikka masala but are VERY excited to have locally-owned Laziz spread its wings into downtown. Kafta Burgers all around! The plan is to open in mid-September… and look for that adorable tiny bar in the back to be updated and renamed Back Door. Hey, don’t overthink it!

Across the street, a new owner is remodeling what was Cancun Cafe and is planning a Mexican restaurant featuring pescados y mariscos. Mexican del mar is a category missing in downtown, so bring on the ceviche, we’re ready!

Further down 200 comes a very intriguing new restaurant from the Bon Patt Group (owners of Chrisopher’s Prime, Fat Jack’s, and Toro Rasa). Homecoming Southern Kitchen & Bar will occupy the old Olive Garden–a very desirable space kitty corner to Hyatt Regency, which will open next month. A neon sign is up and a menu isonline, but judging by the steel framing, they have several months to go before we get to taste a Pulled Pork Melt, slicing into Prime Rib, or sample the Fried Fish Plate with hushpuppies. Oh Momma! 

We love this next story a latte. Grinding it out in the grounds of the Axis Building, Cupla Coffee is moving east of the aforementioned Homecoming! We’ve bean going for a Cupla years, espresso-ly for the lox, egg and cheese croissant, and of course those signature drinks. 

Speaking of Hyatt Regency, the new convention hotel is a gorgeous addition to the skyline. We love the renderings for the soaring, modern Lobby Bar, but even more alluring is the Catalan-influenced restaurant, Mar | Muntanya (sea and mountain). Located on the 6th floor with an outdoor terrace, it is helmed by Chef Tyson Peterson, formerly at the acclaimed Jean-Georges Vongerichten restaurant inside St. Regis, Deer Valley.  He recently told us to expect the menu to feature elk tenderloin, suckling pig, and the highest quality oysters. To wash it down and truly imbibe the Spanish flavors, Chef is working on a stupendous selection of sangrias as well as a gin-heavy craft cocktail menu (apparently Spaniards love gin, who knew?)

Finally, this writer recently moved into the Westgate Lofts on 200 South and what would you know? Maxwell’s Little Bar (21+) has opened directly below us, next to Vosen’s German Bakery. (We’re doomed). The adorable postage stamp space fits 30 people and offers all those beloved recipes you loved at the Main Street location. They even have a walk-up for slices! See you there soon. 

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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