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. 

Published in Downtown News and Blog

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

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
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