Last week, I was in Salt Lake City for the Outdoor Retailer Winter Show, so I checked out a few places online, got some local suggestions, and ate out quite a few times during my week here.
I couldn't resist eating a meal at the most famous of recent SLC openings, Beer Bar. Playing one of my favorite TV characters, Ty Burrell is well-known as Phil Dunphy on Modern Family, but it turns out he is also becoming known as a restaurateur. Last spring, Burrell opened Beer Bar, a casual eatery featuring many, many beers along with locally-sourced sausages, breads and Belgian fries. Sounded like my kind of place! A rattlesnake and rabbit sausage? Definitely haven't seen that elsewhere and it was awesome, try it if they haven't changed the menu. No beer flights allowed, but I tasted a variety of local beers, all good, all lower alcohol, great with food.
A strange thing about SLC: many restaurants don't open until 9:00 AM, even breakfast places. I was overjoyed to find The Rose Establishment on my wanderings towards the convention center. Great light from the windows overlooking the street, with high ceilings giving this an airy feel. Housed in a former meatpacking plant, the place is both old-timey and up-to-date, very comfortable place to get breakfast. Amazing coffees and, if they have them, super tasty personal sized quiches are available.
Many folks suggested I check out the Red Iguana restaurant, but the one appropriate time I walked by, the line was out the door (something that was also mentioned). Not sure how the two restaurants are related (or if they are), but this is right across the street from the convention center so easy to get to. They didn't blink when I came in alone, dropped an enormous plate of corn chips for me and let me peruse the menu. I tried the Tinga Poblana ("Slow-roasted shredded pork. Spicy!"), which was good but not spicy; instead, it was smoky and sweet, almost mole-like. Still good, just not what I was expecting.
If you're a former punk like me, this place will be right up your alley, but if you don't like scruffy places with stickers, graffiti, and a bit of attitude, stay away. Plenty of options for pizza by the slice, including a vegan choice, or have a pie made while you wait (or call ahead or get delivery of you're downtown). Inexpensive, tasty, lots of character - this would be my go-to at least once a week if I lived here.
If you're out by the KOA, on the way to the Airport (hop off at the TRAX's Power Station), check out Diamond Lil's (which appears closed but apparently is still open ???), but then head across the street to Nico's Restaurant and Lounge, which serves American and Mexican food. You know when you get a chimichanga to go, then 10 minutes later it's just a soggy mess? This time, it wasn't - not sure what voodoo that was but it was still pretty crispy after about 15 minutes in the container. Tasty too. Next time I'd ask for less or no ice in the horchata, ended up getting watered down as I ate. Cool little place to eat in or, as I did, order to go. Super friendly service.
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