food and beverage underground

Salt Lake City's Food and Beverage Scene

Salt Lake, Salt Lake City, Utah, capital

Even our esteemed Governor, John Huntsman, Jr., admits that Utah has a reputation as being the “state with strange liquor laws” but things are not as bad as the nasty rumors. Although the state does control the liquor stores and keeps tight control of spirits and wine, there are many available options for acquiring liquor, beer and wine in the beautiful western state. Salt Lake City, host of the 2002 Winter Olympics, is much more mature and open minded than the rest of the state. The city of over 181,000 people hosts several winners of the celebrated “Wine Spectator” Award of Excellence and several clubs, bars and restaurants with extensive liquor and wine lists.


One can sample regional favorites at several independent restaurants downtown including Market Street Grill, The Metropolitan, and Baxter's American. Or indulge in fresh pasta and seafood in more intimate surroundings such as Faustina or Cucina Tuscana. If you crave something exotic, you'll find a delightful ethnic mix available, from Afghan to Vietnamese right in the heart of the city. There are also familiar family chain restaurants such as Macaroni Grill, Olive Garden, etc. or even a big chain name like Bambara (Kimpton Restaurant Group). Friendly brewpubs serve excellent appetizers and entrées with freshly brewed local ales. Ruth's Chris Steak house, Fleming's and Spencer's serve up their famous steaks in a trifecta at the heart of downtown as well. All of these opportunities include the choice of cocktails and superb vintage wines as well.

Salt Lake, Salt Lake City, Utah, capital

Sugarhouse, University and Outlying Areas:

This humble suburb, just minutes from downtown by foot, light rail or bus, also offers independently owned restaurants as well as a pub that serves over 30 tap beers. Salt Lake Pizza and Pasta and The Pie Pizzaria offer up excellent pizzas and Italian fare. Lugano is this writer's favorite Italian restaurant this side of the Mississippi. Citrus Grill on 3300 south and 3200 east provides a happy, bustling atmosphere with it's fresh made grill style choices and an excellent, affordable wine and liquor list.

Coffee Culture:

Even in the shadow of the Mormon Temple there are several Starbucks in and around Downtown (The LDS religion frowns on alcohol and caffeine consumption). In addition, however, you should check out the three or four local favorites (many of which provide the 4 star properties with coffee and espresso). Among the choices: Salt Lake Roasting Company, just east of downtown has been an excellent provider of fine coffees for over 20 years. Millcreek Roasting on Main Street downtown roasts daily and the aroma permeates downtown with enticing bouquets while also providing fresh baked pastries from a local bakery. The Coffee Garden provides a comfortable atmosphere and excellent organic coffees at the heart of the “ninth and ninth” area just east and south of the downtown metro area.

Speaking of Bakeries:

Great Harvest Bread Company excels in specialty breads, pastries and desserts daily in their location at 9th and 9th. Pierre Country Bakery has been providing locals and restaurants fine baked items for over 20 years. They are located near 3300 south and 3000 east. Vosen's Bread Paradise provides German style bread and pastries to the locals downtown for over 10 years and adds to the wonderful aromas that hang like a halo over the downtown area.

From Restaurant Labor Cost to Product Cost

Salt Lake Insider

Kevin Packer

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