Spitz, a new restaurant specializing in the Döner Kebab, opened this week in the former Lenny’s Sub Shop space at 35 East Broadway.

The interior is everything you’d expect from their interior designer, CityHome Collective. Clean, welcoming, warm, and funky.

Döner meat is roasted on a spit similar to tacos al pastor, or the pastrami at Crown Burger. Surprisingly, Spitz doesn’t have their centerpiece attraction on display, instead relegated to hiding behind closed doors in the back.

Admittedly, I am a neophyte in all things Döner, so I naturally associate the Döner Kebab to something of a mishmash between a wrap and a Greek gyro. I tried the Street Cart Döner, which is a traditional sandwich or wrap with a zesty garlic aioli and fried lavash chips added. It had the right amount of meat, sauce, and lettuce, and is a generous portion. I quite liked it.

Sweet potato fries are good, but are like every other sweet potato fry you’ve had elsewhere. Don’t expect anything groundbreaking, although the aioli the fries were served with was especially delicious. The fried pita strips served with hummus are great, and I’m curious to try the crispy garbanzo beans with olives on my next visit.

Service is a bit unusual for the downtown lunch crowd. You order up front, they bring out your food and bus tables, but drink refills are also handled by the staff, which seems to be a bit clunky when they get overwhelmed with the lunch rush. But I’m sure they’ll work these glitches out over time.

Spitz adds some lunchtime diversity to a city brimming with traditional sandwich shops. And judging by the big crowd they had on day one, I think a lot of people are excited to see this new place open up.

Tonkotsu Ramen, Naked Fish Japanese Bistro. Perfect on a cold day.

Alamexo has recently opened in the space previously occupied by one of my favorites, ZY. In fact, Alamexo has the same owners, staff, and even the same chef: Matt Lake.

Matt moved to Utah a few years ago from New York, where he worked as chef for one of New York’s premier Mexican restaurants. After a few years operating the contemporary American restaurant, ZY, Chef Lake decided to go back to his culinary roots and switch to Mexican.

After an incredibly quick menu and restaurant decor switch (Lake didn’t want to close down for three months and have to lay off staff) which took only a few days, ZY has now transformed to Alamexo. And while I’m sad to see ZY go (Lake was adamant that we will see ZY once again in Salt Lake), Alamexo is a very welcome addition to SLC.

You won’t find any other Mexican food in Salt Lake in such a contemporary, modern environment. But don’t equate “contemporary” and “modern” to “expensive.” Entrées range from $13-$25 with sides and appetizers filling in the $3-$12 range.

Go with the guacamole, made tableside by your server in a molcajete. For $10, it’s a little on the pricey side for one avocado’s worth of guacamole, but worth the show.

My favorite side dish was the Mexican corn. Sweet, fresh corn accompanied by hints of chile, lime, and cotija. My mole poblano enchiladas were rich, complex, and the pork was cooked perfectly. Lake has always said the he doesn’t choose his signature dishes; his customers do. And I have a feeling that these will be on the menu for a while.

A dining companion’s steak dish was equally tasty and cooked spot-on.

As we went during their soft opening week, desserts were not on the menu, however, the kitchen brought out the best churros I’ve had. Don’t leave Alamexo without ordering some.

I’ve always viewed Matt Lake and ZY as a bit of a sleeper in the SLC dining community. I attribute part of this to Lake’s low-key demeanor. He is a guy that cooks because he loves to cook. He’s not in it for the fame. But if he keeps doing what he’s doing, he won’t remain a sleeper for long. Salt Lake’s lucky to have him.

A new restaurant will be opening soon on Gallivan Avenue across from Bangkok Terrace.

From Scratch will focus on just that: fresh breads, pizzas, and baked goods made from scratch. So much so, that the owner has imported his own wooden flour mill from Austria to mill his own flour. Tables are made from old butcher blocks, art was commissioned from a NY artist, and lights are custom creations.

I really like the look of this place. It has a certain “San Francisco” styling that you don’t see much in SLC. As a downtown worker, I’m especially excited about the bar where single diners can plop down for a quick lunch.

From Scratch will be open for breakfast and lunch only to begin with. A special section of the restaurant will serve take-out items like espresso, in-house pastries, and house-made ice cream.

The owner hopes to open for dinner later in the year, and plans to pursue a liquor license.

Heber Valley Cheese Wins Big

Heber Valley Cheese brought home three awards from this year’s American Cheese Society competition in Madison, Wisconsin.

One thing I really like about Heber Valley’s system is that they have control over the entire cheesemaking process as they raise their own milk cows, maintaining a herd of about 200 head. I had a chance to stop by their shop in Heber about a month ago and try their “Chile Verde” cheese, and was very impressed (as a sidenote, they carry Aggie ice cream as well, and if they have the lemon custard in stock, get a double scoop for me).

Heber Valley Cheese is located in Midway on Canyon View Farm.