Village Baker Downtown

I was excited when I saw that the Village Baker was moving into the main floor of the new 111 Main building in downtown Salt Lake City. I’ve been a fan of Village Baker since I lived down in Draper and frequented their West Jordan location. The new downtown shop opened a couple months ago, and has had a brisk business ever since, without a doubt helped by the continued growth of the downtown workforce and the accompanying strain this growth has placed on downtown lunch spots. I rarely venture out for lunch past about 11:45 because lines at almost every downtown dining spot will be 10-15 people deep. Maybe I’ll develop a new measure of downtown economic growth and base it on the line length at 12pm at sandwich shops.

Breakfast sandwiches, coffee, soups, salads, pizza, sandwiches, a variety of sweets and pastries–you name it, and this place will likely have it. As opposed to Kneaders, Village Baker’s bread selection is less rustic and artisan and centers more squarely on traditional American bread pan breads: honey wheat, honey white, French, and sourdough, with other specialty breads such as sunflower whole wheat, raisin, multigrains, and cinnaburst loaves produced on a rotating weekly schedule.

One popular sandwich is the turkey cranberry ($3.74 for half, about $7 for whole). The turkey, which was somewhat clumsily and unevenly placed in the sandwich, mayonnaise and cranberry sauce were contained by two thick slices of honey wheat bread. This sandwich is one of their more popular menu items, and I can see why: it’s delicious. I wasn’t initially sold on cranberry on my sandwiches, but once I tried it, there was no going back. For an extra $2.50 you can make your sandwich a combo and get a beverage and your choice of either chips or a large cookie. Sorry Lays, but I’m going for the homemade peanut butter chocolate chip cookie every time.

On another visit I tried the turkey, provolone, and avocado sandwich ($4.32 for a half sandwich and I think around $7 for the whole). This one came served with thin slices of bread despite my request for the thicker slices, and was, simply put, anemic and a little bit sad. It lacked the filling robustness I’m accustomed to at Village Baker. This sandwich was a boring dud.

The pizza is delicious, and extremely well priced at about $2 per slice. At that price I have to imagine they will give some other downtown pizza places a run for their money. The slices are generous, sauce well balanced, cheese is perfectly stretchy and gooey, and the thicker crust has the perfect chew. I’m a fan.

Their cookies are good, but sadly not as good as those that I remember from the West Jordan location. At West Jordan, the cookies are thick and chewy, whereas at the downtown spot they are much thinner. This results in a crisper, drier cookie that makes me yearn for their more robust southern brethren.

For breakfast, I was impressed by their savory breakfast roll ($3.59), which features hash browns, red and green peppers, mozzarella and bacon. The rolls are packaged for a quick to-go option, but the kitchen is more than happy to warm it up for you, which I would highly recommend if you have the time.

The space itself is bright, cheery, and well decorated. During the warmer months, patio tables are placed outside on the sidewalk, greatly expanding their capacity. During the colder times, diners are restricted to limited seating on the main floor, but Village Baker anticipated this and came up with a brilliant solution: they build a mezzanine floor above the kitchen, where I imagine 30+ hungry diners can fit at any given time.

Service is of the “order at the counter and take a number to your table” variety. I’ve always been helped by cheerful people at the order counter as well as those delivering my food. I’ve had them ask me how things are as they walk by delivering orders to other tables, which is greatly appreciated and shows me they care.

Does downtown seriously need another soup and sandwich place? Yes. While I’d love to see a bit more variety hit downtown dining spots, demand for noontime noshing continues to strain eateries, so it’s nice to have another sandwich spot to help relieve some of the lunch rush pressure. Village Baker is a top-notch addition, and I’m glad they chose to come downtown. Judging by their crowds, I think they’ll do just fine.

Brunch at Fireside on Regent Begins June 3rd

Fireside on Regent is off to a solid start, and now that they have their feet under them, Chef Richey is opening for brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:30-2pm beginning June 3rd. Richey is no brunch novice, having previously expanded Pago’s menu to include brunch as well. Expect to see French toast, croque madam, burgers, hash, salads, and special brunch-only pizzas on the menu.

Fireside on Regent
126 South Regent Street, Salt Lake City

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“Slice of Ice” Iceberg lettuce, sundered tomato aioli, “landshark” ham, poached egg, chives

 

Taste Utah TV Series Highlight Park City Restaurants

The Park City Area Restaurant Association (PCARA) is announcing their partnership with the Utah Restaurant Association (URA) to create twelve new episodes featuring Park City restaurants for the Taste Utah TV series.  Taste Utah is an interactive dining guide featuring innovative videos of the best restaurants in Utah. The series currently focuses on dining options in Northern, Wasatch Front, and Southern regions of the state, and will soon be joined by segments dedicated to greater Park City.

“We are honored to partner with the Utah Restaurant Association and participate in the Taste Utah TV series,” said Ginger Ries, executive director of the Park City Area Restaurant Association. “It is a welcomed opportunity to showcase our region’s world-class dining among incredible company in the restaurant industry across the state.”

A new Taste Park City section of Taste Utah is now accessible on tasteUT.com and  showcases 30 PCARA and URA members in four of Park City’s distinct dining districts: Historic Main Street, the Resorts, Prospector, and Kimball Junction. Each 4-6-minute episode follows hosts Katy Sine and Jami Larson to select restaurants. The duo interviews owners and executive chefs for an insider’s view on the history and vision of the establishment, along with behind-the-scenes tours and cooking tips for signature dishes from the kitchen. The interactive dining guide gives consumers the opportunity to explore the dining culture, find new dining destinations, and see what they can expect at each restaurant. Food enthusiasts are encouraged to share their dining experiences by posting their favorite restaurant photos to Instagram using #tasteParkCity and hashtagging the restaurant’s name to be featured on the Taste Utah website.

“The Taste Utah TV series provides a unique platform to promote our state’s diverse dining scene,” said Melva Sine, executive director of the Utah Restaurant Association. “We are thrilled to feature so many of Park City’s award-winning restaurants that help elevate Utah’s reputation as a must-visit food destination.”

Episodes 1-5, featuring Tupelo, Ritual Chocolate, Shabu, Glitretind, Bakery at Windy Ridge, Riverhorse On Main and The Brass Tag, have already been filmed and will be available on tasteUT.com. Upcoming Taste Park City episodes include:

Episode 6 (March 4): The Farm

Episode 7 (March 11): Silver Star Cafe

Episode 8 (March 18): Red Rock Brewing

Episode 9 (March 25): High West Saloon

Episode 10 (March 31): Cafe Terigo

Episode 11 (April 7): Myrtle Rose

Episode 13 (April 21): Yuki Yama / Wasatch Brew Pub

March Flight & Bite at Stanza

Stanza Flight and Bite March 2017
Photo courtesy Stanza

Stanza Italian Bistro & Wine Bar continues its “Flight & Bite” Wine Wednesdays weekly in Stanza’s lounge into March. This month Wine educator and sommelier Jimmy Santangelo is offering two flights; one of rosés for $15, and one featuring “big reds” for $16. Both include creative and well-paired bites from Stanza’s kitchen.

Santangelo hand selects wines and educates diners about the nuances of each. “Now that the days are longer, it’s a better excuse to stay downtown after work and join me in the bar as we explore some new wine regions and varietals,” says Santangelo. “While we bring in most of these selections by special order and we’ll sell them in flights in the restaurant during the entire month.”

Jimmy’s focus in March revolves around rosé and big red selections. Each includes two 2-1/2 oz. splashes of wine and two “bites” of Stanza’s Italian Bistro cuisine. Space is limited and reservations are highly recommended. These selections are served during regular business hours each Wednesday.

Stanza is located at 454 East, 300 South in Salt Lake. Reservations can be made by calling 801-746-4441info@stanzaslc.com or by visiting www.stanzaslc.com.

March 2017 Flight & Bite Options:

#1 Rose Flight & Bite – $15

  • Borgo Molino Millesimato Brut Prosecco Valdobbiadene, IT 2015*
  • Palmina Arneis, Santa Ynez Valley 2015*
  • shaved spring root vegetable with dried cherry vinaigrette
  • Chilled calamari endive salad with grapefruit vinaigrette

#2 Big Red Flight & Bite – $15

  • N2 Winery Langhe Rosso, Piedmont 2012
  • Orin Swift ‘Locations’ Italy -2
  • Homemade garganelli with porcini mushroom sauce
  • Homemade bolognese stuffed ravioli finished with pomodoro sauce

Dessert Options:

  • Cannoli alla Ricotta – Two Cannoli alla Ricottas $800
  • Pair with either Cocchi Americano $700 or Meleto Vin Santo $1200

Valentine’s Day Dining

Ah, love is in the air. Along with the inversion.

Check out some dining and celebration options for V day. Call soon–restaurants book up early.

Oasis Cafe: $40 per person, four course fixed menu featuring ahi tartare, fennel salad or shrimp bisque, halibut, beef tenderloin, or roasted chicken, and dessert. Call (801) 322-0404 for reservations.

Current Fish and Oyster: four course menu, $70 per person (drinks, tax, gratuity extra). Additionally, if you’re looking to celebrate, but don’t like the crowds on the 14th, Chef Gardner is offering dinner specials the 10th through the 13th as well. New offerings this year for the 14th include roast duck breast and a turbot and crab roulade. This is in addition to other menu options such as oysters, calamari, beef short ribs, organic cauliflower, braised salmon, and more. (801) 326-3474

Alamexo: the Mexican restaurant is celebrating el dia del amor. Valentine’s specials will be served from the 14th through the 18th, and include filet mignon with chile paste, tamale, jalapeño relleno, and salsa mocajete ($27), mahi mahi in a salsa veracruzana ($24), as well as some specialty desserts and beverages. (801) 779-4747.

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Photo courtesy Alamexo

Stanza Italian Bistro & Wine Bar: Stanza is offering a $65 per person six course dinner on the 14th. The Valentine’s menu includes buttermilk panna cotta, Alaskan king crab, black truffle spaghettini, blood orange with black olive and candied walnut, a porcini-dusted New York strip loan, and a special dessert. (801) 746-4441

Laziz Kitchen: four-course prix fixe menu. You must reserve/pay in advance. Price is $140 per couple. The menu includes stuffed roasted onions, salads, salmon, organic chicken, and chocolate cardamom ice cream. (801) 441-1228.

RYE Diner and Drinks: RYE is open for Valentine’s Day. No information on their offerings, but each entree includes a guaranteed free ticket to the Urban Lounge next door for their Valentine’s Day party. Email janavanbrocklin@gmail.com

PAGO: offering a five-course tasting menu + wine pairings. Saturday, February 11th and Tuesday, February 14th. $75 per person tasting menu, $42 wine pairings. Dinner will feature choices of chocolate-dipped strawberries, pork belly, oysters, steak tartare, braised short ribs, duck breast, curried cauliflower, triple chocolate mousse hearts, and a house ice cream tasting. (801) 532-0777.

Stoneground Italian Kitchen: offering both a three-course ($35) and five-course ($50) dining option. (801) 364-1368.

stoneground

La Caille: five-course dinner, $95 adults, $55 children. See their menu on Facebook. (801) 942-1751

Log Haven: Log Haven is completely booked on 2/14, but still has some room on 2/13 and 2/15. You can see their special menu on their site. (801) 272-8255.

Park City/Deer Valley

Stein Eriksen Lodge: the lodge is featuring special Valentine’s Day options such as a rose petal turndown service, house-made chocolates, horse-drawn sleigh rides, and flower bouquets. Call the lodge at (435) 604-2793.

The Brass Tag at the Lodges at Deer Valley: the restaurant’s raved-about dinner menu will be on offer, plus a special of porcini mushroom crusted scallops served with forbidden rice, roasted cauliflower and leek puree ($28).

Deer Valley Grocery Café: for those serving a special private meal at home, add a little something extra with the Fritto Misto for two ($14.75) from Deer Valley Grocery~Café. Enjoy rice flour battered wild sockeye salmon and shrimp, served with fennel, lemon, shiitake mushrooms, fresh sage dipping broth and preserved lemon salt.

Fireside Dining: spend an evening enjoying delectable selections beside a roaring fire. Fireside Dining at Deer Valley resort will be offering a trio of specials: seared duck breast with an elderberry and elderflower lacquer, slow-roasted tomatoes, Cipollini onions and sage polenta; roasted root vegetables with herb honey butter glaze; and a s’mores tart with house-made graham crust, bittersweet ganache and bourbon marshmallow.

Flanagan’s on Main: the Irish pub is serving classic surf-and-turf for Valentine’s Day. The “Lovebirds” special ($98 total) features fresh house salad, a sumptuous grilled 28-ounce ribeye, two 6-ounce lobster tails, mixed vegetables and dessert.

Grub Steak: Park City’s longtime locals-favorite steakhouse will be serving a delicious three-course prix fixe. The Valentine’s Day menu ($59.75 per person) starts with a choice of hearts of romaine Caesar salad, wild rice and mushroom soup, or Grub Steak’s 45-item fresh salad bar. Then enjoy beef wellington, featuring tenderloin of beef and mushroom duxelle baked in puff pastry, served alongside steam asparagus and citrus hollandaise. Chocolate lava cake and fresh raspberries and Haagen Dazs vanilla ice cream caps the evening for dessert.

Tupelo: Park City’s home for globally inspired, artisanally sourced and stunningly prepared food is serving an a la carte menu and a five-course tasting menu for Valentine’s Day.

The tasting menu ($95, with an optional $65 wine pairing), starts with barbecue octopus with red bean stew, red pepper vinegar, kale and pickled lemon, followed by whiskey glazed Niman Ranch pork belly with apple butter, pickled beets and smoked maple; pan roasted bass with squash caponata, herb broth, lemon and smoked soy; and sous vide wagyu ribeye with wild mushroom, roasted marrow and truffles. Enjoy a tasting of artisanal chocolates for dessert. The a la carte selections draw from Tupelo’s regular dinner menu, with selections such as buttermilk biscuits, house-made ricotta, and Utah trout.

If you can’t find something in here that you like, then I’m afraid I’m of no use to you!

Christmas and New Year’s Specials

The holidays are well upon us, and many local restaurants are opening up for Christmas and New Years dining.

Cafe Niche

Christmas Eve: Open from 8am to 9pm, and will be serving special dishes including wild mushroom bisque, shrimp cocktail, and Black Forest cake.

New Years: Cafe Niche will offer a special New Years Eve dining special from 5-10pm. Cost is $60 per person. Reservations are a must, and can be made by calling the restaurant (801) 433-3380. The restaurant will also be open on New Years day at 8am.

Kyoto

Kyoto will be serving their regular menu, with adjusted hours. Christmas Eve: 11-2pm and 5-9pm. Christmas Day: closed. December 26: regular hours. New Years Eve: 11am-2pm, 5-9pm. New Years: closed for lunch and open for dinner 5-10pm.

Stanza

Stanza will be open Christmas Eve from 5-9pm, with specials in addition to the regular menu, and will be closed all day on Christmas and New Year’s Day. Specials on Christmas Eve include veal cannelloni, wagyu bavette, and buche de noel for dessert.

The restaurant will also offer a New Year’s Eve special four course menu for $65, featuring oysters, roasted pumpkin soup, lobster farfalle, branzino, Mary’s chicken, and cannoli (among many other options). Call the restaurant for reservations at (801) 746-4441.

Current Fish & Oyster

current-oysters
Photo courtesy Current

The restaurant will be open for lunch a dinner on Christmas Eve, closing at 8pm. The restaurant will be closed on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

Chef Phelix Gardner is featuring customer favorites and many holiday specials for the restaurant’s New Year’s Eve celebration. The four course menu is available beginning at 4pm on December 31st. Options include oyster brie soup, grilled calamari, banana prawn videos, roasted beef loin, caramelized organic salmon, and a chocolate peanut cremeux, among other options. Guests can also choose to add a seafood tower with mussel shooters, poached lobster, oysters, shrimp, and crab legs.

Call (801) 326-3474 for reservations.

Oasis Cafe

Oasis will be open from 8am until 3pm on Christmas Eve, offering their regular brunch menu. The restaurant will be closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

The restaurant is offering a special four course prix fixe menu beginning at 5pm on New Years Eve. Offerings will include pan seared scallop, shrimp bisque, pan roasted halibut, prime rib, and dark chocolate cheesecake, among other options.

Cost is $45. Reservations are highly suggested. (801) 322-0404.

Finca

Finca has created a six course tasting menu for New Year’s Eve. Per Spaniard tradition, each dish will incorporate grapes in some way. Each course is also paired with an optional wine pairing as well.

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Pago

Pago is offering a New Year’s Eve tasting menu, plus wine pairings, from 5-9pm. Price is $70 for the menu, plus $38 for the optional wine pairings. Some menu items include hamachi crude, sweet potato gnocchi, venison, diver scallops, and bread pudding. Call the restaurant at (801) 532-0777 for reservations.

pago

HSL

HSL still has availability for their four-course prix fixe meal on Christmas Eve. Price is $65 per person, and features a selection of panna cotta, charred leek soup, ribeye steak, sea bass, chestnut risotto, and bouche de noel, among other choices. Call HSL at (801) 539-9999.

Laziz Kitchen

Laziz is offering a “New Year’s Eve Supper,” with two seating options: one at 7:30pm and one at 8:30pm. The menu is a four course prix fixe menu, including stuffed grape leaves, hummus, fennel salad, fish tajen, Zaatar crusted chicken, baklava bites, and assorted beverages (alcohol extra, but you can bring your own if you wish). Price is $70 per person, and must be paid for in advance by calling the restaurant at (801) 441-1228. More info on Facebook.

Avenues Bistro on Third

Avenues Bistro will host two seatings: one at 5pm and one at 7pm. The bistro will be showcasing the work of the newly-returned chef, Adam Findlay. This is a four-course meal featuring a cream of sunchoke bisque, watercress salad, ricotta gnocchi, wagyu beef, salmon, and dessert. No price was posted, but call (801) 831-5409 to inquire and make reservations.

East Liberty Tap House

East Liberty is still accepting reservations for New Year’s Eve, featuring a “tap takeover” by Red Rock Brewing. There will be other drink and food specials as well. Call them at (801) 441-2845.

Desert Edge Brewpub

 

We’ve all either lived this story personally, or seen it played out on the TV or movie screen: two siblings, one flashy, flamboyant, loud and exciting, and the other stable, staid, quiet and, well, at times not so exciting. Marsha, Marsha, Marsha!

The Salt Lake dining news tends to be dominated by sibling #1: new restaurants, tons of money put into stunning design, the flash, glitz and glamour of new, new, new.

But sibling #2 is the bedrock to the SLC dining scene. The Camry to our Teslas. These restaurants tend to be steady in their menu approach and not very interested in causing too many waves with their regulars via wholesale changes in menus or approach.

One of those dining mainstays in Salt Lake is Desert Edge Brewery, located in the upper level of Trolley Square. Desert Edge is owned by the same group that owns the Red Butte Cafe, Stella Grill, and Martine, and the pub has been around in one form or another since 1972, expanding into a full craft brewery in 1995.

The restaurant’s menu offers a wide selection. I remarked to my wife that this is a great place to bring family or large groups because everybody is bound to find something on the menu that interests their taste buds. For appetizers, you will find everything from bruschetta, crab cakes, and nachos, to spring rolls and asian chicken skewers. There is a wide variety of hot and cold sandwiches, with the guajillo chile pulled pork sandwich and the grilled sirloin and gorgonzola sandwich both catching my eye. Sometimes when a menu covers that much ground, execution tends to suffer, but that isn’t the case at Desert Edge, according to my recent visit.

Those interested in salads can choose from a wide range, from the basic chef to an asian salmon salad, featuring a peanut-plum vinaigrette. On a recent visit I tried the crab cakes and avocado salad ($10.95), which were executed well, with just the right amount of spice.

Pasta salads are featured prominently on the menu, with their pasta made in-house (except the farfalle). These salads are accompanied by light and tasty house-made focaccia. The house “everyday” salad, featuring zucchini, yellow squash, feta, olives, and tomatoes, didn’t blow me away, but was a decent rendition.

The restaurant has recently rolled out a new rotating specials menu. They have given creative control over to their head chef, who sets a two week menu that features ingredients that are more seasonal in nature. Right now as we enter the cold winter their specials feature deliciously rich balsamic braised short ribs with a tarragon demi sauce ($16.95), an italian meatloaf with onion demi sauce, and a spicy pasta dish featuring chicken and spicy italian sausage ($11.95).

Of course, there is plenty of selection when it comes to alcohol. Pilsners, hefeweizens, pale ales, and stouts are all on offer. Many of these can be found as a nitro version, and some are available cask-aged as well. The brewery crafts their beers to be a bit more aggressive in terms of hops, but they try to maintain an appropriate balance for the many different styles of brews. There is also much deeper wine selection than is typically available at brew pubs, with Desert Edge offering a selection of cabernet, malbec, merlot, syrah, and a nice selection of whites (chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, pinot grigio, rose) as well. The servers know their stuff, so ask them and they will be happy to guide you in the right direction.

Prices, especially for the rotating menu specials, are beyond reasonable, in my opinion. I’m not sure where else you could find an herb-rubbed new york steak in a red-wine shallot pan sauce for $17.

We have been guided by the belief that we can do it our way, break some of the rules and give our customers a great experience. We are a ‘regulars’ establishment. We provide excellent food value by design. No corporate operation could sustain our high food costs. We just don’t have to answer to the bean counters, so we don’t. -Desert Edge website

I was struck by the high quality of ingredients, the care that went into the preparation and presentation of the food, the breadth of the menu, and the prices. In a day and age where the flashy, brash sibling gets all of the attention, sometimes it’s nice to get to know the low-key counterpart. Desert Edge may be low-key when it comes to marketing budget, but is definitely not low-key when it comes to food.

Located in Trolley Square, 551 S 600 E, Salt Lake City. (801) 521-8917.

Kitchen hours Monday through Thursday, 11am to 11pm; Saturday 11:30am to 11pm; Sunday 12pm to 10pm.

Disclaimer: I was treated to a complimentary dinner by Desert Edge in order to try their new rotating specials menu.

 

 

Alamexo November Chile Festival

Usually about this time of the year, Utahns are seeking shelter and warmth. With this year’s unseasonably warm November, we may not exactly be feeling that way, but things are about to change.

In anticipation of the imminent colder weather, Alamexo is holding the November Chile Festival from Thursday November 17th through Saturday November 19th. Chef Matt Lake wants to share his love of piquant peppers with inhabitants of SLC by offering numerous dinner and drink specials.

The main event of the festival will be a cooking class and three course lunch. The class is titled “Cooking with the Chiles of Mexico” and Chef Lake plans to show attendees just how versatile chiles can be.

Call to reserve a seat in the class: (801) 779-4747. Cost is $35 (including lunch!)

Saturday, November 19, 11am
Alamexo Mexican Kitchen, 268 S State St, Salt Lake City

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Photo courtesy Alamexo

 

Thanksgiving Day Meals in SLC

Numerous restaurants are offering Thanksgiving Day meals in Salt Lake. Here are a few that I have been made aware of:

Bambara

Bambara, located in the Hotel Monaco downtown, will offer a Thanksgiving Day buffet dinner, offering a classic carving station, whole New York strip, oysters, shrimp, salads, and soup. Additionally, an array of desserts will be offered.

Thanksgiving is such a warm, wonderful holiday for people to come together, but it can be so stressful to host, too. Leave the kitchen and preparation and the dishes behind, and bring your friends and family, and join us for a really special dinner this holiday. -Executive Chef Nathan Powers

Cost is $75 per adult, $55 for children 6-16, and $65 for seniors.

Call Bambara for reservations. (801) 363-5454

Cafe Niche

Cafe Niche will host a four-course Thanksgiving dinner featuring executive chef Andy Morrison’s creative take on holiday fare. This dinner will be offered from noon until 8pm.

The menu includes a choice of grilled vegetables with balsamic and parsley sauce on ciabatta; signature Niche salad or sausage and fall vegetable soup; entrée selections of traditional turkey dinner, cherry thyme tenderloin or crispy tai snapper; and dessert of homemade pumpkin and vanilla gelato with graham cracker crust. Wine pairings will be hand selected and are available at an additional cost.

Cost is $35 per person, gratuity and tax not included. Call the restaurant at (801) 433-3380 for reservations.

Oasis Cafe

Oasis will be open for Thanksgiving Day brunch from 9am to 3pm. The brunch offers traditional breakfast dishes, soups, salads and sandwiches. Guest favorites include the German buttermilk pancake with blueberry compote or the eggs Benedict Florentine, Chef Efren’s breakfast burrito; the toasted Brie sandwich or a traditional Reuben sandwich

“Once the turkey is in the oven, families can pop over for a leisurely brunch before returning to their kitchens,” said Will Keesen, general manager. “Honestly, this is really self-serving – I just need a place to eat that morning,” he laughs.

Call this family-owned and -run restaurant at (801) 322-0404 for reservations.

oasis-german-pancake
Photo courtesy Oasis Cafe

Finca

Finca is offering a Thanksgiving Day buffet from 10am until 2pm. Finca’s buffet will offer traditional Thanksgiving dishes with their own little spin, such as roasted turkey, harissa baked yams, honey and sherry glazed ham, chestnut and sage dressing, mashed yukon gold potatoes and gravy, as well as house made bread, pastries, and confections.

Large groups are welcome. Cost is $45/person. Call Finca at (801) 487-0699 to reserve your spot.

Salt Lake’s New Epicenter

Let me just get this out of the way: the new George S. and Dolores Dore Eccles Theater in downtown Salt Lake is going to be something special for downtown SLC. Gathering place. Community center. Banquet rooms for rental by the public. Terraces with incredible views. More bars than I could count on every level of the venue. Encore Bistro and catering throughout, ran by Cuisine Unlimited. A small 200 seat black box theater for smaller community events. And of course, the theater itself, the Delta Performance Hall, with a star-filled ceiling and red/orange colors that immediately remind the guest of the striated red rock formations of southern Utah. The theater seats 2,500, yet feels closer in size to the Capitol Theater than Abravanel Hall. Right next door (and partially hanging over the theater thanks to unique cantilevered engineering) sits downtown’s latest high rise, 111 Main St. And behind the theater is Regent Street, which itself is in the middle of a multi-million dollar renovation, and designed to be the new connecting pedestrian corridor between City Creek mall and the Gallivan Center. New restaurant spaces and shops are being built as you read this, and soon enough (October 21st), thousands of theater goers will be traveling to downtown to enjoy performances ranging from the Utah Symphony, The Book of Mormon musical, and Ballet to Elvis Lives and Neil deGrasse Tyson.

The building itself is a stunning piece of architecture. Clothed in gorgeous white stone on the outside, the theater is located in the heart of downtown, and was designed by world-renowned architect Cesar Pelli in conjunction with local firm HKS. The theater features a sky-high six story lobby, with retractable glass walls that will open the lobby completely to the outside. Several stories up, a large terrace opens up to the outside for visitors to soak in the sights and sounds of downtown.

Encore Bistro, located at ground level, is ran by Cuisine Unlimited, who is the exclusive provider of food and beverages for the theater as well as all events that happen there. The bistro will be open for breakfast and lunch Monday through Friday, and will be open before and during performances with menu items tailored for specific performances. The Bistro menu features unique offerings, such as vegetarian breakfast wraps ($5), daily quiche ($5), and fruit ($4) for breakfast, among other items. Lunch features items such as the Off Broadway Salad (romaine roasted tomatoes, bacon and Roquefort – $7.50), beef sliders ($10.50 for three), and a Thai chicken wrap ($10), among others. The Bistro also offers products from local purveyors C. Kay Cummings (chocolates) and Ruby Snap (cookies), to name a couple. I work downtown, and am always looking for great new spots to freshen up the lunch routine. I think that the Encore Bistro will find a place in the rotation on a regular basis.

Am I perhaps being a bit too ebullient with my praise of the theater? Perhaps. This place wasn’t free, and it wasn’t cheap ($119 million, most of it taxpayer money). But despite my misgivings, this beautiful building is easily on par with other large downtown projects which have played key roles in the continued rejuvenation of Salt Lake City (Gateway, Gallivan, City Creek Mall, downtown Harmon’s, to name a few). My first impression of the new theater is that it was designed to be a centerpiece and a celebration of the city. And I think they nailed it.

Websites:
Encore Bistro
Eccles Theater