50 West Café opened its doors last week for the lunch crowd. The café is part of the new Wiseguys comedy club located at–you guessed it–50 West 300 South. The menu offers plenty of choices without being overly complicated.

Service was confused. They give each customer a number to take to their tables, and it seemed that the little number tents were pretty useless since each server came out, wandering aimlessly around the café with plates of food, not sure who they actually belonged to.

Execution was less than perfect with a really tasty chicken club and chipotle chicken salad being balanced out by undercooked fries and a medium rare steak that came out basically blue on the inside. I think with a bit more time they will be cranking out consistently great food and the kinks in the service will be ironed out.

At $12 for a sandwich, fries, and drink, I won’t be eating there too frequently, but I’m sure it will make its way into my lunch rotation from time to time.

Open 11-3pm Monday through Saturday. More info at www.50westslc.com


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.

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.

New Downtown Hot Dog Shop

Red Hot, a new hot dog shop in downtown SLC, opened this week. It is located next to Lamb’s, and shares the same owner. Red Hot features Snake River Farms “100% American Kobe Beef” and has a varied menu including numerous dogs, banh mi, salads, creative sides, and lemonade.

New Downtown Hot Dog Shop

Bonneville Brewery Grand Opening

Bonneville Brewery, which recently opened in Tooele, Utah, is having their Grand Opening tomorrow (April 26th) from 4pm until midnight. During this time the brew pub will be giving out free appetizers and other giveaways.

I had the chance to check out Bonneville Brewery last week, and I left impressed. Since I was an invited guest compliments of the brewery, I won’t provide a review, but would like to share some dishes that our dining group got to try.

First of all, the building is impressive. I thought it was a brand new building and was surprised to hear from the restaurant manager that the building was actually an old, sketchy run-down bar before the current owner bought it and completely gutted it and started over. The restaurant is two stories with a giant open space in the middle that gives views up to the bar balcony as well as the two large TV screens on the wall projecting various sports. Downstairs is more restaurant oriented, while the upstairs is the dedicated bar area (21 and older upstairs), but you can get food upstairs as well. I liked the casualness of the upstairs a bit better and think that I will gravitate up there in subsequent visits. 

While my dining companions tried the beer and enjoyed them, I went with one of the restaurants “mocktails.” I hate that name, but oh well. Jeffrey went with the Spicy Raspberry Lemon Cooler, which was delicious. Raspberries, simple syrup, lemon juice, and ginger beer made the perfectly sweet combination. And it is definitely sweet. I didn’t like mine as much, the Cosmo-Not, which was made with cranberry juice, lime juice, and club soda. It was a bit too tart for my liking (“It’s cranberry and lime, what were you thinking, dummy?” Yeah, I know).

We thoroughly enjoyed their appetizers. The Canadian fries (think poutine) were cheesy, salty, rich, and crunchy–everything you want in a dish like this. The friend mac and cheese balls were good, and I particularly enjoyed them with a side of house-made BBQ sauce. Bonneville also does a great job with their wings, and the favorite at the table was the green curry wings. The spicy wings definitely lived up to their name, as I couldn’t taste much for about 5 minutes after trying one. 

Burgers. This place does burgers, and they do them well. Jeffrey had the pastrami burger, and I tried a bite. We both commented on how the meat actually tasted beefy, which is a really good thing. 

I had the bizarrely-named “cheesesteak.” I saw it on the menu right next to its corresponding $18 price tag, and couldn’t figure out for the life of me how they make a cheesesteak worth $18. Well, they do it through a bit of trickery. See, it’s not a cheesesteak in traditional sense of the word. This, my friends, is a perfectly-cooked hanger steak that is rested on a pile of caramelized onions and gruyere cheese. No bread in sight. So don’t let the name fool you. It’s worth every bit of the $18.

We also tried the pot pie and fish and chips, both of which were cooked well, fresh, and tasty. 

For dessert we tried the bread pudding, apple pie pizza, and the Pavlova, which is a creamy, merengue dessert topped with various fruit and a raspberry coulis. The Pavlova was a wonderfully light way to end a heavy meal. 

The owner of the brew pub is also the owner of the nearby All Star Lanes, and while the restaurant is new, the brewery has been creating their own libations for the bowling alley for a while now. This has given their brewmaster the opportunity to really dial the brewing process in.

I don’t get out to Tooele very often, but the next time I’m passing through I’ll definitely plan a little extra time to stop by Bonneville Brewery. 

Bonneville Brewery Grand Opening
Friday, April 26th, 4pm to 12am
1641 North Main St
Tooele, Utah

Eva’s Bakery


Every now and then a place pops up that is so different, so exciting, so….unique to Salt Lake that I can’t help but get excited about it. When I first spotted its bright blue and yellow facade, I knew that Eva Boulangerie was that kind of place.

Located at 155 S Main St, between Braza Express and the (now closed) Bayleaf Bar and Grub, Eva Boulangerie stands out from the crowd as something special. The front of the building screams Paris, which accurately reflects the European bakery ethos located within.

As you might guess by the name, Eva Boulangerie is owned and operated by the same folks behind Eva Restaurant. Charlie Perry is the chef/owner behind Eva, and he’s had a strong desire to open a cafe/bakery in SLC that helps transport people to another part of the world, through both food and atmosphere.


It took Charlie over nine months to renovate the bakery space into something reminiscent of a Parisian bakery. Immediately upon entry you’ll notice gorgeous blue, yellow and white floor tiles sporting a fun design. Like most main street stores, this one is fairly skinny and deep–I was surprised how far back the seating extended in this space. 


The walls are lined with clean, bright white subway tiles and bright lights. Shelves holding a multitude of breads line the walls, with dangerously inviting sweet and savory pastries fill the glass case in front. The service staff is dressed in crisp white shirts and aprons. Head to the back of the space and you’ll find a wonderfully bright skylight which brings light into what would otherwise be a dark little section of the bakery. One of the co-owners of the space mentioned that they call the skylight their “$100,000 skylight” because it wasn’t until they started tearing down the ceiling that they even knew the skylight was there, which prompted them to change their architectural plans to bring in as much light as possible. It was worth it.

I had the opportunity to meet Lynn Perry, President of Central Milling and bakery partner. This guy knows wheat. You know your uncle or buddy who knows cars or sports like the back of his hand? That’s this guy, but with wheat. Central Milling is Utah’s oldest business, and the premier bakery supplier. I didn’t know so many types of flour existing until Lynn educated us. He takes great pride in his product, and Chef Charlie Perry understands that it takes good ingredients to make good products.

We were fortunate to have a tasting of many of their products. I’ll mention of few of my favorites here. Let’s start with the savory. The bakery offers $3 slices of pizza. The slices are very generous and the dough is crispy and flaky, with just the right amount of chew–in other words, exactly what you’d expect from a bakery. My favorite was the “Pig and Fig,” and if you’ve ever had a similar dish from Eva Restaurant, you know how delicious this is. Sweet figs and Creminelli ham top the pizza, providing a lovely sweet/savory contrast. At $3 per slice this is a wonderful little lunch on its own.


Eva’s Savory Bread Pudding was my favorite savory item that I was able to try. Bread pudding containing leeks, caramelized onions, potatoes, and spinach, all topped with deliciously rich and salty gruyere cheese. I’m sure this will be my go-to dish in the future.

The bakery offers French Onion Soup daily. I’m also looking forward to trying out their steak sandwich, featuring slow roasted tri-tip, parmesan, arugula and olive oil.


Breads. So. Many. Breads. Baker Ryan Moore uses no commercial yeast, relying instead on a twenty year old mother sourdough starter. I was very impressed with the leavening he is able to achieve without using yeast to “cheat.” Wheat bread, which can be too dense, is light and airy, a feat attributed to both the quality of the flour used as well as the baker’s expertise. Baguettes are browned, with a crispy crust and wonderfully soft, light insides–in other words, exactly how they should be. The kalamata loaf and the “One” baguette with seeds are not to be missed. The kalamata loaf takes 36 hours to produce from start to finish.


Now, on to the sweets. Pastry Chef Alisa Watson, a Portland transport, has really knocked it out of the park. Goat cheese cheesecake. Rich and creamy. Caneles, which are dubbed “portable creme brûlée” were unlike anything I’ve tasted before. Don’t let the fact that the molds they are cooked in are coated with beeswax scare you off. Croissants are light, crispy, with just the right amount of toothiness. Stuffed French Toast is filled with lemon cream and topped with blueberry compote. We tried molten chocolate, gingersnap, and hazelnut cookies, all divine.


The beleaguered Main Street has had a rough ten years or so. But, slowly and surely, life is returning to the thoroughfare which at one time exuded so much life and character. I hope that the uniqueness and character of Eva Boulangerie portends of good things to come to Salt Lake.

Eva Boulangerie
155 S Main St
Monday through Saturday
7am – 6pm 

See more photos of Eva Bakery on Flickr

Disclosure: I was treated to a press tasting event by Eva Bakery


Eva's Bakery on Urbanspoon

Habit Burger Grill Opening Early 2013


Habit Burger Grill will be opening their first store in Utah in early 2013 to satisfy the seemingly never-ending need in Utah for burgers, to Utahns just begging for more California chains. Don’t mind me–I’m just a grumpy guy tired of paying $10 for a combo meal at some of these fast-casual burger chains.

To be fair, though, one thing that Habit Burgers differentiates themselves on is their prices. A straight up “charburger” (seriously?) only runs $2.95 and a charburger combo comes in around $6. I’ve never eaten at Habit Burgers, but judging by the prices it sounds like they’re gunning for In-N-Out’s market. Let’s all say a prayer for better fries than In-N-Out’s cardboard sticks.

Habit is a sister-company to Cafe Rio, so if that’s any indication, they’ll do quite well here. I’m glad to see them opening near the old Granite Furniture building. With the recent addition of Bruges, the eventual–maybe–opening of Caterina nearby, and the future trolley stop, it sounds like that area’s going to see its fair share of development pretty soon.

Full press release below:


Popular California-based burger company opens The Habit Burger Grill in Sugarhouse on

January 10th, 2013

Salt Lake City, Utah – The Habit Burger Grill is opening its first Utah location on Thursday, January 10th in the Sugarhouse/2100 South neighborhood development within the Granite Furniture block. 

The Habit is best known for made-to-order “Charburgers” grilled over an open flame and consistent, friendly service. The Habit’s commitment to fresh, quality ingredients along with reasonable prices has made the fast-casual restaurant hugely successful with families in the Western United States of California and Arizona where there are currently 68 Habit Burger Grill locations.

“The Habit is a truly unique brand that offers customers an overall eating experience not found anywhere else,” says Russ Bendel, President and CEO of Habit Restaurants, LLC.  “We are extremely excited about bringing our famous Charburgers and friendly service to the people of Utah, and specifically to this new development in Sugarhouse,” he adds. 

The Habit is a sister company to Café Rio, another well-known, successful, family oriented, fast casual restaurant in Utah.  Following the opening of the Sugarhouse location, The Habit has plans to open two additional Utah locations within the year.

In addition to burgers starting at just $2.95, The Habit’s menu includes sandwiches made from grilled, marinated chicken and tri-tip along with fresh, line-caught Albacore tuna.  Diners can also choose from freshly prepared specialty salads tossed to order, onion rings, sweet potato fries and a variety of hand-blended shakes and malts made from real ice cream.  Customers at The Habit Burger Grill will also notice the reasonable prices that are less expensive than casual dining or other “gourmet burger” establishments.

New Restaurant in Foothill

Spedelli’s recently opened in the spot previously occupied by Davanza’s on Foothill. Spedelli’s is the child of Mac and Sam Spedale, who have both worked in the restaurant industry for several years.

Spedelli’s will be serving up a wide selection of dishes, but specialize in tacos, salads, pizza, and wings. They will also be serving wine and beer.

So far they are getting great reviews on Urbanspoon and Yelp.

I couldn’t find a website, but their Facebook page is here

2352 Foothill Dr
Salt Lake City
(801) 410-4842 

Spedelli's on Urbanspoon

New BBQ Place

I spotted a new BBQ place called Firehouse the other day on 21st South and had to pop in and check it out. Their building is one of the more interesting setups I’ve seen, sharing half the building with a hardwood floor sales office, and their smoker is right out next to the sidewalk.

Firehouse was started by three guys with various experience in the BBQ world. “Tornado T” Tom moonlights at Hog Wallow, and Mark and Robert were associated with the old Bubba’s and Firehouse BBQ on 4300 S 900 E (currently Stella’s).

These guys are serious about their Southern Texas Style BBQ. They are in the process of installing “Salt Lake’s only” open BBQ pit, according to Mark. They have only been open a week, so naturally they are working out the kinks with seating and service, but if these guys can iron those issues out, they’ve got something really good going on here.

They take great pride in all of their food. Their pickles are house-cured and are very unique, having a sweet and spicy kick that I haven’t had before. I sampled a few of their very tasty meats. And the sauce. Wow. I’m a big Heinz 57 sauce fan, and this is Heinz times 1000. I could drink it by the gallon

Again, don’t show up expecting a sit-down meal. As of right now, it’s limited to carry-out orders while they finish the interior of their shop. Once it’s completed they’ll have a few tables to sit down.

Their prices are right on target. When I stopped by, they were offering their rib sandwich for $5. Ribs are $3 each. The menu is dead simple, offering three entrees and two options for sides. Try their “Shawn’s Slaw,” an asian-inspired cole slaw with mangos and peanuts.

Open Monday through Saturday 11 am to 7 pm. Cash only.

Firehouse BBQ Grill
565 E 2100 S
Salt Lake City, UT
(801) 268-3374
Facebook page 

Firehouse BBQ on Urbanspoon