Best Tasty Byway
Some stretches of pavement are known for their scenery, others for their history, but few are as delicious as the 10 miles from Willard to just north of Perry on Utah’s Highway 89. From late spring to fall, the stretch has around 10 established multigenerational farmers’ fruit stands—along with many growers selling out of flatbed trucks and trailers—that sell in-season fruit from the area, like early-season cherries and late-season peaches. Although 2011 marked the strangest weather many of the farmers had seen, what fruit there was was delicious. As 2012 blossoms like buds on a tree, let’s hope the crop will be more abundant than ever.
That this downtown institution’s massive beer list has earned it the nickname of Beervana is no wonder. But the enlightenment associated with reveling in Beervana is not attained simply by sipping on beers from around the world, but by also pairing them with the Bayou’s sumptuous appetizers. They range from the traditional, like tasty Buffalo wings and chicken quesadillas (served with cumin sour cream) to the more exotic, such as alligator cheesecake—a dessert served with alligator sausage baked in a crumbly cracker-pecan crust. You can also try more Cajun-fried takes on old classics, with popcorn crawfish and the ever-popular sweet-potato fries served with an addictive garlic-chipotle aioli sauce.
645 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-961-8400, UtahBayou.com
Best Fried Dessert Assortment
You probably don’t go to a pizza place thinking you want to leave room for dessert—especially a place like Spedelli’s, where you can score 18-inch specialty pies that can satisfy the most profound hunger. But if you can squeeze in space for something sweet at Spedelli’s, it’ll be coming out of the fryer. Got a hankering for a state-fair favorite like a deep-fried Twinkie? They’ve got it. Cinnamon sticks? Check. Deep-fried ice cream? Oh baby, yes. That’s what we call finishing off a meal old school.
2352 Foothill Drive, Salt Lake City, 801-410-4892, Spedellis.com
Best Sign Athlete
Daniel Richard, Nacho’s Libre
Holding a sign and waving at traffic isn’t easy, but some who do it are a cut above the rest. You’ve probably seen Daniel Richard on the corner of 1280 South and 300 West. He’s tough to miss in his brightly colored, stretchy Lucha Libre suit. He loves his job, and if you honk or wave at him, more than likely he’ll throw down a back flip while performing a 360-degree sign spin. Visit Richard most evenings outside of Nacho’s Libre.
1280 S. 300 West, Salt Lake City, 801-466-4594
Best Morning Jolt
When you’re up at 6 in the morning, for whatever reason, a cup of Raw Bean’s 20-ounce Guatemalan brew, taken black, is a little slice of heaven. That early in the morning, the place is a haven for those trying to get an early drop on creative endeavors.
611 S. West Temple, Salt Lake City, 801-990-2326, RawBeanCoffee.net
Best South-of-theBorder Bite in Southern Utah
La Casa Don Miguel
Whether you’re hanging in Cedar City for the Utah Shakespeare Festival or to sightsee at a nearby national park, there’s only one place to stop if you get a hankering for Mexican fare, and that’s the house that Don Miguel built. It’s easy to miss when you’re cruising Main Street in search of dinner, but don’t give up looking; it’s one of the few places downtown that serves alcohol. This former house, now converted into a restaurant, has all the typical bases covered, via tasty tacos, moles and burritos, but the salsas really put this joint on the map—be sure to try the green salsa with fresh cilantro.
453 S. Main, Cedar City, 435-586-6855
Best Western Valley Restaurant
Copper Creek Pub & Grub
This unpretentious bar and grill can pack a lot in a three-page menu. Standard bar fare is served up with love and care, while signature items beckon those with big appetites. The “chubby” burgers are a local legend—each burger comes with a ground-chuck patty sandwiched between two grilled-cheese sandwiches substituting for regular buns. Try the spicy guac chubby, which is heaped with smothered onions, grilled mushrooms, mayo and jalapeños. This isn’t just a burgers-and-beer establishment, however, as patrons also enjoy great entrees like Southwest lime cilantro chicken salad, the Red Hook Ale-battered shrimp and the savory steak & mushroom risotto.
3451 S. 5600 West, West Valley City, 801-417-0051, CopperCreekPub.com
3. Stockmens Steakhouse
Best High-Altitude Momos
This place has a massive menu of Nepali and Indian cuisine, and a lunch buffet that is a must-stop for downtown workers. But any stop at Himalayan Kitchen requires ordering the Himalayan momos, the incredibly tasty Nepali-style steamed-chicken dumplings spiced with onion, ginger, garlic and various spices, and served with a sesame seed sauce. They vaguely look like Chinese potstickers, but offer oh-so-much more with every bite. Even the vegetarian version is tasty.
360 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-328-2077, HimalayanKitchen.com
Some folks love them with the white sauce, and some with the red, and never the twain shall meet—but everybody loves gyros from Greek Souvlaki. A longtime reader favorite, these delicious pita-wrapped bundles of joy are often ordered with really good fries or yellow rice along with a small salad. And we don’t care what anyone says, that’s a meal. In addition to locations valleywide in Salt Lake City, Murray, West Valley City and South Jordan, a new Greek Souvlaki outlet is opening this spring at the Salt Lake International Airport—providing world travelers with an exciting new alternative to Cinnabon.
Multiple locations, GreekSouvlaki.com
2. Mad Greek
Best Post-Slickrock Stop
Milt’s Stop ’n’ Eat
With a name that demands your obedience, you’ll be glad you stopped at Milt’s Stop ‘n’ Eat after a day riding on Moab’s Slickrock trail. Located right where town meets dirt, the old-timey drive-in deals in house-cut fries, killer shakes and burgers to die for, including a chili cheeseburger Milt’s has been serving for more than 55 years. It’s only about $7 for two patties of glorious ground beef smothered with homemade chili, cheddar and onions. If you’re trying to live healthy, substitute bison for those beef patties.
356 Millcreek Drive, Moab, 435-259-7424, MiltsStopAndEat.com
Best Quick Stop for Serious Spice
Curry in a Hurry
You’ve got a hankering for something different. You’re sick of burgers and don’t have time to sit down somewhere to get your grub on. Then inspiration strikes when you remember Curry in a Hurry. A quick pop-in will get you a couple of minutes of Indian cinema on the telly and a carton full of outrageously good food, like the lamb or chicken curry and vegetables like spicy spinach and delicious garbanzo beans. The name tells you how fast you’ll get your food, but it doesn’t tell you how good it is.
2020 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-467-4137, CurryInAHurrySLC.com