Best Big-Hearted Dining
Joe Cannella, who opened Cannella’s with his wife, Missy, in 1978, passed away suddenly a few years ago. But we think he’s still around—in spirit, at least. Because there’s a big-hearted, family-friendly feel at Cannella’s that lives on in Missy, Joe’s son Joey and all of the outgoing, warm, helpful staff at this little gem of an Italian restaurant. Joe Cannella, wherever he is, would surely approve.
204 E. 500 South, Salt Lake City, 801-355-8518, Cannellas.com
Herbivores and omnivores alike love this cozy downtown spot, where Chef Ian Brandt’s vegetarian, organic, locally sourced food is a feast for the eyes as well as the soul. The menu’s artistically crafted appetizers, sandwiches, salads, desserts and entrees are beautiful and delicious, and all made with 100 percent plant products—who says meat-free food can’t be tasty? Sage’s vegan pizza night, held every Tuesday, is a can’t-miss event. For around $13, you can enjoy all-you-can-”nom” salad and vegan pizza till you’re fit to burst. Creative flavors like carrot butter & mushroom “escargot,” and even a dessert pizza with apples and housemade apple butter, give whole new meaning to the term “rabbit food.”
473 E. Broadway, Salt Lake City, 801-322-3790, SagesCafe.com
2. Frisch Compassionate Eatery
3. Vertical Diner
Best Sausage Shop
Colosimo's Standard Market
In 1921, Ralph Colosimo traveled from Calabria, Italy, to the mining town of Magna, bringing with him a passion for making authentic Italian sausage. His secret sausage recipe has fed Kennecott miners and Magna locals for nearly 100 years; his grandson, Danny Colosimo, now carries on the tradition. Still located in that same shop, the original Colosimo’s Standard Market is a piece of history that comes with plump, juicy Italian sausages.
9900 Main, Magna, 801-250-1088, ColosimosOriginal.com
Best Local Wing Sauce
Some would call Rob Clark a meat-sauce scientist. After visiting a Hooters in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., in 1994, Clark figured he could concoct a better sauce and has been tinkering with various spices and seasonings ever since. After much trial and error, Clark has finally created his masterpiece, Rob’s Sauce. Words can’t do justice to this amazing sauce, but, essentially, it’s a spicy & sweet mouth-splosion, available to purchase in a 20-ounce bottle. Sample it Thursday nights at 5 Monkeys club in Murray, when Clark gives away free wings.
Best Hangover Cure
The Green Pig's Sunday Brunch
For some, Sunday mornings are a dehydrated world of booze-induced pain. Recuperate at The Green Pig, where you can cure your hunger pangs with an all-you-can-eat smorgasbord of bacon, waffles and made-to-order omelets. If you must keep the party going, throw back some $2 mimosas and $2 Bloody Marys and, when the weather warms up, head up to the rooftop patio and groove to the sounds of DJ Flash & Flare, 2011 CWMA DJ of the Year.
31 E. 400 South, Salt Lake City, 801-532-7441, TheGreenPigPub.com
Best Coffee Beans
Drinking coffee has always been a counterculture activity in Utah in a way that no other state can match. Rimini has been around since 1992, so they’ve been at this a long time. What makes it such a valuable presence is the attention the staff pays to roasting coffee beans in a small-batch drum roaster. The quality and texture of its coffees, drawing on the traditions of Italian coffee culture, are second to none. And, given the company’s passion for all things Italian, it’s perhaps not surprising that one of Rimini’s best coffees is Milano. Ciao bella!
532 S. 400 West, Salt Lake City, 801-539-1210, RiminiCoffee.com
Best Miracle Food
Dinner at Vinny's
Started by the Wasatch Presbyterian Church 31 years ago, the soup kitchen that now bears the name Dinner at Vinny’s has provided as many as 700 meals a night, 365 days a year, to Salt Lake City’s poor and homeless. It was given the new name in late 2011 after Catholic Community Services took over the extraordinary community service from the Salvation Army. It’s hard to think of a more needed and too-little-celebrated miracle than the 3.5 million free servings of soup and sandwiches that have graced the St. Vincent de Paul Dining Hall during the past three decades. For those motivated to donate, buying a $50 share covers the cost of 119 meals over the course of a year.
437 W. 200 South, Salt Lake City, 801-363-7710, DinnerAtVinnys.org
Best Food Cart
Gone are the days when ketchup, yellow mustard and—if you’re feeling wild—maybe relish would suffice for footlong toppings. Americans’ palates have become more sophisticated, and with that comes a desire for the gourmet, even extending to hot dogs. That’s where World Dog steps in. This year-round food cart dishes up a variety of dogs—most made with Colosimo’s sausage, but chicken and tofu are also available—and an even more abundant international selection of toppings, from curry sauce and mango chutney to tzatziki and tomatillo-agave drizzle. You’ll never look at a ballpark dog the same way again.
2200 S. Highland Drive, Salt Lake City, 801-831-2078, www.WorldDogSLC.com
2. City Dogs
3. Tacos Don Rafa
This little South Salt Lake eatery is named after the owner’s son, whose photograph is displayed by the register. But Cafe Guanaco’s charms don’t end with the friendly enthusiasm of the host. The pupusas—El Salvador’s most famous culinary invention, a slightly sweet, yet savory, pancake stuffed with pork, beans & cheese or carne asada—are tasty and filling, and darned cheap—from $1.75 to $2.15 a pop. They encapsulate the warmth that makes visiting Cafe Guanaco such a truly family-inspired experience.
499 E. 2700 South, South Salt Lake, 801-484-6584, CafeGuanaco.com