Best Crumble Pie
Penny Ann's Cafe
The bakers at Penny Ann’s doesn’t just bake pies, they craft them, giving loving attention to flaky crusts and decadent fillings that are even better than those you remember from childhood. The lemon-raspberry cream is a tag team of tangy, sweet awesomeness, while the coconut cream is a decadent cloud of creamy goodness. Penny Ann’s also offers unique crumble pies and classic buttermilk pies. Plan ahead for Thanksgiving time, though—Penny Ann’s small cafe kitchen produces more than 100 pies just for turkey-day special orders.
1810 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-935-4760, PennyAnnsCafe.com
Best City Creek One-Upper
The Chalk Garden Co-Op
City Creek has billed itself as the upscale shopping destination in Utah. Most of the stores are exclusive national chains, but a close neighbor on the Main Street block is The Chalk Garden Co-op, an even exclusive-er local shop featuring one-of-a-kind antique and designer jewelry, art prints, shoes and fashions, plus a hair salon and spa. Formerly a Trolley Square landmark, the reappearance of the Chalk Garden is good news for its longtime fans. It’s a local phenomenon we’re happy to welcome back.
74 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-364-4032, ChalkGardenCo-op.com
Best Plaid Emporium
Edinburgh Castle Scottish Imports
Whether you’re a full-blooded Scot looking for authentic clan items and the hard-to-find comforts of home, or an Anglophile looking for a high-quality, unique keepsake to add to your collection, you’ll find sanctuary in Edinburgh Castle. Owners Eric and Audrey Ann Gilzean—natives of Scotland and England, respectively—have run the shop since 1974 and can outfit you with a kilt and all the trappings, plus novelty items, a tartan tie or a simple box of shortbread.
124 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-364-1406, EdinburghCastle.com
Best Bottles of Beer
You won’t find blaring music or distracting flat-screens at the Beerhive—even the pool tables have been relegated downstairs—but you will find a massive beer menu, organized by type, that deserves all of your attention. Settle in at a cozy booth or table for a quiet sipping session, or head to the bar, which has a strip of ice to keep your glass cold, and select your first beer (trust us; it’ll be the first of many). Craft beer is the name of the game here—don’t ask for Bud Light unless you can handle an eyebrow raised to ridiculous heights. From IPAs to porters and stouts, The Beerhive has the bottled brews you can’t get anywhere else in town.
128 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-364-4268
Best Wardrobe Update
That cute guy in accounting—OK, the only cute guy in accounting—finally asked you out for dinner. Tonight. At the fanciest place in town. You don’t have anything new to wear, and there are seven days standing between you and your next paycheck. What to do? Hustle over to Manhattan Finds consignment shop on your lunch break and find a name-brand top, jacket or pair of shoes—Manolo Blahnik, anyone?—to update your look, quickly and cheaply.
149 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-415-9880, ManhattanFinds.com
Best Saucy Lunches
Michelangelo's on Main
Downtown dining is thriving thanks to inviting bistros like Michelangelo’s. If pasta is your thing, how can you resist the daily specials that include crowd-pleasers like spaghetti pomodoro, penne Gorgonzola, penne arrabbiata and even macaroni & cheese? Pastas come with a choice of soup or salad, all for only $5.95! Prego, baby.
132 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-532-0500, MainStreetItalian.com
Twisted Roots offers a literal rainbow of choices: colorful rasta clothing and jewelry, T-shirts with every dead rock star you can think of, cute knitted animal hats for kids, Caribbean instruments and handmade souvenirs. Upstairs, you can find a gift for a discerning scholar, like a tasteful boxed set of a fancy red flask and Sherlock Holmes-style pipe, or the perfect dorm-room starter kit: colorful glass pipes, a handy contraption that allows for quicker beer-chugging, and a bevy of Bob Marley and Beatles posters.
156 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-972-1312, TwistedRootsOnline.com
Best Little Shop of Diamonds
When Main Street was at its most vacant a few years back, with City Creek still under construction, it was a dismal time for many retailers on Main Street. But one little shop persevered: McKay Diamonds. Founded in 1949 by Robert and Frances Ellen McKay, the 8-foot-wide store was the place for brides- and grooms-to-be looking for a trustworthy jeweler and beautiful diamonds. But in 2010, after more than 50 years, with the walls covered by photos of happy couples they’d sold rings to, the McKays were ready to retire. Taking over the reins are Joe and Sandra Andrade, who plan to continue the mom & pop tradition, and have already begun posting photos of their new happy customers.
157 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-359-0192, McKayDiamonds.com
Best Hot Mess
Murphy's Trainwreck Burger
Murphy’s subtly updated its menu in 2012, keeping the old favorites like the spaghetti and fish & chips, but adding a couple of daring new items. Our favorite is the trainwreck, a burger slathered in a sweet three-pepper sauce, jalapeños and cheddar cheese. It’s spicy and drippy but won’t leave you in tears, especially when paired with thick-cut fries and a Cutthroat served in one of Murphy’s extra-large glasses.
160 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-359-7271, MurphysBarAndGrillUT.com
Best Turquoise Jewelry
Jam-packed with authentic Native American arts from Utah and the Southwest, TP Gallery has cases of glistening silver and turquoise jewelry, as well as sand paintings, kachinas, pottery, baskets, rugs, beadwork—even Zuni fetishes. The friendly owners and salespeople bring decades of experience to the shop. It’s a must-see for locals and visitors interested in Native American culture, and those wanting to support Native American artists.
252 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-364-2961
Best in Class
Since 1919, Lamb’s Grill has kept the Main Street light on. With 94 years of continuous operation, its venerable status makes it a focal point for many traditions: a pre-theater dinner, that all-important business lunch date, the chatty best-friends brunch. Even the city’s singles feel right at home here in a cozy booth, waiting for the scrumptious daily lunch special or even that monstrous “Wimpy”—a half-pound burger—to arrive. But as you wait, sipping a cocktail or a glass of wine, you might hear a Frank Sinatra tune wafting through the air. It’s fitting because he’d have liked Lamb’s. It’s a classy place.
169 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-364-7166, LambsGrill.com
Best Inspired Dining
It’s a bustling place, but they take the time to welcome you, and they mean it. The wait staff knows the daily specials almost by heart and can’t wait to tell you. Then comes a tray of elegant drinks, and potato chips coated with warm blue cheese. Dining at Bambara always feels like a special occasion, even if you just order a simple burger, which comes house-ground with white cheddar, grilled onions and creamy horseradish. Whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner, no uninspired offerings are plated here—dems da rules.
202 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-363-5454, Bambara-SLC.com
Best Early-Evening Drinks
Keys on Main
Sure, Keys on Main has a reputation as a boisterous, packed-to-the-gills piano bar, but those in the know make a reservation or come early for drinks and conversation with friends or the bartender. Starting around 9:30 p.m., the place fills up, and the bartenders have to make cocktails in quick succession for the valley’s sing-alongers. Their rapid-fire skills are put to good use for the smaller, early-evening crowd, as they’ll mix you a new drink as quickly as you suck yours down, and can recommend the best new concoctions to try.
242 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-363-3638, KeysOnMain.com
Best Reborn Book Nook
Eborn Books/Coffee Garden
While it was sad to lose the Main Street mainstay that was Sam Weller’s Books (now relocated in Trolley Square), the loss has been easier to bear with the arrival of Eborn Books and its 500,000 new, used, rare and out-of-print books. Bret Eborn’s massive collection is heavy on LDS and Utah titles, of which many vintage editions are housed in glass cases along with other collectibles. The cases make for a fun book-buying adventure, especially when combined with a refueling stop at the in-house Coffee Garden for a freshly brewed cup of joe and a warm scone.
254 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-359-0460, EbornBooks.com
Best Fresh Spring Rolls
Cindy Lee Cafe
There are few treats on Main Street better than the fresh spring rolls at Cindy Lee Cafe. Made to order, the soft rice wrappers are tightly packed with vermicelli rice noodles, lettuce, basil, cilantro, mint, cucumber and, of course, a couple of plump shrimp. When you dip your roll into the accompanying sweet and creamy peanut-hoisin sauce, your mouth will do a little OMG! dance. Thankfully, there are two rolls per order—one wouldn’t be enough. And they’re good for you, besides.
264 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-359-4544