Best of Utah 2016 | Best of Utah | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Best of Utah 2016 

Get Schooled

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Best BBQ
R&R Barbeque
Seasoned veterans of the barbecue industry, Rod and Roger Livingston pride themselves on their craft—a little smoke, fire and rub, and soon enough you'll get the best in town. The slow-smoked brisket is second to none, and the smoked sausage, pulled pork, ribs and chicken are equally sensational. The R&R regulars can get their dose of smoked goodness at the downtown spot or the recently added South Jordan location. (MS)
307 W. 600 South, Salt Lake City, 801-364-0443; 10646 S. 300 West, South Jordan, 801-523-9500, RAndRBBQ.net
2nd place: Pat's Barbecue
3rd place: SugarHouse Barbeque

Best Bargain Burger (under $10)
Crown Burgers
What started in 1978 as a family-run hot dog stand has grown to seven spacious restaurants, with a menu offering more than 100 items. Still family-owned and operated, the burgers are so iconic that the logo appears in the opening scenes of Broadway musical The Book of Mormon. The signature Crown burger contains a charbroiled, freshly ground quarter-pound beef patty topped with cheese and piles of spiced pastrami, then dabbed with Thousand Island dressing and adorned with crisp lettuce, tomatoes and onions—all freshly made to order. Pair it with a concrete-thick chocolate shake and a side of luscious fries, and you'll be eating like a king—hence the name. (JW)
Multiple locations, Crown-Burgers.com
2nd place: Proper Burger Co.
3rd place: Apollo Burger

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Best Beer Selection
The Bayou
It's "beervana" at The Bayou. With a selection of more than 300 brews, it would take nearly a year to try them all, though owner Mark Alston is always making additions to his impressive stock. Still can't decide on a particular brewski? Download The Bayou app, which randomly selects 10 beers from the complete list. They don't just serve the devil's nectar, though. There's also an extensive menu of hearty pub classics—such as the Cajun chicken sandwich, with spicy chicken, chipotle aioli, provolone and onions. (MS)
645 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-961-8400, UtahBayou.com
2nd place: Beer Bar
3rd place: Beerhive Pub

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Best Burgers
Lucky 13
Ask any Salt Lake City native where the best burger in town is, and they'll undeniably say Lucky 13 without batting an eye. Situated across the street from Smith's Ballpark, the bar and grill is always bustling when the Salt Lake Bees are playing, and the open patio out front fills up quick in the warmer months. Favorite burgers include the Bacon Stinky Cheeseburger dished up with melted stella blue cheese, as well as the Ol' Man Burger—a creation not for the faint of heart, as it's loaded with roasted jalapeños. (MS)
135 W. 1300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-487-4418, Lucky13SLC.com
2nd place: Proper Burger
3rd place: Crown Burgers

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Best Burritos
Lone Star Taquería
Both a drive-thru and a casual café with a inviting outdoor patio, this eastside Fort Union Boulevard eatery is one of the Food Network's Guy Fieri's "Triple Ds." While many show up for beer and fish tacos, those whose hunger is on full throttle know that nothing less than Lone Star's colossal burritos will do. These weighty, foil-wrapped bundles of joy are chock full of whatever protein you choose (marinated pork, chile verde, broiled chicken, shredded beef, fish or shrimp, to name a few), and layered with rice, beans, lettuce, sour cream, cilantro, tomato, onions and cheese. After one gut-busting visit here, you'll know why the eclectic Lone Star Taquería is not to be missed. (JW)
2265 E. Fort Union Blvd., Cottonwood Heights, 801-944-2300
2nd place: Café Rio
3rd place: Red Iguana

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Best Cider
Mountain West Hard Cider
Mountain West Hard Cider owners Jennifer and Jeff Carleton pride themselves in sourcing regional ingredients to craft everyday, seasonal and sensational hard apple ciders. The crisp beverage is lighter than beer and naturally gluten-free, so you won't have to put on your stretchy pants before a night out with friends. If you're new to the game, the 7 Mile Cider (5 percent alcohol by volume) is a safe bet, so named after Seven Mile Canyon in southern Utah. (MS)
425 N. 400 West, Salt Lake City, 801-935-4147, MountainWestCider.com
2nd place: The Hive Winery

Best Coffee
Beans & Brews
Move over, FiveBucks! Utah has its own coffee chain, and we couldn't be prouder. Founded in 1993, Beans & Brews has grown and franchised over the years, now boasting more than 40 locations across northern Utah, Idaho and Nevada. B&B is foremost a coffee shop that serves up delightful morning joe, teas, frozen drinks and pastries. But then again, it's a community gathering spot, a place to read email, flip through the morning newspaper or converse with a friend. For coffee connoisseurs, however, it's all about their high-altitude roasting techniques, which allow the coffee shop to both brew and sell beans with dimensions of taste and texture unlike any other. (JW)
Multiple locations, BeansAndBrews.com
2nd place: Publik Coffee Roasters
3rd place: La Barba

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Best Distillery
High West Distillery
Park City is home to the original High West Distillery, which recently made the addition of a second distillery in Wanship. The new digs are fit with a 1,600-gallon copper pot still and offers whiskey tastings, pairings and tours. Founder David Perkins has increased his production 24-fold since he first opened shop in 2009—there's just that much demand in Utah for High West's artisan whiskeys and vodkas. (MS)
703 Park Ave., Park City, 436-649-8300; 27649 Old Lincoln Highway, Wanship, 435-649-8300, HighWest.com
2nd place: Sugar House Distillery
3rd place: Ogden's Own Distillery

Best Doughnuts
Banbury Cross
Want to win friends and influence people? Just hit the drive-thru at Banbury Cross, order a dozen of the day's freshest doughnuts and bring them into the office on a regular basis. A promotion, salary bump or corner office will soon be yours. That's because, since 1986, Utahns have found the bright yellow boxes filled with Banbury's scrumptious raised and cake donuts simply irresistible. Ditto with their old-fashioneds, maple and chocolate bars, cinnamon crumb, strawberry frosted, cinnamon rolls, muffins, orange rolls and apple fritters. People who bring in these sinful delights to share with co-workers are just plain popular—beloved, even. So bring on the doughnuts, already! (JW)
705 S. 700 East, Salt Lake City, 801-537-1433, Facebook.com/BanburyCrossDonuts
2nd place: Fresh Donut & Deli
3rd place: Dunford Bakers

Best Ethnic/Specialty Market
Caputo's Market & Deli
Purveyors Tony Caputo and his son Matt have turned Caputo's from a small, family-run local business into a hotbed of artisan cheeses and meats. The market has expanded from its original downtown location to a 15th & 15th establishment, a Holladay market, as well as a deli on the University of Utah campus. Caputo's "cheese cave"—a massive cheese preserver with products from Italy, Spain, Greece, France and the United States—garners "oohs" and "ahhs" from passersby in the market. The deli dishes up subs stacked with meats, such as the Italian Cold Cut, which is piled high with sausage, Genoa salami, capicola and provolone—all drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. (MS)
Multiple locations, CaputosDeli.com
2nd place: Southeast Asian Market
3rd place: Rancho Market

Best Food Truck
Cupbop
When there's a sighting of Cupbop's distinctive black-and-yellow food truck, it's a sure thing that there will be a line extending around the block to get a sample of the savory Korean barbecue. Cupbop keeps things simple—choose from beef, spicy pork, chicken, noodles, tofu and kimchi, add some sauce and enjoy a cup of Korean goodness. Keep up with the food truck on Twitter @cupboptruck to find out where they'll set up shop next. (MS)
Facebook.com/Cupbop
2nd place: Waffle Love
3rd place: Chow Truck

Best French Fries
Bruges Waffles & Frites
Consider yourself lucky to live in a city where the french-fry experience has been elevated to that of a true indulgence. Not content to let fries be a greasy sidekick to a waffle or sandwich, Belgians long ago began finessing their potato presentation, from selecting and cooking spuds to serving them in paper cones to the addition of sauces and condiments, all of which have helped the humble fry make the leap to an exalted frite. The crisp golden frites at Bruges Waffles & Frites are cooked to perfection and served with housemade dipping sauces including mayonnaise, aioli, greens, lemon pepper dill, Zensation, Brasil, fry sauce, curry, Zango, Andalouse, Samurai and Afterburner. In other words, they're a star attraction. (JW)
Multiple locations, BrugesWaffles.com
2nd place: Lucky 13
3rd place: Crown Burgers

Best Gyros
Greek Souvlaki
Greek Souvlaki was founded in 1972 by Lee and Mary Paulos, who are credited with bringing the "hamburger of Greece" to Utah. Called "Yeeros" on the menu (so that patrons know the correct pronunciation), the traditional gyro is made with slices of a lamb/beef mixture that's cooked on a vertical rotisserie, then put in pita bread with onions and tomatoes along with a choice of the all-important red (tomato-based) or white (yogurt and sour cream) sauce. It's fitting that the family who brought the gyro to Utah is still being recognized for making it better than the rest. It must be that secret sauce! (JW)
Multiple locations, GreekSouvlaki.com
2nd place: Apollo Burger
3rd place: Yanni's

Best Ice Cream
Leatherby's Family Creamery
Anyone who's visited Leatherby's Taylorsville location on a Saturday night knows this family-friendly ice cream parlor can get its jam on. When the après-movies and -game crowd shows up, it gets downright boisterous, likely due to the ice cream's heaping 14 percent butterfat content. Produced in small batches at Leatherby's own creameries, the frosty treats are made with fresh cream, sugar and natural flavors. It's good premium stuff, with way too many mind-bending ways to have it served, from ice cream cones, shakes, malts, sodas, sundaes or banana splits to specialties like Jubal's Cookie Concoction and Karen's Small Sundae (which, word to the wise, is not that small). Party animals, take heed: Now you can bring the party home by purchasing Leatherby's ice-cream toppings. (JW)
1872 W. 5400 South, Taylorsville, 801-967-2566; 372 E. 12300 South, Draper, 801-571-1575, Leatherbys.com
2nd place: Neilsen's Frozen Custard
3rd place: Farr Better Ice Cream

Best Salads
Café Rio
"Freeee meal!" Ah, those two glorious words are like music to the ears of all those who turn in a complete punch card at Café Rio. The Mexican grill started from humble beginnings in 1997 with a small shop in St. George. Since then, the restaurant has spread like wildfire with more than 100 locations across the United States. The salads are heavenly—or, as they call it, "unfreshingbelievable." Create your own from options like shredded chicken, sweet pork, chile-roasted beef, grilled steak, black or pinto beans, cilantro-lime rice, cheese, guacamole, pico, jalapeño slices and much more—all piled high on a bed of lettuce and torilla base. Oh, and don't forget the creamy tomatillo dressing. (MS)
Multiple locations, CafeRio.com
2nd place: Café Zupas
3rd place: Cubby's

Best Pizza
The Pie
Since 1980, The Pie has been our quintessential college pizza and beer joint. The original restaurant, a block from the U of U campus, is located below a pharmacy, with brick walls covered in graffiti. There's a character to the dimly lit eatery that speaks to the quality of the food itself. The Pie is old-school. Everything is made to order. Even though it now has five locations, the pizza dough is still hand-tossed the traditional way, and the meats, the dairy cheeses and vegetables are sliced fresh daily. They've resisted taking shortcuts. With specialty pies that include Holy Shiitake and Mountain of Meat, you'll discover these aren't thin East Coast pies; they're hearty and loaded with toppings, so get ready to enjoy. (JW)
Multiple locations, ThePie.com
2nd place: Settebello
3rd place: Pie Hole

Best Pig-Out
Lucky 13
Cheap beer, good whiskey and enough grub to feed a small village is the name of the game at Lucky 13. The hip and lively bar bakes its burger buns fresh every morning and the high-quality meats are sourced from local vendors. Up for a challenge? Finish the Big Benny—a foot-tall burger with smoked bacon, ham and a 28-ounce patty—and the Lucky 13 Burger in one hour and you'll be the winner of $200 cash. It's gut-check time. (MS)
135 W. 1300 South, Salt Lake City,
801-487-4418, Lucky13SLC.com
2nd place: Chuck-A-Rama
3rd place: The Pie Pizzeria

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Best Sandwiches
Even Stevens
Even Stevens is a sandwich shop with a cause. For every gourmet sandwich purchased, the essentials to make sandwiches (bread, meat, cheese, lettuce) are contributed to local nonprofits to feed Salt Lakers in need. Sink your teeth into the Sprang Chicken Sandwich—which is stacked with chicken, provolone, bacon, avocado, tomato and honey mustard—and feel accomplished knowing you helped feed another in the process. It's always a win-win at Even Stevens. (MS)
Multiple locations, EvenStevens.com
2nd place: Moochie's Meatballs and More
3rd place: Buds

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Best Seafood
Current Fish & Oyster
This restaurant's diverse menu consists of the best seafood dishes chosen from regional America from Executive Chef Logen Crew. Choice East and West Coast oysters, and some tastes new to Utah also make for a memorable and contemporary dining experience in a historic atmosphere. The seafood selection is as endless as the ocean here, though they also dish up some meats harvested on solid ground for those who don't yet have their sea legs. (MS)
279 E. 300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-326-3474, CurrentFishAndOyster.com
2nd place: Market Street Grill
3rd place: Harbor Seafood & Steak Co.

Best Small Plates
Eva
Though the plates are small, the flavors are of giant proportions at Eva in downtown Salt Lake City. The tapas-style restaurant, started by Chef Charlie Perry and named after his grandmother Eva Coombs, fuses together cooking techniques and tastes from all around the world. With inspiration from Mediterranean, Southern comfort and new American cuisine, we're not quite sure what type of restaurant Eva is—we just know it's good. All of the bread is baked fresh daily from Eva's Bakery just down the street. (MS)
317 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-359-8447, EvaSLC.com
2nd place: Finca
3rd place: Meditrina

Best Soups
Soup Kitchen
No matter how the world is treating you, there is always the warm-belly comfort food of the Soup Kitchen to give you solace. Truth be told, the soups and sandwiches at the Soup Kitchen are probably better than your mom's, but don't tell her we said so. From chicken noodle and cream of tomato to New England clam chowder and vegetable beef, there's a soup for every mood and misgiving, each one made from scratch daily with fresh ingredients. The soups du jour include Navy bean and ham, potato leek with bacon, and others. You can fill a small bowl, grab a freshly baked bread stick and be on your way for less than $3! And if your appetite demands more than soup, consider ordering a half sandwich to go with it. (JW)
Multiple locations, SLCSoup.com
2nd place: Café Zupas
3rd place: Porcupine Pub & Grille

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Best Steaks
Ruth's Chris Steak House
It's best that you save your appetite when heading to Ruth's Chris Steak House. The steaks are cooked at 1,800 degrees and are topped with fresh butter so they sizzle all the way to your table. The Cowboy Ribeye is a 22-ounce, marbled, juicy rib steak cooked to beefy perfection. If you have a hankering for something else, the lamb chops make for a memorable meal and are cut extra thick and marinated overnight. (MS)
275 S. West Temple, Salt Lake City, 801-363-2000; 2001 Park Ave., Park City, 435-940-5070, RuthsChris.com
2nd place: Fleming's Prime Steakhouse
3rd place: Spencer's For Steaks & Chops

Best Sushi
Takashi
Was there ever a question on the winner of Best Sushi? Owner and chef Takashi Gibo continues his dominance in the category with his unabating commitment to serving the finest sushi and sashimi in town, regularly importing fish from San Francisco, Colorado, Seattle—wherever the fish is in season, really. For newbies at Takashi, try the simple yet scrumptious Sunshine roll, with salmon, thinly sliced lemon, avocado and cucumber. For something a little more adventurous, the Aloha Roll off the specials menu is a delight. It comes with yellowtail tuna, pineapple, jalapeños and a sprinkle of shaved coconut and salt flakes. (MS)
18 W. Market St., Salt Lake City, 801-519-9595
2nd place: Tsunami
3rd place: Sapa

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Best Tacos
Taquería 27
Taquería 27 combines South of the Border grub with an American twist. Start with a heap of guacamole and one of the tequilas artistically displayed in chalk at each Salt Lake City location. Once downed, choose from the copious selection of tacos, such as the Citrus Pork Carnitas, which include charred tomatillo salsa, pickled red onion, cilantro and napkins to sop up the mess you're bound to make. (MS)
Multiple locations, Taqueria27.com
2nd place: Lone Star Taquería
3rd place: Taco Taco

Best Unique Appetizers
Finca
Finca offers authentic Spanish tapas and cuisine, and, like its sister restaurant, Pago, almost all of the produce, meats, cheeses, eggs and more used to create the simple but quality dishes are locally sourced. In Finca's elegant lounge, order a swanky cocktail, and choose from a selection of pintxos (two-bite snacks) served tableside. The tapas selection is diverse and ranges from toasted noodles and clams, dates stuffed with blue cheese, shishito peppers and Spanish octopus à la plancha. (MS)
327 W. 200 South, Salt Lake City, 801-487-0699, FincaSLC.com
2nd place: HSL
3rd place: Garage on Beck

Best Brewery
Epic Brewing Co.
Put down that piss water your daddy drinks and find out what real beer tastes like. Epic Brewing Co. produces more than 40 beers whose colors and flavors run the gamut—there's the Spiral Jetty Pale Ale, Galloway Porter, Escape IPA and the Cross Fever Amber Ale, to name a few. Epic Brewing Co. has not only found success in Salt Lake City, but has since expanded to brewing hub Denver. The sky's the limit for City Weekly's Best Brewery. (MS)
825 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-906-0123, EpicBrewing.com
2nd place: Uinta Brewing Co.
3rd place: Wasatch Brewery

Best Winery
The Hive Winery
Located in Layton, The Hive Winery specializes in non-grape, gluten-free fruit wines and honey wines (meads, melomels, etc.). The winery boasts more than 50 wines, ciders and even a modest brandy selection, so you're sure to find something that suits your fancy. The fruit wines, being void of grapes, are meant to be enjoyed before or after a meal and are drier and sweeter than typical grape wines. Fruit wines at The Hive include the Zion Curtain (raspberry), strawberry and the subtle Little Sunshine (peach), to name a few. (MS)
1220 W. 450 North, Layton, 801-546-1997, TheHiveWinery.com
2nd place: Chateau La Caille Winery
3rd place: Castle Creek

Best Vegan
Zest Kitchen & Bar
High-end, all-vegan is the motto at Zest Kitchen & Bar. The refreshing menu is chock-full of healthy options, which are sourced locally for a farm-to-mouth experience. Think you can't be satiated without a dose of meat? Think again. The manicotti—shakahari curry eggplant with pepita crust, fennel curry potatoes and cucumber-mint-lime salad—can convert any carnivore into a believer in veganism. (MS)
275 S. 200 West, Salt Lake City, 801-433-0589, ZestSLC.com
2nd place: Frisch Compassionate Eatery
3rd place: Vertical Diner

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Best Wine Selection
BTG Wine Bar
By the 2-ounce taste, 5-ounce glass, the bottle or the wine flight, have it your way at BTG (By The Glass) Wine Bar. Enjoy one of more than 75 wines in the relaxed, upscale bar or elevated booths. Wine aficionados can rest easy knowing that BTG has all the bases covered with a number of domestic and imported reds and whites, as well as a selection of bubbly. Oh, and the full menu from neighbor Caffé Molise is available at BTG, too. (MS)
63 W. 100 South, Salt Lake City, 801-359-2814, BTGWineBar.com
2nd place: La Caille
3rd place: Pago

Best Wings
Trolley Wing Co.
Trolley Wing Co.'s foundation is its wings, which are served with your choice of 13 housemade sauces. These are not your typical wings. Thick and meaty with the right dosage of sauce, in just one bite, you know you've not had better. If you have some sort of gripe with your tastebuds, try the Enema Challenge: 12 wings in the hotter-than-hell sauce. If you can finish them in 30 minutes, there's no charge. (MS)
2148 S. 900 East, No. 5, Salt Lake City, Facebook.com/TrolleyWingCo
2nd place: The Wing Coop
3rd place: Wing Nutz

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