I won't beat around the bush: The new, monstrously expensive City Creek Center is not my cup of tea. Maybe I'd feel differently if I were of an income bracket to be able to afford to shop there. But, I doubt it. For one thing, the City Creek dining scene is downright dismal. But, more generally, too, the place gives me the heebie jeebies.
We Americans love bright, shiny-new things. And, I'm no different. I was dazzled during a media tour of City Creek Center yesterday, led by mega-mall developer Robert S. Taubman. And, who wouldn't be impressed by, for example, the only retractable roof in a mall outside of Dubai? But, as Taubman kept droning on about the wonderful vistas afforded by the City Creek design and architecture, I just kept thinking about the vistas that have disappeared, 86'd by sleek high-rise condos and high-end retail merchants.
When all is said and done, City Creek Center -- to me, at least -- simply has no soul. It's sacred, I suppose: built on land owned by the LDS church. But it's profane in its unabashed celebration of high-end shopping and of our lust for luxury goods.
But, back to the food. I remember when City Creek was touting its food court as being "all local." Well, by my count, there are only five local food purveyors (not counting the new Harmons) in all of City Creek. Three are in the food court: Bocata, Taste of Red Iguana, and Mykonos, which are all locally owned. There's also the Utah-based Kneaders and Blue Lemon. That's it, as far as I can tell. That's as local as the dining scene at City Creek gets.
There's also the Texas-based Texas de Brazil churrascaria-style restaurant opening there -- the 27th Texas de Brazil, if I've counted correctly. And, Salt Lakers will also be treated to a new Cheesecake Factory, the second in Utah and 157th location nationwide. It's the first restaurant menu I've ever seen with ads for businesses peppered throughout. The place is aptly named: The word "cheesy" comes to mind.
Thankfully, there are great, locally owned, independent restaurants and bars surrounding City Creek Center, and I'm hoping their business will be boosted by City Creek spillover. It's sad that Frody Volgger's Vienna Bistro didn't make it to the opening of City Creek, but places ranging from Martine and the Beerhive Pub to Michelangelo's, Bayleaf Cafe, Siegfried's, Caffe Molise, Naked Fish, Braza Express, Murphy's and others, hopefully, will benefit from the increased downtown retail traffic.
So for me, unfortunately, the best thing City Creek Center has going for it is that it's dog-friendly. Too bad it's not going to be very food-and-drink-friendly.