Best of Utah 2012: Faves & Raves | Best of Utah winners past & present share some of their own personal picks | Best of Utah | Salt Lake City

Best of Utah 2012: Faves & Raves 

Best of Utah winners past & present share some of their own personal picks

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Tony’s Favorite Appetizers
The Copper Onion
The Copper Onion has cemented itself as one of downtown Salt Lake City’s favorite dining gems, winning BOUs for the past three years. Among its tasty and creative small plates served amid a bustling atmosphere are some amazing appetizers. “Their pork deli appetizer, which I like to call a salad” is the reason Tony Caputo, right, of Tony Caputo’s Market & Deli (multiple BOU winner for Best Deli and Best Sandwich) returns time and again.
111. E. Broadway, Salt Lake City, 801-355-3282,

Walter’s Favorite Dinner
The Grand America Hotel’s Garden Cafe
When it comes to hotels in Salt Lake City, The Grand America does it well, known for astounding hospitality, superior brunch at its Garden Cafe and afternoon tea. “If I’m not cooking for guests at home, I go to The Grand America—their dinner is the best,” says Walter Nassi, owner of Cucina Toscana (BOU winner for Best Italian in 2008 and 2009) of this truly grand hotel.
555 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-258-6557,

Richard & Duncan’s Favorite Cocktail
The Red Door
When searching for a mean cocktail in downtown Salt Lake City, The Red Door is a readers’ favorite, winning 2012’s Best Glamorous Scene. The swanky Red Door is there to start your night off right. Bar-X owners Richard Noel and Duncan Burrell, past BOU winners for Best Tavern and Best Dive Bar, and 2012’s winner for Best Cocktails, both agree that, “Dustin from the Red Door is our favorite bartender. He made a specialty drink for New Year’s called the bees’ knees. It was spectacular.”
57 W. 200 South, Salt Lake City, 801-363-6030,

Ian’s Favorite Vegetarian
The Kathmandu, House of Tibet & Café Shambhala
“I just love the energy of the people and food at Kathmandu, House of Tibet and Cafe Shambhala,” says Ian Brandt, Salt Lake’s vegetarian restaurant guru (winner of multiple bests for his Sage’s Café, Vertical Diner and Cali’s Natural Foods). "These restaurants make you feel so loved in their spaces and the food is great."
Kathmandu, 3142 S. Highland Drive, Salt Lake City, 801-466-3504,; House of Tibet, 145 E. 1300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-364-1376 Café Shambhala, 382 Fourth Ave., Salt Lake City, 801-364-8558

Kai’s Favorite Club & Late Night Snack
Circle Lounge & The Pie Hole
The Circle Lounge, previous multi-year BOU winner, is a downtown hot spot with its intimate lighting, wall projections and spacious patio. Sit in a booth or shake what you’ve got on the dance floor inside, and enjoy a drink outside in nice weather. Cap it off with delicious pizza from the Pie Hole that’s easy on your wallet. Kai Walton, marketing honcho at Trails Gentleman Club (2012 winner for Best Strip Club), says, “The Circle Lounge has a great party feel; I love the patio, and the dance floor is full. Afterward, The Pie Hole is great for late-night eats, and right next to Circle Lounge.”
Circle Lounge, 328 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-531-5400 The Pie Hole, 344 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-359-4653,

Brandie’s Favorite Unsung Hero
Stephanie Pappas, Equality Utah former Board Chair
Equality Utah Executive Director Brandie Balken
has extensive experience working on social-justice issues in Utah and is a passionate advocate for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. A go-getter like Balken has heroes of her own, one being a former co-worker, Stephanie Pappas. Balken says, “Steph is an incredible visionary, and also one of the most empathetic, genuine and courageous leaders I have ever known. She can see the possibility of someone, which they may not even recognize in themselves.”

Takashi’s Favorite Homemade Soup
Plum Alley
The same folks who brought you the popular Copper Onion recently opened 2012’s Best New SLC Restaurant—Plum Alley. The Asian eatery is earning praise from many, including Takashi Gobi, right, owner of Takashi, a multiple BOU winner for Best Japanese and Best Sushi. When Takashi’s not fly-fishing, he says he enjoys Plum Alley’s ramen noodle soup. "Their broth is homemade,” he says.
111. E. Broadway, Salt Lake City, 801-355-0543,

Chris’ Favorite Ocho Column
Bill Frost
City Weekly’s Bill Frost is known for his TV and Ocho column and for receiving numerous awards from readers such as Best Columnist. ABC 4’s Chris Vanocur, winner of Best TV News Reporter multiple years, wrote his own Ocho explaining the origins of Frost’s Ocho:
Eight reasons why Bill Frost writes the best Ocho column in Utah:
8. One word: peyote.
7. Needed another job after leaving heavy-metal band Celtic Frost.
6. No one else writes one.
5. It is actually written by the Druids at Stonehenge.
4. He is really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really twisted.
3. Found a Top 10 list too taxing.
2. He gave up drinking.
1. It is a chick magnet!

Ali’s Favorite Mediterranean
Ali Sabbah, owner of Mazza
and BOU winner for Best Middle Eastern for the 11th year running, considers Aristo’s the best Greek food in town. Aristo’s, winner of Best Greek since 2005, is where you can enjoy an authentic meal “any time. ... Aristo does a phenomenal job, especially with his appetizers. His skordalia (garlic dip) and merides (deep-fried smelts) are phenomenal.”
224 S. 1300 East, Salt Lake City, 801-581-0888,

Joe’s Favorite Burger
Lucky 13
From a former VFW post to a biker bar, Lucky 13 has become a favorite spot to grab a drink and watch favorite sports teams. It’s not only drinks that Lucky 13 offers—it’s the rising fame of their incredible burgers, which have won BOU awards the past two years. “Any of their burgers are hearty and tasty,” says Joe Mandl of Blue Plate Diner (past BOU winner for Best Breakfast, Best Inexpensive and Best on the Cheap).
135 W. 1300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-487-4418,

Ben’s Favorite Locals to Follow on Twitter
Nineveh Dinha, Max Roth, Bill Frost
“I’ve got a three-way tie for my personal best local picks," says Fox 13’s Ben Winslow, who readers voted Best Local on Twitter in 2011 and 2012 for his useful stream of headlines, info, links, retweets and snark. His faves? “My deskmate @NinevehDinha, who enlightens and amuses me with everything from her news updates to what she’s eating for dinner (with pics!). I always love to see @maxroth’s political observations. But there’s a special place in my Twitter feed for @Bill_Frost, who consistently makes me LOL (and sometimes ROFLMAO!) with his take on the news. For a news junkie, that stuff is epic p3wnage.”

Mark’s Favorite Radio
Oldies 94.1
Mark Koelbel, anchor of KUTV 2’s No. 1
nightly news broadcast, is also an accomplished drummer and repeat BOU winner. When he tunes in, he turns to Oldies 94.1 at the end of a tough news day. “I’m a music junkie, and I listen to 94.1 all day at work because I like the ’70s songs and stuff I grew up with,” he says.

Richie’s Favorite Radio Shows
KUER’s RadioWest & KRCL’s Maximum Distortion
When Richie T. Steadman is not busy producing Utah’s longest-running morning radio show (and perennial BOU winner), X96’s Radio From Hell, he’s been known to dial in to other locally produced radio shows. “Doug Fabrizio’s RadioWest selects excellent topics, and I like that he goes places other people don’t go,” he says. “He dives deeper. He is very likable and relates well to his guests and listeners and asks the questions that I want to know.” Steadman also likes KRCL’s Maximum Distortion “because they are passionate. The show is really entertaining, and you can hear that they are doing it because they love to inform the public.”
KUER’s RadioWest, 90.1 FM, 801-585-9378,
KRCL’s Maximum Distortion, 90.9 FM, 801-363-1818,

Aristo’s Favorite Small Restaurant
Ekamai Thai
For tried-and-true Thai dishes, Ekamai delivers every time, serving fresh and fast take-out cuisine. With a likeable and friendly owner, Woot Pong Sawan, the entire ambiance is incredibly genuine. “It’s fresh, it’s owner-operated and it’s authentic food,” says Aristo Boutsikakis, owner of Best Greek winner Aristo’s. “You know you’re getting the best food around because the owner’s hands are involved. It’s about the passion.”
336 W. Broadway, Salt Lake City, 801-363-2717,

Ian’s Favorite Romantic
The Tree Room, Glitretind Restaurant & Café Madrid
When you think romantic, Log Haven is a perennial BOU winner. When general manager of Log Haven, Ian Campbell, isn’t dining at his own restaurant, he can be found at other romantic spots. Ian says Sundance Resort’s Tree Room “has a warm feeling to it” and Glitretind Restaurant at Stein Eriksen Lodge “has an old-world, romantic setting.” For the total package, score at Café Madrid, where, Ian says, “They are really good at hospitality, and very warm and welcoming. It’s a cozy place and good for a romantic meal.”
Sundance Resort’s Tree Room, 8841 Alpine Loop Road, Sundance, 866-627-8313,; Glitretind Restaurant, Stein Eriksen Lodge, 7700 Stein Way, Park City, 435-645-6455,; Café Madrid, 5244 S. Highland Drive, Holladay, 801-273-0837,

Leo’s Favorite Go-to Restaurant
Lone Star Taqueria
Featured on Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives, Lone Star Taqueria is a fresh and inexpensive eatery that serves delicious authentic Mexican dishes and is especially known for its filling tacos and burritos, for which it’s won multiple BOUs. Lone Star’s atmosphere is fun and vibrant. “That is my favorite restaurant,” says Leo Paulos of Greek Souvlaki, a BOU winner times 21. “Their fish tacos are good, everything is fresh, and it’s good food.”
2265 Fort Union Blvd., Salt Lake City, 801-944-2300,

Lance’s Favorite Live-Music Club
The Depot
Four stories tall, The Depot is a Salt Lake City club hot spot and first-class concert venue. Lance Saunders, right, co-owner of S&S Presents, The Urban Lounge and Kilby Court and former BOU winner, turns to The Depot (past winner for Best Live Music) for a good show. It’s “aesthetically pleasing, very comfortable (even at a sold-out show),” he says, and has “impeccable sound and lights, a cheap parking lot, convenient coat check, full-service bar, balcony and mezzanine overlooking stage.”
400 W. South Temple, Salt Lake City, 801-355-5522,

Bob’s Favorite Karaoke
Piper Down
Piper Down, winner of this year’s Best Poker Night, is an Irish-themed club in Salt Lake City where you can relax and let the live music move you. Bob Brown, owner of Cheers to You, winner of Best Cheap Drinks multiple years, enjoys the karaoke and ambiance of Piper Down, saying it’s “an old English pub that’s just cool. Short of going to Ireland, it’s a cool place to go.”
1492 S. State, Salt Lake City,

Ryan’s Favorite Sandwich
Robin’s Nest
Downtown Salt Lake City has seen a spin on sandwiches, thanks to Robin’s Nest, where there’s a firm belief that sandwiches are not created equal. The sandwich-makers unique creations include the cowboy, rooster call and the gobbler. “I respect them as competitors—they do things right. They’re our local peeps, and we’ve got to support that,” says Toaster’s owner, Ryan Warnock, BOU winner for Best Sandwiches & Chips in 2010 and 2012’s Best Sandwich.
311 S. Main, Salt Lake City,

Jason’s Favorite Mexican
Cowboy Grub
For over 30 years, Cowboy Grub has been serving old-fashioned cowboy-style cuisine. At this home-style restaurant, you can find specialties like pot roast & gravy, housemade turkey potpie and chili con carne. Cowboy they may be, but they can serve up a mean Mexican dish,” says Jason Summerhays, the kitchen manager of Red Iguana (19-year winner of Best Mexican). “They’re not known for their Mexican food, but it’s probably some of the most authentic Mexican food this valley has seen.”
2350 1/2 Foothill Drive, Salt Lake City, 801-466-8334,

Chris’ Favorite Community Hub
Cucina Deli
Award-winning writer and former editor of City Weekly, Christopher Smart, now reporter for The Salt Lake Tribune, knows the ins and outs of Salt Lake City’s movers and shakers and has always had a keen eye for community activities. His favorite hub for staying tight with those groups is Cucina Deli, a quaint gourmet deli in the Avenues. Smart regards it as “a place that helps this community as an incubator for new ideas and fresh thinking.”
1026 E. Second Ave., Salt Lake City, 801-322-3055,

Ruby’s Favorite Ambiance
Frida Bistro
Step into Frida Bistro (winner of two BOU awards) and you’ll step into a sleek space with lime-green and fuchsia walls and craft-paper-covered tables. Plates are presented like a gorgeous painting, with each dish colorful and delicious. It’s only appropriate that community artist Ruby Chacon, co-founder of BOU winner Mestizo Coffeehouse, would dine at this Mexican restaurant named for Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. Chacon says, “The ambiance they create and the artistic nature of the food are amazing, and the community involvement is a plus, too.”
545 W. 700 South, Salt Lake City, 801-983-6692,

Kym’s Favorite Ogden Restaurants
Tona Sushi Bar & Sonora Grill
There are plenty of big-city tastes in Ogden—take Rooster’s Brewing Co., which has won seven BOU awards, including Best Ogden Restaurant. But when Rooster’s co-owner Kym Buttschardt isn’t dining at her own restaurant, she enjoys Tona Sushi Bar & Grill because “it’s always flawless. It’s like a Zen state, and they have a giving spirit where they are always giving back to the community.” She also loves Sonora Grill, where it’s “more than just a restaurant—they have a soul.”
Tona, 210 Historic 25th St., Ogden, 801-622-8662,; Sonora Grill, 2310 S. Kiesel Ave., Ogden, 801-393-1999,

Justin’s Favorite Utah County Restaurant
Bangkok Grill Thai Restaurant
A neighborhood favorite with casual and friendly dining, Bangkok Grill offers great food with distinctive tastes. “People there are really nice and take care of you. It’s just simple. It’s nice, as a chef, to go to a restaurant and to just think about the food,” says Justin Soelberg, head chef of Provo’s two-time BOU winning Communal restaurant.
338 E. 800 South, Orem, 801-434-8424,

Michelle’s Favorite Pub & Grub
Epic Brewery Tapless Tap-room
With less than two years under its belt, Epic Brewery has earned awards and medals for its beers domestically and internationally, and won 2012’s BOU award for Best Local Beer. For samples of Epic Brewing’s beers, step into the Tapless Tap-room, where they offer sandwiches, paninis and soups. Michelle Corsillo, manager/bartender of X-Wife’s Place (multiple BOU winner), is an Epic fan, saying it’s a “great local brewery with great food. Like Pago, they also use all local food.”
825 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-906-0123,

Brian’s Favorite Daytime Gay Time
Millcreek Roasters
Support local first at Millcreek Roasters, where they feature coffees from around the globe, roasted in Salt Lake City, as well as bakery and sandwich items. “Their whole concept—brewing their own beans and how they’ll take you on a tour if you want to see how they do stuff, it’s just an awesome business,” says Brian Morris, co-owner of Jam, a hot-spot gay nightclub and three-time BOU winner. “They are really supportive of the gay community; it’s just a great place to just sit down and have Wi-Fi.”
657 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-323-9174,

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