Best of Utah 2013: Logan | Best of Utah | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Best of Utah 2013: Logan 

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Best Underground Pizza
The Factory Pizzeria

Logan has dozens of chain eateries and ice cream shops but only three bars, making it hard to find a place to really let loose after an Aggie win. Luckily, tucked below Main Street is The Factory Pizzeria, a dimly lit space that offers a few tables, benches, TVs and some of the best chewy, cheesy, deep-dish pizza around. Pair a giant pie with a pitcher of local beer and maybe a gooey calzone, and it’ll be difficult to find the motivation to ever climb the stairs back to Main Street.
119 S. Main, Logan, 435-752-9384,

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Best Under-the-Radar Indian
Tandoori Oven

This is the kind of place that defies expectation. Yes, the Tandoori Oven is located in the same building as a gas station, in a remote agricultural/college town. But it might be some of the greatest Indian food you’ll ever eat—really. Cache Valley residents are fully aware of the secret, as the place is always packed with people getting their fix of the magical flavors Sham Singh and family conjure up in the kitchen. The menu is huge, with a few specialties that aren’t available at any Salt Lake Valley eateries, like chana saag: spinach cooked with garbanzo beans, onions, garlic, cream and spices. Indian-food newbies can get recommendations from the welcoming staff, but you can’t go wrong with anything from the tandoori oven, or the perfectly crispy, charred naan.
720 E. 1000 North, Logan, 435-750-6836,

Best Dairy Detour
Gossner Foods

If you’ve got a beating heart and a lactose-tolerant system, you love cheese. And cheese lovers will love Gossner Foods, a cheese plant with a small market where you can buy award-winning cheeses by the block, brick or slab. Originally known for its Swiss cheese, Gossner now also produces creamy Muenster, soft mozzarella, sharp cheddar and more, as well as cheese spreads and shelf-stable milks in various flavors. The plant is on the very western edge of Logan, so make sure to grab some tasty “squeaky” cheese curds for the road.
1051 N. 1000 West, Logan, 435-713-6104,

Best Logan Bar
The White Owl

It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but there’s a reason this tavern is the most popular hangout in Logan. As one of three bars in the whole town, the White Owl is the place for college kids, travelers and longtime residents to grab a drink, watch a game, play pool or pick someone up on the deck. It’s also huge, with an expansive main floor, a comfortable back room with a fireplace and huge TV, an actual pool hall with 10 tables, a small upper balcony overlooking the main room, and—the crown jewel—the upper deck. In winter, the deck downsizes to a small heated shelter—a cozy hangout in its own right, but summertime is when things go off the chain. The whole deck opens up, with nearly 20 tables, a second bar, and a grill with a burger-topping station. The White Owl is cash-only, but the bar’s ATM prints out a receipt for White Owl Bookstore, so you can fool your parents or your accountant.
36 W. Center St., Logan, 435-753-9165

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Best Fall Colors
Logan Canyon's Wind Cave Hike

A drive through Logan Canyon provides views of some of the prettiest mountain vistas in Utah, especially in fall, when the leaves have changed into explosions of yellow, red and orange. To truly appreciate the beauty, hike up to the wind caves, also known as the Witch’s Castle. It’s a hike of just under a mile and a half, but it feels like more, thanks to the steep switchbacks. Once you’re at the wind caves, you can relax in the shade and cool off in the breeze that whips through the triple arches. They’re barely visible from the highway, but up close, the caves are majestic and somewhat terrifying, with steep rock floors—it seems that one false step or strong gust of wind might send you tumbling straight off the side of the mountain. The view provides a sweeping vision of the Wasatch-Cache National Forest and the China Wall formation on the mountain directly opposite.
Highway 89, trailhead at Mile 379

Best Carb-Loading
The Old Grist Mill Bread Company

With four locations in northern Utah (Ogden, Brigham City and two in Logan), the Old Grist Mill makes it easy to enjoy a budget-friendly lunch: a full sandwich, drink, chips and fresh-baked cookie will set you back just $5. Locals go crazy for the tasty sugar cookies, but the cookies of the day are must-tries, as well—especially the cowpie: a chocolate cookie loaded with milk-chocolate chips, white-chocolate chips and almonds. You can also load up on fresh breads by the loaf, whether you’re into basic wheat, crave sweet cinnamon bread, or want to try something new, like spinach-feta sourdough.
Multiple locations

Best Soda Fountain
The Bluebird

At nearly 100 years old, The Bluebird restaurant is practically synonymous with Logan. The sprawling eatery’s dark paneling and soft carpets add an air of elegance to the menu of American favorites like burgers, sandwiches, Prime rib, mashed potatoes and housemade rolls. But if you’re not looking for a full meal, The Bluebird has a stool at the soda shoppe counter with your name on it. All sodas are hand-mixed, rendering even familiar drinks like Cherry Coke into something magical. But don’t miss the Ironport, an old-timey Western root-beer-esque drink with an extra spicy kick. For a truly vintage experience, pair your soda with a dessert: The classic Teddy Bear sundae is a decadent pile of chocolate ice cream, chocolate caramel topping, Oreos, M&Ms, whipped cream and a cherry. You might think you’ve had enough sugar, but the cravings will be back again tomorrow, so make a stop at the Bluebird candy counter before you leave and pick up some handmade Alvey’s Candies for the road.
19 N. Main, Logan, 435-752-3155

Best Alternative Store
Earthly Awakenings

Logan has no shortage of adorable gift shops and boutiques, but if you’ve already bought your gifts for Mom and now want to find something for your dangerous new boyfriend, there’s only one place in Logan to find what you need. In addition to cigars, cigarettes, flasks and leather jackets, Earthly Awakenings sells incense and crystals of every type, as well as beautiful gift boxes and cheerful sarongs.
21 Federal Ave., Logan, 435-755-8657

click to enlarge HERM'S INN - BY RACHEL PIPER

Best New Breakfast Joint
Herm's Inn

This once-abandoned brick building near the entrance to Logan Canyon was expanded and fully renovated before re-opening in early 2012. Herm’s—open seven days a week, a rarity in Logan—serves up breakfast and lunch staples with a few twists, such as the always-inventive mac & cheese of the day and customizable hot cereal. If you’re especially hungry, try the family-style breakfast, billed as feeding a family of four or two college students: 12 scrambled eggs, “mounds” of potatoes, a 16-inch pancake, plus toast, sausage and bacon. Eat in a secluded booth or at the counter with the regulars, or make yourself at home in the bustling main room, where college students rub shoulders with local attorneys on their lunch breaks.
1435 E. Canyon Road, Logan, 435-792-4321,

Best “I Can’t Believe  I Ate the Whole Bakery Case”
Sweetly Divine

Sweetly Divine offers up mouth-watering desserts and pastries, all created by Polish-born pastry chef Mark Grodkowski. You’ll feel like you’re in a European bakery when you gaze upon the pastry case, stuffed with strawberry tuxedos, chocolate towers, cannolis, tarts and more. If your cravings bend more sour than sweet, stop by on a Tuesday when the pickle soup is being served as the “surprise” soup of the day. A traditional Polish recipe, pickle soup is similar to a creamy potato soup, with an extra tang that comes from the shredded pickles. Sweetly Divine is also known for Grodkowski’s jalapeño jellies, which give a sweet and surprising kick to his gourmet sandwiches.
1309 N. Main, Suite 90, Logan,  435-787-1860,

Best Hole-in-the-Wall Mexican
La Tormenta

It’s tucked away near a Walmart, but La Tormenta is always packed with people who know that this is the place to find the freshest, most authentic Mexican food around—with very authentic (read: cheap) price tags. Many of the street-style tacos are just $1, and other favorites are also a steal—for $2.99 you’ll get three(!) cheese enchiladas, and tamales are just $1.35 each. Depending on your sense of adventure, taco fillings range from basic chicken to beef head and pork stomach. Freshness is the focus here, and your food arrives at the table accompanied by a condiment caddy, with grilled onions, pico de gallo or salsa verde, and pickled carrots and jalapeños.
1050 E. 1600 North, Logan, 435-787-4640

Best Adventure Prep
The Sportsman

Whether your weekend plans involve a mountain-bike ride or roughing it in front of the fire in a mountain lodge, the Sportsman has you covered. The Main Street emporium sells it all, from skis and bikes down to socks and laces. You can also rent anything you need for a day in the snow, including a car cargo box for hauling it all to the mountains. The fashion-conscious will also love the huge selection of cozy sweaters, fashionable boots and bright outerwear from the best brands—and the yearly outerwear sales are the stuff of legend.
129 N. Main, Logan, 435-752-0211,


Best Place to  Spend an Afternoon
Books of Yesterday

To walk into Books of Yesterday is to step back in time. One-fourth of the place is dedicated to video rental—yes, VHS too. But the real appeal is in the books: miles of books, piles of books, millions and billions and trillions of books (well, almost). Formerly a ZCMI department store, bookcases of every shape and size have been arranged, Tetris-style, to fill every inch of the space (including the basement), creating nooks and crannies where one can get lost while browsing for a unique edition of a beloved classic or a vintage ’80s cookbook.
87 N. Main, Logan, 435-753-3838

Best Bread Bakers
Crumb Brothers Artisan Bread

You’ll find Crumb Brothers breads served in fine Salt Lake City restaurants, like Bambara, Martine and Trio. Made as simply as possible, with water, sea salt, yeast and organic flour (milled in a local flour mill, naturally), Crumb Brothers is bread as God intended it. The bakery itself is a mecca for bread lovers, situated in a beautiful wooden building that’s climate-controlled via geothermal energy generated from the aquifer below the bakery. Munch on the samples of crusty bread, spreads and dips as you look through a window to see the bread get made, or settle down for lunch with a gourmet sandwich and a cup of Ibis coffee. Crumb Brothers also sells other locally made products, like Beehive Cheese, Rockhill Creamery goat cheese, Milbury & Hodge ginger preserves and Slide Ridge Honey.
291 S. 300 West, Logan, 435-792-6063,

Best Kitchen Sink

It’s “where the locals eat,” but it’s also where visitors can find breakfast on the Sabbath and a menu of nearly every greasy diner staple, including the kitchen sink—really. The Kitchen Sink, a food-challenge local legend, is more than a half-gallon of vanilla ice cream, three sundae toppings, two bananas and a heap of whipped cream, all served in a miniature sink brought to your table. “Cleaning the sink” gets you a bumper sticker and, for those who regularly choose to drown their sorrows in ice cream anyway, a socially acceptable setting in which to consume all that soft, soothing deliciousness.
690 N. Main, Logan, 435-752-9252,

Best Logan River Dining

Situated on the south end of Logan overlooking the Logan River, Elements is gorgeous inside and out—and the food is just as amazing. Unique, can’t-miss starters include the filet mignon quesadilla and the tasty gaufrette potato chips topped with bacon and melted Monterey jack and Maytag blue cheeses. There are more than 50 dinner entrees, with the cuisine running the gamut from pasta and pizzas to steak and seafood, all skillfully prepared and beautifully presented. You won’t be able to make a dent in the menu in one visit, so start coming up with weekly special occasions to bring you to Elements.
640 S. 35 East, Logan, 435-750-5171,

click to enlarge CAFFE IBIS - BY RACHEL PIPER

Best Break  From the Grind
Caffe Ibis Gallery Deli

This cozy, cheerful coffee shop is a hippie-dippy haven just off of Main Street. Ibis runs on principles of being green (there’s a recycling bin for each part of your coffee cup, from the lid to the stirrer) and giving back to the community. But here you don’t have to choke down terrible coffee in the name of planet Earth—Ibis really focuses on the coffee. It’s triple-certified, sure, but it tastes amazing. Ibis sells its beans to coffee shops near and far (including Salt Lake City favorite Coffee Garden). Four roasts are available each day, and non-coffee drinkers will love the gourmet cocoa and spicy chai tea. The coffee of the day sells for just $9.49 a pound, or visit the giant wall of beans and grind your favorite variety (red velvet cake dessert coffee? Yes, please).
52 Federal Ave., Logan, 435-753-4777,

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