Best of Utah 2016 | Get Schooled | Best of Utah | Salt Lake City

Best of Utah 2016 

Get Schooled

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And so we meet again. Twenty-seven years ago, City Weekly published its first Best of Utah issue, and it immediately took off. Many similar recognition efforts by other organizations have come and gone since (the latest being The Salt Lake Tribune's Salt Awards). To you, we hand an honorary "Best Form of Flattery" award.

To our readers, well, no amount of plaques and cheers is enough. You voted in record numbers this year, giving us more than 100,000 votes to tabulate in categories that ranged from Best Utahn to Best Vape Store. Some of you even did your due diligence and wrote-in your selections. This issue is for all of you; even those of you who wrote answers like "My yard" under Best Swimming, "They serve alcohol here?" for Best Utah Valley Club and "My wife" for best PokéStop. Yes, this issue is even for the soul who filled out an entire ballot simply with "Fuck u" scribbled all over it. We tip our collective hats to you, unknown poet.

This time of year is also when editorial staffers and contributors get out of their comfort zones, test their IBS and sacrifice precious personal time all to shine a spotlight on well-known and under-the-radar foods, people, places and things.

Utah counties, we haven't forgotten about you. You get your own special section as well. You'll also get a chance to see a bunch of the faces that were instrumental in putting this beast together in the ultimate throwback spread. We were so young and innocent then. Peppered throughout, you'll also find blurbs from years past that were worth dusting off.

It's often considered that 27 is the mark when all the greats perish, yet I can truly say the best is yet to come. So polish up an apple, sharpen your pencil and get ready to get schooled. Class is in session.

—Enrique Limón,
Valedictorian


Contributors: Sarah Arnoff, Carolyn Campbell, Ryan Cunningham, Stephen Dark, Darby Doyle, Colby Frazier, Lance Gudmundsen, Dylan Woolf Harris, Andrea Harvey, Randy Harward, Westin Porter, Scott Renshaw, Amanda Rock, Mikey Saltas, Ted Scheffler, Gavin Sheehan, Alex Springer and Jerre Wroble.



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Best Utahn
Tyler Glenn
I know what you're thinking: "But isn't that already a Readers Pick?" Why yes, yes it is. But coming up second in a popularity contest after SLC's benevolent Daddy Warbucks is no small beer, so borrowing a line from the Sultan character at the end of Disney's Aladdin, I asked myself, Well, am I editor or am I editor? Well, I am, and I am defying tradition. Back in the summer, shortly after the release of the video for his song "Trash," Glenn told City Weekly he was coming to terms with a new sensation: pride. "I always thought I was being authentic—and I think I was being authentic at the time—but this is the first time that I feel proud, loud and excited to rally for people that need to be rallied for," he said at the unveiling of Harvey Milk Boulevard. "Pride to me is emotion, it's joy, it's passion, it's anger." Take it from someone who knows; being open and proud in who and what you are is not an easy feat for anybody, let alone someone who lives in a display window. Good on you for being open, vulnerable and true. Good on you for being a beacon for countless LGBTQ youth who once only saw darkness in their future. Good on you for being your authentic self. (EL)
TylerGlennMusic.com

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Best Top-Secret Undercover
Super Agents
Bradley Bullock and Seam Cannon
Utah State Bureau of Investigations Agents Bradley Bullock and Sean Cannon receive the title, for their work exposing Brewvies as a purveyor of popular feature film Deadpool and beer. On February 23, the two courageous agents stepped into the lion's den. Dressed in the traditional garb of the enemy, the two tentatively ordered a couple beers and took their seats, not sure what to expect next. Suddenly, they had their smoking gun. "The main character (male) in the film is shown numerous times engaging in acts or simulated acts of sexual intercourse with the female counterpart during a holiday themed sex-montage." Also, there was booze. The shocking report from their night of debauchery was only bolstered by the fact that Agent Cannon had reported watching the heinous film two times prior. Solid detective work, Cannon. You gonna finish that beer? (RC)

Best Man of Convictions
Lieutenant Governor Spencer Cox
The post of lieutenant governor might well be largely ceremonial, bar his or her overseeing of the election process. Former LG Gary Herbert was largely incognito in the role, but Spencer Cox has taken the platform this post offers and used it to promote healing and constructive debate, rather than the sniping you might understandably associate with Republican politicians. No more so was his heart visible on his sleeve than his moving, tear-stained speech at a vigil when he apologized to the LGBTQ community after the Orlando club mass shooting for his past homophobia. Describing himself as a "balding, middle-aged, white Republican male" with all the privileges that entails, he talked about how his heart changed as he'd come to know members of the LGBTQ community. He concluded, "On behalf of the 3 million people of the state of Utah, we are Orlando, and we love you. I love you." He also broke ranks with his boss by announcing he didn't plan to vote for Donald Trump. (SD)
Utah.gov/LTGovernor

Best Mayor-Turned-Advocate
Ross Carl "Rocky" Anderson
These days our former mayor is looking both dashing—with his flock of white hair as he hurries from one court hearing to another—and harried. Which, at his tender age of 65, seems almost unfair. But the one-time politician has gone back to fighting for legal causes that stir his blood and you can see his name alongside some of the most fascinating and disturbing cases that have hit local headlines. He's representing a man shot by a Unified cop in one of the few uses of force ruled unjustified by the district attorney, defended Brewvies against the DABC over a Deadpool screening, and for some time now has been trying to pull down the walls around the NSA through a class action lawsuit, while keeping the wolf from the door with a few commercial lawsuits. It gives us a sense of continuity and even pride that the former rabble-rouser of City Hall continues to want to fight for what's right on the Wasatch Front. (SD)
RockyAnderson.org

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Best Show of Solidarity
The Bad Kids Collective's Orlando Benefit Show
In the wake of the Pulse attack in Orlando, many cried and grieved. It was the acceptable thing to do following such a heinous act. Others got angry. That was also the right thing to do. A group of beautiful artistic misfits in our community got on the phone, booked a venue, secured a bevy of goods and services from local purveyors for a silent auction and rallied the troops. Held at Club Sound six days after the bloodshed, Party Hard 4 Pulse was a joyful celebration not just of life, but nightlife—that after-work time of solace wherein those that feel persecuted can be themselves inside safe havens. Drag and gender-fuck were elevated to performance art that night thanks to a series of heartfelt performances. At one point, one of the entertainers, Odge—onstage wearing nothing but nude briefs and bubble wrap—smashed plastic baggies filled with blue paint against his body, splashing those in the front row like a cosmic Earth Mother Shamu. Since then, I wear my newly polkadot moto vest with the utmost pride. (EL)
Facebook.com/BadKidsSLC

Best Feminist
Cat Palmer
She's won three City Weekly Utah Arty awards for Best Photographer since 2007, but nothing yet for her local activist efforts (at least not from us). When she's not snapping epic feminist pics or wedding shots, like those of SLC Mayor Jackie Biskupski, she's participating in local activists' events like The Salt Lake Tribune-hosted panel discussion "Rape Culture: A Conversation About Consent" earlier this month, among many others. All across the board, her work is locally known for its focus on feminism. "She's got a big heart and is up against a state that loves and hates her, depending on the day," says her close friend and fellow activist Rachel Jensen. (AH)
CatPalmer.com

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Best Trail-Blazing Candidate
Misty K. Snow
There are plenty of stereotypes regarding our local politics, but it's certainly unexpected that Utah would be the place to find the first major-party transgender candidate for the U.S. Senate—ever. Snow emerged from the state Democratic primary as a bold progressive voice—advocating a $15 minimum wage and marijuana legalization, among other policy positions—in a state where it's presumed that swerving too far from the Republican mainstream is the kiss of death. Garnering 27 percent of votes, Snow might not have been able to unseat the incumbent Mike Lee, but in a year where it could be a chore to follow politics of any kind, this was a story worth cheering about. (SR)

Best Street Love Down on Rio Grande
George Kein
Walk around the Road Home shelter with homeless outreach worker George Kein and you quickly see why he's beloved by advocates, colleagues and, most of all, the folks he helps. They call out his name and come up to him, seeking advice, help or just a human, non-judgmental connection. There's a quiet humility about him that lends an almost spiritual quality to the support he provides those who haunt the streets around the shelter. Despite all the years he's been down there, he doesn't seem to flinch or grow jaded at the apparent pain and torment. He's a rock of protection and selflessness that the homeless can turn to on some of the most dangerous streets in SLC. (SD)
210 S. Rio Grande St., Salt Lake City, 801-359-4142, TheRoadHome.org

Best Barista to Snapchat You
Luan Cavalcante
Not every Wednesday—and sometimes not even every other Wednesday, but often enough—Luan Cavalcante ushers in a mid-week open-mic session at Café on First by busting out from his repertoire a cover of "Stand By Me." Chill and amiable, Cavalcante is the type of barista to host free, unassuming open-mic nights for musicians, poets, hip hop artists or any other performance art du jour. Check with him to see whether the Wednesday open-mic is a go. If Cavalcante isn't slinging lattes behind the counter, he might be lounging in a hammock across the street, or in the café kitchen sharing a photo on social media. Ask around; the dude is usually somewhere nearby. (DWH)
39 I St., Salt Lake City, 801-532-8488, CafeOnFirst.com

Best New Reporter on the Block
Katie McKellar at Deseret News
City Weekly specializes in stories that other papers won't touch. Perhaps they are too complicated, too resource- or time-demanding. One such story that did the rounds for at least 12 months without seeing print was concerns about Salt Lake County auditor Gary Ott not being in complete control of his faculties. But rather than an experienced journalist breaking it, it was a young writer, relatively new to the Salt Lake scene—Deseret News' Katie McKellar, who let it rip with a lengthy piece bringing the civic questions surrounding Ott's mental health to light. She's broken numerous stories, including the West Jordan Facebook debacle with reporter Ben Lockhart, and is a welcome and highly talented addition to the short list of reporters' names to watch. (SD)
@katiemckellar1

Best Meteorological Man About Town
KUTV 2News' Sterling Poulson
Over the years, some "weather-guessers" become the equivalent of family members. That's Sterling Poulson. He's our dad, uncle, brother, son. As Channel 2's chief meteorologist since 1989, Poulson can banter on air with the best of them, but if storm clouds threaten, he as serious and wise as King Solomon: "Cover your tomatoes!" Off air, Poulson has other talents: He's the music director and founder of The Choral Arts Society of Utah, conducting concerts each year with the 120-voice choir. He also directs the Days of '47 Pops Concert. After serving 10 years in the U.S. Air Force, including a tour in Vietnam, Poulson emcees military observances and events, including one held at the Sandy Healing Fields. He is indeed a man about town. And we tip our hat to him. (JW)
KUTV.com

Best Movie-Inspired Spin Instructor
Corbett Brown
When you take a spin class with spirited and dedicated instructor Corbett Brown at 9th & 9th Pilates, be prepared for two things: to work your butt off and to be egged on by a wooden horse Brown named Tina Sparkle, after a character in the Australian film Strictly Ballroom. Brown's eclectic taste in music combined with his delightful patter and infectious enthusiasm for what he does makes his spin class an experience that goes by all too quickly. As you labor on your bike and watch Brown bring Tina up to each of your fellow sufferers, the greatest compliment you can pay is that the handsome duo always elicits a smile in between the drops of sweat and the grunting moans. (SD)
854 E. 900 South, Salt Lake City. 801-410-4180, 9thAnd9thPilates.com

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Breast State Lawmaker
Sen. Scott Jenkins, R-Plain City
During a Utah Senate floor debate this year, Jenkins vehemently opposed a bill he believed would require employers to allow mothers to breastfeed their babies at work. In actuality, the bill (now law) compels employers to provide "reasonable accommodations" for when an "employee needs to breastfeed or express milk." In other words, no baby need be present for lactation to occur. This was news to Jenkins—a husband, father of five and grandfather of 20. Much to the amusement/chagrin of the Senate chamber, the sponsor of the bill had to explain to Jenkins how a breast pump worked. Jenkins still voted against the measure. (RC)

Best Best of Truther
Shauna Lake
This fall, KUTV Channel 2's Shauna Lake delved into the world of print on her Person 2 Person segment with City Weekly publisher John Saltas. Lake led off a web-exclusive clip from the interview by asking whether the paper tips the scales in its Best of Utha vote tallying. "I always wonder is it, like, legit?" she asks while holding up the 2015 issue that featured on its cover Mary Nichols, her colleague and that year's reader's choice for best TV anchorwoman. Voters can sleep soundly, though, knowing their picks—not to be confused with those made by the staff—are selected by an impartial computer and not whatever voodoo stick political pollsters used to predict the presidential election. (DWH)
@TVGalShaunaLake

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Best Podcaster Rebuffed in an Attempt to Report from Palestine
Scott Carrier
Former public radio journalist and antelope chaser Scott Carrier is a veteran radio voice whose most well-known story, perhaps, aired during his stint as a This American Life contributor. It culminates with him huffing it behind a fleeing antelope to test if humans can exhaust game animal on foot like traditional Tarahumara Indians purportedly did in Mexico. Although Carrier, a Salt Lake City resident, doesn't report for the public radio powerhouse any longer, he's still putting out exceptional audio. His latest enterprise is Home of the Brave, an independent podcast that includes new stuff as well as tape from Carrier's archives. In an episode released last April, he recounts his attempt to return to Palestine by way of Israel, which is stymied when employees of the Israeli State Department interrogate him at LAX. Unimpeded by stonewalling that often disrupts or destroys a story, Carrier turns such moments into radio that's poignant and introspective. Because his gift for storytelling is profound, listeners can forgive the fact that they never know how long the wait will be between episodes. (DWH)
Homebrave.com

Best Under-the-Radar Community Leader
Ron Brown
When folks go into the criminal justice system, they often make the news. But when they've done their time and return to society, that's a different story. Ron Brown is senior pastor at New Hope Fellowship and provides outreach and support to families of the incarcerated, as well as supporting those in recovery and struggling with addiction issues. "He takes support of people in the criminal justice system as a personal calling," says ACLU Communications Manager Anna Brower, and brings both positivity and energy to an arena that requires much of both. If only there were more like him. (SD)
1204 E. 1450 South, Clearfield, 801-452-6203, NewHopeUtah.org

Best 40-Year Engagement
R. Scott Phillips, Utah Shakespeare Festival Retiring ED
R. Scott Phillips began his run with the Utah Shakespeare Festival in 1977 as its first full-time employee. Over four decades, he rose through the ranks to become the marketing director and finally, in 2005, the executive director—a position from which he'll retire in March 2017. Working with mentor and festival co-founder Fred C. Adams, Phillips helped grow USF from three annual shows and a $300,000 budget to nine plays and a $7 million budget. The festival garnered a Tony Award for America's Outstanding Regional Theatre in 2000. Meanwhile, Phillips' fundraising skills helped make the Randall L. Jones Theatre a reality in 1989 and the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Center for the Arts a reality this year. Phillips also assembled a top-notch management team by naming David Ivers and Brian Vaughn artistic directors in 2011 and Zachary Murray as general manager in 2014. Talk about leaving on a high note! Bravo, Scott. (JW)
Bard.org

Best Forward-Thinking South of the Valley Police Chief
Draper Police Chief Bryan Roberts
Chief Roberts' efforts to encourage community participation in policing should be acknowledged for the forward-thinking moves they are. Roberts regularly asks community and advocacy folks to talk to his officers and launched the first special conference for the Utah Police Chiefs Association—he sits on the board—to get his peers in law enforcement not only discussing community relations and training, among other issues, but also talking to community groups such as the NAACP and Libertas about how advocates can dialogue with the police. More, please. (SD)
Facebook.com/DraperCityPD

Best Poking Politics with a Pointy Stick
The Left Show
J.M. Bell is no stranger to sticking it to Utah politics. After years of broadcast experience in talk radio, Bell launched The Left Show in early 2010 to pull no punches on the GOP and criticize everyone in his path for the boneheaded mistakes they inflict on our state. Each Monday morning, flanked by co-hosts and talkative guests, the news of the week from around the country and tidbits from our own backyard are picked apart for conservative bureaucratic bullshit, all for your listening pleasure. (GS)
TheLeftShow.com

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Best New Butcher on the Block
Beltex Meats
In a converted house facing Liberty Park, this 18-month-old upstart entry into the butcher and charcuterie stakes is a joy for any carnivore to digest. The staff is super friendly, the location perfectly positioned for a post-park stroll purchase, and the fare they offer—including cooked goodies, such as country pâté, and mouth-watering cuts of meat—while admittedly pricey, it's worth the investment once in awhile. A whole animal butcher shop that started in summer 2014 at several farmers markets, their relationship with local farms and ranches means they can offer some of the best meat in the state. But what really catches our eye is the quality they bring even to something as humble as headcheese (the boiled remains of a pig's head set in gelatine). A chain-store's headcheese is usually flavorless, while Beltex's has the texture and taste depth of one of their equally great pâté. We rest our case. (SD)
511 E. 900 South, Salt Lake City, 801-532-2641, BeltexMeats.com

Best Advocate for the Underdogs
Angela Romero
Armed with a bachelor's in political science and a master's in public administration from the University of Utah, the Tooele-born activist and politician is always rooting for the underdog, and truly cares about the community. She volunteers with numerous nonprofit boards and commissions, including the Utah MLK Human Rights Commission, NeighborWorks Salt Lake, Salt Lake Weed and Seed Program and many more—outside of her already busy schedule as Utah representative for District 26. One of Romero's particularly honorable ongoing efforts is a bill to mandate the testing of all future rape kits, as well as the backlog of thousands of untested rape kits currently in Utah. It's a crisis, according to her, and unacceptable—especially considering the state has the money to test them. (AH)
AngelaRomero.com

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Best Anonymous Donor
The Benefactress of Sandy's Garage 96
Journalists know very little of the impact that their stories have. They rarely see the behind-the-scenes reverberations that a well-aimed piece can have. But once in awhile there are surprises that remind us that readers can be moved, even inspired to do extraordinary things by the written word. Case in point: a City Weekly news story about the struggles of a Sandy City garage owned and run by Robbie Maupin to stand up against his municipality's claims of ownership of a piece of his land. The battle led him to the point of bankruptcy. Several weeks after the story ran in September 2016, an unidentified woman left him a voicemail that she wanted to help and shortly after, someone sent Maupin a check for $5,000. He wept when he opened the envelope and found instead of further bad news from Sandy, the gift of his anonymous benefactress. "For like a half hour I was being a cry baby ..." Maupin says in a text message. "I can't tell you how much that helped me." (SD)

Best Pro Hoops Up-and-Comers
Salt Lake City Stars
Utah is filled with basketball fans, thanks to the Utah Jazz and local universities; some of them just can't get enough. So it's convenient that the NBA Development League's Utah Jazz affiliate, the Idaho Stampede, has relocated to Salt Lake City for the 2016-2017 season, playing home games at Salt Lake Community College's arena on Redwood Road. It's a chance to catch Jazz draft picks, hungry young players and even a handful of former local college standouts as they put in the hard work that they all hope might get them to the NBA—and you can be there to see it. (SR)
SaltLakeCity.DLeague.NBA.com

Best Short-Lived Getaway
Francisco Gonzalez-Velasquez
On June 5, 2016, Francisco Gonzalez-Velasquez stood outside the local Porsche salesroom pondering the beautiful car before him through the plate glass window. It was a late afternoon on Sunday and the 2015 Porsche 918 Spyder, worth $1.6 million, spoke to him in a way that left him with only one choice of action: He broke the plate glass window and stole it. What goes through a man's mind, we wonder, as he gets behind the wheel of a car that most of us wouldn't even dream about owning? Where do you go? Light out for Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Mexico, perhaps, or Canada? Rather than such distant climes, Gonzalez-Velasquez drove the dream machine to the downtown homeless shelter and was apprehended nearby, six hours after his theft. While we might query his logic and certainly do not support such criminal activity, that moment when he got behind the wheel must have been something to behold. (SD)

Best Frenemy of Utah's LGBTQ Community
The LDS Church
In Utah, there are two things that people who live here—and those who don't—love to argue about: liquor laws and the LDS Church. And the church, in a late 2015 whopper that mystified and even pissed-off a good chunk of the world's population, decided to issue a decree labeling its gay members "apostates," and forbidding the children of said "apostates" from participation in some key church functions. With same-sex marriage being legalized and all, many perceived this move as little more than a massive middle finger to anyone who has ever known or cared for someone who happens to be gay. This announcement was in bright contrast to news earlier in the year that the church had donated an undisclosed sum to the Utah Pride Center's efforts to feed homeless youth. (CF)

Best Political Schott in the Dark
Bryan Schott
As editor of political news site UtahPolicy.com and business site UtahPulse.com, Bryan Schott knows something of Utah's political scene. If you have even one iota of interest in how this state and its cities are run, you should subscribe to or at least visit the Utah Policy's site, where Schott curates local news and headlines five days a week in the Morning Must Reads. He also weighs in on the issues of the day with longtime political reporter Bob Bernick in more than 300 "Bernick and Schott on Politics" videos. Schott's "inside baseball" reporting on local races gives insight into what's at stake. It doesn't matter that Schott—who is also a licensed soccer referee—leans more to the left than his publisher, LaVarr Webb. We'd like to say he provides a nice balance, something we need more of in Utah. Plus, can that man rock a pair of spectacles, or what? (JW)
UtahPolicy.com

Best Innovative Geek Artist
Kat Martin
Imagine an oil-on-canvas landscape from the '70s—the type of thing you might see hanging above your grandma's old piano, or sitting on a shelf at the D.I. in a dusty gold frame. You probably wouldn't buy it, even for 50 cents. But add in some reference to pop culture—say, a duel between Harry Potter and Voldemort—and they sell like crazy. That's what local artist Kat Martin does. "I give them life and therefore new love," she says of her artistic process of digging through thrift store bins. She's been selling her work in SLC for eight years now to much success at local farmers markets, flea markets and Salt Lake Comic Con events, but more recently has branched out to Comic Cons all across the country. Wherever your geeky passion lies—be it comic book superheroes, sci-fi series, new video games, old cartoons, cult classics or even Disney princesses—Martin has something that you will not be able to resist buying, and at such reasonable prices, you won't need to. (AH)
KatMartinArtist.com

Best Library Advocate
Kearns Library Manager Jennifer Fay
Librarians do far more than just check in and out books. They can also be mentors and even confidantes for readers who have pressing issues and don't know who to reach out to for help. Sometimes, says county library system spokesperson Liz Sollis, "users disclose personal crises such as family violence, mental illness or substance use disorder." Since librarians aren't equipped to address such needs, Kearns Library manager Jennifer Fay came up with the idea of bringing help to libraries. Now six county libraries have a social worker from South Valley Services by the stacks either for a set day or time, or by appointment. Sollis says the partnership has resulted in more than 1,000 library users being connected to public health resources. While libraries provide a crucial if under-applauded role in our community, Fay has both the foresight and empathy to see how it can add even more. (SD)
SLCOLibrary.org

Best Brother and Sister Weapon Against Heroin ODs
Dr. Jennifer and Sam Plumb
You see their faces on billboards across the valley: smiling young people tragically lost to an epidemic of heroin and opiate overdoses. But thanks to the extraordinary hard work of ER doc Jennifer Plumb and her young brother Sam, Utah Naloxone's program coordinator, the benefits of Naloxone—or Narcon—are finally being recognized and taken up where it counts. Not only on the front line, among multiple law enforcement departments (UPD Chief Jim Winder is a tireless advocate), but also pharmacy chains at hospitals and grocery markets across the state, which all provide the life-saving injections free of charge. Tireless advocacy is inevitably driven by personal loss—in the Plumbs' case, their brother. But the education they have afforded Utahns through the media, speaking engagements and lobbying about the opiate addiction epidemic that has exploded within our midst in recent years and the gift Naloxone offers in terms of saving individuals in the throes of an overdose, whether loved ones or strangers, truly makes them Beehive heroes. (SD)
UtahNaloxone.org

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Best LGBTQ Activists
Equality Utah
Making national headlines this past October was the state's largest LGBTQ civil rights organization, Equality Utah, as they filed a lawsuit—the first of its kind in the U.S.—against the state education office, claiming that its curriculum laws prohibiting positive discussion about homosexuality in the classroom is unconstitutional. But that's only their most recent accomplishment. They started out 2016 with a campaign and legislation to fix Utah's broken hate-crimes law, and were able to get to a third reading in the Utah Senate before it died. "That was rather remarkable for the first year we ran the legislation," Executive Director Troy Williams says, "especially when you consider that it took us seven years to get that far on our non-discrimination law." In May, they dedicated 20 blocks of 900 South (now called Harvey Milk Boulevard) in Salt Salt Lake City to the late Harvey Milk—a prominent LGBTQ activist and the first openly gay person to be elected to office in California. "Our work is to send a message to young [LGBTQ] people that they are powerful, they belong and there is a place for them in our city and state," Williams says. (AH)
EqualityUtah.org

Best Advocate for Two Wheels
Ryan Littlefield
Many a weekday morning you can see the trim, athletic figure of biking guru Ryan Littlefield pick up libations at the Coffee Garden at 9th & 9th and somehow manage to amiably cycle up to his store, Contender, a tray of coffees in hand. Littlefield took over Contender back in 1999 and has turned it not only into a wonderful bike shop beloved by experts and amateurs alike, but also an engine for growth for Salt Lake City's bike community. He's built what some customers call "a community of riders" who cherish both pleasure and safety where it comes to riding, while encouraging all and sundry to take part. SLC owes a big vote of thanks to Littlefield for making this town the bicycle-friendly circuit that it is. (SD)
989 E. 900 South, Salt Lake City,
801-364-0344, ContenderBicycles.com

Best Un-retirement
U of U Running Back Joe Williams
After a lackluster start to the 2016 football season, senior Utah running back Joe Williams announced in September that he was hanging up his cleats. Retiring. Calling it a career. The Utes, seemingly flush with young talent at the position, relied on Zack Moss, Troy McCormick, Armand Shyne and Jordan Howard to carry the weight. But then, as if the bodies of these men were cursed, each were folded to the turf with injuries, leaving Utah with few answers and prompting Utah Coach Kyle Whittingham to plead with Williams to return. Williams did just that, and, to date, has been having a storybook un-retirement party. In a victory over UCLA, Williams rushed for 332 yards, a single-game school record. (CF)

Best Tireless One-Person Homeless Mom Support
Ashley Hoopes
The former manager of downtown shelter The Road Home's pre-school, Hoopes knows all too well the struggles, challenges and obstacles single homeless mothers and their children face just to survive, let alone find housing. Hoopes now runs a support group for around 50 homeless moms and along with connecting them with mentors herself, advocates to the city and the county, she says, "about what the system needs to look like so these moms don't end up circling the drain." She also tries to get them to tell their stories through the media or social events, anything to build empathy and get the message out that things desperately need to change. (SD)

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Best "Hello, Dolly"
Viva La Diva
Some of us will never get a chance to see legendary performers up close and personal, so it's nice to have performers whose spot-on impersonations can give us the next best thing. Salt Lake City native Jason CoZmo has returned to town to launch Viva La Diva (at Club X most recently), a female impersonator revue showcasing his lip-synched, spot-on embodiments of Liza Minnelli, Bette Midler and, yes, Dolly Parton in all her 9-to-5 glory. David Lorence shares the bill as Celine Dion and Cher, with other guest performers at select shows adding up to an evening with some of the biggest voices in show business—or at least a tremendously entertaining approximation. (SR)
Facebook.com/JasonCozmo

Best Lovers of the Environment
Greta and John DeJong
Love stories in this jaded time rarely get much publicity or admiration. But when you see the duo who founded Utah's much loved, respected and valued Catalyst magazine shopping together on a Sunday morning at Costco, it reminds you that their relationship, while weathering the private storms that life sometimes throws at us, has emerged strong and resonant as ever, with a healthy dash of self-deprecating DeJong wry humor thrown in for good measure. The fruits of that relationship are to be found not only in the rich print and online pages of their alt magazine and their regular columns, but also in the way, like royalty, they enliven and grace every room they walk into. (SD)
Catalyst.org

Best Driver
You
Yes, you. But you knew that already, didn't you? You're never one to follow other drivers too closely. You always signal your turns. You only use the left lane to pass. You can't even remember the last time you rolled through a stop sign, if you ever did. But you're not
just a safe driver. You're a good driver. You're like the Michael Jordan of parallel parking. Remember that one really tricky spot you pulled into on Main Street in like five seconds? That dude walking by on the sidewalk who definitely slow-clapped in amazement remembers. Way to go, you. Now look up: The light just turned green. (RC)
Your home, phone number and Facebook page

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Best Neighborhood Boxing Gym
State Street Boxing Gym
Nestled away in a quiet backwater of State Street, this compact gym with a ring, bags and local kids hammering the leather is a tribute to one man's passion for at-risk youth and the therapeutic art of pugilism. David Mario Ramos boxed amateur and pro and has worked with youth programs, treatment centers and lockdown facilities for more than 35 years. He found that training to box worked wonders not only for troubled youth but amazingly also folks with brain injuries and survivors of domestic violence. You can train at this 8-year-old nonprofit if you're seeking a taste of the Rocky experience, or just want to be part of a noble endeavor that's changing kids' lives one swing at a time. (SD)
1420 S. Edison St., Salt Lake City. 801-671-2214, StateStreetBoxing.org

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Best Duck Pond to Dump your Old Shitty Bread
The Pond at Sugar House Park
One bad thing about bread: If you don't eat it right away, it gets old and shitty. This continues to happen despite numerous advances in the field of science. I eat 12 sandwiches each day as a stopgap solution, but I still end up with dozens of old, shitty loaves of bread every week. It's an intractable problem for too many in our state. Thankfully, ducks eat all sorts of shit even if it's bad for them. That's why I dump all my old bread in the pond at Sugar House Park. The best part is that I don't even have to get out of my car or stop driving. I just roll down the window, throw it at the pond, and yell, "Come and eat old shitty bread, you stupid ducks!" They eat it every time. (RC)
1330 E. 2100 South, Salt Lake City, 801-467-1721, SugarHousePark.org

Best Place to Skewer a Pumpkin
Salt Lake City and County Building
The city woke several years ago to a peculiar ornament atop the Salt Lake City and County Building's highest perch. An orange pumpkin sat, impaled by the statue. Take a tour, sometime, up into the clock tower and you'll likely hear about the mysterious caper. You'll also learn that the daredevil culprit must be among us because he was never caught, and that the city spent somewhere in the neighborhood of $6,000 to get the gourd down. The historic landmark offers more than the pumpkin-gate tale, though, if that sort of thing doesn't pique your interest. A display of gifts bestowed by sister cities across the globe might be more your thing, or the barren underground tunnel entryway that leads to the library across the street. The Utah Heritage Foundation sets up free tours in the summer and $10-per-person tours can be arranged in the off-months. (DWH)
451 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-533-0858 ext. 107

Best Place to Grab Pussy
Kitty City at the Humane Society of Utah
Whether you're searching for a new family member or just want to hang with cats looking for homes, Kitty City at the Humane Society of Utah is your best destination. "Older cats tend to be overlooked and can stay in the shelter for months," says Deann Shepherd, the director of marketing and communications. "We built Kitty City to look like a home environment. We wanted folks to envision spending time with the cats in their own home." In Kitty City cats are free to mingle with other cats as well as human visitors. With wide windows, cozy spots for napping and a television playing cat-friendly TV shows, life in Kitty City is pretty sweet, but that doesn't mean the residents wouldn't rather have a permanent loving home with you! (AR)
4242 S. 300 West, Murray,
801-261-2919, UtahHumane.org

Best Bureaucratic Breeze
Utah Department of Motor Vehicles Draper Office
Yes, the DMV. Yes, the real DMV. Standing in line at what everyone considers to be the seventh circle of Hell is not so, well, hellish at the Department of Motor Vehicle's Draper branch. Applying for a license or amending vehicle registration is relatively pain-free. The lines are short, Patty and Selma Bouvier will not greet you at the window to deny your application for some mundane reason, and there's even a drive-thru for certain processes. Don't let the expiration date on your driver's license loom over you, the DMV is just another quick errand. (SA)
14555 Minuteman Drive, Draper, 801-297-7780, Utah.DMV.gov

Best Place to get Eaten by Vegetarian Goblins
Nilbog aka Morgan County, Utah
Often selected as the best worst horror movie of all time, Troll 2 has captivated audiences for nearly 25 years with its wicked one-liners, atrocious acting and dubious (at best) plot. In 2012, nearly all of the cast and crew, including Italian director Claudio Fragasso, converged on Nilbog one last time for a celebration of the film's 20-year anniversary. Since then, many Morganites have reported seeing the goblins thought to be defeated by Joshua and Grandpa Seth in the early '90s. What fans loved about the cult classic, they'll find more of just spending some time around Morgan County—a true spectacle of small-town quirkiness. See the sights from the film and maybe even spot some of the supporting cast, many of whom were Morganites and still live there. (WP)

Best Indie Bookstore Re-ignition
Weller Book Works
It's been a few years since Tony and Catherine Weller moved their bookstore from Main Street to Trolley Square, rebranding as Weller Book Works. Yes, we miss bumping into Tony and hearing his passionate views about downtown development, but we can't fault him for putting down roots at Trolley Square. At least there's parking! Attending author readings and special events there, you sense they made the right move and are working to create a sustainable future for the store. The road forward for independent bookstores is not well defined. Luckily, we live in a city that loves its rare books—one of Weller's specialties. (JW)
607 Trolley Square, Salt Lake City, 801-328-2586, WellerBookWorks.com

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Best Trail to Shoot the Mr. August Picture for Your Upcoming "Mountain Men of Utah" Calendar While Also Contemplating a 127 Hours Future
Devil's Garden at Arches National Park
"Yeah, sure," I tell my Canadian buddy after he suggests we start our Moab adventure on the park's longest maintained trail. It'll be a good excuse to avoid the rubes attempting to take the perfect Utah license plate pic at Delicate Arch anyway. About 45 minutes into the 7.2 mile trek, sweat is commingling with sunblock and running into my eyes as I press myself to muster on and play it cool. Trust me, a garden it ain't. I am delirious. At one point, my bud and I recreate a pivotal Lion King scene off a rock formation's edge wherein he plays the role of Rafiki and a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos doubles as Simba. Supplies running low, my squinty SPF-ridden pupils eventually see Double O Arch on the horizon. We've reached selfie holy land. "Expert's way" back? Sure, why not! Mom, Dad, I really love you guys ... (EL)
Moab, Utah, 84532, 435-719-2299, NPS.gov/Arch

Best Place to Help you Forget That your Ex Took the Dog
Memory Grove Park
When you finally realize that nagging, dog-shaped hole in your heart will never be stitched with lukewarm PBRs and B-sides by The Cure, it's time to step out from that hovel of an apartment and get some air. On pleasant days, Memory Grove Park's off-leash dog area is a catalog of canine breeds pattering along the trail, fetching balls on the lawn and basking in the shallow pond. But if the dogs aren't enough to scrub an ex from your mind, the numerous war memorials can at least put those quotidian struggles into perspective. Or locate your zen by the fountain or Meditation Chapel. (DWH)
300 N. Canyon Road, Salt Lake City, 801-972-7800, SLCGov.com

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Best Place to Touch an Anaconda
Scales and Tails
Scales and Tails, tucked into an industrial strip mall that abuts a residential area in West Valley City, keeps a low profile—mainly because their business entails taking their massive collection of reptiles and invertebrate off-site to private parties and state fairs. But on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, for a nominal fee, you can tour their facility, which houses scores of creatures, including giant pythons, alligators, a green anaconda, big monitor lizards and plenty of tarantulas. They'll even let you handle some of them yourself. It's perfectly safe, educational and tons of fun. (RH)
3584 S. 1950 West, West Valley City, 801-577-7182, ScalesAndTailsUtah.com

Best Downtown Brass Foundry
State Brass Foundry and Machine
In an era where the word "worker" brings to mind a person wasting at some desk, hunched over a tyrannical computer screen, there is a bit of comfort in knowing that there are still people—indeed, still people in Salt Lake City—who get shit done a different way. One needs to look no further than the century-old brass foundry on State Street, where the soot-covered men in denim overalls carefully craft massive pump housings and pretty much anything you can imagine, out of molten metal. The place—and the profession—is simply burly, and once you pick the place out amid the convenience stores and motels that dot the street, you, too, will take comfort each time you pass by and see that heavy manufacturing lives. (CF)
1400 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-467-9461, StateBrass.com

Best Place to Crawl Inside a Giant Monkey Head
Museum of Natural Curiosity
Utah has always offered family-friendly places to play and explore; it's particularly satisfying when those places are as colorfully entertaining as they are educational. Thanksgiving Point's Museum of Natural Curiosity offers a variety of environments for kids to climb, crawl, run and splash through—from a rainforest (featuring that aforementioned, stone idol-esque giant monkey head) to a desert watering hole to a "Kidopolis" model town, along with space for rotating touring exhibits, all of them offering information about science, the environment and healthy living. Getting the wiggles out can be a learning time, too. (SR)
3605 Garden Drive, Lehi, 801-768-2300, ThanksgivingPoint.org

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Best "There's More Than One Drive-In Movie Theater in Utah"
TIE (Various)
For decades, the Redwood Drive-In (RedwoodDriveIn.com) has been the biggest and best outdoor movie theater in Utah, but there's a misconception that it's the last one in the state. Ogden has the four-screen digital Motor-Vu (MotorVu.com) which is a year older than the Redwood. Mt. Pleasant boasts The Basin Drive-In (SanpeteMovies.com) and Roosevelt has the Echo Drive-In (RooseveltMovies.com). Plus, located in Escalante, off Scenic Byway 12, the Shooting Star airstream park and RV resort (ShootingStar-RVResort.com) has a mini drive-in where resort guests (only) can watch films from within classic convertibles. Now if only we had a proper drive-in grindhouse. Hello? Salt Lake Film Society? (RH)

Best Bird Refuge
Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge
It's easy to neglect things that you don't know. And in Utah, it's easy to not know much about the Great Salt Lake's fragile ecosystem. One easy way to start is a visit to the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, which was designated by presidential proclamation in 1928 and protects 80,000 acres of marshes, waterways and alkaline mud flats. A crucial water body for migrating birds, the refuge is home to more than 250 species that stop off by the millions as they travel to different climes. And, because we humans are now once again threatening the future of the Bear River and Great Salt Lake with water projects, the days of seeing this ecosystem in tact could be numbered. (CF)
2155 W. Forest St., Brigham City, 435-723-5887, FWS.gov

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Best Slice of Movie History
Kanab Little Hollywood Museum
For nearly a century—from Tom Mix Westerns through John Ford classics and up to modern blockbusters like John Carter—southern Utah has been cinema's all-purpose stand-in for everything from the vintage American West to alien worlds. The Little Hollywood Museum celebrates that legacy, showcasing actual sets, props and memorabilia from movies like The Outlaw Josey Wales. Pick up gifts celebrating stars like John Wayne, take a photo in Western costume, and stick around for the authentic chuckwagon cookout. (SR)
297 W. Center St., Kanab, 435-644-5337, LittleHollywoodMuseum.org

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Best Artistic Collision of Comic Books and Music
Black Omen Comics
Like an nuclear blast of peanut butter and chocolate, Black Omen Comics went the extra mile to provide a unique reading experience for comic-book lovers. The creators took the music SLC-based synth-pop band Conquer Monster in their latest full-length album, Metatransit, and used the soundtrack as a listening-pleasure template for their latest comic title, Purge Worlds. Both elements give the other boost and complement each other throughout the story, which makes us wonder what all comics would be like if they came with a score. (GS)

Best Downtown SLC Parking
The lot on 400 S. Main Street/500 S. West Temple
As we all know, parking downtown is a nightmare, and those meter maids have no mercy. (Looking at you, "Officer P129." Tell me, how do you sleep at night?) Several lots claim to be the best and cheapest, but after living and working downtown for a year now, I've found the best deal on the corner of 400 South and Main Street/500 South and West Temple. You can park there all day for $6, or get a monthly pass for $55. Public entrances are on 400 South and on West Temple, where you pay with a credit/debit card to get in. I've yet to see it fill up. (Knock on wood.) (AH)

Best Retailer to Find Hot Deals (and Maybe Bed Bugs)
Deseret Industries Centerville
A true Utah original, Deseret Industries has long served us with its socialist (shhh, don't tell anyone) co-op of second-hand clothes, toys, home supplies and romance novels. What makes the Centerville D.I. great is that, while others around the state have taken efforts to look less like yard sales or the basements of your Mormon aunt, the Centerville location has stuck to its Davis County guns—hymn books, white-jesus pictures and all. Take the trip to Centerville, and find yourself that Viewmont High School track-and-field windbreaker you've been wanting. Just beware of the furniture section ... (WP)
158 E. Pages Lane, Centerville, 801-298-8918, DeseretIndustries.org

Best Place to Buy Street Cutlery
Indoor Swap Meet
You know those days when the micro-aggressors are everywhere, neglectin' to check their privilege—but you left your katana and your coffee on the roof of your car that morning? If you live in West Valley, where shit is real, you're lucky. Whether you need a pocket, buck, butterfly or throwing knife—or, for more egregious offenses, a machete, kukri or tanto, it's available at The Indoor Swap Meet. You'll need your energy, so get yourself a plate of tacos al pastor at the concession stand. Because Hell hath no fury like a butt-hurt SJW with a raging case of firehole. (RH)
1500 S. 3500 West, West Valley City, 801-887-7927, SaltLakeIndoorSwapMeet.com

Best Place for Missionary Nostalgia
London Market
While the LDS Church has spread out over much of the world, one of the first places missionaries headed out to conquer in those first years was the U.K. That continues to this day and so when someone you talk to says he or she did their mission abroad, there's a good chance they got to know intimately some part of the British Isles. Go to the London Market on 900 South—with its adorable mini-cooper parked out front—and there may well be a former missionary chowing down on a cornish pasty (think a large savory pastry roll full of meat, potatoes and rutabaga) and fondly remembering hefting the Book of Mormon door-to-door. But if you're an ex-pat Brit or simply someone who hit London as part of their Euro-train wallow before college, there's plenty to find here to satisfy both your need for nostalgia and a sweet tooth. (SD)
439 E. 900 South, Salt Lake City, 801-531-7074

Best Place for a Fall Photo Shoot
Millcreek Canyon
Ever thought about offering a "pop-up" photography studio? If yes, consider "popping up" in Mill Creek Canyon next fall. The canyon's striking fall foliage and wildlife sightings make it a natural backdrop for family and wedding portraits. It's breathtakingly beautiful. So beautiful, in fact, that on many a fall weekend, couples, families and groups converge on scenic spots along the road and vie for that perfect portrait or Christmas card photo. Meanwhile, others are waiting, hoping for their shot. They want the good light and red leaves, too! An enterprising photographer could take control of the situation and ... put a smile on their faces. (JW)
SLCO.org/Recreation/Parks/MillcreekCanyon

Best Way to Hit the Slopes with Kids
Brighton Resort
There is a wealth of blissful snow that piles high each winter in the Wasatch Range, and a stupid number of great resort choices. For kids under the age of 10, though, there is really no better option than Brighton, where children who fall within this age range ski for free with a paying adult. Since a full-priced adult lift ticket at Brighton is $79—still a far cry from costs at some other Wasatch resorts—the whole "free" thing certainly the numbs the pain. Lessons at Brighton are also reasonably priced, with children up to the age of 12 able to secure a two-hour slot for $59. (CF)
8302 S. Brighton Loop Road, Brighton, 801-532-4731, BrightonResort.com

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Best New Library
Salt Lake City Public Library Marmalade Branch
Somewhere, the author Ray Bradbury is smiling. In 2016, Salt Lake City opened a new 18,600-square-foot library branch in Marmalade, complete with computers, a café and places to read, but mostly—eureka—books. That free libraries exist in a 21st century that has so far been dominated by technological outbursts mostly linked to how humans stay in touch with friends they no longer care about on telephone screens, is remarkable. Indeed, on any given day anyone can waltz into a library, grab some books and sit until closing time swimming in imagination. (CF)
280 W. 500 North, Salt Lake City, 801-594-8680, SLCPL.UT.us

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Best Drive-Thru to Contemplate Life At
Sconecutter
"Is anything open after midnight in Salt Lake City?" someone recently asked me. I nodded and recited a small-but-mighty laundry list of establishments before realizing halfway through it all of my choices were food-related. Whatever, I work long hours, OK? Many a night I've found myself contemplating life during my wait at the Sugar House Sconecutter. Most recently for a meditative 26 minutes while the nice voice behind the drive-thru speaker made me feel at ease by referring to me as "sweetie" and "hun" as she wrangled up the Oompa Loompas to make my Philly steak-and-cheese sandwich a reality. Depending on the night, the ghost of Forrest Gump is in full effect as you never know what you're gonna get. The fact they're open 24 hours Tuesday-Saturday, however, makes it worth the gamble. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo I chant, questioning my existence. It is now just past 1 a.m. and I find myself singing along to Def Leppard's "Photograph" which just came on the radio. It is a cleansing experience. Eventually, the bounty of food passes through my car window and onto my lap. My chakras are aligned and I am at serene as I arrive home and unwrap my delicious ... veggie sandwich? Dafuq is this? A phone call and a couple of business days later, a gift certificate for a free sandwich arrives in my mailbox and like an intricate sand mandala, the slate is wiped clean. (EL)
2040 State, Salt Lake City, 801-485-9981

Best Ignored Park in Need of Love
Fairmont Park
Salt Lake City has its fair share of attractive parks for the legions of walkers, runners, bikers and picnickers (depending the weather) seeking to enjoy the outdoors, without having to tramp up in the mountains. Fairmont in Sugar House is surely one of the most beautiful parks in the valley, full of tree-graced meadows, a medium-sized pond populated with ducks and geese and even an admittedly partially vegetation-clogged stream. A horrific murder there seven years ago cast a shadow over the park that judging by the absence of visitors most days—except skaters at the skateboard park and the homeless sleeping there from spring to autumn—has left it with a dark reputation for violence. A Wednesday farmers market from June through October provides not only a welcome midweek break but also an opportunity to remind us of the pastoral glories that Fairmont offers and that perhaps it's time for Salt Lakers to give it another chance. (SD)
SLCGov.com

Best Way to Train yourself for UFC
Foley's Mixed Martial Arts
Ogden native David Foley is one of the most knowledgeable fighters and trainers in the state, with an impressive five-time Golden Gloves State Championship to his name. His skills and experience fuel his gym where kids and adults can train to learn both boxing and MMA-style fighting. A one-on-one session with Foley can help people with no fighting skills whatsoever be prepared and stay in shape, while those seeking a career in the fighting world learn first-hand what lies ahead. (GS)
375 31st St., Ogden, 801-628-8520, FoleysMMA.com

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Best at Putting a Lump in Your Throat
Sandy Healing Fields
Americans continue to struggle with the Sept. 11 attacks. The wound begins to smart again each September. In 2002, Paul Swenson, owner of Colonial Flag in Sandy, came up with the idea to place flags in honor of those who died. Sandy City offered the grassy area of its promenade as a healing field, and filled it with 3,000 American flags (one for each 9/11 victim). That idea caught on and Swenson created the Colonial Flag Foundation in 2003 to help other communities create their own healing fields. If you haven't been, the idea could initially seem jingoistic. But in reality, walking among the flags becomes a meditation. Each flag contains information about one of the victims. You see these individuals for the lives they led, their jobs, families, hobbies, likes and loves. As the flags rustle in the breeze, you can't help feeling a lump in your throat. (JW)
HealingField.org

Best Mysterious Day Care
Fun Time Kidz Kare
OK, most of you have probably driven past the neon-green shoe-box building on 1300 South and thought, "Huh, weird, I don't see any kids out playing," or maybe, "Huh, weird, why would a day care have cardboard and curtains covering all of its windows?" Fun Time Kidz Kare is, in fact, a day care. However, the Reddit threads it has inspired are the kind of internet-folklore that will live on for decades. Vice even chronicled the theories Salt Lakers have baked up. Some non-reputable deep-web reports have claimed the day care is linked to a mysterious Chinese shipping container and a nefarious bait-and-tackle shop in Iowa, making this day care officially, Utah's most mysterious. (WP)
1248 S. 300 East, Salt Lake City, 801-467-9988

Best Historic Rejuvenation
Clubhouse SLC
Since April of this year, photographer Dave Brewer and his partner Jude Gilmore (owners of the Greektown brothel-turned-photo studio Photo Collective Studios) have expanded their passion for visual art and local historic architecture with the purchase of the Ladies Literary Club mansion from the Utah Heritage Foundation. The newly deemed Clubhouse SLC's unassuming brick façade might not be as eye-catching as some of its neighbors on South Temple, but inside lies a dazzling ambiance of historic details, like original towering stained-glass windows, paired with fresh and modern touches—they've even installed a darkroom. Brewer and Gilmore hope the space will be not only a resource for photographers and other artists, but also for the community at large that values Salt Lake's rich history. (SA)
850 E. South Temple, Salt Lake City,
385-313-8285, ClubhouseSLC.com

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Best Soar Winners
The Leonardo's Flight
Salt Lake City museums have hosted many grand-scale exhibits that came to town as part of national tours. Far more rare are those with epic scope created entirely in-house. The Leonardo channeled the spirit of its pioneering namesake with the August 2016 launch of Flight, a beautiful celebration of the history of air travel from da Vinci's own speculative experiments through the space age. With a full-sized C-131 aircraft as its centerpiece and great interactive components like a pair of flight simulators, Flight offered a true sense of the heights to which local exhibits could ascend. (SR)
209 E. 500 South, Salt Lake City, 801-531-9800, TheLeonardo.org

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Best Place to Accept your Certain Death
Mount Olivet Cemetery
Established in 1874 as a cemetery to serve all faiths, this peaceful oasis is home to beautiful statues, elaborate headstones and impressive mausoleums. It's easy to lose yourself here, wandering, reading headstones and hoping for a glimpse of the family of deer that call Mount Olivet Cemetery home. The deer spend their days nibbling grass and dozing in sunny spots among the cemetery's markers. Mount Olivet is a beautiful and serene place—perfect for spending some quality time with yourself contemplating the big questions. (AR)
1342 E. 500 South, Salt Lake City, 801-582-2552, MountOlivetCemeterySLC.com

Best Place to Facilitate that Career Change
DevPoint Labs
Everybody has that friend who is terminally unsatisfied with his or her job. They call you up with another sad story about how their boss doesn't appreciate them and how that dick who sits two cubicles away got the promotion that should have gone to them. Next time this happens, have that friend look in to DevPoint Labs, one of Utah's finest coding boot camps. Not only do they provide expert-guided courses in several coding languages, they offer scholarships for the ladies, and student housing to boot. Once enrolled in DevPoint's intensive courses, students emerge like HTML5 phoenixes, ready to make the world of web and software development their bitch. (AS)
370 S. 300 East, Salt Lake City, 801-448-7240, DevPointLabs.com

Best Anticipated Place for Cat Lovers
Tinker's Cat Café
Cue the heavy breathing, cat ladies. It's real and it's coming to SLC in early 2017. Tinker's Cat Café will be the very first of its kind in Salt Lake City, following a trend that started in Japan and has now reached numerous major cities across the globe. The concept is essentially café-meets-cat adoption center. One half of the space will house a coffee house, complete with your typical bistro tables, couches and baristas serving up what founder/owner Lisa Boone says will be cat-themed drinks—you know, chamo-meow tea, cat-ppucinos, etc. Taking up the other half of the space will be a cat lounge, which visitors can enter for a small price. These cats will all be available for adoption. After some setbacks, Boone has finally secured a location at 900 South and 300 East in Salt Lake City. (AH)
TinkersCatCafe.com

Best View of the Salt Lake Valley
Block U
Most people who've lived in Salt Lake City for any period of time have seen the giant letter U (whose official title is apparently Block U) from a distance, up in the hills to the north of the University of Utah campus. But have you ever seen the city from the Block U? My first time experiencing this beautiful view of the valley was right after I moved here, in summer 2015. I hardly knew anyone my age here, so one night when I was feeling adventurous, I decided to go to a bar solo. Long story short, my night ended around 5 a.m., watching the sunrise with some dude named Joey at Block U. And, yes, it was super romantic until we learned that it's also the stomping grounds of local moms on their morning power walk. (AH)
1635 New Bedford Drive, Salt Lake City

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Best Full-Service Flashback
Lakeside Petrolania Museum
While America works to reduce its fossil-fuel dependency, there's still a nostalgic longing for an era when the country was just beginning to be on-the-move, and uniformed attendants accompanied every fill-up with an oil check, a window cleaning and a smile. Relics of that era can be found in Provo, where AAA Lakeside Storage features a collection of memorabilia from oil companies and gas stations of bygone days. One-of-a-kind signs and antique gas pumps from as far back as 1917 are part of this unique roadside experience—and it's entirely free for curious visitors. (SR)
4095 Center St., Provo, 801-377-5900, AAALakesideStorage.com

Best Accidental Community Art Display
The Defunct Plaza at State Street Development
Back in 2012, when an old theater and 50 units of affordable housing were ripped down at 255 S. State, city leaders and developers, hungry for progress and the gentrification it breeds, embarked on an ambitious $55 million development. But alas, the project was plagued by cost overruns and for the past two years or so, the skeletons of this development have become a haven for graffiti artists, which, if you really think about it, is awesome poetic justice. Anyone who drives or walks State Street has witnessed the changing nature of the graffiti pieces plastered on the concrete walls. Hey, if the poor are no longer allowed to live downtown, we might as well give our talented artists a place to legally paint. (CF)

Best Prehistoric Haunting
George S. Eccles Dinosaur Park's Halloween Carnivore Carnival
Ogden's George S. Eccles Dinosaur Park is a fascinating, educational place any time of year with its life-size dinosaur figures and interactive exhibits—but it's not an experience that generally takes place in the dark. That all changes during October, as the park offers its only after-hours time with strings of lights, tricks, treats, games and a nightly costume parade. If walking through the world of Cretaceous Era predators could be alarming in broad daylight, just imagine it once night has fallen. (SR)
1544 E. Park Blvd., Ogden, 801-393-3466, DinosaurPark.org

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Best Place to Kick Up Dust
Notom-Bullfrog Basin Road/Burr Trail Road, Capitol Reef National Park to Boulder
Notom-Bullfrog Basin Road turns south off the beaten—sometimes crowded—path that is State Route 24 running through Capitol Reef National Park, and showcases the park's lesser-seen attractions on about 10 miles of cracked pavement and a three-hour stretch of fine, pale dust. The crown jewel of this rural road is the Burr Trail Switchbacks, which steeply climb the cliff face and terminate at a mind-boggling view of the park's lower half. Continuing west, you'll cut through Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument's northern tip, where the road eventually becomes paved again—a sign of nearing civilization—and deposits you onto Route 12 at the edge of Boulder. The trip is a 70-mile detour through isolated sections of Utah's magnificent high-desert wilderness suitable for the dedicated road-tripper: A high-clearance vehicle and a full tank of gas are recommended. (SA)
State Route 24 between mileposts 88 and 89

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Best Place to Get Excited About Utah Jazz Basketball Again
Vivint Smart Home Arena
What wins 50 games, has a 7-foot, 3-inch shot-blocking, slam-dunking monster and is located in the heart of Salt Lake City? You guessed it—the 2016-2017 Utah Jazz. For the past 25 years, the Jazz has played in what has become one of the oldest venues in the NBA. But that's all about to change as the Provo-based home security system company Vivint bought the venue's naming rights last year and announced a $110 million renovation for the decrepit building. While the Jazz and Vivint have both been quiet about specific additions to the arena, some promises they've made include solar panels, outside atriums to shelter fans while they wait in line and expanded locker rooms to build player excitement. (WP)
301 E. South Temple, Salt Lake City, VivintArena.com

Best Old-Time Scenic Journey
Heber Valley Railroad
As eager as we tend to be to get from here to there as quickly as possible, sometimes a journey can actually be a destination. The Heber Valley Railroad runs its vintage steam locomotives on regular three-hour round trips through Provo Canyon (gloriously colorful during the fall) or a Monday night express along the shores of Deer Creek Reservoir. And that's not even taking into account special seasonal events like the North Pole Express during December, or the Cowboy Train (complete with music and train robbery), or even a Steampunk Train. Riding the rails can take you to amazing places. (SR)
450 S. 600 West, Heber City, 435-654-5601, HeberValleyRR.org

Best Hardwood Supply
MacBeath Hardwood
Some people think Utahns are luckier than others in the Mountain West because the fast-food restaurant chain In-N-Out Burger now slings food in Zion. But there is at least one other reason to feel blessed: One of three MacBeath Hardwood retail stores in America is based in Salt Lake City, and, if you're into wood, the warehouse on 300 West is your sacred temple. MacBeath stocks dozens upon dozens of different woods that, with the right tools, can be milled, mitered, sanded, stained and modified into the furniture of your dreams. If you're not a woodworker, go in anyway and buy a T-shirt with their slick elephant logo and the company's motto: Wood is Wonderful. (CF)
1576 S. 300 West, Salt Lake City, 801-484-7616, MacBeath.com

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Best Place to Buy Discs for Disc Golf
Play It Again Sports; Infinite Discs
Disc golf—not Frisbee golf, not frolf—is the fastest-growing sport in the world. It's free to play, easy to learn, and discs are relatively cheap. The game is addictive, especially with the redonkulous variety of discs with cool names like Katana, Destroyer and Mamba, which all fly differently and come in pretty colors and grippy, durable plastics—some even glow. When you get serious, you can spend up to $20 on a new disc in premium plastic. So it helps to have brick-and-mortar locations where you can put your hands on the goods. Play It Again Sports is the main source of golf discs in Utah, with a huge selection of new and used discs. In Logan, Infinite Discs has upward of 24,000 discs to choose from, making them one of the largest disc golf retailers in the nation. You can't peruse them all, but they'll search their database for your ideal disc and pull it from their warehouse. Or just go to InfiniteDiscs.com. (RH)
Play It Again Sports, multiple locations, PlayItAgainSports.com; Infinite Discs, 1125 W. 400 North, Logan,
435-799-1106, InfiniteDiscs.com

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Best Treasure Trove of Unique and Inexpensive Clothing
Uptown Cheapskate in Sugar House
A resale and consignment franchise originally started in Salt Lake City in 2009 has now grown to include dozens of locations across the country. These consignment stores have the best selection of everything trendy for all different styles, and at reasonable prices. I've been to both the Salt Lake City locations, and have found the Sugar House location to have a much better and bigger selection. Their assortments of tops, sweaters, jackets and dresses are particularly outstanding. Last month, I walked out with two sweaters, two T-shirts and a pair of jeans for around $50. New this year is a store that just opened in American Fork—the second one in that city, and the sixth store in Utah. (AH)
2120 S. 1300 East, 801-467-4945
UptownCheapskate.com

Best Flashback to the Mormon Rebellion that Never Was
Camp Floyd
In 1858, President James Buchanan—perhaps genuinely convinced that Utah Mormons were about to rebel against the U.S. government, or perhaps trying to unify the country against any threat besides the roiling threat of civil war—sent nearly a third of the U.S. Army's troops to the Utah Territory. Those soldiers departed in 1861 as the Civil War began, but the commissary building left behind now serves as a museum to that intriguing bit of state history. Stay across the street at the Stagecoach Inn, once an actual stop on the original Pony Express route. (SR)
18035 W. 1549 North, Fairfield, 801-768-8932,
StateParks.Utah.gov

Best Place to Feel Like You're in The Shining That Isn't the City Weekly Second-Floor Hallway
Pre-renovation Peery Hotel
If you work in the newsroom at City Weekly and you gotta go, the closest bathrooms lie down a creepy hallway that's straight out of The Shining. A few blocks away, The Peery Hotel is considerably more reminiscent of the 1920s-era Overlook Hotel from Stanley Kubrick's film of Stephen King's story. The elevators were claustrophobe's nightmare—and supposedly housed a sad female spirit (and blood tsunami?) and the upstairs corridors looked extra long and like they're missing something (murder twins). At night, if you listened closely, you could almost hear Scatman Crothers performing the Hong Kong Phooey theme. (RH)
110 W. 300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-521-4300, PeeryHotel.com

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Best Spot for a Quick Meeting to Morph into a Day Off
The Watchtower Café
Most coffee shops have the same array of free reading material—including the rag currently in your hands. At a coffee meeting at Watchtower the other day, I couldn't help but be distracted. There's a video game station (couch, console, controllers and flatscreen), stacks of board games, private-ish booths, racks and racks of comics and graphic novels that are either cheap, free or part of their honor-system library (take one, leave one). Plus, among their many comfy couches are two just like mine at home. I stayed long past the end of my meeting. Good thing they have sandwiches. (RH)
1588 S. State, 801-477-7671, Watchtower-Cafe.com

Best News for Book Lovers
Ken Sanders Rare Books
A list of reasons to love Ken Sanders Rare Books would fill this entire paper, plus another hundred thousand or so novels. There is, however, one reason Salt Lake City book lovers may rejoice: In April, Sanders announced that he had struck a three-year lease extension that will allow him to peddle pulp through his doors for a bit more time before condominiums, a strip mall or some other shitty and unimaginative form of gentrification displaces him. In the meantime, fingers crossed that Sanders' Dream Garden Press will publish a series of books that will earn the man a cosmically impossible amount of money so that he can buy his little corner of the city and preserve it forever. (CF)
268 S. 200 East, Salt Lake City, 801-521-3819, KenSandersBooks.com

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Best Place to Buy and Play Board and Card Games
Game Night Games
Who plays Monopoly anymore? It's boring and makes you feel ... Trumpy. It's far more fun to kill bunnies and steal carrots (the mega-expando card game Killer Bunnies) or double-cross your fellow criminals by showing them the business end of an orange foam gat (Cash 'n' Guns). Indie board/card/role-playing games are booming in Utah, where we even have the annual SaltCon gathering. Game Night Games in Sugar House, however, is the unofficial epicenter, where the staff knows all, you can try before you buy, compete in tournaments and feast on a slice from adjacent Este Pizza Co. (RH)
2148 S. 900 East, Salt Lake City, 801-467-2400, GameNightGames.com

Best Demonstration of Water-Wise Landscaping
Central Utah Gardens
Mention the idea of "water-wise landscaping" to some Utah residents, and you'll get a look that suggests you've just asked them to throw garbage in their yard; somehow, the notion remains that accounting for our natural high-desert climate means colorless, aesthetically unpleasing materials. Central Utah Gardens is dedicated to showing how uniquely beautiful it can be to landscape with native plants with reduced irrigation needs. Stroll through the gorgeous examples of such well-planned plantings, then take a class or pick up information on how to bring these concepts home. (SR)
355 W. University Parkway, Orem, 801-222-0123, CentralUtahGardens.org

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Best Place for a Doughnut and Newspaper
A 7-Eleven near you
Discovering a fine selection of newspapers is not as easy as it once was, and, oddly, a quality chocolate donut is pretty rare these days, too. Luckily, in Salt Lake City, a need for a 7-Eleven convenience store on every other corner has persisted. Now, now, before you get all pissed that I'm advocating for a national chain store, for the sake of newspapers, you must take pause. For whatever reason, 7-Eleven continues to stock the local rags, including The Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News, as well as USA Today and, most importantly, The New York Times. By all means, buy a newspaper wherever you can find one, but know that in a pinch, 7-Eleven has your back ... and your belly, too. (CF)
Multiple locations, 7-Eleven.com

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Best Blast from the Past Photo Supplies
Acme Camera Co.
In the age of high-tech optics in cell phone cameras and an abundance of mass-market DSLRs, many photography enthusiasts and casual shooters assume that analog photography is dead and buried. But walk into Acme Camera Co.'s Sugar House shop and be surprised, because film has been making a major comeback over the past few years, especially with younger digital-native photographers "discovering" the medium for the first time. Acme's displays are stocked with an array of old-school classic cameras, including instant-film Land cameras, rangefinders and SLRs, though their inventory changes regularly with new and used gear flowing in and out. Not sure if you want to dive into the world of film? You can rent a camera and grab a roll of film from their back fridge to test the waters. And their staff on hand is always willing to help out. (SA)
1991 S. 1100 East, Salt Lake City, 385-229-4077, AcmeCameraRental.com

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Best "Fucked up Place to Get Some Shit"
Raunch Records
"It's a motto we try to do right by, though sometimes I screw up and get good shit," owner Brad Collins says. A stalwart of Salt Lake City's punk scene, Collins originally started Raunch out of his apartment in 1983. After roughly 15 years serving the community, Raunch closed only to reopen 12 years later in its current Sugar House location—a shop that feels like the inside of a Tom Waits junk drawer. Raunch has become a hodge-podge of a record shop, now selling skateboards, clothing, candy, toys and other knick-knacks. It oozes whatever the underbelly of the Salt Lake City counterculture produces to digest the contents of its high-salinity diet. (WP)
1119 E. 2100 South, Salt Lake City, 801-467-6077

Best Feminist Gathering
SlutWalk's "The Walk of No Shame"
This past Sept. 24, I participated in SlutWalk's "The Walk of No Shame"—part of an international movement protesting rape culture and victim-blaming in response to a police officer's viral 2011 comment that women should "avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized." This was the sixth year of the walk, and one of the biggest turnouts, for obvious reasons. "We want people to be aware that we can change this toxic form of thinking that leads to bad policy-making, that leads to rapists and abusers being let off the hook and not being prosecuted, like in the Brock Turner case," says Rachel Jensen, director of this year's event. The empowerment you feel when you participate in an event like this is hard to put into words. It brought me to tears on several occasions, but the most moving part was after the walk, toward the end of Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski's speech, when she put down her notecards and the crowd got quiet as she told the story of her own assault. "I know what this is like, and I'm here to tell you we are in this together," she said to a shocked, teary-eyed crowd. "We will not be ashamed, and we will stand up, and we will demand justice." (AH)
Facebook.com/SlutwalkSLC

Best Ominous Light Display
111 S. Main, Salt Lake City
Reaching 24 stories into the sky, the new citadel at the crux of Salt Lake City first appeared to onlookers as a benevolent giant, perhaps sent from the heavens to protect the flock from duplicitous outsiders. But as sun gave way to moon one night in September, onlookers trembled in horror at the beast's crown, which had become irradiated with all the most lecherous pigments of the color wheel. Thus far, anxious denizens are left to speculate its meaning. Is it a harbinger of leaner times? A forewarning of new enemies? Why is it sometimes green, and then other times red? Reveal your intentions, oh cryptic colossus of the clouds, or face the judgment of God! (RC)

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Best Gangster Rap Namaste
Scholé Yoga
You want to like yoga. You really do. But maybe brightly lit studios and Dido-esque music aren't your style. Scholé Yoga reshapes the stereotypical yoga environment, holding their Refresh, Strong and Deep classes in dim lighting with the heat cranked up. Here, there are no mirrors to judge you and instructors lead classes step by step through repetitive poses that participants can deviate from or move through at their own pace. From rap and hip-hop to French electro-pop and indie rock, each instructor customizes their class soundtracks, so you'll never hear the same song twice. (SA)
824 S. 400 West, Salt Lake City, 435-200-5265, ScholeYoga.com

Best Spot to Become an Undercover Anarchist
The SLCC Community Writing Center
Surprised that a nonprofit extension of Salt Lake Community College would win this award? Nowhere in the nation are the pedagogies and philosophies of radical education theorist Paulo Freire more alive than at the SLCC Community Writing Center. The top-down educational model of approaching learning and knowledge as co-created and existing only through an equal power balance between teacher and learner, has been the trademark of the Community Writing Center since Salt Lake Super Scholar Tiffany Rousculp, with the help of others, founded it in 2001. It's infiltrated marginalized communities of Salt Lake City to share the power of writing and literacy to regain the agency often stripped of them by class, racial, gender and ability barriers for so long. (WP)
210 E. 400 South, Salt Lake City, 801-957-2192, SLCC.edu/CWC

Best Pooch Primping
Fur 'R' We
So, you adopted a furry best friend that looked adorable at the rescue fair. But six weeks later, the cute haircut has grown out, and you're dealing with a shaggy dog. Face it: You need to have a pet groomer on speed dial. The pros at Fur 'R' We are just the folks to pamper pups (and kitties). Operating since 1994, they offer shampooing, show grooming, hand-scissored haircuts and shave downs. In addition, they provide nail clipping, dremeling, ear plucking and cleaning. No matter your pet's disposition, Fur 'R' We knows how to calm your pet down and have them looking (and smelling) like a movie star in no time. (JW)
1873 Fort Union Blvd., Cottonwood Heights, 801-942-7979, FurRWe.com

Best Activism for Those Behind Bars
Utah Prisoner Advocate Network
While there have been worthy attempts in the past to organize relatives of the incarcerated and their sympathizers and prison activists, the Utah Prison Advocacy Network (U-PAN) founded in 2012 by therapist Molly Prince and Heather Fabian has become a remarkably assured and powerful voice in just a few years for reform and accountability in Utah's penal system. They send out a monthly newsletter full of information, hold monthly meetings with speakers—such as ACLU's Anna Brower keeping them abreast of developments in key issues impacting the incarcerated—and doggedly pursue issues that matter to those behind bars and their loved ones. And that includes issues few take into account, such as outpatient sex-offender treatment. In a state where the rights of the incarcerated register with few, U-PAN ensures that their relatives remain informed, and those who run and are responsible for the prison know that they are watching. (SD)
UtahPrisonerAdvocate.org

Best Beard Care
A Blissful Whirl
Call them trendy, call them a hipster fashion statement, but you can't pretend they're not there: Beards are everywhere. And you wouldn't just leave the rest of the hair on your head alone and hope for the best, right? Orem-based Lee Shumway has created a range of personal-care products, including lotions and solid perfumes, but take a special look at items for that manly chin-mane. Thanks to handmade products like Citrus Cedar Beard Oil to Musk & Myrrh Beard Balm to coconut milk Beard Bar, and even the Blissful Beard Brush, your facial follicles will never be happier. (SR)
Etsy.com/Shop/ABlissfulWhirl

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Best Analog Stunt Toy
Raging Wheels
Remember a time when kids played with toys with no batteries or screens, and which didn't break the first time you used them? Not very many of us can, but the St. George-based Raging Wheels has come up with a nigh-indestructible plastic car that requires nothing more than a launching stick and a flip of the wrist to send it rocketing down the street to ramp-jumping glory, or begin a race between two fierce rivals. It's a kind of retro fun that makes the great outdoors for kid play great again. (SR)
208-961-0760, RagingWheels.com

Best Custom Bling
9th & 9th Jewelers
The wedding industry in Utah is big, and if you've ever had to wade through the overwhelming sea that is engagement and wedding ring shopping, you know the struggle of trying to find something special. Everything looks the same, everything's too expensive, your partner sees photos they like on Pinterest but nothing similar can be found in real life. Enter: Joe Maughan of 9th & 9th Jewelers. Walk into his shop at nearly any time of day to find him tinkering with some trinket or other at his craftsman table. He creates customers' dream bling working with them every step of the way, from initial design to gem and metal selection to final cast (he'll provide a 3D-printed plastic mold for your inspection and approval). Don't lose hope: The perfect ring is out there, it just might not exist yet. (SA)
872 E. 900 South, Salt Lake City, 801-521-6026, 9thAnd9thJewelers.com

Best Place to Stash Your Ride
Diamond Airport Parking
Getting to the airport can be a conundrum. A cab ride from downtown SLC to the airport will set you back around $30 with a tip. But then along comes Uber and Lyft, and a ride to the airport seems more fun and cheaper. But with upgrades and booking fees, maybe not greatly cheaper. And then there's the lovely public option known as Trax that can't always get you door to door. Guess what, Diamond Airport Parking has survived all these onslaughts because, at $5.99 per day (the current coupon rate for the North Temple lot), it is still cheaper and more convenient to park and ride, especially if you're only going away for the weekend. Friendly drivers hustle your bags on and off the van with such promptness, you'll feel like a VIP. And you can wash your car for free. (JW)
50 S. Redwood Road, Salt Lake City; 1969 W. North Temple, Salt Lake City, 801-355-7275, DiamondAirportParking.com

Best Pet-Support Condiments
Yardbarkin
It's always a challenge to turn personal recipes into a small-batch business; it helps with the mission focus if that business has a cause as one of its reasons to exist. Proud pet-owners Deb Nahvi and Mindi Bridges have created a variety of hot sauces—combining tropical fruit flavors with habanero, Anaheim and jalapeño peppers—with rich and complex flavors for fans of spicing up their meals. But they've also dedicated a portion of all proceeds to animal-rescue organizations like Best Friends Animal Sanctuary and Ching Farm Rescue and Sanctuary. When your eyes are watering, at least a little will be from the emotion of doing a good deed. (SR)
801-865-2954, Yardbarkin.com

Best Love for Endangered Pets
Purple Paws program by Nuzzles & Co.
Talk to domestic-violence survivors and many will tell you they put off leaving their abuser to protect their pets, which are often a target for abusers to inflict pain and exercise further control. Many domestic abuse shelters, already painfully strapped for cash and space, don't have the space to house animals. Park City-based rescue and pet shelter Nuzzles & Co. Rescue Ranch and Adoption Center saw a way of removing that barrier to safety for women and their children by providing care for their pets. Nuzzles' president Kathleen Toth says that their Purple Paws program has helped 130 families fleeing abuse by housing their animals and providing in addition not only medical care but "vaccinations, socialization and TLC," Toth says. In the face of Utah's above-national-average annual rate of DV murders, the fate of a pet might seem not so obvious a focus for concern, but as Toth and her colleagues know, it can mean life or death for their owners. (SD)
6699 N. Landmark Drive, Ste. B-103C, Park City, 435-649-6808, NuzzlesAndCo.org

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Best Last Resort
Bubba for President at Eborn Books
Along with being a treasure trove of new, rare and first-edition books, Eborn Books holds a kaleidoscope of odds and ends in its inventory. Case in point: the Bubba for President plush available for purchase (sans batteries) for $15. Released as an alternative to the 2000 presidential candidates, the wise-crackin' bear comes loaded with phrases like "Did I say that?," "What I said is not what you heard," "If elected, I promise to make more promises" and "Read my lips ... oops, I have none!" To recap, we now live in a world where a 16-year-old novelty toy is more charismatic than the alternative. (EL)
254 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-359-0460

Best Season Ski Rental for Kids
SportsDen
The SportsDen has been peddling awesome outdoor gear and serving up some of the most sound expertise about skiing in the Wasatch since 1972. The sport has changed a bit during those 44 years, if for no other reason than the high cost of hitting the slopes prevents a lot of normal folks from doing so. This is especially true for families. The SportsDen, though, has a solution. For $100, a child can get into new skis, boots and poles for the entire season. This affordable rental circumvents the need to buy expensive equipment each year as children grow, and leaves more money in dad's pocket for beer as kiddo slides downhill. (CF)
1350 S. Foothill Drive, Salt Lake City, 801-582-5611, SportsDen.com

Best Way to Ride a Roller Coaster in Downtown SLC
Virtualities
In the 21st century, entertainment has become far more than a passive experience. Ryan Burningham has launched the first dedicated virtual-reality cinema and arcade in the U.S., with a variety of experiences to match visitor preferences. Put on the goggles to sit in a chair and experience a haunted house, or ride a rollercoaster where you can actually feel the g-force. Or pull out a virtual sword and battle zombies (or fight a space battle) in the arcade. Or just watch the customers have their experiences, which can be nearly as entertaining. (SR)
The Gateway Mall, 86 S. Rio Grande St., upper level, 385-355-1997, Virtualities.co

Best In-Your-Face DV Campaign
Utah 1 in 3
The striking, somber image of three women, one with an airbrushed hand on her face, dominated billboards this past summer. The campaign by the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition highlighted the statistic that 1 in 3 women in Utah experience domestic violence. DV is a topic rarely talked about in a state where so many public and private pressures combine to protect men and their patriarchal power, at the expense of the safety of women and children. The campaign, advocates say, proved a great launching pad for conversations among survivors, community members, faith leaders and policymakers about how Utah must do much more to address the domestic violence in its homes. (SD)
124 S. 400 East, Ste. 300, 801-521-5544, UDVC.org

Best Conversations Laced With Music
The Yellow Stereo
KRCL has had their fair share of talk-and-music programming over the years, but none more in-depth and fun with their guests than Tuesday nights during The Yellow Stereo. P.J. Guinto guides listeners through the evening with music hand-picked by his guests, who range from the insanely knowledgeable of music to the geekiest of the geeks. They're playing their favorite tunes and having the kind of talks you'd have around fire with beers and the radio on. (GS)
Tuesdays, 10:30 p.m.-1 a.m., 90.9 FM, KRCL.org

The Best Place to Start Up that Startup
Impact Hub
All it really takes to start a business today is an innovative idea, a computer and an internet connection—but it doesn't hurt to set up shop in a hip space with several like-minded business owners. Impact Hub Salt Lake specializes in renting out affordable office space to small, tech-based businesses and helping them get the resources and networking that they need to succeed. Its flexible membership plans are designed to fit within a small company's budget, and they've already helped hundreds of startups get off the ground. (AS)
150 S. State, Salt Lake City, 385-202-6008, SaltLake.ImpactHub.net

Best Family Tradition Launcher
Blickenstaff's Traditions in a Box
In 2014, Provo toy store Blickenstaff's sought to create a way for families to make special occasions even more meaningful, by creating activities that could be enjoyed together. The result was Traditions in a Box, six conveniently packaged activity sets that can turn Halloween into a chance to learn about family history, or transform a one-day birthday into a two-week celebratory countdown, or make a time capsule out of the beginning of a new school year. The games, crafts and other fun bits and pieces create more special days, and make already-special days ones that are shared with even more purpose. (SR)
4801 N. University Ave., Provo, 801-426-9300, Blickenstaffs.com

Best Confounding Film Critique Made by an LDS Higher-Up
Garrett W. Gong on Pirates of the Caribbean
When a YouTuber under the name "Mormon Leaks" uploaded segments of videos that captured private LDS meetings, the faithful cringed (probably) while the rest gleefully watched and waited for the good parts (definitely). Alas or not to worry, the footage wasn't damning but damn boring and mostly stuff we already knew or would have expected. Burrowed in the videos are quirky or interesting nuggets, however. In Presidency of the Seventy member Garrett W. Gong's take-down of high-sea plunderers, he inserts a clip from Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean to highlight the glorification of pirates in pop culture, a liberal take on the 2003 Johnny Depp blockbuster megahit. "Though meant in fun," Gong says, "[Depp's character] Captain Jack makes pirating appear good and traditional authority appear silly." Sure, Elder. He's making authority appear silly. (DWH)

Best Sole Salvation
Podiatrist Elizabeth Auger
Our feet take a beating our whole lives, supporting our weight, enduring bad shoes, kicking the occasional ass and even going along with that silly half-marathon idea you had. So be kind to those puppies. If they cry out in pain, get them looked at. If you suffer from plantar fasciitis, an ingrown toenail or even a disturbing fungus, go see Dr. Elizabeth Auger. With 17 years of experience and offices across Salt Lake Valley, she's not afraid to look at your sole. She is, in fact, capable, sympathetic, kind and non-judgmental. (JW)
Multiple locations, 801-619-2170, SLCPodiatrist.com

Best Distraction from the Morning Grind
KRCL's The Good Morning Show with Ebay Jamil Hamilton
I had no idea that "Bring on the Dancing Horses" by Echo and the Bunnymen was exactly the right song to get me psyched up for another day at work until I heard it on The Good Morning Show. KRCL's Ebay Jamil Hamilton is totally in sync with how I feel during my morning commute, and his music selections have gone on to inspire the Spotify playlists that get me through my workday. He rounds up all kinds of great tunes that wouldn't occur to me as morning music until I hear them through my car stereo system as the city starts to wake up around me. (AS)
Weekdays, 8-11a.m., 90.9 FM, KRCL.org

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Best Way of Sticking It to the Man—Literally
Trump blow-up sex doll
Listen, we were all a little browbeaten on Election Night. It turns out the Mayans were wrong, and the end of civilization is actually Friday, Jan. 20. People have pent-up anger, I know, and venting on Facebook starts losing its magic the 27th time around. So, why not pound your sorrows away with the "Donald Chump" love doll ($47.99) available at the Sugar House Blue Boutique? "He screwed up politics, now you can screw him back!" the box—which includes a cut-out "Great Wall of Chump"—reads. The contents are even more frightening: plastic Trumpy, in all his Technicolor, shiny glory. Before grabbing him by the blow spout, the salesperson warns me, "Just so you know, these are non-refundable, even in Trump's America." She pauses, "So you're stuck with him either way." The things I do for my job. Hold on, I'm getting reimbursed for this, right? If not, this issue was rigged. (EL)
1383 E. 2100 South, Salt Lake City, 801-485-2072, BlueBoutique.com

Best Year-Round Arbor Day Apparel
HipStitch
For many of us, our buying choices are increasingly becoming a way to express our values; we want products that come from sustainable sources, or represent a smaller carbon footprint. Conner Snyder has taken that notion a step further: For every HipStitch T-shirt sold, they'll plant a tree. Initial designs feature the company logo in a variety of colors, or eye-catching graphics with progressive messages. Watch for the winter line—scheduled to add hoodies, sweatpants and more to the options—and build a forest while building your wardrobe. (SR)
HipStitchClothing.com

Best Restaurant Blog
Cucina Toscana
A lot of restaurants have blog pages on their websites. Very few are kept current. The practice seems to be to write a few times in the early going, then the blogs get overrun with dust and cobwebs. Years go by without updates. (We could name names ...) The folks at Cucina Toscana not only keep their blog up-to-date, but it's chock-full of really useful information and advice. For example, Italian preservation methods was the topic for a recent post aimed at getting the most from your summertime and fall garden harvests. A primer on cooking Italian meats with wine is enlightening, as is "A Brief History of Italian Cuisine in America." Good job, Toscana bloggers. (TS)
282 S. 300 West, Salt Lake City, 801-328-3463, ToscanaSLC.com

Best Vintage Greetings
Discount greetings cards at TP Gallery
After a near four-year stint at a paper like this one in New Mexico, I breathed a sigh of relief to be changing environs 180 degrees. Just my luck that City Weekly's neighbor ended up being a Southwest retailer. Fine, I'll admit that seeing the Zia symbol on their window as I was first walking into 248 S. Main made me feel right at home. Along with fine-art prints, silver jewelry, concho belts and kachina dolls, TP has a discount table with a bounty of deals featuring calendars from years past, $5 CDs (including one titled Santa Fe Sampler ... yes!), and a host of vintage, pre-PC greeting cards at just .25 cents each. One gem equates turning 40 with passing gas, given that "You can try to keep it quiet, but the people closest to you always know!," while another asks four burning questions in regards to turning the big 3-O: "How's it feel?"; "What's it like being 30?"; "Does 30 feel old?"; "Was it really tough to turn the big 3-O?" The "appropriate" responses? 1) Bite me! 2) Get bent! 3) Kiss my butt! and Stuff it, jerkface!! (EL)
252 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-364-2961, EBornBooks.com

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Best Place to Break Down Utahns' Social Barriers
Salt Lake Comic Con
For all its razzle-dazzle of endless booths and actors hawking signatures and photo ops, the greatest pleasure of twice-yearly Comic Con is how it builds bridges of communication in a city where people are notoriously uncomfortable with even saying good morning. Perhaps it's the opportunity to wax lyrical over someone's costume—a blonde haired, mature woman riffing on Hitchcock's The Birds in a coat festooned with evil crows, was a particular stand-out in the September 2016 con—or simply the chance to converse with strangers over film posters or favorite comics, but Comic Con brings that rare burst of fresh air into Salt Lake's often cramped, restricted social mores. (SD)
SaltLakeComicCon.com

Best Special-Needs Travel Planning
WinB Travel
If it seems as though the 21st century has made the role of the travel agent obsolete, you might not be thinking of it from the perspective of those whose travel planning doesn't fit in a one-size-fits-all box—seniors, multi-generational families trying to travel together, people with disabilities or those with service animals. West Bountiful's Winifred Barrett has dedicated her travel agency to asking and answering all the right questions for anyone who needs a specialized experience—and even those who don't—to ensure that a beautiful vacation experience can be had by anyone and everyone. (SR)
801-209-3438, WinBTravel.com

Best Sounds of Summer
Bingham Canyon Fourth of July Pancake Breakfast
The Lions' Club annual breakfast in Copperton every Independence Day is not simply an opportunity for the survivors of long-gone but far-from-forgotten Bingham Canyon to gather over eggs and pancakes and stories. It's also about celebrating the future of Copperton, whether through fund-raising for Lions' local charity efforts or reveling in the joy of neighborhood kids as they take part in all the races you recall from your childhood—everything from sprints to burlap sack races. The kids' laughter and the cheering of parents and grandparents sounds a note of simple pleasures and civility you might be hard-pressed to find elsewhere in the valley. (SD)
E-ClubHouse.org/Sites/BinghamC

Best Earworm
"Stuck" by The Aces
What a fitting title for this poppy, summer road-trip kind of song that will be stuck in your head for days after listening to it. Worse things could happen, though. The Aces (formerly The Blue Aces) recently rebranded themselves with a more mature name and a sound, but the Utah County-based band has been killing it in the local music scene since their preteen days, and that experience totally shows. "Stuck," their debut single post-rebranding, is an earworm you won't mind. The band already won Best Pop Act in City Weekly's Best of Utah Music 2016, and they deserve another shout-out because, no doubt, these ladies are going somewhere, and fast. (AH)
TheAcesOfficial.com

Best Empty Bottle Upcycling
ZaxWorx
Recycling glass is one way to keep empty bottles out of the landfill; another way is to turn those empties into practical works of art that you make use of every day. Zachary Martinez got the concept from an Etsy purchase, but thought he could improve upon the rims of the glasses which, while not sharp-glass dangerous, seemed merely functional. Try a tumbler made from a Grey Goose Vodka bottle, or decorate a room with a hanging pendant light created from a bottle of Bombay Sapphire gin. (SR)
ZaxWorx.com

Best Nerdy Podcast that Isn't Fueled by Alcohol
Hold 322
A member of the DefenMedia podcast family, Hold 322 brings together some of SLC's smartest geeks and knowledgeable nerds to discuss and get excited over the geeky items of the week. JC Carter, J.M. Bell, Robert Easton, Thom Floyd, Robert J. Defendi and Holly Braithwaite hold off on the usual trend of podcast drinking until the end of the program, as they gush over films, comics, video games, literature, television and more. Be ready for spoilers smothered with love. (GS)
Hold322.DefenMedia.com

Best Group to be Divorced Around
Divorcée Café
Divorce sucks. No doubt about that. But Divorcée Café makes it a little better. On the first Wednesday of every month, local divorce coach Elif Ekin turns her 7th & Seventh Street Studio into a day-long hub of support services for those going through divorce. The list of specialists who attend is long, and fluctuates each month, but typically include a divorce lawyer, family therapist, financial consultant, health coach, massage therapist, acupuncturist, energy healer, card reader and hypnotist, among many others. And it's all free. As to why she does it, Ekin says she is all too familiar with the stress and emotional strain that comes with divorce. "If we can make the process just a little bit easier for someone else because of our own experiences, then our struggles and lessons will not have been in vain," she says. (AH)
645 E. 700 South, Salt Lake city, 801-674-7047, DivorceeCafeConversations.com

Best Eco-Friendly Date with Your Sweetie
Bike Prom
Prom just isn't prom anymore when you're out of high school. But there are still many who wish to relive those kind of moments, or experience them for the first time. In SLC we're lucky to have that kind of experience for anyone who wishes to do it, and all they need is a date and a bike. Starting in a local park and arriving at a giant dance somewhere in downtown SLC, the Bike Prom offers an old-school way of taking your date out on the town and getting in a memorable slow dance at the end. The seventh annual prom will happen this June. (GS)
BikeProm.com

Best Plant Pioneers
Glover Nursery
The massive 10-acre lot where Glover Nursery sits has been its home for more than 30 years, but the history of nurseries run by the Glover family members dates back to the 19th century, and the pioneering James Albert Glover, who was one of the earliest importers of non-native trees and shrubs to Utah. That tradition has continued through five generations of Glovers, providing a massive range of plants. Visit their blog for a monthly newsletter with wonderful tips on when to plant and how to care for anything you might be considering for your landscaping. (SR)
9275 S. 1300 West, West Jordan, 801-562-5496, GloverNursery.com

Best Outreach Programs for New Filmmakers
The Davey Foundation
Currently in its fourth year, The Davey Foundation works to provide emerging artists a program where they can learn and mature their skills in an effort to bring more original art to the masses. Named after the late actor/director/musician David Fetzer, the foundation showcases film festivals of work produced by aspiring directors, as well as offering grants in film and theatre to help fund future projects by extraordinary individuals. Fetzer's creative force lives on in these people, giving our city more art to be shared. (GS)
TheDaveyFoundation.org

Best Alternative to Milquetoast Theatrical Releases That's Not Netflix-and-Chill
The Salt Lake Film Society's Summer Late Nights
Art houses will always crush theater chains when it comes to quality films and special events, like the Salt Lake Film Society holds year-round. Especially during the summer, when you can see a classic film (Clerks, A Clockwork Orange, Blade Runner) every Friday and Saturday night, and at noon on Sundays. It satisfies cinephiles of all ages. Oldsters gets nostalgia, and younger movie buffs get to see the great films the way they were meant to be seen: On the big screen, with their little screens in their pockets and ushers to tell their friends to stop talking. Oh, yeah—a shout-out to the Cinemark Classic Movies Series for keeping the fun going year-round, even if they are corporate. (RH)
801-321-0310, SaltLakeFilmSociety.org

Best Old-School Show Always on The Go
Grassroots Shakespeare Co.
Hearkening back to the days when theater companies were still traveling countrysides like the circus, Grassroots Shakespeare brings the works of one of history's greatest playwrights all across Utah. Performing everywhere from grand theaters to high schools to public parks, you're given a taste of what it was like for classically trained actors did to make a living, while seeing a fabulously performed adaptation of King Lear or Romeo and Juliet. This isn't just works being read, it's live theatre being experienced. (GS)
707-722-7529, GrassrootsShakespeare.com

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Best Fun on Wheels
The Big Gay Fun Bus
It's big, it's loud and it's fun as all get-out. Billed as the "most raucous and irreverent charity trip in town," the Big Gay Fun Bus along with the Matrons of Mayhem host regular, feather boa clad daytrips to Wendover to get your gamblin' and rib buffet on (hey, if we're all going to hell anyway, we might as well hit all the bases). Tickets are $25 and sell out quick, so make sure to get in on the Jell-O-shot-infused fun early. Next one up is the "Winter Wonderland" trip on Saturday, Dec. 3, which is guaranteed to put the mistle in your toe. Ooh, is that a carrot in your pocket, drag queen Frosty, or are you just happy to see me? (EL)
BigGayFunBus.com

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Best Reason to Get Rid of your Backpack
Velo City Bags
If words like "double-stitched two-layered Cordura Bottom," and "18-ounce weather-proof floating vinyl liner" make you happy, then it's quite possible that a messenger bag, rucksack, roll top backpack or fanny pack made by Velo City Bags is in your future. These bags are ridiculously cool, and they're handmade right here in Salt Lake City by the company's founder, bag maker, designer and owner, Nathan Larsen. Stop into Velo's brick-and-mortar store on Pierpont Avenue, or catch Larsen with his wares at a local festival. Rather than guaranteeing his products in their fight against foul weather and such, Larsen ought to guarantee that anyone who looks closely at his bags will give the one they're wearing away so they can buy a Velo. (CF)
341 W. Pierpont Ave., Ste. 2, 385-202-4181, VeloCityBags.com

Best Aquatic Mammal Legend
The claim is that around 1875, ever-entrepreneurial James Wickham thought that if whales thrive in capacious bodies of saline water, why not dump a couple of the mammals in Utah's largest brine pool, the Great Salt Lake. And so, he successfully relocated two from the coast of Australia. In similarly headlined pieces, both daily newspapers have questioned the story's veracity. Delivering whales from the San Francisco bay to the Salt Lake Valley by rail would have been a Herculean endeavor, after all. That doesn't stop recurring whale-sighting rumors from surfacing, according to the Loveland Living Planet Aquarium, which posted this year a cheesy fact-or-fiction video online. The University of Utah includes a truncated version of the story on its biology department website's "About Us" section that concludes if whales were dumped into the Great Salt Lake, they probably died. A more comprehensive telling can be found in Lost Landscapes: Utah's Ghost Stories, Mysterious Creatures, and Aliens by local author Linda Dunning. (DWH)
12033 Lone Peak Parkway., Draper, 801-355-3474, TheLivingPlanet.com

Best Outdoor Sport you can Play Indoors
Topgolf
A sports bar is a sports bar is a sports bar—except when it's all about a single sport: golf. And a driving range is a driving range—except when you can do all the fun stuff you usually do on an actual golf course. Chief among those: In the third-floor bays, you can drink. And get this: You can do all the things you do after golf—like watch TV and eat—while you crank little white balls into big black nets in your own private bay. In addition, if you're not into golf, or you're just done swinging for the day, you can play pool, foosball, ball pong and Xbox Kinect games. (RH)
920 Jordan River Blvd., Midvale, 801-208-2600, Topgolf.com

Best Custom Bike Fenders
Venn Studio
In the winter of 2015, Matthew Sutton and Danielle Hadley recognized a serious gap in the bike marketplace: The options for bike fenders, as Matthew puts it, were "plain, black and [relatively] cheap on one end of the spectrum ... and expensive, handmade wood on the other." Their goal was to produce a stylish but inexpensive alternative, so they worked in their spare time toward a debut at the 2016 Craft Lake City DIY Festival. The colorful, custom-made resin fenders—produced from reclaimed materials—allow for a stamp of personality where bland practicality previously ruled. (SR)
VennStudio.com

Best Place to See Someone get Smacked with a Chair
UCW-Zero
For the professional wrestling fan who needs a taste of action and excitement in a live setting, UCW-Zero has been filling that void for nearly 15 years as Utah's biggest promotion. With a school and small arena run out of the Rose Park area, fans and athletes have the ability to watch weekly live shows featuring homegrown talent, as well as be able to train to become part of the organization. Make a sign and enjoy the spectacle every Saturday night. (GS)
47 Orange St., Ste. E2, Salt Lake City, 801-699-7977, UCWZero.com

Best Waste Management
Poochee Poo Bagg
Utah dog-owners love taking their canine friends into the beautiful local scenery; they're far less enamored of having to handle the fragrant packages those friends occasionally leave behind. It becomes a lot easier to deal with animal waste when you can wear it around your waist, in a stylish polyester pouch with a water-resistant interior for storing the stuff until you can get back home. And a second compartment provides a place for the scooper bags you need to take care of business. (SR)
PoocheePooBagg.com

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Best Party to Go to This Weekend
Phallic Food Party
Blame it on #EggplantFridays or, in this case, #ButternutSquashSaturdays, but there's something about phallic-shaped foods that gives local musician Jordan Fairbanks the giggles. Mention bananas and his face lights up; summer sausage and he almost begins to speak in tongues. So, the Phallic Food Party, taking place this Saturday at 9 pm at Metro Music Hall, was born. We're at Coffee Garden on 9th & 9th where he giddily shares the suggestive soirée's details. Cover charge is $6.66 ("Because, hail Satan," he says), with a 50-percent discount if you're dressed up as suggestive food. Fairbanks anticipates killer sets by the likes of Heathen Ass Worship and Zombiecock, video installations and a hot dog eating contest. "Last year's winner ate 20!" he beams as he eyes my éclair. (EL)
615 W. 100 South, Salt Lake City, 801-652-6543, Facebook.com/MetroMusicHall

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Best Vegan Doughnut Shop
The Big O Doughnuts
Featuring big flavors and fluffy yeast doughnuts, The Big O Doughnuts is a family-run business. "Our vegan doughnuts are delicious," exclaims Zak Farrington, part owner and marketing manager. "They're handcrafted and dipped in unique housemade glazes like blueberry lavender, orange cardamom and peanut butter and jelly." Utah's premier vegan doughnut shop is dedicated to using locally sourced ingredients whenever possible, making their doughnuts as gorgeous as they are delicious. They typically sell out by late morning, so be sure to get there early for your vegan doughnut fix. (AR)
171 E. 300 South, Salt Lake City, 385-770-7024, TheBigODoughnuts.com

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Best New Hipster Cocktail Bar
Good Grammar
With colorful posters depicting iconic musicians adorning its walls, classic rock playing in the background and an interchangeable menu of crafty cocktails with quirky names, 7-month-young Good Grammar has already earned its keep among downtown's bustling nightlife. The only basic thing about it is the name of the cocktail I tried. Ironically, I went out of my comfort zone in ordering what they call The Basic Bi$h ($10)—a concoction of rye bourbon, fernet, pumpkin spice and bitters, sprinkled with freshly ground cinnamon in a coup glass, which, as expert bartender Joshua Edwards informs me, allows you to fully intake its "bouquet of flavors." I wouldn't consider myself a pumpkin spice-loving basic bitch, but for this fresh-tasting creation I'm willing to convert. (AH)
69 E. Gallivan Ave., Salt Lake City, 385-415-5002 GoodGrammar.bar

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Best Tongue Action
Tacos de Lengua at El Paisa
I thought I was hot shit the first time I ate at one of the taco stands that have sprung up along the small stretch of State Street that spans 800 and 900 South. After several trips to these small and incredibly affordable lunch spots, I decided to up my game a bit and try out a taco made with beef tongue. Of all the tongue tacos that I tried, El Paisa does it best—not only do they smother their tacos ($3-$4) with pinto beans and cheese, but their particular interpretation of beef tongue tastes more like mom's pot roast than, well, beef tongue. (AS)
900 S. State, Salt Lake City

Best Wurst Name for a Sandwich
Der Kommissar at Ice Haus
Leave it to Dave Morris, the witty owner of Ice Haus, to come up with delightfully bad pun for his German-influenced wrap. "Well, it's a wrap and it's German. The only German rap I know is Der Kommissar by Falco," he says. At $9, the Der Kommissar is a flavorful and filling combination of diced vegan Kielbasa grilled with onions, peppers, mushrooms and melted vegan cheese topped with sauerkraut and German mustard and neatly wrapped in a spinach tortilla. Served with fries, tots or a side salad, it's a tasty way to eat your veggies—but just try and get Falco out of your head afterward. (AR)
7 E. 4800 South, Murray, 801-266-2127, IceHausBar.com

Best Balls
Moochie's Meatballs & More
Although Philly native Joanne Rendi is best known for her excellent cheesesteaks served at Moochie's Meatballs & More, those in-the-know also adore her marvelous meatballs. In fact, Diner's, Drive-Ins and Dives host Guy Fieri was impressed byMoochie's meatball sub enough to remark that it will "knock your head off." The jumbo-sized, handmade meatballs are sensational in Moochie's standard meatball sub, with housemade marinara and provolone cheese. But you can also enjoy those meaty balls on a Mediterranean salad with spaghetti, or in the jalapeño-spiked "Atomic Meatball" sub. (TS)
Multiple locations, MoochiesMeatballs.com

Best Place to Exacerbate your Emotional Eating Problem
Ruby Snap
Ruby Snap really knows their clientele. Fat guys are lonely. When we can't cuddle up to a sweet-spirited young woman with cascading curls and a pleasing scent, we substitute food—like soft, delicious cookies that also smell awesome. So Ruby Snap goes and gives all their cookies female names like Nina and Vivianna. That's just sinister. They're preying on the weaknesses of the hungry and lonely. And there's only one cookie named for a dude. I'm strangely attracted to Thomas, with his crisp exterior, soft interior and maple-bacon-chocolate-sea salt musk. Er ... anyway ... check your privilege, Ruby Snap, and serve the whole community with new menu items like the Enrique Limón and the John Sea-Saltas. And how about one for ol' Randito? (RH)
770 S. 300 West, Salt Lake City, 801-834-6111, RubySnap.com

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Best Answered Prayers
Chicken IN Waffle at Penny Ann's
Yes, they capitalize the word IN and for good reason. You gotta hand it to Penny Ann's Café; it'd be easy to rest on their "heavenly pancakes" laurels, but this recent addition to their menu (only about two weeks old as of press time), really takes the cake. Imagine, if you will, a golden-brown waffle infused with actual pieces of fried boneless chicken in its batter. For added wow factor, they then dust it with powdered sugar and top it with hearty schmear of real butter. Take a moment to let that sink in. Hell, lick the picture if you're so inclined. No judgement here. (EL)
Multiple locations, PennyAnnsCafe.com

Best Ice Cream that Comes in a Bucket
BJ Buckets
Despite the famous sing-songy rhyme, I have never screamed for ice cream. That is, not until BJ Buckets. I know what you're thinking, so let me just stop you right there. You're asking yourself, "How could any ice cream be that good?" Well, I'll answer your question with another question: Have you ever gotten a BJ Bucket full of Mother Lode? I didn't think so, buddy. BJ Buckets offers a slew of flavors and styles, including "notorious" handmade shakes and sumptuous sundaes with "creamy ice cream and warm, gooey sauce." When it comes to delectable dairy delights, there's no better place in Utah to blow your wad (of cash). (RC)
55 W. Center St., Ste. 3, Logan, 435-535-3076, BJBucketsLogan.com

Best Bucket-List Food Pilgrimage
Hell's Backbone Grill
There's something magical going on in Boulder, Utah (population 222), with the enchantment epicenter sited squarely at Hell's Backbone Grill. Famous for its intentional isolation, Boulder serves as host to one of Utah's consistently highest rated restaurants run by chef/owners Jen Castle and Blake Spalding. Sure, the food is pretty damn delightful and annually gains applause from state, national and international critics, but the true character of Hell's Backbone Grill shines directly from Castle and Spalding's immersion in this simultaneously hard-scrabble and spectacular place as both inspiration for and source of many of their ingredients. Sit your road-weary ass down in the sunny dining room and get ready to settle into one of the finest meals you'll have in the lower 48. (DD)
20 N. Highway 12, Boulder, 435-335-7464, HellsBackboneGrill.com

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Best Serenading and Sandwiches
Feldman's Deli
You've no doubt heard of singing for your supper, but at Feldman's Deli, the proprietor actually sings to you during your supper. Yes, that right: On Friday nights, Michael Feldman can be heard pounding out ballads and blues on his guitar while greeting and thanking customers as they pass by. Dang, he's good! You have to wonder how the kitchen can produce such divinely inspired New York deli-style sandwiches and soups while he's crooning at the mic. Maybe his "silent" partner and wife, Janet, has something to do with it? Together, they make beautiful music in and out of the kitchen. (JW)
2005 E. 2700 South, Salt Lake City, 801-906-0369, FeldmansDeli.com

Best Sunday Afternoon Dim Sum
Red Maple Chinese
Weekends were made for dim sum. Nothing beats a leisurely brunch at the Red Maple on any given Saturday or Sunday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. The service is prompt and efficient, and the tasty dishes will have you wanting more in weeks to come. Sit back and await a parade of carts to stop at your table and tempt you with chive dumplings, deep-fried shumai, and, for the brave: fried chicken feet. Leave room for sesame balls for dessert. (JW)
2882 W. 4700 South, Taylorsville, 801-747-2888, RedMapleChinese.com

Best Outdoor Dining at "The Crik"
The Hive
Centennial Park, a decades-old breakaway from the FLDS, resides literally across the border from the dusty streets and uncompleted houses of Warren Jeffs' onetime stronghold. Centennial's leaders are far more savvy and accommodating when it comes to business with the outside world. Their supermarket, Bees Marketplace, stocks wine and beer and next door to it is the only place currently in what's collectively and affectionately called "The Crik," where you can dine al fresco. The Hive is but a humble shack, but it serves up delicious haddock and chips, burgers and coffees. While you munch away, gaze upon the breathtaking red-rock landscape around you under the beautiful wide, blue sky, and you'll realize that as far as views go, The Hive is absolutely unsurpassed. (SD)
1725 South Central St., Centennial, AZ, 928-875-2323, Facebook.com/BeesMarketPlace

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Best Home-Cooked Gas Station Food
Kevin's Fried Chicken
Near the corner of Century Drive and 4500 South lies a trifecta of gas stops that live up to the filling station title. There's the ritzy Texaco, where you can load up on some premium and fare from its Green Chile Grill and the neighboring Chevron where you can leave with both a tank full of Plus (with Techron®) and a belly full of extra-long cheeseburgers from their in-house Burger King. The real gangster of the neighborhood however, is the Exxon station, where you can fill up on some downhome regular unleaded and a hand-crafted meal not usually equated with such environs. An underground staple for 14 years, Kevin's Fried Chicken has perfected the game with their family dinner deals, individual sandwiches and combo meals so good they'd make Colonel Sanders turn over in his grave, resuscitate and then apply for a kitchen mentorship in zombie form. Please don't bite me, walker Sanders. Bite into a two-piece combo meal—which comes with a deep-fried thigh and drumstick, plus a salad, biscuit, three "potato logs" and a drink for a measly $6.75—instead. (EL)
524 W. 4500 South, Murray, 801-293-9559

Best Fish Waffles
Utah Taiyaki
Most Americans likely aren't familiar with taiyaki, a traditional Japanese edible delight that consists of waffle batter in a delightfully plump fish shape, stuffed with tasty fillings. Michael Goldman brought the idea back from a Japanese trip, and now has brought his taiyaki truck to Utah. For a really traditional experience, try them filled with sweetened red-bean paste. Or, to ease your way into it, enjoy them like a great big cream puff filled with vanilla custard. (SR)
UtahTaiyaki.com

Best Place to Discuss Cremation While Waiting for Your Pizza to Come Out of the Oven
Neptune Society
If you go off the Hot-N-Ready menu at Little Caesar's, you're gonna have some time to kill. At the Sugar House location, while your all-sauce pizza's in the oven, why not shuffle next door and visit the Neptune Society and see what's cookin' in their kilns? Now, hold on: The Neptunes' (no relation to Pharrell Williams) final resting furnaces are off-site, so this is strictly an info-gathering excursion. But if you wanna cheat the devil and burn before he knows you're dead, these folks can help with pre-planning services or more immediate needs, like—Yes! Pizza's ready. Gotta go. (RH)
2120 S. 700 East, Salt Lake City, Ste. C, 801-484-0392, NeptuneSociety.com

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Best Neapolitan Pizza
Ti Amo
Pizza lovers all have their favorite styles of pizza pie: Chicago, NYC, California gourmet, New Haven, Hawaiian and so on. An authentic Neapolitan pie is a symphony of simplicity in which nothing but the very best ingredients—flour, yeast, San Marzano tomatoes and fresh mozzarella—will do. Those ingredients, plus flawless wood-fired oven technique, is what you get with a pizza at Bountiful's Ti Amo pizzeria. Master pizzaiolo Mauro Bonfanti and his family create pizzas that would be the envy of the best Italy has to offer. (TS)
515 W. 2600 South, Bountiful, 801-294-5180, TiAmoPizza.co

Best Ticket to a Taiwanese Mom's Table
Mom's Kitchen
Run by Mama Zhang from Beijing, and Mama Chen from Taiwan, the reason we keep returning to this small paradise of Taiwanese and Chinese food on State Street is first and foremost the warmth that it exudes. You can hear the mothers working in the kitchen and feel the fragrant steam from their cooking and conversation wafting around the tables to the soundtrack of Chinese TV on a flat-screen on the wall. With a menu that includes housemade buns, spicy noodle dishes and fried dumplings that are a heavenly delight, the two chefs make every visit to their restaurant a culinary adventure of unusual, intriguing flavors, delicate yet generous dishes. But it's that indefinable warmth, threaded through with smells of cooking and family love that make this unassuming eatery a jewel in Utah's crown. (SD)
2233 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-486-0092, MomsKitchenSaltLakeCity.com

Best South Valley Omelets
Britton's
If you're seeking a down-home, mom-and-pop breakfast spot in Sandy, Britton's is your place. Britton's three-egg omelets are simply the best, including the namesake Britton (sautéed mushrooms, onions and bacon, topped with Hollandaise sauce); the Southwest (jalapeños, black beans, tomatoes, Cheddar cheese, salsa, sour cream and avocado); and the Cordon Bleu (diced ham with Swiss cheese on the inside, topped with Hollandaise sauce)—to name a few. A final tip? Arrive early (7:30-ish) before it gets busy and your servers will have fun with you, maybe even dance a little jig. (JW)
694 Union Square, Sandy, 801-572-5148, BrittonsRestaurant.com

Best Coffee House for Coffee Drinkers
Mestizo Coffee House
Embedded in one of Salt Lake's most diverse and vibrant neighborhoods, Mestizo opened its doors just months before the economy melted down in 2008. If not for the rich community it serves, it would have folded with the countless others during the economic collapse. A nonprofit community art collective and coffee house, Mestizo highlights and celebrates the best of Salt Lake City and does so from its often marginalized west side. "We really pride ourselves in celebrating cultures of all kinds, and identities of all kinds," employee Sergio Martinez says. (WP)
631 W. North Temple, Salt Lake City, 801-596-0500, MestizoCoffeeHouse.com

Best Grease Joint with a Soul
Ogies Café
While Redwood Road-based Ogies opened in 1983, it seems so much older. That old-soul feel might be because some of its greyer clientele love to sit and jaw about the ol' days in the Beehive capital, or the host of gorgeous black-and-white photographs celebrating the family history of the owners and mining (there's a slew of pictures from Kennecott). Or perhaps it's the café's commitment to the classics of American diner cuisine, cheap breakfast ($4.99) and solid Mexican fare (patrons love the super-burrito). Regulars are rumored to include Real's long-running dread-locked star Kyle Beckerman and, at least in the early hours, some of the old lags with colorful reputations that still call the neighborhood home. Old soul or not, Ogies celebrates through its cuisine both bedrock Americana and the diversity of minority communities that have made Utah home, conjuring up a neighborhood eatery par excellence. What more could we ask for? (SD)
3515 S. Redwood Road, West Valley City, 801-973-6455

Best Spicy Vegan Breakfasts
Chabaar Beyond Thai
Anny Sooksri, the personable owner of Chabaar Beyond Thai, knows how to take care of people—especially those who crave delicious Thai food, spice and tasty vegan meals. Thai cooks know that "vegan" is not synonymous with bland. Try the Vegan Joke, a traditional breakfast made with rice, tofu, veggies, ginger and cilantro. The vegan "omelet" is a more of a rice-flour crepe with Pad Thai (cubed tofu, bean sprouts, sliced cucumbers and carrots and crushed peanuts) on top. Ask the cook to spice things up in the kitchen (but beware of anything over "level 1") or request some chili sauce on the side. (JW)
87 W. 7200 South, Midvale, 801-566-5100, AnnysTakeOnThai.com

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Best Filet Mignon Pho
Pho 33
This unassuming Vietnamese restaurant is a State Street gem. While it serves a variety of Asian dishes, its pho is among the best in town. There are 13 types to choose from, and depending on your hunger, you can go for small-, medium- or large-size bowls. The golden broth is infused with cinnamon, anise, black cardamom and ginger and served with rice noodles, lime, bean sprouts, cilantro, basil and peppers. If you eat meat, you must order the filet mignon pho. The meat is so tender, it melts in your mouth. Here, you can have your steak and slurp it, too. (JW)
7640 S. State, Midvale, 801-889-4090, Pho33Utah.com

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Best Beer and Burgers Done Proper
Proper Brewing and Proper Burger
The Avenues Proper & Publick House restaurant and brewery on Eighth Avenue remains a forward-thinking neighborhood staple. As it has found its footing in the local dining and brewing scene, though, its owners were plotting big. The fruits of these dreams culminated last spring when the Proper compound—Proper Brewing Co. and Proper Burger—opened on Main Street. With a flurry of beers on draft, 22-ounce bottle offerings of unique and tasty higher-alcohol options, and a robust menu of creative burgers, the new joint is a must-see, and a proper addition to Main Street. (CF)
865 Main, Salt Lake City, 801-906-8607, ProperBrewingCo.com

Best Barbecue Return
Charlotte-Rose's Carolina BBQ
A slew of setbacks and poorly timed road construction forced Trae Eller to close his Southern comfort eatery near Smith's Ballpark in 2014, but ardent fans of Charlotte-Rose's Carolina BBQ never gave up hope that Eller would be able to regroup and continue to dish out barbecue goodness. Now he's opened up shop in Bluffdale and stuffing bellies once again. Help yourself to a pile of tender, tender meat (ribs, pulled pork or pulled chicken) with a combination plate, or try the Southwestern-y Redneck Tacos: two flour tortillas filled with cheddar cheese, red rice, coleslaw, one of several housemade sauces and, of course, your choice of protein. There are plenty of side dishes to accompany your feast, but for a true taste of the South, the sweet potato casserole is a must. Top it off with a helping of peach cobbler and you'll be set, I'll tell you what. (SA)
14587 S. 790 West, Bluffdale, 919-244-6604, Facebook.com/CharlotteRosesCarolinaBBQ

Best Dessert that Sounds Like a Rock Star
The Dirty Johnny at The Baking Hive
There are a zillion reasons to fall in love with this East Millcreek bakery. Owner Elisa Barber teaches baking classes to little kids, she knows all of her customers by name and is genuinely happy to see them when they visit. I have never been disappointed with The Baking Hive's selection of cakes, cookies and bars, but Barber makes one item in particular that is nothing less than a celebration of sweetness. It's called the Dirty Johnny ($3.95), and it's some kind of sorcerous union between a cookie and a brownie, coiffed with about two inches of silky chocolate frosting. It's the Elvis Presley of baked goods. (AS)
3362 S. 2300 East, 801-419-0187, BakingHive.com

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Best Boozy Brunch
Zest Kitchen & Bar
Who wants to wait until 11:30 a.m. to throw back mimosas when you can get tipsy at 10 a.m.? Visit Zest Kitchen & Bar to imbibe bubbly mimosas made with freshly pressed juice and other innovative cocktails with your early weekend brunch. "Because of our bar license we can serve awesome fresh juice cocktails at 10 a.m." owner and chef Casey Staker says. The brunch part is good, too, with options ranging from a traditional Greek omelet to savory chickpea pancakes topped with avocado, pico de gallo and housemade cashew sour cream. (AR)
275 S. 200 West, Salt Lake City, 801-433-0589, ZestSLC.com

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Best Breakfast of Hungover Champions
Rye Diner & Drinks
There's something to be said for an eatery we revisit on the regular, even when the site of last night's live music debauchery resides right next door. Such is our relationship with Rye, where we might not be able to look neighbor Urban Lounge right in the face quite yet, but we'll don our shades, slouch bleary-eyed into a booth, clutch a steaming mug of java, and order the International B-fast of Hungover Champions: a rice bowl with crispy-salty pork belly, an egg your way, and Rye's addictive housemade kimchi. A play on that soul-satisfying Korean classic bibimbap that makes the walk of shame totally worth it. (DD)
239 S. 500 East, Salt Lake City, 801-364-4655, RyeSLC.com

Best Motor City Madness
Billy Blanco's
Park City restaurateur Bill White might mostly be known for his upscale, refined restaurants such as Wahso, Grappa, Sushi Blue and Chimayo. But his namesake Billy Blanco's Motor City Mexican Burger & Taco Garage shines a light on a side of White not often seen. He's a true motorhead from the Detroit area, who loves cars, motorcycles and anything else with an engine. Thus, Billy Blanco's is an ode to the Motor City, complete with muscle cars and custom bikes on display to go along with the eatery's "food with horsepower." The bar at Billy Blanco's is even made from professional-grade steel toolboxes and race car seats. Vroom! Vroom! (TS)
8208 Gorgoza Pines Road, Park City, 435-575-0846, BillyBlancos.com

Best Excuse to Eat Local
Utah Eat Local Week
Harvest season brings Utah Eat Local Week, a tasty challenge encouraging folks to enjoy eating locally grown, raised and produced food. Sign up for the challenge on their website where you can participate in the recipe contest and other fun foodie events. "Eating local is about more than mileage, it's about meeting all the wonderful farmers and food producers who grow the great local food we have in Utah." says Gwen Crist, chairperson of Utah Eat Local Week and Slow Food Utah. "Utah Eat Local Week is about living more closely in your community and helping create a bright future for us all." (AR)
EatLocalWeek.org

Best Pad Thai, Like, Ever
Pleiku
If you like it saucy, with the perfect amount of spice, and super tender chicken or shrimp, get it at Pleiku—one of downtown SLC's newest Thai restaurants. For a huge serving that you likely won't finish in one sitting, it's $9, plus $1 extra for chicken and another $1 extra for shrimp (definitely go for both). For me, the more sauce, the better. But fair warning for those who disagree: This dish is drowning in a sweet and spicy sauce. There's also egg, green onion, sprouts, shredded carrot and cabbage, cilantro, red chilies, peanuts and a lime wedge. I've had pad Thai from many places, and this is my personal favorite, not just in Utah but anywhere. My only complaint? They're not open on Sundays. (AH)
264 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-359-4544

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Best Downtown Comeback
Apollo Burger
"Does Apollo serve breakfast? I'm confused," a recent text from a City Weekly manager read. It came after an invite by the big boss for breakfast. Turns out, they do serve breakfast and they serve it right. Following a revamping of the space long occupied by Royal Eatery, Apollo came in and retook the good-grub-done-right crown. Whether you go with the Pancake Breakfast ($6.49), two buttermilk flapjacks, two eggs, your choice of bacon, sausage ham or gyro meat, or the Mt. Apollo ($7.99), three eggs over your choice of meat layered with cheese and served on a mountain of country potatoes, you'll leave satisfied. In the mood for something heartier? Give their original bad boy—the hulking Apollo Burger ($5.99)—a go. Everyone knows Apollo is the god of knowledge, music and archery. Someone please alter his Wikipedia entry and add pastrami burgers as well. (EL)
379 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-532-4301

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Best Culinary Triple Play
Good Karma
At Houman Gohary's Good Karma restaurant, there really is something for everybody on the menu. Gohary is a world-class chef who has cooked internationally in culinary hot spots like Osaka, Barcelona, Dubai and Shanghai. We're lucky to have him here in Utah. Good Karma is not constrained by others' notions of what a menu should look like, so Gohary offers guests a range of flavors from Persian and Indian to American. Where else can you enjoy salmon Parsi, shrimp vindaloo and a tuna melt at one sitting? And during weekend brunch, Gohary entertains customers by playing live classical, jazz and flamenco guitar. (TS)
1782 Prospector Ave., Park City, 435-658-0958, GoodKarmaRestaurants.com

Best Place to Wait in Line for Breakfast
The Park Café
It doesn't really matter how early you rise after a night of heavy partying, you'll have to wait your turn at the Park Café. Luckily, the wait is always worth it—and you get coffee while standing in line. The Park, as it's sometimes called, has been a massive staple in the breakfast dining scene for more than a decade. The service is unparalleled, the servers are somehow chipper despite being swamped by the hungry, and the food is just damned delicious. Being a creature of habit, I rarely stray from the confines of the Park for breakfast. I also rarely order anything but the Michigan Hash, a mountain of potatoes mixed with sausages and vegetables topped with a pair of over-easy fried eggs. Red Tabasco, please! (CF)
604 E. 1300 South, 801-487-1670, Salt Lake City, TheParkCafeSLC.com

Best Cheesesteak
Vito's
As is the case with exceptional burgers, hoagies, pizzas and other classic comfort foods, creating the perfect cheesesteak is more difficult than it might appear. Maybe that's why Vito Leone has such a laser-like focus on doing one thing better than anyone else: making cheesesteaks. His cash-only Bountiful eatery is only open three hours per day (if the cheesesteaks don't sell out before then) and Vito alone cooks his steaks. They are made from top-notch ribeye cooked to perfection and served on excellent rolls. Vito's proves that you don't have to be big to make a giant splash in the cheesesteak world. (TS)
100 S. Main, Bountiful, 801-953-8486

Best Gnocchi
Veneto Ristorante Italiano
Lovers of Italian fare are familiar with gnocchi—the thumb-size oval-shaped potato-and-flour dumplings that are usually served with a simple pomodoro or butter sauce. Well, at Marco and Amy Stevanoni's Veneto Ristorante Italiano the gnocchi are in a class of their own. Rather than light and airy, the Venetian-style "mountain" gnocchi are somewhat free-form in shape, dense and a bit heavy, with a wonderful bite—substantial, to say the least. They require nothing more than a simple coating of butter, sage and Monte Veronese cheese to be absolutely fabulous. (TS)
370 E. 900 South, SLC, 801-359-0708, VenetoSLC.com

Best Feast for the Eyes
Blue Iguana
At both Blue Iguana locations, vibrancy is the order of the day. Upon entering, the eyes are met with a rainbow of tropical colors, suggesting that a flavor fiesta is imminent. But there's more than just visual sizzle. Bold flavors from head chef Castillo match and often surpass the eye-popping ambiance, including some dishes that have been passed down through generations dating back to the Aztecs. Authentic Mexican dishes like spicy, slow-roasted pork tinga poblana and rich, deeply-flavored moles share the Blue Iguana menu with more modern Mexican-American fare such as chimichangas, fajitas, Buffalo wings, and chile verde. Add to the celebration of color with a strawberry margarita or daiquiri. (TS)
165 S. West Temple, SLC, 801-533-8900; 255 Main Street, Park City, 435-649-3097, BlueIguanaRestaurant.net

Best Street Taco you Can't Buy on the Street
Mi Lindo Nayarit
Street meat is one of life's greatest pleasures, not to mention risks. There are those among us, however, who don't gamble with their colorectal health. What's the saying? A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the toilet? But there's no need to deprive ourselves of tender carne asada ensconced in dual corn tortillas with onions, cilantro and hot sauce, and a sweet, sugary pineapple Jarritos soda on the side. Mi Lindo Nayarit in Salt Lake City offers some of the best off-road street tacos around—if you can stomach a long-ish wait for cooked-to-order goodness. The telenovelas and fresh, y muy sabrosos, chips and salsa helps the time pass. (RH)
145 E. 1300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-908-5727

Best Ancestral, Chocolate-Based Sauce
Mole at Taqueria El Paisa
A recent BuzzFeed post titled "It's Time To Admit That Mole Is Actually Fucking Terrible" recently did the rounds among my friends' social media channels, and a clutching-of-the-pearls reaction immediately followed. How dare you, sirs? Here's the deal with mole: It's a delicious and comes in many stripes—Poblano being the most popular—and it's not the most photogenic food, which in the age of Instagram is a huge disadvantage for the humble sauce. Here's another truth: Ask anyone worth their salt, and they'll let you know that a good mole emcompasses 35 or more ingredients; it's preparation is laborious; and it's usually done by the matrons of the family—the moms, the abuelas, the tías—bringing them together to talk, laugh and, why not, bitch about anything that's on their minds. Its taste is unique, it's sensory, it's multi-generational. More importantly, it's good. Try the mole de gallo ($9.99) at El Paisa, and you'll see what I mean. Just be extra kind with whatever filters you use. (EL)
919 W. 2100 South, Salt Lake City, 801-908-5320, TaqueriaElPaisaUtah.com

Best Old-School Park City
Adolph's
Long before Park City became known for glitz, glamor and the Sundance Film Festival, owner/chef Adolph Imboden was dishing up international cuisine with a flare at his namesake Adolph's restaurant. Adolph's was the first fine-dining restaurant in Park City and has been both a favorite of locals and tourists alike for more than 30 years. The former Swiss ski racer's cuisine has modernized over the years, with offerings such as ahi tuna sashimi and mango-avocado-salmon salad. But don't fret. Old-school favorite like Swiss-style raclette, chateaubriand, steak Diane, cheese fondue, duck l'orange, Wienerschnitzel, escargots, bündnerfleisch and other classics still grace Adolph's timeless menu. (TS)
1500 Kearns Blvd., Park City, 435-649-7177, AdolphsRestaurantParkCity.com

Best Bit of Culinary Bondage
Table X
Not even going to tip-toe around it: The whole experience of Table X Restaurant is flat-out sexy. There's a lot of leather on glorious display, to start with: Long black banquettes along one wall; on the other, three massive tufted-leather curved booths offering all kinds of privacy while simultaneously framing the view of the entirely exposed barrel-ceilinged space. As envisioned by architect Thomas Bath, designer Andrea Beecher and graphic artist Dallas Graham, the space is pushing all kinds of visual boundaries for the folks of Happy Valley, in the best possible way. And the food matches this spirit of stepping just slightly out of the usual comfort zone, with gorgeous presentations of locally sourced ingredients (many of which are grown in the restaurant's own extensive on-site garden) served up in cozy earthenware containers. This scribbler's particular sensory vice satisfied? Still oven-warm bread served with house-churned creme fraiche butter, available fresh each service. It's not such a bad addiction in the scheme of things, right? (DD)
1457 E. 3350 South, SLC, 385-528-3712, TableXRestaurant.com

Best Taste of a French Morning
Bubble & Brown
Imagine walking down a quaint Parisian side-street, smelling that delightful aroma of freshly baked morning treats, and finding yourself unable to stop walking into the shop from which it originates. Bubble & Brown has just that kind of feel to it, aiming for recipes built on classical European pastry techniques. Though the shop recently closed last month, plans to move in to a bigger space have ensued. In the meantime, you can still complement that coffee pick-me-up with freshly made treats, like the blueberry frangipane tart or peach and ginger scone, at Jade Market. As the flaky heaven melts on your tongue, you'll practically hear the accordion music playing "La Vie en Rose." (SR)
385-212-4998, BubbleAndBrownBakery.com

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Best Vegan Cheesesteak
Buds
If the words "vegan cheesesteak" sound like an oxymoron, I'd like to introduce you to Buds. This sandwich shop specializes in plant-based comfort food, serving up hearty sandwiches and salads to a bustling lunchtime crowd. The Cheesesteak ($6.50) is a gratifying combination of savory, peppery soy-based steak, grilled peppers and onions topped with a hot, gooey vegan cheese sauce tucked into a toasted sourdough hoagie. Top it off with a dollop of housemade marinara and sliced black olives for a mere 50 cents more to experience the full-flavored Pizzasteak. (AR)
509 E. 300 South, Salt Lake City, BudsSLC.com

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Best Roadside Sandwich
Shadow Fighter Sandwich at Little Acorn Drive-Inn
Since 1972, this roadside shack has welcomed wayward travelers with its plethora of burgers and killer sandwiches. Next time you're zipping by, stop in, give their food a try and be mesmerized by their impressive aquarium. If you're lucky, you'll get a chance to sit at the sweetheart table. Onto the good stuff: For the true experience, get the house special Shadow Fighter sandwich ($6.89)—a heaping hand-and-cheese sandwich on homemade bread with a quarter pound burger patty thrown in the middle. I don't have to mention just how big of a fan of combined foods I am (check out the "Chicken IN Waffle" entry), I'll just limit myself to saying this is a Frankenfood done right. To wash it down, order one of their famous fruit shakes (Oreo is a fruit, right?). (EL)
3660 US-6, Spanish Fork, 801-798-3143

Best Gourmet Popsicles
Lick'd Pops
From Otter Pops to popsicles, frozen confections are a summer rite of passage—and also usually just a delivery system for artificially flavored corn syrup. Tiffany Tomkinson decided to take the concept to another level, with a wide variety of small-batch frozen treats in mouth-watering flavors, made from the best available natural (and whenever possible, locally sourced) ingredients. The tangy Key lime pie pops come packed with graham cracker crumbles; the peanut butter chocolate cookie is like a refreshing Reese's Peanut Butter Cup on a stick. (SR)
LickdPops.com

Best Take-Out/To-Go
Deer Valley Grocery-Café
Who wants to cook when you're enjoying a ski vacation? For both visitors and Park City residents, Deer Valley Grocery-Café offers a world of gourmet goodies to eat in or to take home. 7-Eleven this is not, with a menu that runs the gamut from breakfast paninis and famous Deer Valley turkey chili, to chicken pot pie, goat cheese polenta, gourmet pizzas, pastas, Niman Ranch braised short ribs, an array of desserts and even beer, wine and liquor to go. If you're dining in, be sure to try one of the Grocery-Café's specialty cocktails. (TS)
1375 Deer Valley Drive, Park City, 435-615-2400, DeerValley.com

Best Canyon Dinner
Log Haven Restaurant
There are a growing number of fine-dining establishments in Salt Lake City, and for the food lover, this is excellent news. A little further afield, though, located 4 miles up Millcreek Canyon, is Log Haven, which quietly crafts superb food for anyone with a billfold thick enough to pay. For anyone not paying attention as they zoom up and down the canyon, Log Haven is also a spectacle of, well, log architecture. The space is beautiful, and it's surrounded by even more beautiful scenery, which makes it a destination for weddings. Try the bacon-wrapped elk strip steak. (CF)
6451 E. Millcreek Canyon Road, Millcreek, 801-272-8255, Log-Haven.com

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Best Secret Menu Item
The McDonald's McBitchin'
Take one McDonald's double cheeseburger, split it between the patties, insert Hot 'n Spicy McChicken sandwich. That, my friends, is a McBitchin'. Some call it a McGangbang. That's kinda fuckin' stupid. The double cheeseburger and the Hot 'n Spicy are two entities—that ain't no gang. But it is bitchin'. Room for more? I'll share a secret menu of my own creation. If you ask real nice at a hybrid KFC/Taco Bell, you can get 'em to put the contents of a KFC Famous Bowl (popcorn chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn and cheese) and some pico de gallo into a tortilla, then grill it. Boom. Grilled Stuft Famous Bowl Burrito. Be sure to get a grip of hot sauce to go with it—and honor its Creator for eternity. (RH)

Best Vibe
Silver Star Café
Whether you slide in off the slopes or bike, hike or motor your way to Silver Star Café, you're unlikely to find an eatery with a better vibe in Park City. The vision when Lisa and Jeff Ward opened Silver Star Café in 2010 was to create a communal gathering spot with excellent, comforting cuisine, and also a haven where live American roots music could thrive. Check, check and check. Adjacent to Park City Mountain Resort, Silver Star is rustic, warm and cozy, with outside seating and fire pits. It's a great spot to grab a beer or cocktail and a burger or to enjoy a leisurely meal of wild mushroom stroganoff, organic rye berry risotto, housemade pizza, osso bucco, branzino or other tantalizing menu options. Whatever you order, the servers and staff are so accommodating, you're going to feel like you're dining with family. (TS)
1825 Three Kings Drive, Park City, 435-655-3456, TheSilverStarCafe.com

Best Individualized Dessert Experience
Create Donut Co.
You'll feel like a kid turned loose in a dessert playground when you customize your own treat at Create Donut Co. One recent customer ordered a doughnut inside of a crêpe while another chose a brownie sundae with a croissant on top. Feel free to mix and match with their 17 glazes and drizzles and 14 fillings made from whipped cream, mousse or fruit. You can originate any dessert ranging from a gelato cookie sandwich to a Madagascar whipped cream and chocolate mousse-topped croissant doughnut to organic shaved ice. It's all totally yummy and all totally up to you. (CC)
9305 S. Village Shop Drive, Sandy, 801-790-2738, CreateDonut.com

Best Hot Dog You Can Only Find Through Serendipity
Meier's Catering
"Caterer," even if netted against "work party," still doesn't summon images of hot dogs. At its thriftiest, it means a beef-chicken-fish option, decent dessert and maybe a few free beers. This held true enough at the summer work party of a certain longtime companion this summer—but, since kids might not like chicken and ribs, option Z was hot dogs; perfectly formed, crazy-tender franks on super soft yellow buns with optional ketchup, mustard and relish. I had three—plus four of Meier's redonk orange rolls. Sadly, since you can't walk into Meier's and order one, you'll just have to wait until karma/coincidence decides you're ready. (RH)
4730 S. Holladay Blvd., Holladay, 801-278-4655, MeiersCatering.com

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Best Downtown Sausage Fest
JDawgs
Stick to what you know, the old adage goes. For a little over a decade, former BYU student Jayson Edwards' path has been paved with wieners—Polish and beef to be specific—turning him into the state's top hot dog connoisseur. Starting humbly as an off-campus shack that offered a break from the college pizza cycle norm, JDawgs recently opened a fifth locale smack in the heart of downtown SLC. For the full experience, start with a fresh-off-the-grill dog ($4), served with all the toppings (onion, sauerkraut, jalapeños and pickles), squeeze a goopy amount of secret sauce on that beefy bad boy, and get ready to kiss those boiled mystery meat imposters you grew up with goodbye. Judging by the line during a recent visit, Edwards, our own budding Ray Kroc, is onto something big. Something big and juicy. (EL)
Multiple locations, JDawgs.com

Best Band of Brothers
Kevin and Bob Valaika
In some ways, Shabu owners Kevin and Bob Valaika couldn't be more different; in others, they seem to be clones. Together, they help make Park City's Shabu restaurant one of the most exciting and innovative in town. Executive Chef Bob Valaika—who trained at with
chefs such as Nobu Matsuhisa and Emeril Lagasse—spends most of his time in the Shabu kitchen, out of the spotlight. Kevin, on the other hand, is the affable "face" of Shabu, usually working the front of the house meeting and greeting customers old and new and treating them like family. The brotherly combination of exquisite Asian-inspired "free style" cuisine and first-rate customer service makes Shabu a bucket-list item when dining in Park City. (TS)
442 Main, Park City, 435-645-7253, ShabuParkCity.com

Best Southern Hospitality
Tupelo
Named for the tupelo trees that are native to the American Southeast, and given that owner/chef Matt Harris is a Southern boy himself, it should come as no surprise that Southern hospitality and a casual, comforting vibe should be the modus operandi at Park City's Tupelo restaurant. Along with business partner/wife/"tiger mom" Maggie Alvarez and a strong staff, Harris redefines comfort food with dishes like maple whiskey-glazed pork cheeks, deviled eggs with fried country ham and creme fraiche, and mind-blowing buttermilk biscuits with tupelo honey butter. Pastry Chef Shirley Butler's sticky toffee pudding with Earl Grey bitters ice cream will leave a wide grin on your gob. (TS)
508 Main, Park City, 435-615-7700, TupeloParkCity.com

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Best Place to Learn There's More to Mexican Dessert than Flan and Fried Ice Cream
Cakes by Edith
Nothing against Santa Flan, the patron saint of creamy desserts (movie recommendation: Freaked, starring Alex Winter and Randy Quaid), but step off custardy amigo. Ditto fried ice cream and Mexican candy. Once you've tasted some of the incredible treats at Cakes by Edith—a Mexican panaderia in West Valley—flan is just soggy tiramisu. Among the under-glass delights at Edith's are South American alfajores cookies, fist-sized balls that are suspiciously similar to raspberry Zingers, and Mexican wedding cookies. Their crowning achievement, however, is the pastel de tres leches—a white cake with creamy icing and strawberry slices soaking in a half-inch bath of sweetened whole, condensed and evaporated milks. Que chingón. (RH)
1736 W. 5000 South, Taylorsville, 801-963-3743

Biggest Variety of Candy and Soda
Pop 'n' Sweets
Talk about a soda- and candy-lover's paradise. Abba Zabbas, Sky Bars and Looks will take you back decades, and the four Pop 'n' Sweets locations are also filled with imported sweets and sodas from Germany, Sweden, Brazil, Argentina, France, Canada, Mexico, Norway, Finland, Switzerland, Australia, Russia and Holland. Among the 500 types of glass-bottled sodas are 100 different root beers. Some Pop 'n Sweets locations offer counter service for root beer floats. Owner Christopher Wilms says he created the dessert shop three years ago with the goal of making the world a better place one candy bar at a time. (CC)
Multiple locations, PopNSweets.com

Best Food Court Fare
Tossed Pizzeria
Like me, you probably dread "ordering in the court." I'm referring to shopping mall food courts, where the cuisine is usually about as uplifting as this year's presidential election. Well, Tossed Pizzeria—located in the Layton Hills Mall—is out to change your thoughts. The anti-Sbarro, independent, family-owned pizzeria produces what might just be the best NYC-style pies in Utah. If that's not enough, there are also made-from-scratch salads that are to die for. It's reason enough to become a mall rat. (TS)
1201 N. Hill Field Road, Layton, 801-546-3558, TossedPizzeria.com

Best Downtown Southern Comfort
SoCo
Southern cooking has a particular foundation in tradition, based on family recipes and the sense that there's only one right way to make certain classic dishes. SoCo brings that sensibility to Main Street, with a menu full of favorites that you might find in a Carolina kitchen. The fried chicken (with or without waffles) is juicy-tender beneath the crispy crust, and the hush puppies provide just the right spicy kick beneath that crunchy exterior. Whether your personal irresistible favorite is shrimp and grits or fried catfish—maybe even with collard greens on the side—you can get a little burst of Dixie in downtown SLC. (SR)
319 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-532-3946, SoCoSLC.com

Best Soon-to-be-National Concept
Mollie & Ollie
The Mollie & Ollie approach to dining is a brilliant one, from the menu to the ordering system. The restaurant's menu—which features breakfast items, scrambles, stir-fries, salads, wraps, side dishes, desserts and beverages—is accessed via an area of kiosks equipped with touch-screen tablets. Given the almost endless combinations of customization for nearly every dish, tablets for customers are a good way to go. The fast, healthy meal options at Mollie & Ollie—named for the owner's goldfish, by the way—make this concept one that we wish we'd gotten in on the ground floor of. We'll bet the farm that Utah's M&O will be a national sensation in a few years. (TS)
159 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-328-5659, MollieAndOllie.com

Best Nibble of Candy Bar History
Startup's Opera Bars
Confectionary trivia: Did you know that the first candy bar with a filling in America was manufactured in Utah (according to Ripley's Believe It or Not)? Native Englishman William Daw Startup moved to the state in 1874, where he started a candy store in Provo. In 1895, William's grandsons created the Opera Bar, with layers of cream-filling in chocolate, vanilla and strawberry candy. More than a century later, their Opera Bar is still available, as the fifth generation of Startup confectioners keeps the family business going, with plenty of other flavors of chocolates, jumbo pops and Magnolia perfume candies to accompany their history-making creation. (SR)
534 S. 100 West, Provo, 801-373-8673, StartupCandy.com

Best Way to Track Down a Food Truck
Food Truck Thursdays, Food Truck Roundups
Food trucks are, for adults, like the ice cream man was for kids. Granted, they don't drive around blasting music box hits of the 18th century; but they do make you chase 'em. Social media makes it easier to know where to find these roving grub-mobiles, but whenever your finances permit a diversion from your routine Michelina's mac and cheese or PB&J, Cupbop's in F-ing Draper. Luckily, the chuckwagons congregate regularly in locations throughout the Salt Lake Valley and Utah County, making it easier to get your Kko-Kko Bop-and-Mandu or Sweeto Burrito fix. (RH)
TheFoodTruckLeague.com; FoodTruckUnderground.com

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On that note, Best Place to be a Food Truck Snob
Soho Food Park
For a while there, food trucks could get away with serving sub-par food at exorbitant prices simply because they were on-trend novelties. While this didn't mean that all local food trucks were dispassionate hacks, it made it difficult to pin down the quality establishments. Thanks to Holladay locals Shelly and Mark Olsen, food snobs no longer have to risk tracking down a food truck only to be disappointed with its mediocrity. The Olsens vet and interview each member of the food park, ensuring a revolving lineup that is consistently impressive. Plus, Mark makes a mean cup of hot chocolate. (AS)
4747 E. Holladay Blvd., Holladay, 801-560-8200, Facebook.com/SohoFoodPark

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Best Après Ski
St. Regis Bar and Lounge
There aren't a lot of places where you can nosh on après ski fare created by the renowned chef and restaurateur Jean-Georges Vongerichten, but the Bar and Lounge at Deer Valley's St. Regis Deer Crest hotel is one. Enjoy the St. Regis' signature 7452 Mary—their high-altitude take on the classic bloody mary—while nibbling on black-truffle pizza, Maine mussels marinière or sautéed corvina with spicy peanut broth. The wine list is one of the best in town, and on sunny Sundays guests can enjoy listening to live music provided by the great local duo Joy and Eric out on the bustling Mountain Terrace. (TS)
2300 Deer Valley Drive East, Park City, 435-940-5760, StRegisDeerValley.com

Best Literal Watering Hole
Artesian Well Park
If you're not going to recycle your empty milk jugs, at least reuse them by capturing crisp spring water that pours from a red brick station downtown. Artesian Well Park on the corner of 500 East and 800 South is among the city's smallest, measuring in at about a quarter acre. Devoid of playgrounds, puppies or stoned slackliners, this park instead fulfills a singular mission of slaking the thirst of the masses. It's a free, environmentally conscious way to keep your fridge stocked with drinking water, which regular visitors vouch is tastier than what flows from their taps. (DWH)
808 S. 500 East, Salt Lake City, 801-972-7800

Best Place to Satisfy your Gluten-Free, Vegan Sweet Tooth
City Cakes Bakery & Café
Just because you're avoiding dairy, eggs and gluten doesn't mean you've given up on life. City Cakes Bakery & Café offers delectable vegan and gluten-free desserts. The moment you enter the bakery, the colorful goodies inside the pastry case catch your eye. You've never seen so many delectable vegan and gluten-free doughnuts, scones, cupcakes and cookies! One bite of the zesty blueberry-lemon scone and you'll be convinced—you don't have to sacrifice to be vegan or gluten free. (AR)
1000 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-359-2239, CityCakesCafe.com

Best Yogurt Jones Satisfied
GR Kitchen Spit-Fired Greek
With clean lines, clean eating and a clean-as-a-whistle service staff, the whole GR Kitchen experience totally makes sense for how people want to eat modern Greek food—think fresh-sliced lamb and beef gyros, spit-roasted lean pork or chicken souvlaki—whether it's a sit-down long lunch with friends or a family meal on-the-go. Add a great local beer selection to the mix, and we're absolutely golden. Gilding this proverbially already-glorious lily? The thick and impossibly creamy housemade traditional Greek yogurt, which chef/owner Chris Tsoutsounakis urges guests to top off with gourmet ingredients like richly syruped cherries, crushed pistachios or local honey. Adding to this delicious danger zone, pints (or more!) of the yogurt are available to-go for late-night binging. (DD)
7702 Union Park Ave., Sandy, 801-352-7406, EatGRKitchen.com

Best Unexpectedly Wonderful Wine List
Hot Dynasty
Although China has given us what might be the world's most ancient and complex cuisine, wine is something we tend to think of in tandem with French food. That's not the case at Hot Dynasty, where the wine selection rates with some of the best fine-dining restaurants. Right there beside fresh boba drinks, kumquat juice, mango shakes and strawberry slushes are wines from around the world. Choices range from Kendall-Jackson, La Crema and Stag's Leap Chardonnays to Sauvion Sancerre from France, Freemark Abbey Napa Cabernet and even M. Chapoutier Luberon La Ciboise Rouge. A very good choice to augment Hot Dynasty's robust flavors is d'Esclans Whispering Angel Rosé from Provence. Or, you could celebrate your good luck in discovering this wonderful Chinese eatery with a bottle of Dom Pérignon vintage Champagne. (TS)
3390 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-712-5332, HotDynasty.com

Best Rise From the Damp, Fizzy Ashes
Curry 'N' Kabobs
Many downtown denizens mourned when, over the summer, the soda machine at Curry 'N' Kabobs was responsible for flooding the Afghan and Indian eatery. Luckily, after a couple of weeks of renovations, the tiny restaurant located in the back of Market on Main St. was reborn. Take it from someone who has tried almost every item on the menu: You can't go wrong here. Homemade kabobs, fresh naans, curries and a decent vegetarian selection all do the trick. Looking for something handheld? From falafel to shawarma, all wraps are less than $7, and can be upgraded with seasoned rice and a salad to a full plate for just two bucks more. Dine-in and enjoy the vast selection of Bollywood movies playing on a nearby flat-screen. The soundtrack, combined with the top-notch eats, is sure to make your taste buds dance and sing. (EL)
268 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-363-0300

Best Mexican Restaurant You Haven't Been to
Nuestra Cocina at Rancho Market
Hidden inside all 11 Utah Rancho Markets is the most authentic Mexican dining experience on this side of the upcoming administration's proposed yuuuge wall. A small-but-mighty staff works away doling out the good stuff since the wee hours in the form of delectable chilaquiles, chorizo-and-egg and steak-and-egg burritos. For lunch, nothing beats their carnitas, carne asada and al pastor tacos ($2.50 each or in a combo of eight plus rice and beans for $14.99). Wash it all down with a housemade fruity agua fresca. You can also stock up on chicharrón (pork cracklings), which are sold by the pound here, and don't waste your time looking for fancy napkins from a dispenser, as each table is equipped with a roll of paper towels. Room for postre? Ranchos' dessert counters have you covered with kilometers of pan dulce, gravity-defying double-decker pie/cake combos and the best hybrid since the Tijuana zonkey: choco-flan. (EL)
Multiple locations, RanchoMarkets.com

Best Mediterranean Getaway
Reef's
Dining at Reef's restaurant and art gallery in Park City is a little like a low-price getaway to warmer, sunnier climes. The vegetarian- and gluten-free-friendly restaurant features the flavors of the Mediterranean, Middle East and Europe, with art curated by Paris-born Ida Yoked. Tel Aviv-native Asi Yoked—Reef's chef and owner—opened the restaurant along with his wife Tali, naming it after their son, Reef. Yes—surfers, swimmers and divers are very welcome. You can't miss with Middle Eastern staples like hummus, falafel and baba ghanoush, but give the sensational chicken schnitzel a try, too. (TS)
710 Main, Park City, 435-658-0323, ReefsRestaurant.com

Best Glendale Grocery Store
Super Mercado de las Americas
It's always pleasurable to stumble upon new things in a familiar city. The Super Mercado de las Americas is the kind of unreal grocery store that you won't find on the internet; it's not being Yelped about along with Harmons, Whole Foods and Trader Joe's. No, it must be discovered. Of course, once this discovery takes place, the days of visiting the other grocers are numbered. Need the beef you're grilling seasoned? Just ask; the butcher will do it for you. Don't want to cook? Buy a burrito from the taquería inside. With its barrel roof and massive wooden joists, the market is also an architectural gem, well worth a road trip to the city's Glendale neighborhood. (CF)
1179 Navajo St., Salt Lake City, 801-972-4585

Best Chili Con Carne
Bandits
Positioned in the shadow of Cottonwood Heights' Hyatt Place, Bandits Grill & Bar is the area's best spot for barbecue. The barbecued baby back ribs, chicken, pulled pork, cedar-plank salmon and tri-tip are just a few of the outstanding smoky choices available at this uber-friendly restaurant. But there's more going on at Bandits than just the blast-furnace, 1,800-degree grill. Chiliheads will go gaga over Bandit's chili. It's a highly spiced, tomato-based chili con carne, brimming with meaty chunks of oh-so tender beef tri-tip—all in perfect harmony and without unnecessary frills or accoutrements. That championship chili followed by an order of bread pudding might just be the perfect Bandits meal. (TS)
3176 E. 6200 South, Cottonwood Heights, 801-944-0505, BanditsBBQ.com

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Best Way to Forget About Fry Sauce
Mama Africa's Pili Pili Sauce
Cathy "Mama Africa" Tshilombo-Lokemba is a welcome fixture at most of Salt Lake's outdoor events, like the farmers market and Twilight Concert Series, where she cooks up some of the best ribs, beignets and samosas that I've ever tried. She's also perfected a tangy, sweet and spicy brew called Pili Pili sauce, and it's got my vote to usurp fry sauce as Utah's condiment of choice. It's the kind of sauce that has the versatility of Sriracha, but with more depth of flavor. It's a marvelous addition to most any condiment-friendly food, and it packs a punch that fry sauce just can't compete with. (AS)
3460 S. Redwood Road, West Valley City, 435-224-2328

Best Heat-Lover's Condiment
Salsa Del Diablo's "The Kitchen Sink"
It's like Satan and Jesus put aside their differences and teamed up to make Utah's hottest and best salsa. Salsa Del Diablo's "Everything But The Kitchen Sink" is extra hot and should be eaten slowly by first-timers who aren't sure yet how much they can handle. Once you've gotten past the heat (or rather before the heat fully sets in), the salsa has an excellent flavor, and quite literally contains everything but the kitchen sink. You might have seen Salsa Del Diablo at farmers markets across the valley, where they sell all sorts of flavors, like Pumpkin and a Pepper, Beehive Buzz, Green Goddess, the popular Cashew Dream and more, depending on the season. Whatever flavor or spice level you like, they have something you'll become addicted to. They're based in Holladay, but sell their salsas at various stores listed on their Facebook page. (AH)
Facebook.com/SalsaDelDiablo

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Best Late-Night Bargain
Chef Gao/Sweet Ginger
Aside from fast food and franchise fare, it's not easy to find late night noshes in Utah. And it's even more difficult to find truly unique and inexpensive food after 9 p.m. Thankfully, Chef Gao/Sweet Ginger in Midvale has you covered for late-night eats. The restaurant offers a cash-only selection of late-night specials all priced at $5.49 apiece, beginning at 9 p.m. nightly. And here's the best part: There are about 60 of them! The diverse menu of after-hours eats runs the gamut from Shanghai-style fried rice cakes and North China noodle soup, to Mongolian beef, fish with black bean sauce, spinach and tofu soup, eggplant with jalapeño and, yes, kung pao chicken. (TS)
220 W. 7200 South, Midvale, 801-352-0888, SweetGingerSLC.com

Best Place to Circumvent Long Lines to Get your Favorite Food
Taste of Red Iguana
It's been said in these pages a zillion times, and we'll say it a zillion more: The Red Iguana, home of killer Mexican food, is el mas chingón. What's not badass about it is the long lines one often encounters at both the original and the nearby Red Iguana 2. So the ability to get at least a portion of the Red Iguana menu at a mall food court is pretty sweet. It does, however, lack the charm of the original in this context. But would you rather have Sbarro for the umpteenth time? (RH)
City Creek Center, 28 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-214-6350, RedIguana.com

Best Veggie Taco that Disappeared but Should Return
Blue Poblano's soft-shell veggie tacos
The tears splashed about on the wooden window shutters between Dick & Dixie's bar and the adjoining building are mine. The reason: A note recently tacked to the taquería announced Blue Poblano's indefinite closure. It's a crying shame because their soft-shell veggie tacos—made with corn or flour tortillas and crammed with avocado, cheese and red cabbage—were superb. The restaurant's Facebook page explains it closed shop due to an "urgent emergency repair," but implied it would rise again. In the meantime, Blue Poblano caters. (DWH)
BluePoblano.com

Best Dressing for Sensitive Stomachs
Cut to the Taste
Looking for a recipe that would address the dietary needs of friends and family who are gluten- and/or lactose-intolerant, Mannie Dotson developed a cilantro-lime dressing that was bursting with flavor, but kinder on the digestive system. The original recipe has expanded to include smoky bacon, chipotle and jalapeño variations—perfect options for diet-restricted eaters, whether you just want to drizzle it on a salad, or use it as a delicious marinade or sauce for main dishes. (SR)
CutToTheTaste.com

Best Place to Spend $20 on your Lunch and Not Think Twice
Este Deli
You know how in Pulp Fiction, Uma Thurman orders a $5 milkshake at Jack Rabbit Slim's and John Travolta says, "That better be one fuckin' good milkshake." That's how I felt laying down 13 bucks for a philly cheesesteak and $3 for a fancy Rice Krispies treat at Este Deli—the first time. After tax and tip put me close to $20, I felt guilty for getting myself such an extravagant dinner. During the long wait, I decided to eat dessert first in order to get my stomach to STFU. I ate greedily, wondering where "brown butter" had been all my life. And then I ate the sandwich on the way home. And went back for more. (RH)
1702 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-487-3354, EstePizzaCo.com

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Best Oh Mai!
Oh Mai
Yellow curry chicken, shredded pork, spicy beef short-rib—it doesn't matter which sandwich you order at any one of Oh Mai's four locations; the result will satisfy. These sandwiches, known as banh mi, are anchored by a French baguette and stuffed with delicious
Vietnamese goodness. While all of the sandwiches are top-notch, including The Sardine, which is at least worth one try, I prefer The Sinner, which consists of braised pork belly, black pepper, lettuce, cucumber, cilantro, pickled carrots, soy sprouts and jalapeño. Since you're sinning, it's important to know that you can add a fried egg or two to your sandwich. (CF)
Multiple locations, OhMaiSandwich.com

Best Rising Chef
Joey Ferran at Cucina
Through the years, Cucina in The Avenues has been known primarily as a deli/café offering great sandwiches, salads and such. But more recently, Cucina began offering evening dinners, including very well-attended and successful monthly wine dinners. The morphing of Cucina from deli to sit-down restaurant has largely come about with the hiring of what I think is Utah's best new rising young chef: Joey Ferran. While Cucina does still dish up crowd favorites like curried chicken salads and gourmet sandwiches, Ferran has created an elevated nightly dinner menu that includes items like pork-belly pozole, tandoori lamb chop, fried chicken lollipops with tofu agedashi, fontina polenta and many more tempting choices. Keep an eye on Mr. Ferran—he's going places, though we hope not too far. (TS)
1026 Second Ave., Salt Lake City, 801-322-3055, CucinaDeli.com

Best Canyon-Inspired Craft Hard Cider
Mountain West's 7 Mile Cider
It's a no-brainer for those who love hard cider but don't like it too sweet. What separates this one from the domestics you're probably more familiar with is that it's drier—like a dry Champagne, as opposed to sweet—and lighter in flavor, with hints of green apple. Named after southern Utah's Seven Mile Canyon, and totaling 5 percent alcohol by volume, it's the perfect refresher for a warm sunny day. It even won a silver medal in the Modern Cider category at this year's Great Lakes International Cider and Perry Competition. You can buy it on tap or in 22-ounce bottles at their downtown tasting room, along with a few others, like their stronger Cottonwood Dry Hopped (6.9 percent ABV). Cheers! (AH)
425 N. 400 West, Salt Lake City, 801-935-4147, MountainWestCider.com

Best Place to Eat a Burger while Uncomfortably Close to a Person who is Paid to Make Fun
Wiseguys Downtown
Comedians are like wild animals: We love 'em, but we don't wanna get within attack range. At the relatively new Gateway location of Wiseguys comedy club, the food is way better—especially the messy burgers. Just don't sit too close to the stage while you're eating. Sure, it's great to be that close to a wild stand-up in its natural habitat, but if you saw some drunk greedily inhaling a burger while laughing ... Could you resist baring your claws? (RH)
194 S. 400 West, Salt Lake City, 801-532-5233, WiseguysComedy.com

Best at Keeping it Local
Frog Bench Farms
When you dine in many of Utah's finest restaurants—places like Table X, Pago, Current, Martine, Zest, Pallet or Riverhorse—you'll find chefs making use of locally grown, sustainable and organic produce and herbs from urban Frog Bench Farms. Located in Salt Lake City's Foothills neighborhood, Frog Bench—the creation of Joe and Paula Sargetakis—is a state-of-the art urban farm powered by some 200-plus solar panels, and contains water-collection systems that can gather 2,500 gallons during a good rainstorm. Of course, it's the incredible range of produce and herbs grown from heirloom seeds that most of the chefs are after. Where else are you going to find edible flowers on a wintery Tuesday afternoon? (TS)
801-478-5835, FrogBenchFarms.com

Best Parisian Culinary Education
Croissant classes at Les Madeleines
When Romina Rasmussen starts her class in the delicate and highly buttered world of croissant-making, she asks each person's name and then goes around her restaurant, repeating all the names until you feel you are an ingredient in one of her locally famous, travel-inspired pastries. For anyone who's ever wondered just how you get that flaky, layered texture, the answer is lots of folding of butter into dough. By the end of the class, you'll have half a dozen croissants ready to pop into the oven, and the dough and butter to make a whole bunch more. Rasmussen succinctly demystifies the art of croissants so anyone can make them, although weight-watchers beware—it takes an awful lot of butter. (SD)
216 E. 500 South, Salt Lake City, 801-355-2294, LesMadeleines.com

Best Braised Bunny
Provisions
Nope, I'm not talking about a Fatal Attraction moment, here. My autumnal obsession? The rabbit pappardelle as envisioned by Chef Tyler Stokes, which makes an occasional appearance on the menu when he can get his lucky paws on the hard-to-find ingredient raised to his exacting standards of sourcing. When I'm lucky enough to find it done as well as Stokes' version at Provisions in Millcreek, I grab it when I can. Luscious and full of flavor, the rabbit has been braised low and slow until it is falling-apart-on-your-fork tender, then it's sautéed with speck (mild bacon), slivered garlic, sage, oyster mushrooms and a velvety browned butter sauce. It's then pan tossed with housemade wide egg pasta ribbons. Every decadent forkful is a bite of heaven. Sorry Thumper, but I'm not even a little bit sorry. (DD)
3364 S. 2300 East, Salt Lake City, 801-410-4046, SLCProvisions.com

Best Midnight Snack
The Munchy Mango at The Pie Hole
The Pie Hole is everything one wants in a late-night pizza joint. They're always pumping good music, the décor hits the shabby-chic sweet spot, and they create pizza monstrosities that reflect a canny awareness of their nocturnal clientele. The Munchy Mango ($16.50), a pie topped with mango chunks, jalapeño slices and thai peanut sauce, is but one example in their repertoire. On paper, those ingredients don't sound like they'd play nice with each other, but it actually reflects a thoughtful balance of flavors. It's tasty at any time of day, but there's something about ordering this beast at 1 a.m. that makes it particularly special. (AS)
344 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-359-4653, PieHoleUtah.com

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Best Pizza Place That's Taking Soooo Long to Build
The Pie
Ever since The Pie Pizzeria—long-regarded as serving the best pies in SLC—started to venture out of the University area into other parts of the valley, I've wished for one in my own neck of the woods. Months (and months) ago, when the sign went up at the South Salt Lake construction site across from the Century 16 theaters, my heart soared and my stomach percolated. It wouldn't be long; soon the zappis and vegan cheese pull-a-parts would be mine. Now, I dunno how long it's meant to take, building a building and all ... but it feels like it's taking forever. (RH)
ThePie.com

Best Dinner and a Show
Encore Bistro
Let's face it: Food and drink options at most theater performances and concerts suck. You're lucky if you can find a granola bar to eat, much less a decent glass of wine. That's why we love Encore Bistro at the Eccles Theater. Whether you're attending a show at the Eccles or not, Encore is open serving breakfast, lunch and dinner with tasty, tempting options like their Diva Panini, Stage Left Sliders, Grown-Up Grilled Cheese, daily quiche and killer chicken-and-waffle sandwich. Themed dinner menus coordinated with specific performances provide delicious surprises and, yes, you can get a good glass of wine with your intermission meal. (TS)
131 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-509-7871, EncoreBistroSLC.com

Best High-Mileage Chef
Emmanuel Levarek
Owner Eric DeBonis has a well-traveled secret weapon at his Sea Salt and The Paris restaurants: It's longtime chef Emmanuel Levarek, a Parisian of many talents that extend beyond the kitchen. Among them, he moonlights at a purser for Delta Airlines, frequently traveling the SLC to Charles de Gaulle route. We doubt if Levarek is eligible for frequent flyer Skymiles on Delta, but if he were, he'd likely have millions in his account. When he's not catering to international travelers with panache and professionalism, you'll find "E-Man" doing what he does best: cooking in two of our city's finest restaurants. (TS)
TheParis.net; SeaSaltSLC.com

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Best Downtown South American Debut
Argentina's Best Empanadas
For years, Ana Valdemoros sold her homemade empanadas at the Downtown Farmers Market. An empanada is essentially a pastry turnover with a savory filling. In July this year, Valdemoros took the bold step of opening her first store, open Tuesday-Friday, 8 a.m.-2 p.m. She sells five varieties, including traditional beef, lemon beef, spinach and feta, roasted chicken, along with a breakfast empanada—which might have the Argentine purist rolling her eyeballs—of egg and bacon bits. Valdemoros has done Argentina proud with her celebration of tasty empanadas. (SD)
357 S. 200 East, Salt Lake City, 801-815-0690, ArgentinasBestSLC.com

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Best Under-the-Radar Asian
Rice Basil
Tucked away in a commercial building near Holladay Village, Rice Basil is easy to overlook. But do so at your own peril, because passing by Rice Basil means passing up some of the best Asian fare our city has to offer. The gorgeous interior and lovely ambiance is the perfect setting for the exquisite Asian-inspired cuisine here. You'll think you're at Nobu with eye-popping and palate-pleasing dishes such as jalapeño hamachi, saba shioyaki or the delectable sashimi platter. And, desserts like Key Lime Calypso are works of modern art. The first-class, friendly and professional service should convince you to put Rice Basil into your GPS immediately. (TS)
2335 E. Murray-Holladay Road, Holladay, 801-278-8682, RiceBasil.com

Best Lighter-Than-Air Bagels
Rich's Bagels
Rich's Bagels invented its signature Asiago cheese bagel, which has a light and chewy texture and is so popular, it's shipped worldwide. A brother-sister team with extended family have all been part of the business for 24 years. The Rich's Asiago bagel is so flavorful, it's tasty even without cream cheese. There's nary a freezer on the premises, and dough is prepared fresh, proofed overnight and baked the next day, resulting in hearty flavor and airy texture. Along with the bagels, almost everything else—including the cookies, bread and salads—is made on site. The hot egg bagel sandwiches are especially good. (CC)
6191 S. Highland Drive, 801-277-3137, RichsBagels.com

Best Cup of Mud in Cache County
Caffe Ibis
Ahh, Logan. There are certainly some aspects of the place that make one wonder if its citizens aren't just decades and decades ahead of the curve. One such example is Caffe Ibis, which began in 1976 as the Straw Ibis Market and Café. By 1985, the café had blossomed into one of the state's first coffee roasters—a practice it continues to this day. On the forward-thinking note: A sign on the door in July informed customers that internet access was no longer going to be provided. Why? Because Caffe Ibis is a place where people can be with other people, not their glowing machines. (CF)
52 Federal Ave., Logan, 435-753-4777, CaffeIbis.com

Best Place to Get a Warm, Greasy Peach Fritter
Donut Boy
We take for granted that doughnuts are bakery items and therefore baked, not fried. Usually because by the time we get to them the oil has dripped off or dried, leaving no hint of the sexy little circles' greasy genesis. And although they're only doughnuts by association,
the sublime peach fritters at the new-ish Donut Boy in West Valley are made to order and, in addition to being crispy and chewy, they're damned near juicy. If you, like my wife (or The Greasy Strangler—another film rec, parental guidance is advised), are into that sort of thing, that's a bonus. If you're sclerotic, just sniff 'em. (RH)
2194 W. 3500 South, West Valley City, 385-528-0782

Best Apple Cider Slush
Rowley's Red Barn
There's nothing like the taste of an apple freshly picked at a local farm. Unless it's the taste of those apples pressed into fresh apple cider. Or, to take it up a notch—as Rowley's Red Barn does—the taste of that fresh apple cider transformed into an icy frozen treat that's unlike anything you'll find in a convenience store. You can even add some of their wonderful ice cream to take an already delicious refreshment and given an à la mode kick. (SR)
901 S. 300 West, Santaquin, 801-754-5511; 25 N. 300 West, Washington, 435-652-6611, RowleysRedBarn.com

Best Sushi that Isn't Takashi
Happy Sumo
If I had to choose one type of food to eat every day for the rest of my life, it would hands-down be sushi. Only problem is I'm also stingy. Thankfully I stumbled upon addicting bang-for-the buck rolls (in the $8-$14 range) this year at Happy Sumo. Additional bonuses: It tastes the same every time, they're open seven days a week and the service is almost always fast. I'd like to think I'm culinarily adventurous, but (disclaimer) I lean toward spicy flavors and generally stay away from things that are deep-fried or include cream cheese. That being said, my personal favorite there is the Baja Roll ($8.95), with spicy tuna, avocado and cilantro topped with sriracha and jalepeño slices. For a starter, their miso soup is always my go-to. Nigiri tends to be a bit more expensive ($4-$7 for two pieces), but I can rarely resist the perfectly prepared unagi. (AH)
Multiple locations, HappySumoSushi.com

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Best Makeover
Stoneground Kitchen
In the 16 years since Bob McCarthy opened Stoneground Kitchen, a lot has changed. The Italian-inspired eatery has gone from pizza-joint atmosphere with a pool table as the main piece of décor, to an upscale restaurant with an ambiance to match. The Stoneground
makeover included a beautiful upstairs patio complete with fire pit and contemporary design, while the natural wood-and-stone interior is eye-pleasing and soothing. But not just the visuals have changed: With chef Justin Shifflett at the helm, Stoneground has also become a top-notch destination restaurant in Salt Lake City with delicious dishes such as black tagliatelle with lobster, ricotta gnocchi verde with pan-roasted clams and nduja, and pizzas that will leave you wanting more. (TS)
249 E. 400 South, Salt Lake City, 801-364-1368, StonegroundSLC.com

Best Frontrunner Fare
Café Sabor
Located in the space that was home for many years to Doug & Emmy's Family Restaurant and Café, Sabor is literally just a few steps from the Layton's Frontrunner train station. Along with typical Mexican combo plates of tacos, burritos, tamales, enchiladas and such, Café Sabor also offers chicken mole, camarones a la diabla, carne asada and a robust selection of margaritas, like the Bear Lake made with raspberries, Lunazul Blanco tequila, sweet and sour mix and Chambord. ¡Salúd! (TS)
200 S. Main, Layton, 385-245-1636

Best Freshest Chinese and Vietnamese
Pan Wok
Pan Wok is a hidden Millcreek gem where all of the sauces—from lemon to pon pon to teriyaki, even the chili sauce—are housemade. Combine fresh ingredients with fast, friendly service and artfully arranged dishes and you have a winner for lunch. Popular choices include the Singapore noodles, the Pon Pon dish and vermicelli noodle dish. There's even a magazine shelf filled with a variety of periodicals to entertain your brain. (CC)
2955 E. 3300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-486-8199, PanWok.com

Best Transcendent Space
Oasis Café
Salt Lake City's Oasis Café could not be more aptly named, since it truly is an urban oasis. Now owned by Joel and Hill LaSalle, Oasis Café and adjacent Golden Braid Books have been serving as a peaceful and serene escape from the city's hustle and bustle for 21 years. A menu filled with mostly organic and locally sourced foods matches the wholesome atmosphere of Oasis Café, where lingering over a book—maybe Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance—or making use of the eatery's free Wi-Fi is commonplace. Serving spirited food and drink, it's a sublime city sanctuary. (TS)
151 S. 500 East, Salt Lake City, 801-322-0404, OasisCafeSLC.com

Best Pie with a Side of History
Gifford Homestead in Capitol Reef National Park
A drive through Capitol Reef National Park isn't complete without stopping for pie at the historic Gifford Homestead. Nestled in the Fruita valley among bountiful fruit orchards, this historic pioneer home sells freshly baked sweet treats and housemade pickles and jam. After you take in the family heirlooms and photos in each room of the small refurbished house, treat yourself to pie. Made from local fruit, the petite pies sell for $6 each, add a scoop of ice cream for $1 more. Enjoy your pie at one of the picnic benches in the yard and
take in the scenic views and history as well as the perfect crust and sweet fruit filling. (AR)
NPS.gov

Best Massive Dessert in Cache County
The Bluebird Restaurant
As it should be, stepping into the old-timey confines of The Bluebird Restaurant in Logan is akin to stepping back in time. But unlike so many awesome old joints that still dot the highways of Utah, The Bluebird's prices and dessert sizes remain frozen in another era. The gut-busting stock banana split ($5.05) comes with two flavors of ice cream, three toppings, whipped cream, nuts and a cherry. Sit at the marble bar and watch a white-shirted, tie-wearing waiter meticulously pile on the ingredients. If you're still hungry afterward, you can always order a burger and fries and get a box of chocolates on the way out. (CF)
19 N. Main, Logan, 435-752-3155, TheBluebirdRestaurant.com

Best Bitey Ale
Jalapeño Cream Ale by Wasatch Brewery
For Sugar House residents who've discovered the genteel delights of the Wasatch Brew Pub (there's a second up at Park City), pulling up for a beer with your dog on the street patio in the summer holds all the pleasures of metropolitan life. Order a plate of their scrumptious Whiskey Salt Tater Tots and the question of what suds to suck down with them looms large. In a beer menu chock full of pleasures, their jalapeño cream ale, however, is one of the standouts. It's smooth, rich and flavor-deep and with that perfect bite at the back of the throat that has you coming back for more. As beers go, this particular ale is a local treasure, no more so than on a hot summer's day when you're craving cool, spicy nectar. (SD)
Multiple locations, WasatchBeers.com

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Best Place to Play a Game you Thought was Only for Oldsters on Cruise Ships
A Bar Named Sue
Does anybody remember the hit '70s-'80s television program The Love Boat? You know, where hot little cruise director Julie McCoy reminding these star-crossed lovers that there will be shuffleboard on the Lido Deck that evening if they weren't gonna be, as TLB's game-show peer The Newlywed Game likes to say, "making whoopee." If memory serves, it was only the gray-hairs who actually played the game, which is like curling, hopscotch and bowling rolled into one—and is exponentially more fun with alcohol. Maybe that's why it's so fun to play at Sue. They have that. Alcohol, I mean. Plus, they play music for old-timers, which the youngsters seem to like, and the two just go well together. If only they could make whoopee; old music and games for old people, that is. (RH)
3928 S. Highland Drive, 801-274-5578, ABarNamedSue.net

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Best Boozy Deal
Johnny's on Second
The 2nd & 2nd area might have become popular because of the rise of bars and businesses, but one of the best drink deals you can get anywhere in the city belongs to Johnny's. Throughout the week you can pop in and snag a shot and a beer for a mere $4—more than enough to fuel the conversations on their sidewalk patio, play a few rounds of pool, watch the game on TV or enjoy one of their single-band shows. It's an awesome way to get out and socialize over a few drinks without busting your wallet. (GS)
165 E. 200 South, SLC, 801-746-3334 JohnnysOnSecond.com

Best Bar's Bar
The Republican
Such is the Republican's modesty that the only external sign that this 12-year-old staple of State Street exists is an Irish flag and a red door. As Irish pubs go, it's quiet, friendly, well-stocked and a tad cavernous. Come in out of the daylight after 4 p.m. when it opens and you'll stand there blinking owlishly. But what makes this bar so great is its reliability, its sense of place and purpose. There's a heart to this bar best defined by the bar itself, the largest in Salt Lake City. While there's bristle dart boards and a shuffleboard to distract and entertain, the more you go there, the more the bar draws your admiration and affection. It stretches a good two-thirds of the hall, and has hooks for jackets in front of stools. When you belly up and order a Guinness or a PBR and a shot of Jameson, it provides the undeniable pleasure of making you feel truly at home. (SD)
917 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-595-1916

Best Date That Allows You to Pretend You're in Fight Club
The Soap Factory
Not talking about the iconic parking lot brawl scene, actually. Nor a cinematic view of a demolishing cityscape, either. Not fibbing to support groups, or redundant rules, or the Pixies' credit role. In fact: Forget the entire film except for the part where Brad Pitt and Ed Norton make soap. If you want to break from the dinner-and-movie date script, try your hand at crafting a bar from, say, seaweed salt for exfoliation. The Soap Factory in the heart of Provo is stocked with options of 400 shapes, 150 essential oils and dozens of colors. Plus, the soap ingredients are all natural. Owner David Peterson says the shop is great for a date night, party or corporate retreat. (DWH)
54 W. Center St., Provo, 801-376-5799, Facebook.com/TheSoapFactoryProvo

Best Resource for Downtown Club Hoppin'
The Society
A few years ago, Josh Webber relocated to Utah from Los Angeles, full of all the usual outsider ideas about Salt Lake City being dead for nightlife. When he found that wasn't the case, he wanted to create a way to encourage even more people to discover that reality. The result is The Society, a membership card offering discounts and perks—from bypassing lines to avoiding cover charges—at locations including Area 51, Sky, The Urban Lounge and more. Suddenly, you can experience SLC nightclubs while holding VIP status in the
palm of your hand. (SR)
TheSocietyU.com

Best Bar to Get Your Booze Geek On
The Rest
Step 1: Make a reservation by phone or online. Use a false name if you're feeling particularly 007, Mr. Bond.
Step 2: Show up and give the bartender at (equally excellent) Bodega your 411.
Step 3: Glide on down to one of the most badass basement bars in the 801.
Step 4: Soak up the vibe: taxidermy, vintage vinyl spinning, crazy-ass reliquaries of the seven deadly sins peeking out of every booth.
Step 5: Order the 'bitters tasting' at the bar and prepare to get schooled—in the best possible way—on all the ins and outs of this esoteric cocktail ingredient. All flavors are handmade at The Rest and bottled under the rather mysteriously marketed brand Honest John Bitters Co.
Step 6: Lather, rinse, repeat as needed. (DD)
331 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-532-4042, Bodega331.com

Best Midvale Bullseye
Scofy's Social Club
This watering hole covers all the bases. For starters, it's a great spot to catch the game and chow down on a garlic burger. But Scofy's is also the bullseye for the High West Darts league Tuesday nights and Blind Draw tournaments on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. On weekends, there's live music, DJs, stand-up comedy nights and even Paint Nites for the creatively inclined. Choose from 16 beers on tap along with a full bar and a satisfying pub menu that includes steak dinners, appetizer samplers and the decadent fried-onion "flower." There are spacious meeting rooms, perfect for your company shindigs. And, of course, there's an expansive patio out front for when things get rowdy. It's just a classy but comfy Midvale hangout that appeals to a wide swathe of humankind. (JW)
7176 S. 900 East, Midvale, 801-938-4505

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Best Old-World Fare
Bohemian Brewery
Man cannot live on Bohemian's Old School 1842 Czech Style Pilsener alone, although we wouldn't mind trying. Luckily, Bohemian Brewery's menu is spiked with plenty of Old-World eating options, leaning toward Eastern Europe. Splendid choices include pierogies stuffed with dill-seasoned spuds and cheese, topped with caramelized onions and bacon bits, and served with a dollop of dill sour cream on the side. For Continental fare, there are robust dishes of chicken paprikash, schweinshaxe, beef stroganoff, goulash, Czech fruit dumplings and Moravian apple strudel. Na zdravi! (TS)
94 E. Fort Union Blvd., Midvale, 801-566-5474, BohemianBrewery.com

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Best Way to Make It Home Safely After Your DD Bails and Uber is on Surge
Salt Lake City Pedicabs
Pedicabs cruising around the streets of Salt Lake City aren't just for the ambience. And it shouldn't be much of a challenge to stumble from the barstool and hail a driver. Thanks to a new city ordinance, customers and pedicabs are required to negotiate a price before the trip begins, which will help both sides avoid disputes once a destination is reached. If you want the driver to drop a beat, most of the carriages are equipped with speakers. And if you're fearful your drunken ass won't be able to stay in the seat, the cabs are now required to have seat belts. (DWH)
SLCBikeTaxi.com; SaltCityCycleCab.com

Best Arthouse Add-On
21+ Balcony Screenings at Tower Theatre
It's pretty bitchin' now that our beloved arthouse cinema, Tower Theatre, is getting in on the action with special 21+ VIP balcony screenings. That means you no longer have to sneak your PBRs into the cinema. That's a good thing, because the VIP ticket gets you free delicious craft beer, and you also don't have to muffle the sweet whisper-crack of your 12-ounce frosted barley pop, lest you disturb your fellow cinephiles as they watch Nosferatu with live musical accompaniment. One qualm, however: Each successive trip to see the beer dude—in the dark, on those skinny steps, obscuring the view of others—is dicier than the last. But ultimately, it's a win. (RH)
876 E. 900 South, Salt Lake City, 801-321-0310, SaltLakeFilmSociety.org

Best Sub-Zero Suds
Copper Creek Pub & Grub
Tucked behind a Rancheritos out in West Valley City, Copper Creek has some of the best pub food you can find in the west end of town. But the true selling point to hang out is the beer, as it was tested to be 34 degrees Fahrenheit, making it the coldest beer served on tap in the city. And to keep it that way, the bar crew keeps all their steins readily frozen to ensure that the drinks they pour won't hit room temperature too soon. That's some service and dedication we can drink to. (GS)
3451 S. 5600 West, Ste. A, SLC, 801-417-0052, CopperCreekPub.com

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Best Après Cocktails in the City
Elixir Lounge
The classy Elixir Lounge is just a stone's throw from the Cottonwood canyons. Which means after you crush the mountain slopes, this is the place to meet your pals and clink your cocktail tumbler, wine glass or beer stein and swap tall tales. It's also a cozy neighborhood bar and a great place to meet for after-work drinks. The bartenders take pride in slinging all kinds of martinis and Manhattans, made with locally crafted liquors when possible. One sip of these magical concoctions will leave you with a rosy glow. Order some appetizers or a delicious Italian entrée from Trio (located next door) to make the night complete. (JW)
6405 S. 3000 East, Holladay, 888-991-8147, ElixirLoungeSLC.com

Best Dive Bar Secretly Started By a Former Mayor of Ogden
Funk 'n' Dive
Doesn't matter what decade—Ogden seems to know how to do things right. Started during the prohibition era, former mayor Ora Bundy founded the original Funk 'n' Dive as a speakeasy in the shallow basement of the city's courthouse. The courthouse has moved and the façade has changed, but the bar remains as the only five-star bar in town with cheap food, poker nights and acoustic music showcases. If you're ever feeling nostalgic for the true spirit of Utah in the face of adversity, take a trip up to Washington Boulevard and toast one of the few public officials to completely ignore a government mandate. (GS) \
550 Washington Blvd., Ogden, 801-621-3483, Facebook.com/FunknDive

Best at Raising the Bar
Whiskey Street
When we think of bar food, we're usually in the realm of pretzels, peanuts, pickled eggs and maybe Buffalo chicken wings, right? Well, that is certainly not the case at Whiskey Street, where bar snacks and appetizers are elevated to an entirely new level. Instead of reaching for a bag of Corn Nuts, how about a bowl of bourbon-bacon caramel popcorn? Rather than mixed nuts from a can, Whiskey Street dishes out curried cashews with Moroccan-spiced peanuts and pecans. Short-rib polenta poutine in the place of pretzels, anyone? And we're pretty certain you'd prefer Parmesan truffle fries over stale potato chips while you imbibe. (TS)
323 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-433-1371, WhiskeyStreet.com

Best Way to Get Drunk Playing Donkey Kong
Bricks
The resurrection of Bricks in it's original downtown location was a club phenomenon that was sorely overlooked. But that's OK, because the new incarnation brings about an entirely different vibe as Utah's only barcade. With arcade machines reminiscent of those found in Japanese bars, you can slide over for a quick drink between bands at In The Venue and catch Pac-Man fever again with your friends. Or pop in for one of their many themed Saturday nights that have included drunken lazer tag and costume parties. (GS)
579 W. 200 South, Salt Lake City, 801-359-3219, Facebook.com/BricksSLC

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Best Well-Deserved, Undeserved Reputation
Liquid Joe's
Somehow, Liquid Joe's developed a reputation for being a meat market for meatheads in backward baseball caps, cover bands and third-rate metal and white-boy funk bands with laughable names. It's kinda fair, but mostly not. Liquid Joe's is the United Nations of SLC nightlife. The meatheads and woo girls still come around, but so do bikers, B-boys, geeks, heshers and hipsters. Cover bands remain a big part of Joe's live music offerings, but it's the goodness: The Spazmatics, Metal Gods and tribute bands like Irony Man and Dirt Cheap. Joe's also books the stuff you can't always find at other venues: old-school '80s hard rock and metal bands like Kix and Grim Reaper, hip-hop like Madchild and Locksmith, cult bands like Guided by Voices and Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers, and rock en español acts like Leyenda Oculta and La Calavera. All this, without going all the way downtown? I pledge allegiance. (RH)
1249 E. 3300 South, Millcreek, 801-467-5637, LiquidJoes.net

Best Woodsy-Themed Bar
Campfire Lounge
What's not to love about Campfire? Their drinks are fantastic, their food is delicious, their prices are more than reasonable and their service is great. Best of all, though, is the camping theme that ties it all together. Outdoorsy cocktails include the S'mores-tini ($7.50), Trail Mix (Chambord, Irish cream, Frangelico and heavy cream, $7) and the Trailer Park (Tito's vodka, Kool-Aid and lime, $6). Food menu items range from "hobo dinners" (your choice of meat and/or vegetables wrapped in tin foil and cooked over a campfire, $5.50-$9.50) to standard pub fare like burgers, tacos and wings. And, of course, it wouldn't be woodsy with out plenty of outdoor seating. The spacious patio has several fire pits, and it's even dog-friendly. (AH)
837 E. 2100 South, Salt Lake City, 801-467-3325, CampfireLounge.com

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Best for Office Parties
Bourbon House
Admittedly, we might be biased since we've held several City Weekly soirées at Bourbon House. But, try it, and we think you'll be convinced that this Official Pub Partner of Real Salt Lake is an excellent spot to host your own private shindig. Whether it be an office gathering, going-away party, birthday bash or anniversary celebration, the super friendly and accommodating staff at Bourbon House will welcome you with open arms, great brews, signature drinks (the pickle-back shots are unbeatable) and nibbles like burrata, carne cruda, bourbon meatballs, flatbread pizzas and more. Oh, and they are open to the public, as well. (TS)
19 E. 200 South, Salt Lake City, 801-746-1005, BourbonHouseSLC.com

Best Hair-of-the-Dog Brunch
The Royal
Tucked behind a mall, nestled in the trees and overlooking the creek, The Royal is a roomy concert venue, but also fills the bill as a sports pub, karaoke and open-mic hot spot, and a damn decent bar and grill. This spot is sure to make your weekends memorable, and that includes offering great brunches. Serving up a bodacious menu of chicken-and-waffles, huevos rancheros burritos and Grand Marnier French toast (just to name a few offerings), the Royal's drink and wing specials are sure to help you crawl out of any hole and rejoin the living. (JW)
4760 S. 900 East, Salt Lake City, 801-590-9940, TheRoyalSLC.com

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Best Place to Cut Community College Classes
Piper Down
OK, Piper Down is a lot more than a dark corner where you can hide from your responsibilities as a student at Salt Lake Community College's South City Campus. It's a real Irish pub, their live music bookings are well-curated, there's a nice back patio, and they have poker and geek trivia weekly. Plus, they serve booze and a delightful thing called a Smothered Leprechaun. Then again, all that—and proximity—are why you want to take a respite from your studies at Piper Down, too. (RH)
1492 S. State, SLC, 801-468-1492 PiperDownPub.com

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Best Place to Get Day-Drunk
Sky
Just barely a year old, Sky is a popular three-story event space and nightclub in downtown SLC. It's hosted numerous shows this year, including City Weekly's Best of Utah Music winners show last March, and are particularly known for electronic/DJ shows, such as the regularly occurring Therapy Thursdays and Sky Saturdays. Lesser known, however, is the series of Sunday day parties—which they call Seven—co-hosted by Live Nite Events. Various touring and local DJs played on Sky's patio outside starting in April and ending just this past month, including Bakermat, Shaun Frank and Michael Calfan. The crowd's always fun and their dance moves always shameless—yes, even at 2 p.m. on a Sunday. (AH)
149 Pierpont Ave., Salt Lake City, 801-883-8714, SkySLC.com

Best Tryptophan-Induced Dance Party
Club 90
From Taco Tuesday to Jazz Wednesday to a ladies Bunco night and an unexpected weekend brunch, you gotta give a hand to Club 90 for being one of the most diversified nighttime playgrounds around. Knowing that you'll need a post-Thanksgiving escape (no amount of clapbacks will wear down your Trump-supporter uncle, who will be both on a winning and a gravy high), Club 90 hosts a Thanksgiving after-party aided by the sounds of DJ C Horse on November 25 and 26. Already dreading Christmas? Their "Naughty or Nice" burlesque night on Saturday, Dec. 17 is guaranteed to put the rose back in those cheeks and raise the temperature to 101, Mr. Heat Meiser. (EL)
9065 S. Monroe St., Sandy, 801-566-3254, Club90SLC.com

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Best Elected Offcial
Jackie Biskupski
Even before taking oath as Salt Lake City's 35th mayor, Biskupski proved there was a new sheriff in town when she asked most city department heads to hand in letters of resignation. Since then, the 50-year-old Minnesota native has tackled issues from alternative energy and air quality to homelessness. A Democrat, she cut her legislative teeth during six terms in the Utah House—the state's first LGBTQ elected official. She's not all business, though. In August, she married her longtime partner, Betty Iverson, in a private ceremony at Log Haven. Oh, by the way, she confirms her signature curly tresses are, indeed, all natural—except the color. (LG)
2nd place: Ben McAdams
3rd place: Jim Dabakis

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Best Local Twitter Feed
Ben Winslow, @BenWinslow
A self-described "coverer of news," Winslow must be ambidextrous. While on-camera for Fox 13, he's holding a mic in one hand and a mobile device in the other—tweeting live to a devoted fanbase. Or so it seems. His 140-character snippets about breaking news are often accompanied by photos. So eat your heart out, Donald Trump! Viewers trust Winslow's earnest face as he reports on politics, polygamy and City Hall. But it's his ability to navigate multiple platforms that makes him a one-off fixture in the SLC media market. (LG)
2nd place: Kerry Jackson, @RFHKerry
3rd place: Geekshow Podcast, @GeekShow

Best Nonprofit Organization
Best Friends Animal Society
Unless you're made of ice, there's nothing more heart-wrenching than seeing an abused, abandoned or sick animal. With the credo, "A better world through kindness to animals," Best Friends Animal Society has been saving critters—from dogs and cats to horses and rabbits—since the 1980s. Crown jewel is the nonprofit's sanctuary in the red-rock canyon country near Kanab—the nation's largest no-kill facility and home to 1,600 animals. The society also has adoption centers in New York, Los Angeles ... and, of course, Salt Lake City. (LG)
2005 S. 1100 East, Salt Lake City, 801-574-2454, Utah.BestFriends.org
2nd place: The Road Home
3rd place: Humane Society of Utah

Best political scandal
John Swallow
Think War and Peace was long? Try the Swallow Saga. The legal morass engulfing the former Utah attorney general is about to enter its fourth year—with no end in sight. Well, maybe. Accused of 14 felonies and misdemeanors and facing up to 30 years if convicted, Swallow has a February 2017 trial date ... unless his lawyer appeals. Meanwhile, similar charges were dropped this year against his mentor and predecessor, Mark Shurtleff. But Swallow and Shurtleff's names are forever intertwined. Like, say, W&P's Natasha and Boris. (LG)
2nd place: Shurtleff/Swallow
3rd place: Mark Shurtleff

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Best Public Radio Station
KRCL 90.9 FM
Except for the most die-hard rocker or rapper, most radio listeners DO get a tad weary of the same-old, same-old on commercial radio stations. Well, there's an audio oasis on KRCL with its fresh and distinctive blend of folk, blues, indie and rock. Every hour, you'll hear at least one track by a homegrown artist. The station also trains its microphones at local arts personalities and performers—and has announced a lineup of 15 concerts on "Live at the Eccles" from SLC's brand-new downtown venue. Do we hear applause? (LG)
KRCL.org
2nd place: KUER 90.1 FM
3rd place: KCPW 88.3 FM/105.5 FM

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Best Radio Show
X96 Radio From Hell
Now in its 30th year, Radio From Hell is a bona fide institution as the longest running radio show in the SLC area, with the possible exception of Music and the Spoken Word—another institution. Hosts Kerry Jackson, Bill Allred and Gina Barberi (with Richie T. in the booth) entertain listeners with seamless and smart banter mixed with the best in rock 'n' roll. The irreverent crew stays true blue to the show's mission statement, "to belittle the stupid ... and offend as many people as possible." (LG)
96.3 FM, Monday-Friday, 6-10 a.m., X96.com/Radio-From-Hell
2nd place: ZHT 97.1 FM Morning Zoo
3rd place: KRCL 90.9 FM Little Bit Louder Now

Best Radio Station
X96 96.3 FM
X96 is the "Goldilocks" of SLC area radio: It's "just right"—sticking with a tried-and-true formula of alternative music from the '80s and '90s, peppered with some newer indie rock. From Radio from Hell in the a.m. to Corey O'Brien in the 7-midnight slot, listeners seem never to tire of classic songs and classy banter. Some fans say X96 is as comfortable as an old pair of slippers. Make that a broken-in pair of Gucci loafers. (LG)
X96.com
2nd place: KRCL 90.9 FM
3rd place: KUER 90.1 FM

Best Social Cause
Solving homelessness
Listen; when it comes to social issues, regardless of the fact that our readers voted on them, it's hard to spotlight one over the other. Salt Lake City is a beautiful place with some acute problems that need immediate action. Even after the city committed to a $30 million budget last month to help with much-needed affordable housing, the chronic homelessness problem here runs deep. Mental and physical health issues, drug addiction, recidivism, gentrification, food deserts and many other factors combine for the perfect storm. Sure, you could bitch on Facebook about it, as many other armchair activists do, or you could take a more active role and volunteer a day a week at the Fourth Street Clinic, Utah Food Bank, VOA Youth Resource Center for Homeless and At-risk Teens or many other admirable local institutions committed to being a solution. Remember the commitment you made with yourself to enact change during the Sanders campaign? The time to act on it is now. (EL)
2nd place: LGBTQ Equality
3rd place: #BlackLivesMatter

Best Sports Reporter
David James, KUTV 2News
He doesn't look like a grizzled veteran, but affable James has been covering the Utah sports beat since 1992. Viewers and listeners have come to trust his insight and nearly encyclopedic knowledge. As one fan observes, "He's everybody's buddy." In addition to anchoring KUTV Channel 2's sport desk on weekends, James also hosts the popular Talkin' Sports. Morning drivers, too, can hear him on Fox Sports' The Zone (97.5 FM/1280 AM). (LG)
2nd place: Dave Fox, KUTV 2News
3rd place: Wesley Ruff, ABC 4

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Best TV Anchorman
Mark Koelbel, KUTV 2News
After graduating college, Koelbel wanted to be a speech writer. "Then I realized that if your candidate doesn't win, you don't work," he told an interviewer. Politicians' loss was local TV's gain—and for nearly 20 years, he's delivered the news with authority and panache. Viewers instinctively know he's more than just another clone—that he's earned his journalistic bona fides amid the debris left by Hurricane Hugo and in the war-ravaged villages of Iraq. Oh, did we mention that this is his ninth BoU award? (LG)
2nd place: Dan Evans, Fox 13
3rd place: Ron Bird, KUTV 2News

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Best TV Anchorwoman
Hope Woodside, Fox 13
She might be from the Windy City, but Woodside is anything but blustery. Fox 13 audiences have come to admire her smooth and sophisticated style—plus her quick mind and wit. With Bob Evans, she co-anchors Live at 5 and News at 9, and the two are Utah's longest-running news team. In fact, they've been inducted into the Utah Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame. Every year, she's a familiar face at Fox 13's walkathon, "Making Strides Against Breast Cancer." (LG)
2nd place: Mary Nickels, KUTV 2News
3rd place: Kerri Cronk, Fox 13

Best TV News Reporter
Ben Winslow, Fox 13
Winslow is making out like a bandit this year with his two BoU wins (the other for best Twitter feed). Like a newsy octopus, he covers the courts, politics and polygamy beats for Fox 13 across all platforms known to man (and some we believe were developed by A.I. just for him)—all while maintaining an approachable attitude and a keen insider's perspective. At this point, we're not sure if Winslow cares about receiving yet another BoU award, so we'll give this one to his enviable well-groomed beard. Your beard rocks, man. No one on staff admitted to ever touching it, but we're sure it feels silky smooth and smells like manly cotton candy spun by the Baby Jesus himself. (EL)
2nd place: Big Budah, Fox 13
3rd place: Chris Jones, KUTV 2News

Best TV News Station
KUTV 2News
When network announcers intone, "And now time for your local news," many Utahns instinctively press "2" on their remotes. They know they'll get the straight, balanced and unvarnished story from a team of seasoned professionals. From anchorman Mark Koelbel's trademark smooth to Rod Deck's trademark tough, viewers can count on a comprehensive wrap-up of what's going on in their backyards and beyond. And let's not forget Get Gephardt going after those schemers and scoundrels we all love to hate. (LG)
KUTV.com
2nd place: Fox 13
3rd place: KSL Channel 5

Best Weather Reporter
Allison Croghan, Fox 13
After a killer tornado devastated Joplin, Mo., in 2011, neophyte reporter Croghan was one of the first on the scene. Almost on the spot, the U of Mississippi grad decided to make meteorology her specialty. Landing a job at Fox 13 the following year, she's been sharing her passion for the weather with appreciative viewers. Croghan navigates those maps, charts and images with authority and ease. You can catch her on the Fox 13 set—unless she's out chasing that rare Utah funnel cloud. (LG)
2nd place: Brett Benson, Fox 13
3rd place: Sterling Poulson, KUTV 2News

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Best Utahn
Jon Huntsman Sr.
Buttoned-down billionaire Jon Huntsman Sr. and flashy Frank Sinatra are kindred spirits—in one respect. "If you possess something but you can't give it away, then you don't possess it; it possesses you," observed the late crooner. And that seems to be the Utah industrialists' credo, too. Forbes estimates he's thus far given away $1.5 billion—and that doesn't count his 10 percent Mormon tithing. Most visible benefactor of his philanthropy is the world-class Huntsman Cancer Institute in SLC. His avowed goal is to dispose of 80 percent of his worth before he joins Old Blue Eyes in the Great Beyond. Among his nine children are Jon Jr., former GOP presidential candidate and ambassador, and Paul, owner and publisher of The Salt Lake Tribune. (LG)
2nd place: Tyler Glenn
3rd place: Thomas S. Monson

Worst Utahn
Gary Herbert
In May, the stench of pay-for-play still lingered in the state Capitol's marble halls—aftermath of the monumental Shurtleff/Swallow scandal—when it drifted downtown and into the august Alta Club. There, Gov. Gary Herbert huddled with campaign staffers. What if donors with deep pockets wanted to have a chummy face-to-face? "Let's just say, I'm available," Herbert was caught on tape saying. "I'm Available Jones." Contributors will get "quality time," he continued, "but we've got to raise the money." Tell that to Utahns breathing toxic air, poor folks needing more than Herbert's anemic "Healthy Utah" plan, and the Average Joe tired of paying for futile lawsuits to wrest the state's public lands from federal control. Not to mention school kids who get by on the lowest per-pupil spending in the country. (LG)
2nd place: Mike Lee
3rd place: Jason Chaffetz

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Best Tattoo Shop
Cathedral Tattoo Co.
CJ Fishburn and Jake Miller—who have known each other since before Jake gave CJ his first tattoo—have continued the tradition of the old Eleventh St. Electric Gallery in a cool location on the ground floor beneath Stoneground restaurant on 400 South. And they're committed enough to the idea of tattooing as an art that, over the years, they've featured artists on the walls as part of the SLC Gallery Stroll. Appointment or walk-in, customers can't stop raving. (SR)
249 E. 400 South, Salt Lake City, 801-355-9191, CathedralTattoo.com
2nd place: Yellow Rose Tattoo
3rd place: Good Times Tattoo

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Best Barber Shop
Jed's Barber Shop
There's a presumed no-man's-land between "barbershop" and "salon," but that's not the approach Jed Beal has taken with his two Salt Lake City locations. If you want the kind of place where you can get an old-school straight-razor shave and a no-nonsense haircut, Jed's is the place for you. It also happens to be the place to get a modern style, all in an environment that's inviting to patrons across generations. (SR)
212 S. 700 East, Salt Lake City, 801-532-5337;
2153 E. 2100 South, Salt Lake City,
801-935-4595, JedsBarberShop.com
2nd place: Liberty Wells Barber Co.
3rd place: Ray's Barber Shop

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Best Bookstore
The King's English Bookshop
There's something about the cozy setup of The King's English—little nooks and crannies of individual categories—that makes it the kind of place where you want to settle in for hours and rummage through the shelves. There's plenty to
discover if you do: not just best-sellers and classics from authors you grew up with, but a special attention to celebrating works by local authors and poets. Come for one of the regular author events, and then stick around to savor the unique pleasure of holding actual physical pages in your hands. (SR)
1511 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake City, 801-484-9100, KingsEnglish.com
2nd place: Weller Book Works
3rd place: Ken Sanders Rare Books

Best Boutique
Hip & Humble
It's easy to want to spend a long time browsing through a place when the scent that greets you upon opening the door is an intoxicating mix of lotions and soaps. Then you realize Hip & Humble is a store that's impossible to categorize: Kitchen gadgets share space with inspirational stationery, with baby bibs and books right around the corner, a basket of mittens over yonder, and clothes and jewelry in another small room. Browsing becomes an act of discovery. (SR)
1043 E. 900 South, Salt Lake City, 801-467-3130, HipAndHumble.com
2nd place: IconoClad
3rd place: Blue Boutique

Best Comic-Book Store
Dr. Volt's Comic Connection
The instantaneous success of the Salt Lake Comic Con was proof that Utah loves its pop culture, but those who have long embraced the "comic" part of that name have always known it. Flying their flag high with their sponsorship of the popular Geekshow and Hello Sweetie podcasts, Dr. Volt's provides one of those wonderful homes away from home for fans of graphic serial storytelling—whether you want to browse through back issues or simply inhale the brand-new adventures waiting for you in your holds. (SR)
2043 E. 3300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-485-6114, DrVolts.com
2nd place: Black Cat Comics
3rd place: The Nerd Store

Best Fishing/Hunting Supplies
Sportsman's Warehouse
From ski slopes and mountain streams to hiking trails and red-rock biking, Utah is a paradise for outdoorsy types. So it's no surprise that Midvale is home to a retail paradise for those same outdoorsy types, with an appeal that has expanded nationwide. With dozens of locations across 20 states, Sportsman's Warehouse offers the biggest and best selection of clothing and gear for every camper, hunter or just plain explorer. (SR)
Multiple locations, SportsmansWarehouse.com
2nd place: Fish Tech Outfitters
3rd place: Western Rivers Flyfisher

Best Garden Supply
Millcreek Gardens
When a garden-supply business covers the equivalent of a full city block, you can be pretty sure it has nearly everything you could possibly need—from mulch to tools to decorative sculptures to trees and seasonal plantings. But it's also the kind of place where you could happily get lost, strolling along the paths in and out of greenhouses. Whether you're searching for a perfect addition to your landscaping, or just a quiet, green respite in the middle of the city, Millcreek Gardens has been the right place for more than 50 years. (SR)
3500 S. 900 East, Salt Lake City, 801-487-4131, MillcreekGardens.com
2nd place: Cactus & Tropicals
3rd place: Glover Nursery

Best Hair Salon
Lunatic Fringe
The award title is a bit misleading: It should be "salons," plural, as the business launched in 1999 by the husband and wife team of Shawn Trujillo and Angie Katsanevas has grown to include a dozen locations in four states. They've been recognized by North American Hairstyling Awards as Salon Team of the Year, and they continue to build a reputation as true artists on the (no pun intended) cutting edge of styling savvy. (SR)
Multiple locations, LunaticFringeSalon.com
2nd place: Sequel Salon
3rd place: Landis Lifestyle Salon

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Best Men's Shop
The Stockist
A manly store for manly men isn't just about denim and flannel, though you'll certainly find them at this 9th & 9th store. It's also an outpost of the Iron and Resin lifestyle brand representing free-spirited living, a place with the smell of leather where you can buy a new wallet or replace your worn-out Chuck Taylor All-Stars. And when shopping grows wearying—as manly men know it does—you can take a load off on a comfortable couch as you contemplate your purchases. (SR)
875 E. 900 South, Salt Lake City, 801-532-3458, TheStockistShop.com
2nd place: Daley's Clothing
3rd place: IconoClad

Best Motorcycle Repair
Salt City Builds
In a 2014 interview with City Weekly's Gavin Sheehan, brothers Seth and Rev Clark said they started Salt City Builds because they "always hated having a boss." Their "take this job and shove it" choice has been Salt Lake City's gain, as they applied their mechanical skills and passion for motorcycles—which also manifests itself in organizing the Motos in Moab and Salty Bike Revival events—into a place that combines custom builds with expert repairs. (SR)
2212 S. West Temple, Salt Lake City, 801-810-9794, SaltCityBuilds.com
2nd place: DirtyRatMotocyCo
3rd place: Suicide Lane Cycles

Best Pet Store
Paw Paw's
Seven years ago, Ali Gempeler launched Paw Paw's because she recognized the need for self-serve pet washing downtown—a place with plenty of apartments and condos that didn't make home pet-washing easy. She combined an interest in serving that market with a desire to offer natural, organic pet foods and cleaning products, sourced as locally as possible. "We're proud that we've built such relationships with our customers that they keep returning," Gempeler says. There's good reason for that pride. (SR)
624 S. 300 West, Salt Lake City, 801-531-4200, PawPawsDogWash.com
2nd place: The Dog's Meow
3rd place: Ma and Paws Bakery

Best Piercing Studio
Koi
The first isn't necessarily always the best, but it can sure help you get a head start. Entering its 20th year, the business launched by Curt Warren as Utah's first dedicated body-piercing studio keeps proving its dedication to professionalism with top-notch materials and a highly trained staff (every employee has been certified in bloodborne pathogen safety). It's a place where you can feel confident that they're selling not just a service, but a process that you can trust. (SR)
1301 S. 900 East, Salt Lake City, 801-463-7070, KoiPiercingSLC.com
2nd place: Enso Piercing + Adornment
3rd place: Iris

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Best Record Shop
Randy's Record Shop
For nearly 40 years—going back to when vinyl was pretty much your only music-buying option, and not an aesthetic statement—Randy's has been providing Salt Lakers with an amazing place to find rare records. It's still the state's largest selection of new and used vinyl, plus turntables, amplifiers and speakers—increasingly valuable commodities as many audiophiles vote with their dollars for analog over digital sound. Come for one of the regular $2 sales, and build your own collection from Randy's. (SR)
157 E. 900 South, Salt Lake City, 801-532-4414, RandysRecords.com
2nd place: Diabolical Records
3rd place TIE: Raunch Records
3rd place TIE: Graywhale Entertainment

Best Smoke Shop
Jeanie's Smoke Shop
"It's just a true Utah icon," store manager Ron says of this old-fashioned tobacco shop, which traces its roots back to the 1940s. "Plus you can't beat the history: a devout Mormon, selling cigarettes and Playboys ... a block from Temple Square." Generations of Salt Lakers have found their favorite products in this same location, maintaining a fine tradition of providing a bit of forbidden fruit in the shadow of the Temple. (SR)
156 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-532-9001, JeaniesSmokeShop.com
2nd place: Smoke Break Huka Outlet
3rd place: Smoker's Guru

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Best Thrift/Consignment Store
IconoClad
The appeal of a thrift store is often about more than what's on the racks. And while you'll find plenty of reasonably priced "pre-rocked" (as the store's preferred terminology goes) clothing on those racks, it's also the kind of place with a sign on the door suggesting that the store hours might vary a bit if "we may stumble in a few minutes late with a hangover." Or you can take a shopping break on the couch next to a skeleton, and see if the store's resident cat decides to come pay you a visit. (SR)
414 E. 300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-833-2272, IconoClad.com
2nd place: Uptown Cheapskate
3rd place: Name Droppers

Best Vape Store
Black House Vapor Co.
It's not easy to build the kind of loyal clientele that can make you an award-winner after only a year of operation, but owner Holly Berry believes that's part of the Blackhouse business model. "The whole reason we opened was so anybody could feel welcome," she says. And the Sugar House store lives that concept, whether that means inviting everyone who comes in the door to have a seat and check out a menu of products, or offering a comfy couch to hang out and play Xbox. (SR)
2148 S. 900 East, Ste. 3, Salt Lake City, 801-467-6526, BlackHouseVapor.com
2nd place: iVape
3rd place: Urban Vapor

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Best Piercing Studio
Koi
The first isn't necessarily always the best, but it can sure help you get a head start. Entering its 20th year, the business launched by Curt Warren as Utah's first dedicated body-piercing studio keeps proving its dedication to professionalism with top-notch materials and a highly trained staff (every employee has been certified in bloodborne pathogen safety). It's a place where you can feel confident that they're selling not just a service, but a process that you can trust. (SR)
1301 S. 900 East, Salt Lake City, 801-463-7070, KoiPiercingSLC.com
2nd place: Enso Piercing + Adornment
3rd place: Iris

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Best Bowling Alley
Bonwood Bowl
The experience at this Main Street establishment is pure, classic, uncluttered bowling. Bonwood Bowl hasn't changed its style since it opened more than half a century ago—it hasn't needed to. The best deals are on Mondays with three games and shoe rental priced at just $6, but budget-friendly bowling can be had any day of the week. Want to add a competitive edge? Grab your gear from Bonwood's pro shop and join a league. Relaxing with friends and newfound bowling buddies over a frothy pitcher (don't forget the wristbands) is always a good time. (SA)
2500 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-487-7758, BonwoodBowl.com
2nd place: All Star Bowling and Entertainment
3rd place: Jupiter Bowl

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Best Bike Shop
Contender Bicycles
Contender's massive bicycle palace at 9th & 9th contains everything a novice or connoisseur might need to get in gear. Take advantage of the shop's tune-up packages and have your bike working like new, or consult one of their many experts to get the knowledge you need to DIY at home. Cycling should be accessible to all, and Contender is passionate about making sure everyone can hit the road safely and in style. (SA)
989 E. 900 South, Salt Lake City, 801-364-0344, ContenderBicycles.com
2nd place: Salt Lake City Bicycle Collective
3rd place: Crank SLC

Best Advanced Hiking Trail
Mt. Olympus
One of Salt Lake's most strenuous trails is also its most rewarding, compensating hikers who make it to the top with splendorous views of the valley and surrounding ranges. The path might be steep, but it's well traveled, not too treacherous and best suited for trekkers willing to dedicate their day to spectacular scenery. Those looking for a more adventurous climb should try summiting the peak in the winter. (SA)
7.5 miles out and back, 5789 Wasatch Blvd., Holladay
2nd place: Lake Blanche
3rd place: Mt. Timpanogos

Best Beginner's Hiking Trail
Donut Falls
There's a reason this hike is popular with families escaping the valley's scorching summer heat: It's practically a rite of passage for beginning hikers living along the Wasatch Front. Three-and-a-half miles might seem like a bit of distance for the kiddos at first, but with minimal elevation gain and the namesake waterfall at the end (yes, it is shaped like a doughnut and, yes, you should pack doughnuts to snack on), this trail is a treat. (SA)
3.5 miles out and back, access the trailhead via Jordan Pines picnic area in Big Cottonwood Canyon
2nd place: Living Room
3rd place: Cecret Lake

Best swimming
I.J. and Jeanné Wagner Jewish Community Center
2 N. Medical Drive, Salt Lake City, 801-581-0098, SLCJCC.org
Taking a dip at Salt Lake City’s renowned JCC is a year-round affair with the facility’s indoor and outdoor pools. Group and private swimming lessons, fitness classes and swim teams are all great options to get you and your family in the water, or take advantage of the open lap swimming times, which occur daily. (SA)
2nd place: Steiner Aquatic Center
3rd place: Cottonwood Heights Recreation Center

Best Birdwatching
Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area
It's pretty difficult not to spot a bird or two at these wetlands adjacent to the Great Salt Lake. The spring nesting and fall migration seasons have the area bustling with blue heron and thousands of tundra swan that will stay until the water freezes. Don't overlook winter, where bald eagles use Farmington Bay to hunker down for the colder months. A love of nature is all you need to enjoy the area—and a good pair of binoculars. (SA)
1325 W. Glovers Lane, Farmington, 801-451-7386, Wildlife.Utah.gov
2nd place: Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge
3rd place: Antelope Island State Park

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Best Community Event/Festival
Utah Arts Festival
Every June, thousands of art lovers flock to Library and Washington squares to immerse themselves in Utah's artistic community. The Utah Arts Festival has become a pinnacle summer event in Salt Lake City, and its popularity is well deserved. Live music, fine art, film, performance pieces—all artistic manifestations are celebrated at Utah's largest art event of the year. And with staff working year-round to ensure each summer is perfect, 2017's event is sure to be the best yet. (SA)
UAF.org
2nd place: Salt Lake Comic Con
3rd place: Utah Pride Festival
Honorable mention: Craft Lake City

Best City Park
Liberty Park
Liberty Park has been a classic focal point of urban SLC for 135 years and continues to shade residents with its towering pines and cottonwood trees. Summer and fall have the park bustling with local events from the annual Pioneer Day fireworks show and powwow to Best Friends Animal Society's Strut Your Mutt fundraiser, plus various concerts and gatherings like the traditional Sunday drum circle—not to mention the plentiful amenities for all, including Tracy Aviary, a swimming facility, jogging paths, playscapes and much more. (SA)
600 E. 600 South, Salt Lake City
2nd place: Sugar House Park
3rd place: Murray Park

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Best Fitness Classes
The Bar Method
By intentionally combining toning and aerobic exercises and structuring them in a particular order, The Bar Method's classes help students quickly reach their own personal standards for fitness. Stamina, strength and flexibility are primary targets at the Sugar House barre studio, and each method can be fine tuned to any student's body type. With routines that are easy on the joints, The Bar Method's focus on well-being sets it apart from many other programs. (SA)
1057 E. 2100 South, Salt Lake City, 801-485-4227, SaltLakeCity.BarMethod.com
2nd place: CorePower Yoga
3rd place: Awaken Studios

Best Outdoor Supplies Shop
REI
So, yeah, we said no chain stores would be recognized, but rare is the Utahn who hasn't set foot in an REI store. Their two Salt Lake Valley locations offer outdoor enthusiasts practically endless options for quality gear, and if you haven't taken advantage of their membership program ... why? (Seriously, their 10 percent annual dividend is freakin' sweet.) Become involved in the recreation community by participating in one of REI's in-house workshops on topics like avalanche awareness and ski/snowboard tune-ups, and remember to #OptOutside on Black Friday. (SA)
Multiple locations, REI.com
2nd place: Kirkham's Outdoor Products
3rd place: Recreation Outlet

Best PokéStop
Temple Square
Having trouble stocking up on water Pokémon? So are the rest of us. Utah's arid climate isn't exactly ideal for aquatic creatures. Head over to Temple Square, though, and you might find that Blastoise or Poliwag you need roaming around the fountains and pools. The downtown landmark has become an interesting place for Pokémon Go enthusiasts due to its tendency to house less common characters—including dragon and fairy types—and gives trainers the chance to truly be the very best. (SA)
50 North Temple, Salt Lake City
2nd place: Watchtower Café
3rd place: Brigham Young Historic Park

Best Public Golf Course
Bonneville
Tucked into the foothills above Salt Lake City, Bonneville Golf Course provides 18 holes of sensational scenery. There's a bit more terrain up here on the mountain compared to the valley's other courses, and the long fairways will give anyone's drive a workout with most of the holes sitting at Par 4 or 5. Putting can be a bit tricky (the putts break toward the valley, just FYI), but the challenge is well worth it on this pristinely manicured course. (SA)
954 S. Connor St., Salt Lake City,801-583-9513, SLC-Golf.com
2nd place: Old Mill
3rd place: Mountain Dell

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Best Skate Shop
Milosport
You can't go wrong with the help of Milosport's seasoned and enthusiastic skate staff. This passionate crew knows their gear and runs a store that is perfect for veteran skaters looking for their ideal setup. Don't know your decks from your trucks? That's fine, too—newbies are always welcome. Dating back to 1984, this skate shop was one of the first—not just in Utah, but in the entire country. Here's to another 30-plus years of shredding, guys. (SA)
3119 E. 3300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-487-8600, Milosport.com
2nd place: BlindSide
3rd place: Half and Half

Best Recreation Destination
Moab
Moab has come a long way since the days of dusty agriculture and uranium mines. Now, it's a boomtown for tourism and the gateway to Utah's red-rock country. Mostly known for being nestled between Arches and Canyonlands national parks, Moab is also surrounded by the astounding beauty of lesser-known attractions like Dead Horse Point State Park, Castle Valley and La Sal Recreation Area, just to name a few. Hiking, biking, rafting, Jeep-ing—you name it. This town can help you find your perfect adventure. (SA)
Highway 191, 32 miles south of Interstate 70, DiscoverMoab.com
2nd place: Zion National Park
3rd place: Lake Powell

Best Ski Run
Alta's High Rustler
Skiers rejoice when the powder's deep enough to access this legendary Alta run. The expert black-diamond-level slope doesn't just look steep, it is steep, with prime terrain and great views of Little Cottonwood Canyon to boot. Though it might take a little trekking to get there, once you've jumped off the initial small cliff into the chute, you'll be in skiing paradise. (SA)
10230 E. Little Cottonwood Canyon Road, Alta, 801-359-1078, Alta.com
Alf's High Rustler, Alta
2nd place: Regulator Johnson, Snowbird
3rd place: Stein's Way, Deer Valley

Best Yoga Studio
Salt Lake Power Yoga
Focusing on Power Vinyasa yoga held in rooms heated to around 85-95 degrees Fahrenheit, Salt Lake Power Yoga is determined to provide its students with holistic practice experience. Compassion and determination are essential to SLPY's mission, and staff members encourage all participants to find balance within themselves to accomplish their self-set yoga goals. With class offerings ranging over a multitude of skill levels, no matter what option you choose, at SLPY, you will sweat—and that's a good thing. (SA)
250 E. 300 South, Salt Lake City,
801-468-9642, SaltLakePowerYoga.com
2nd place: Centered City
3rd place: CorePower Yoga

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Best Snowboarding
Brighton
There's a little something for every snowboarder at the top of Big Cottonwood Canyon. Brighton's mix of green and blue runs are excellent for beginning and intermediate boarders, but the resort also has enough challenging terrain to keep more advanced riders busy. Freestylers won't get bored at the constantly changing terrain parks. Throw in the backcountry and night-boarding options and the fact that passes and lift tickets are some of the cheapest along the Wasatch Front, and you've practically got your winter planned. (SA)
8302 Brighton Loop Road, Brighton,801-532-4731, BrightonResort.com
2nd place: Snowbird
3rd place: Park City Mountain Resort

Best Urban Fishin' Hole
Jordan River
The murky waters of the Jordan River might not look like they contain much beneath the surface, but those who have pulled up hauls of white bass, catfish and bluegill can attest to the river's bounty. There are many access points along the waterway's winding path from Utah Lake to the Great Salt Lake and finding calm waters to float your boat is relatively easy. Or you can post up along the shore, bait your hook and wallow the summer afternoon away with a companion and/or cooler of beer by your side. (SA)
Parks.SLCO.org
2nd place: Willow Pond Park
3rd place: Bountiful Lake

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Best Thai
Sawadee
Although Sawadee has only been around for about a decade, it has garnered an impressive list of awards this year, including this one for Best Thai, yet again. The family-owned restaurant specializes in wholesome, authentic Thai food in a warm and inviting atmosphere at its South Temple location. They offer all the traditional Thai favorites, like tasty curries, savory noodles and delicious barbecue. For something off the beaten path, try the honey ginger duck. (MS)
754 E. South Temple, Salt Lake City, 801-328-8424, Sawadee1.com
2nd place: Chanon Thai Café
3rd place: Thai Siam

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Best Atmosphere
Current Fish & Oyster
Erected in 1906, the rustic brick exterior of Current Fish & Oyster complements the ultra modern interior, which features an open kitchen and bustling dining floor. The fish served here is flown in fresh from all across the United States and is presented in a beautiful array from an ambitious menu created by Executive Chef Phelix Gardner. The restaurant incorporates tastes new to Utah for a memorable and contemporary dining experience in a historic atmosphere. (MS)
279 E. 300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-326-3474, CurrentFishAndOyster.com
2nd place: Finca
3rd place: The Rest

Best Bakery
Tulie Bakery
Owner and self-taught pastry czar Leslie Seggar knows exactly what's she's doing on every level—from croissants to hot-pressed sandwiches. Her gourmet pastries include only the finest ingredients, and the treats are enhanced by the store's layout, right down to communal tables that create a warm and contemporary environment. The sticky buns are out of this world, but that is only one of many seasonal creations worth a taste test at Tulie. (MS)
863 E. 700 South, Salt Lake City, 801-883-9741, TulieBakery.com
2nd place: Gourmandise The Bakery
3rd place: Eva's Bakery

Best Breakfast
The Park Café
The early bird gets the worm. At The Park Café, they get a table. People line 1300 South daily for a seat at the homestyle breakfast and lunch joint. Grab a table inside or on the porch and treat yourself to what just might be the tastiest breakfast potatoes in the history of spuds. There's not a bad choice on the menu, but you definitely can't go wrong with the Odeloy omelet (sausage, peppers, onions, mushrooms, cheddar cheese) or the fluffy and delectable banana pancakes. (MS)
604 E. 1300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-487-1670, Facebook.com/ParkCafeSLC
2nd place: The Blue Plate Diner
3rd place: Ruth's Diner

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Best brew pub
Squatters Pub Brewery
Squatters Pub Brewe has been the go-to brewpub for Salt Lakers since its inception in 1989. It has been a refuge for beer and burger lovers alike for all these years, but the pub has much more to offer its patrons: The diverse menu ranges from an insanely tasty Thai Yellow Curry to grilled salmon drizzled with wasabi aioli. Not only is Squatters Salt Lake City's first brewpub (1989), it's consistently retained its spot as the best in town. (MS)
147 W. 300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-363-2739, Squatters.com
2nd place: Red Rock Brewing Co.
3rd place: Wasatch Brew Pub

Best Brunch Spot
Ruth's Diner
The year 2016 marks the 86th anniversary of Ruth's Diner, making it the second oldest restaurant in Utah. All it takes is a quick drive up Emigration Canyon and you'll arrive at the historic diner. In fairer weather, enjoy the scenery on the sprawling outdoor patio. Take shelter inside in the colder months, warm up with a cup of joe and the famous mile-high biscuits and gravy. Along with traditional breakfast options, be sure to try contemporary dishes such as Erik's raspberry chicken—a lunch favorite. (MS)
4160 Emigration Canyon Road, Salt Lake City, 801-582-5807, RuthsDiner.com
2nd place: Pig & A Jelly Jar
3rd place: Hub & Spoke Diner

Best Cheap Date
Brewvies Cinema Pub
When you add beer and movies in one convenient downtown location, you get Brewvies Cinema Pub—what's not to like about kicking back to watch new a flick with a frothy beverage and specialty dishes in front of you? They offer showings of the latest blockbusters, independent films and free Film Buff Night every Wednesday, as well as a separate bar area lined with pool tables, video games and televisions. (MS)
677 S. 200 West, Salt Lake City, 801-355-5500, Brewvies.com
2nd place: Oh Mai
3rd place: Watchtower Café

Best Chinese Sit-Down
Mandarin

In 1978, Greek-American Gregory Skedros opened the doors to Mandarin, which has been Utah's premier Chinese restaurant ever since. The kitchen is manned by chefs from Hong Kong and San Francisco, whose woks fire up some of the best Chinese fare you'll find in the area. The family-run restaurant has sustained success in its Bountiful location with a combination of well-versed chefs, loyal customers and a menu that can't be topped. (MS)
348 E. 900 North, Bountiful, 801-298-2406, MandarinUtah.com
2nd place: Red Maple
3rd place: Asian Star

Best Chinese Take-Out
Dragon Diner
Although there's a pint sized sit-down area at Dragon Diner in Millcreek, most people prefer the take-out option. The inexpensive Chinese eatery prides itself in its authenticity and fast delivery services, which are available until 10 p.m. every day except Sunday. Start off with the cream cheese wontons before you make your way to the dinner favorite, Dragon and Phoenix—served with General Tso's chicken and spicy shrimp. (MS)
1331 E. 3900 South, Millcreek, 801-272-9333, TheDragonDiner.com
2nd place: Little World
3rd place: Red Maple

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Best Coffee House
Coffee Garden
Our readers have spoken and have declared that Coffee Garden is the best place in town to get a cup of java. City Weekly employees concur, as we stop in the Main Street location routinely for our daily fix. Baristas here treat regulars like family, and both locations (downtown and 9th & 9th) are irreplaceable in their respective communities by providing high-quality coffee along with great customer service. Each location has a distinct personality: Main Street's is literary and incisive; 9th & 9th is cinematic and expansive. (MS)
878 E. 900 South, Salt Lake City, 801-355-3435; 245 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-364-0768
2nd place: Beans & Brews
3rd place: Publik Coffee Roasters

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Best Desserts
Gourmandise The Bakery
Making a decision on one of the endless arrays of delicious desserts can be troublesome at Gourmandise, so why not order two? On the weekends, double parking and lines out the door ensue as people so eagerly anticipate sinking their teeth into one of the tasty cakes, tarts, breads and breakfast pastries. No sweet tooth? No problem. The café menu features an extensive list of salads, sandwiches and entrées as well. (MS)
250 S. 300 East, Salt Lake City, 801-328-3330, GourmandiseTheBakery.com
2nd place: The Dodo
3rd place: Zest Kitchen & Bar

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Best Downtown SLC Restaurant
The Copper Onion
Owner and chef Ryan Lowder was born in Utah before traveling the world, gathering inspiration, experience and cooking techniques. He then pieced them together into the gold mine in the middle of downtown Salt Lake City—The Copper Onion. The hip and welcoming restaurant serves some of the best small plates in town, such as ricotta dumplings and patatas bravas. For dinner, the melt-in-your-mouth lamb riblets in a balsamic glaze are to die for. (MS)
111 E. 300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-355-3282, TheCopperOnion.com
2nd place: Takashi
3rd place: Zest Kitchen & Bar

Best First-Date Restaurant
Tin Angel Café
Tin Angel integrates a fun, lively ambiance with quality local ingredients and food creations to assemble the perfect atmosphere for first-daters. The family-run restaurant has found the recipe for success with their specialty tapas—featuring bites like a Moroccan spiced-shrimp skewer, spiced almonds and Gorgonzola, and white-bean hummus. In warm weather, the patio is a great place to take in the neighborhood sights and sounds, including downtown Salt Lake City's frequent live music. (MS)
365 W. 400 South, Salt Lake City, 801-328-4155, TheTinAngel.com
2nd place: Eva
3rd place: Spitz

Best French
The Paris
With an experienced staff of cooks and courteous service, The Paris Bistro gives its dining guests an experience much like you'd find on The Champs-Élysées in Paris. The filet mignon with squash blossoms and zucchini gratin, or lemongrass crème brûlée satisfy even the most picky of palates. An extensive wine list perfectly complements the exquisite French cuisine. (MS)
1500 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake City, 801-486-5585, TheParis.net
2nd place: La Caille
3rd place: Franck's

Best Greek Sit-Down
Aristo's
Leave your expectations of hand-held gyros at the door. Owner Aristides Boutsikakis has brought a taste of Greece with him back here in Salt Lake City at Aristo's Greek Restaurant. The mezedakia (Greek small plates) are sensational. There's sautéed baby octopus, thick cuts of battered and flash-fried calamari, baked eggplant whipped with olive oil, Greek meatballs, sautéed shrimp in marinara and much more. (MS)
224 S. 1300 East, Salt Lake City, 801-581-0888, AristosSLC.com
2nd place: Manoli's
3rd place: The Other Place

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Best Greek Take-Out
Greek Souvlaki
A perennial Best of Utah winner, Greek Souvlaki knew how to create a lasting following long before the inception of this award. The doors to the first location were opened in 1972 by Lee and Mary Paulos and served just three items: gyros, souvlaki and beefteki. The business has since expanded to five restaurants and has stayed true to the Paulos vision of serving high-quality Greek food to the Salt Lake community. (MS)
Multiple locations, GreekSouvlaki.com
2nd place: Yanni's Greek Express
3rd place: Padeli's Street Greek

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Best Japanese
Takashi
Not only does Takashi have the best Japanese food in Utah, but it might be the best on this side of the Mississippi. Takashi Gibo's eclectic and ever-changing list of sushi rolls and dishes traditional to his native Japan makes one wonder if sushi is appropriate for all three meals of the day. For the mild palate, try the Crunch Ebi roll with shrimp tempura. If you're feeling adventurous, order a round of citrusy mussel shooters with a quail egg yolk. There's no such thing as a bad meal here. (MS)
18 W. Market St., Salt Lake City, 801-519-9595
2nd place: Kyoto
3rd place: Sapa

Best Indian
Bombay House
Bombay House is Salt Lake City's undisputed champion of genuine Indian cuisine and hospitality. Using traditional cooking methods—including a charcoal-fired tandoori oven—Bombay House creates the finest naan, paratha and roti flatbreads, which are perfect for sopping up every last drop of the luscious curries. Heat lovers, give the vibrant vindaloo a go. They also offer plenty of vegetarian options, along with Indian tea and coffee, rose milk, and strawberry or mango lassis. (MS)
Multiple locations, BombayHouse.com
2nd place: The Kathmandu
3rd place: Himalayan Kitchen

Best Italian
Fratelli Ristorante
Fratelli Ristorante has won this award five times in the past six years, and there's little doubt why: Fratelli ("brothers" in Italian) owners Pete and Dave Cannella created a menu traditional to their homeland, preach and practice the use of fresh ingredients, and treat everyone who walks through the door like family. The menu boasts an expansive list of pizzas, pastas and salads, as well as beer and wine. Save some room for the delectable tiramisu. (MS)
9236 S. Village Shop Drive, Sandy, 801-495-4550, FratelliUtah.com
2nd place: Valter's Osteria
3rd place: Caffé Molise

Best Korean
Myung Ga
Myung Ga takes Korean barbecue to another level with their sizzling, hefty portions of chicken, pork and beef. Along with barbecue options, the restaurant also dishes up delicious dumplings, soups filled to the brim with scallops, shrimp and other seafood, and a cucumber kimchi that is out of this world. These chefs can whip up a quick dish for your lunch break or an extensive, authentic Korean meal for a pleasing dinner. (MS)
3353 S. Decker Lake Drive, West Valley City,801-953-0478
2nd place: Cupbop
3rd place: It's Tofu

Best Late-Night Grub
Pie Hole
With its ovens firing until 2 a.m. Sunday-Thursday, and till 3 a.m. on weekends, there's little surprise that the Pie Hole downtown is at its busiest after midnight—what sounds better than a hot, cheesy pizza waiting for you after a night of bar-hopping? Order by the slice or get a whole pie—there's even a rotating vegan option—and satisfy those late-night hunger pangs. (MS)
344 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-359-4653, PieHoleUtah.com
2nd place: Beto's
3rd place: Alberto's

Best Mexican Sit-Down
Red Iguana
Owners of Red Iguana, the Cardenas family has been in the restaurant business for more than 50 years with humble beginnings, as their first location opened with a dining area that could seat 18 guests. They've since attracted a national following for serving some of the finest Mexican fare in America. It's been featured on the television show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and The New York Times, and countless pictures and autographs of celebrities adorn its colorful walls. For authentic Mexican fare, turn to dishes like their signature cochinita pibil, papadzules and puntas de filete a la Norteña (sirloin with bacon). (MS)
Multiple locations, RedIguana.com
2nd place: Blue Iguana
3rd place: Taquería 27

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Best Mexican Take-Out
Hector's
Salt Lake Valley in its entirety let out a collective wail of mourning when Hector's announced it would no longer serve its unparalleled Mexican grub 24 hours a day, choosing instead to close its doors at a reasonable hour of the night. Although you can't get your smothered burrito fix in the early light of dawn anymore, Hector's is still at the pinnacle of Mexican take-out and the go-to for customers of all walks of life. For a meal on the go, there's no wrong choice at here, but the carnitas torta is not one to forgo. (MS)
2901 E. 3300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-487-3850
2nd place: Red Iguana
3rd place: Beto's

Best Middle Eastern
Mazza Middle Eastern Cuisine
Mazza offers an assortment of Middle Eastern cuisine such as lamb and rice dolaa, musakhan, shawarma and kebabs, delectable baked kafta, maghmoor and much more. Owner Ali Sabbah takes a deep sense of pride in keeping his restaurants as authentic as possible, so the service and food is always top-notch. Mazza wouldn't be complete without its sizable wine list with bottles from Lebanon, Morocco and Greece. (MS)
912 E. 900 South, Salt Lake City, 801-521-4572; 1515 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake City, 801-484-9259, MazzaCafe.com
2nd place: O'Falafel
3rd place: Cedars of Lebanon

Best New Restaurant
HSL
Derived from the same proprietors who brought us Handle in Park City, HSL in Salt Lake City is the latest installment from partners Melissa Gray and Meagan Nash. The concept behind HSL—which has thrived in the robust downtown dining scene—is to incorporate locally grown and produced ingredients into a dining experience second to none. Dinner options include steelhead trout, a beef cheek burger and savory grilled flap steak. (MS)
418 E. 200 South, Salt Lake City, 801-539-9999, HSLRestaurant.com
2nd place: Stanza
3rd place: Veneto

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Best Ogden Restaurant
Tona
Tony Chen and Tina Yu's sushi restaurant is one of the hottest and most bustling establishments in Ogden. The extensive tapas list includes a delicious gyoza plate (pot-stickers with sesame seed vinaigrette), Brussels sprouts and agedashi tofu, to name a few. Not into sharing? The bento boxes are bountiful and beautiful, as are the traditional sushi rolls. The Ogden eatery also has a sizable sake and wine list. (MS)
210 25th St., Ogden, 801-622-8662, TonaRestaurant.com
2nd place: Roosters
3rd place: Slack Water

Best Park City Restaurant
Riverhorse on Main
This is a pioneering eatery of sorts. Established in 1987, Riverhorse set the tone as one of the first fine-dining restaurants in the competitive Park City market. The expertly prepared meals look like artwork (and it feels almost sacrilegious to eat them), and the ultra slick, modern interior is equally impressive. As far as fare goes, there's just something special about their grilled local rack of lamb, served with cumin-scented couscous, honey, cucumber-mint relish and cauliflower. (MS)
540 Main, Park City, 435-649-3536, RiverhorseParkCity.com
2nd place: High West
3rd place: Handle

Best Patio
The Green Pig Pub
There's quite a thirst for a stellar outdoor patio in downtown Salt Lake City, and The Green Pig Pub quenches it with a view of the Wasatch Mountains. You'd be hard-pressed to find a better spot to grub out and sip on a frothy beer on your lunch hour than the upstairs patio at the Pig. With concert venues and other bars in the surrounding area, just relax and watch the comings and goings Salt Lake City has to offer. (MS)
31 E. 400 South, Salt Lake City,801-532-7441, TheGreenPigPub.com
2nd place: Gracie's
3rd place: The Hog Wallow Pub

Best Place to Take Mom
Ruth's Diner
We get it—you want to do something for your mom, like make her a home-cooked meal in return for all the times she fed your needy ass growing up. Save yourself the embarrassment and take your loving mother to Ruth's Diner, one of the most historic eateries in Salt Lake City. Just a few minutes up Emigration Canyon, it takes no time or effort on your part to give your birthgiver a meal—such as the cinnamon roll French toast—as sweet as she is. (MS)
4160 Emigration Canyon Road, Salt Lake City, 801-582-5807, RuthsDiner.com
2nd place: Oasis Café
3rd place: Little America Coffee Shop

Best Romantic Spot
Log Haven
The century-old log mansion in Millcreek Canyon that's home to Log Haven is known for its rustic beauty and fine dining, and as one of Utah's premier destinations for weddings and other special events. With its impressive indoor and outdoor venues and surrounding foliage, there's always romance in the air here. It feels like another world yet is only minutes away. (MS)
6451 E. Millcreek Canyon Road, Salt Lake City, 801-272-8255, Log-Haven.com
2nd place: La Caille
3rd place: Veneto

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Best Salt Lake Valley Restaurant
Provisions
Provisions is an American craft kitchen that champions seasonal, organic and locally produced ingredients. The house-inspired architectural design might even convince you that you're sitting at your own dining room table. The small plates are all wonderful, including the steamed buns and roasted-beet salad, but don't leave until you try the taglierini—braised rabbit coated with a sage brown butter sauce that melts in the mouth. (MS)
3364 S. 2300 East, Salt Lake City, 801-410-4046, SLCProvisions.com
2nd place: Fratelli
3rd place: Log Haven

Best Utah County Restaurant
Communal
Communal serves its dining guests farm-fresh and in-season cuisine using locally sourced and produced ingredients. It's best to go as a group as the dishes are served family style—hence the name. Entrées like roasted chicken, Utah trout and grilled hangar steak are prepared in a no-nonsense, simple but sensational style. We're darn jealous of you, Provo. (MS)
102 N. University Ave., Provo, 801-373-8000, CommunalRestaurant.com
2nd place: Black Sheep Café
3rd place: Pizzeria 712

Best Vegetarian
Sage's Café
Located since late 2013 in the iconic former Jade Café building, Sage's specialty is vegetarian, organic cuisine. For vegetarians, there are "Meatless Monday" specials, as well as a number of veggie pizza and pasta options. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day, with late-night weekend dining and an extended brunch menu on Saturday and Sunday. (MS)
234 W. 900 South, Salt Lake City, 801-322-3790, SagesCafe.com
2nd place: Zest Kitchen & Bar
3rd place: Frisch Compassionate Eatery

Best Vietnamese
Oh Mai
Whether you have the classic pho with fragrant broth in mind, a banh mi sandwich served in a French baguette, or traditional noodle and rice bowls, Oh Mai has you covered on all things Vietnamese. The restaurant—which now has four Salt Lake area locations—first took off as a banh mi and sandwich shop, but now covers all bases with their extensive Vietnamese menu. (MS)
Multiple locations, OhMaiSandwich.com
2nd place: All Chay
3rd place: La Cai Noodle House

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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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Best Craft Cocktails
Bar-X
After the remodel a few years back, Bar X became the go-to for craft cocktails in the city—to the point where you can find it listed in many Top 10 lists online. You can get your standard classics like the Sidecar, a French 75 or the always popular Old-Fashioned. But the highly trained staff is always down to whip up something more modern like the Morriconne's Fix or The Edison to wet your whistle in style. (GS)
155 E. 200 South, Salt Lake City, 801-355-2287, Facebook.com/Bar-X
2nd place: Under Current
3rd place: Bodega/The Rest

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Best All-Ages Venue
Kilby Court
Having recently celebrated their 17th year in business, it's hard to imagine SLC's concert scene without Kilby Court. The longest running all-ages venue in the state has played host to thousands of shows, giving kids who are just discovering their own taste in music a chance to see it live in a city filled with bar-based venues. There's no question that without its existence or influence, many in our city would never have been able to enjoy a proper intimate concert before the age of 21. (GS)
741 W. Kilby Court, Salt Lake City, KilbyCourt.com
2nd place: The Complex
3rd place: Red Butte Garden Amphitheatre

Best Dance Club
Area 51
SLC has seen its share of flash-in-the-pan dance clubs come and go over the past two decades, but few have sustained and continued to thrive as long as Area 51. Offering two floors with different vibes, you can go from Top 40 pop to EDM or goth in a moment's notice. Throw in the all-request dance Saturday and an assortment of guest DJs coming through monthly, and every night has something different to offer anyone looking to bust a move. (GS)
451 S. 400 West, Salt Lake City, 801-534-0819, Area51SLC.com
2nd place: Sky SLC
3rd place: Club Jam

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Best Dive Bar
Cheers to You
The very definition of a hole in the wall, Cheers to You would be easy to miss passing by Main Street if not for the loud crowds cheering for whatever major game is on the tube. The bar and the booths are all close-quarters, with an East Coast feel and a Cheers mentality, forcing you to not only get to know each other over a drink, but become the best of dive bar buddies. That is, until your team scores over theirs. (GS)
315 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-575-6400, CheersToYouSLC.com
2nd place: Twilite Lounge
3rd place: X-Wife's Place

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Best Drinks on a Dime
Twilite Lounge
Having been around for nearly 70 years, there's a good chance Twilite Lounge was the place your grandfather went for a cheap cold one after work. With a motif matching that of a '70s lounge, the cash-only bar offers cheap pitchers of whatever ale you and your friends want as you chill over a game of pool or kick back by the fireplace and talk. It's probably one of the last remaining low-key bars left in SLC that won't bust your wallet. (GS)
347 E. 200 South, Salt Lake City, 801-532-9400, TwiliteLounge.com
2nd place: Cheers to You
3rd place: X-Wife's Place

Best Gentleman's Club
Trails
Traditional gentlemen's clubs just don't exist in the land of Zion, but Trails is about as close as you can get. Going the extra mile to make anyone who walks through their doors feel welcome, the club offers food specials throughout the week, and women get in for free. But, of course, the main draw is the show, featuring dancers who are damn skilled on the pole. With a huge space and what seems like a dozen stages and poles, Trails never fails to show everyone a good time. (GS)
921 S. 300 West, Salt Lake City, 801-363-2871, TrailsClub.com
2nd place: The American Bush
3rd place: Southern X-Posure

Best Girl's Night Out
Gracie's
The downtown gastropub has been running strong for more than five years and has been a great place to find acoustic performances and hearty pub fare. But lately the place has been seeing a surge in women turning the place into their kickoff point for a night on the town. It doesn't matter where you might head afterward; Gracie's is the best place to grab a quick drink and a bite to eat while discussing your game plan for the night. (GS)
326 S. West Temple, Salt Lake City, 801-819-7565, GraciesSLC.com
2nd place: Keys on Main
3rd place: The Westerner

Best Karaoke
Tavernacle
The Tavernacle might be best known for its dueling piano shows, but three nights a week the bar becomes one of the biggest karaoke joints in the city. From Sunday-Tuesday you can pop in with your crew of show-stopping singers, toss back a little liquid courage and belt out "Don't Stop Believing" to your heart's content. But if you're not wrapping it up with Bowie and Queen's "Under Pressure," you're not doing the night justice. (GS)
201 E. 300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-519-8900, Tavervacle.com
2nd place: Highlander Club
3rd place: Frankie & Johnnie's Tavern

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Best LGBTQ Club
Club Jam
Club Jam has had an impressive track record with Best Of Utah awards, winning in this category for seven years straight—almost every year since it opened. The ownership might have changed, the drinks improved and the music evolved, but Jam changes with the community rather than staying stagnant. The always popular Conference Weekend Party, Pride celebrations and holiday events make sure everyone has a place to be on those special Utah days. (GS)
751 N. Panther Way, Salt Lake City, 801-382-8567, JamSLC.com
2nd place: The Sun Trapp
3rd place: Metro Music Hall (formerly Metro Bar)

Best Live Music Club
The Depot
The Depot might not be the first spot on your list for an average night out, but when a band you love rolls through their doors, it's always a memorable show. Two floors with stocked bars, great seating and a killer sound system make the venue a must-play for national acts looking to take on SLC in style, with an atmosphere that feels like old-school Chicago concert halls. The only complaint? They need more shows! (GS)
400 W. South Temple, Salt Lake City, 801-355-5522, DepotSLC.com
2nd place: The Urban Lounge
3rd place: The State Room

Best Ogden Club
Alleged
Adding to the revitalization movement on historic 25th Street, Alleged took over the once home of the infamous Rose Room Brothel and turned it into a badass club. They're only open three days a week, but have an amazing rooftop patio and some of the best mixed drinks in the city. If you're a local nightlife hound, this is the club you need to be seen at, the bar you need to dance at and, in true Ogden fashion, the bar you need to get kicked out of at least once. (GS)
201 25th St., Ogden, 801-900-0692, Alleged25th.com
2nd place: Funk 'n' Dive Bar
3rd place: Brewski's

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Best Open-Mic
Wiseguys
The vast majority of open-mic nights for comedians are spread across the city in unorthodox venues that often get changed or canceled last-minute. But the one constant among the mix is Wednesday nights at Wiseguys. This single night alone has given nearly every local comedian you've ever heard of a chance on a professional stage to get their start and hone their craft. That's a hell of an achievement for an open-mic night. (GS)
194 S. 400 West, Salt Lake City, 801-532-5233; 269 25th St., Ogden, 801-622-5588, WiseguysComedy.com
2nd place: Greenhouse Effect Coffee & Crepes
3rd place: The Royal

Best Park City Club
Park City Live
You could line up a dozen venues and bars all along Park City's Main Street, but none of them would compare to the constant success of Park City Live. A mainstay for amazing live shows during Sundance, the premiere concert venue for Summit County is a go-to for up-and-coming DJs, and a damn fine place to snag a drink and meet new friends between acts. (GS)
427 Main, Park City, 435-649-9123, ParkCityLive.net
2nd place: Downstairs
3rd place: No Name Saloon

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Best Pool Bar
X-Wife's Place
Pool halls in SLC are nearly nonexistent these days, but X-Wife's Place has made sure to keep the tables warm and the balls rolling for anyone looking to play. It's one of the few places where you'll find people who still know the rules to Kelly and Rotation, aren't afraid to temp trick-shots on the 9-Ball, and aren't just hanging around to shark you out of cash. It's a fun room and a fair one, but expect to get beat by the best who pop in for a night. (GS)
465 S. 700 East, Salt Lake City, 801-532-1954
2nd place: Johnny's on Second
3rd place: A Bar Named Sue

Best Sports Bar
Lumpy's
It doesn't matter the time of day, the sport you love or team you root for; Lumpy's has you covered as the single best spot to watch every sporting event in the world. They've got dozens of TVs showing everything from NBA to FIFA to MMA with great pub food and an excellent selection of beer to keep you fueled throughout the game. But if you truly want to experience Lumpy's at their finest, hit the bar during a Utes game and watch the fandom go insane on every touchdown. (GS)
145 Pierpont Ave., Salt Lake City, 801-883-8714; 3000 S. Highland Drive, Salt Lake City, 801-484-5597, LumpysBar.com
2nd place: Bout Time Pub & Grub
3rd place: Legends Sports Grill

Best Theme Night
'80s Night, Area 51
Taking over the top floor every Thursday night, Area 51 goes back three decades and throws on some of the coolest and most interesting dance hits from the '80s. Unlike other clubs that might stick to the massive pop hits of the decade, Area goes for the deep cuts and takes chances mixing INXS with Tears For Fears, or playing a mashup of The Cure with Depeche Mode. It just proves when it comes to theme nights, sometimes taking musical risks helps you stand above the rest. (GS)
451 S. 400 West, Salt Lake City, 801-534-0819, Area51SLC.com
2nd place: Cosplay Karaoke, Frankie & Johnnie's Tavern
3rd place: Spazmatics, Liquid Joe's

Best Utah Valley Club
The Madison
The Madison often gets overlooked because of the other venues that surround it, but make no mistake—it's the premiere dance club for Provo nightlife. The place goes all out to bring in local DJs both established and rising, and to give those who can't trek up north every weekend a taste of what we're enjoying. The club is proof that not only is there a party scene in conservative Utah County, but it's thriving. (GS)
295 W. Center St., Provo, 801-375-9000, Facebook.com/TheMadisonNightClub
2nd place: ABG's Libation Emporium
3rd place: Velour Live Music Gallery

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Beaver County
Best Undiscovered Ski Resort
Eagle Point
It actually is discovered—by people driving north from Las Vegas or Los Angeles, anyway. However, spoiled Wasatch Front skiers mostly have yet to encounter the pure powder, challenging back-country skiing and "close, yet remote" ski experience that Eagle Point offers. Head 18 miles east off Interstate 15 and you'll find the resort tucked up into the beautiful Tushar Mountains of central Utah.
150 S. West Village Circle, Beaver, 435-438-3700, EaglePointResort.com Hungry? Eat your fill at the historic Arshels Café in downtown Beaver.

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Box Elder County
Best Landlocked Country
Zaqistan
Boasting a giant golden squid against a red background, the official flag of the not-quite-official country of Zaqistan flies over two remote acres in northwest Box Elder County. Those acres were purchased in 2005 on eBay by Zac Landsberg, who promptly declared secession from the United States. Zaqistanis are most proud of their various commissioned art objects. Citizenship and passport information available at CUAC in Salt Lake City.
Somewhere between Montello, Nev., and the Great Salt Lake, Zaqistan.com
Thirsty? Pack your own. The No. 1 import to Zaqistan is water.

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Cache County
Best Old West History
American West
Heritage Center
Native Americans, mountain men, pioneer settlers and much more are experienced via exhibits and guided tours (and even building rentals) at this living-history facility spanning regional history dating back to 1820. Two popular annual events are the Pioneer Day Festival and the Old Ephraim Mountain Man Rendezvous held each July. Try the special Valentine's Dinner in February featuring dinner, live music, a kissing booth and a horse-drawn carriage ride.
4025 S. Highway 89-91, Wellsville, 435-245-6050, AWHC.org
Road weary? It's only 70 miles from Salt Lake City, but if you need caffeine, hit Caffe Ibis Gallery and Deli in Logan.

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Carbon County
Best Cattle Round-Up
Tavaputs Ranch
Looking to get your inner city slicker up and at 'em at a real, working cattle ranch? Assuming you can tolerate the 9,000-foot elevation—and the bone-jarring beauty that comprises the remote 10,000-acre Tavaputs Ranch—this is your chance. Tavaputs is home to some of Utah's greatest wild creatures—not just cattle, but black bear, elk, deer, hawks and eagles, too. If you're into hiking, horseback riding or ATVs, you might never find a better wedding destination.
Near Price, 435-637-1236, TavaputsRanch.com
No beef? Stop into the Cowboy Kitchen in Wellington. They have some of the best lamb in Utah.

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Daggett County
Best Spearfishing
Flaming Gorge Reservoir
We're not saying this is the best spearfishing in Utah, but the best in Daggett County is located in Manila, where the water from the Flaming Gorge Reservoir meets the road. According to state record, the biggest spearfished smallmouth bass, tipping in at 4 pounds, was caught here. A bonus: There's no limit on taking the invasive, non-native burbot, though be warned—the best chance for burbot is in the winter. Visibility ranges from 6-30 feet. How's your aim?
Highway 191, Manilla, FlamingGorgeCountry.com
Law breaker? Route through Evanston, Wyo., and stock up on some beer.

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Davis County
Best Mountain Biking
Mueller Park
With 13 miles of mountainous trails, this scenic ride is a favorite among Utah bikers and hikers. Though only minutes from downtown Salt Lake City, Mueller Park remains somewhat of a Wasatch Front secret. However, Salt Lakers can be snobs, you know. Riders (or walkers) can choose to ease the challenge by taking shorter out-and-back options. The views are jaw-dropping and the trails serene.
Mueller Park Road, Bountiful
Après Bike? Can't go wrong at Kitty Pappas Steak House on Main Street in Bountiful.

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Duchesne County
Best Old-Timey Meal
Marions Variety
Authentic soda-fountain lunch counters are few and far between. One of the best remaining in Utah is at Marions Variety in Roosevelt. Part general store, part eatery and part history lesson, Marions is sure to bring back memories of a simpler time. Milkshakes and malts are good bets, as are the burgers and sandwiches. But, unique? Try a canned soup. Yeah, it's on the menu. Yeah, it used to be a thing.
29 N. 200 East, Roosevelt, 435-722-2143
Bassorama? Wet your lures, spinners and buzzbaits at Starvation State Park.

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Emery County
Best Bouldering
San Rafael Swell
There are a number of locales in Emery County that might lay claim to some of the best bouldering anywhere. Oh, uh, bouldering is bounding upon and climbing the hell out of giant rocks and outcroppings that most of us have too much sense to try. But if you do, scores of world-class near-death experiences await in the San Rafael region. And people from all over the world do just that.
SanRafaelCountry.com/Bouldering
Jurassic Park? The Cleveland Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry is noted for its Jurassic-era dino bones.

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Garfield County
Best Hike Payoff
Calf Creek Falls
As if driving along Highway 12 wasn't stunning enough, anyone who travels southern Utah knows getting off the pavement is always better. So it is with the 6-mile round-trip hike (easy, but hot in the summer) when hikers are rewarded with a money shot to beat all: water cascading more than 200 feet over several mossy tiers into an idyllic pond that offers its bounty of cool water on tired toes. Instagram awaits.
5.8 miles out and back, Highway 12, 9 miles south of Boulder
Not a hiker? Again, the views along Highway 12 are stunning. They alone are worth the drive.

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Grand County
Best Movie Backdrop
Moab Area
If you're watching the HBO series Westworld, what you're basically seeing is a commercial for some of the most stunning scenery in Utah—that which surrounds the famous uranium-mining, river-running and bike-riding town of Moab. Dead Horse Point (Thelma and Louise died here), Fisher Towers, Castle Valley and two of our national parks—Arches and Canyonlands—loom as backdrops to nearly every outdoor Westworld scene. Bike or float if you want, but bring your camera to find Dolores and The Man in Black.
DiscoverMoab.com
Afraid of Heights? Visit Hole in The Rock, a home and trading post carved into sandstone just 12 miles south of Moab.

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Iron County
Best Odd Couple
Neil Simon Festival, Cedar City
Who'da thunk that a city slicker playwriting sophisticate would have his work memorialized during an annual festival in little ol' Cedar City, Utah? Well, Richard Bugg—a theater professor with but $500 in his pocket at the time (2002)—for one. Bugg started the Neil Simon Festival on that shoestring budget, and 15 seasons later, it's growing into one of the state's must-see events, riding nearly the same rails as did the nationally recognized Utah Shakespeare Festival in the same city. Broadway bound, indeed.
Heritage Center Theater, 150 N. 100 East, Cedar City, 435-267-0194, SimonFest.org
On Golden Pond? Navajo Lake, just 26 miles from Cedar City, is a southern Utah treasure.

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Juab County
Best Buggy Riding
Little Sahara Recreation Area
Before modern ATVs, there was the dune buggy. Though also technically an ATV, a dune buggy was at one time a more personalized mash of steel and rubber. While one doesn't see a classic buggy as often as before, as good a place to find one as any is at the 200-square-mile Little Sahara Recreation Area where buggies, ATVs and motorbikes alike rip-roar all over the shifting, soft sand dunes—a remnant gift left over from when ancient Lake Bonneville dried up.
Highway 6, 4 miles southwest of Jericho, BLM.gov
Feeling lucky? Fortunes were made and lost in the mines at Eureka. Stop for some very old Utah history on the way to Little Sahara, just 18 miles down the road.

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Kane County
Best Pay-It-Forward
Best Friends Animal Sanctuary
There's a lot to see and do in Kane County (visit old Western movie sets, delight in the town of Kanab, relax at Duck Creek), but year after year, the BFAS rises to the top of our list. Plain and simple: We love animals and BFAS does so well at loving them, too, that its reputation is national. The sanctuary offers tours, cottages, vegetarian food (natch), and a home for around 1,600 animals of every stripe needing love and a safe haven.
Angel Canyon, Kanab, 435-241-7601, BestFriends.org
Go Native. Nearby Moqui Cave offers visitors a chance to learn from 1,000-year-old Native American artifacts, plus offers the twist of a dinosaur-tracks display as well.

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Millard County
Best County Seat Name
Fillmore
Makes sense, doesn't it? To name both a county and its largest city after the U.S. president who held office when the city was founded in 1851, but whom precious few can name: Millard Fillmore, our 13th president and our country's last Whig Party president. Fillmore—the site chosen by Brigham Young due to its central location—was once the capital of the Utah Territory. The original Utah Territorial Statehouse still stands and is a major reason to visit this classic pioneer town.
Interstate 15, 145 miles south of Salt Lake City, FillmoreCity.org
Home Cookin'. Cluff's Carhop Café serves President Eisenhower-era-style meals and milkshakes.

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Morgan County
Best New Outdoor Concert Series
Blues, Brews & BBQ
It was only a matter of time before Snowbasin—home base to many Alpine events during the 2002 Winter Olympics—grew into a year-round resort in the same manner as its southern cousins, such as Snowbird and Deer Valley. And while the Blues, Brews and BBQ series isn't exactly new, it is just now growing into its ski boots. Acts this past summer included area favorites like James McMurtry and Hot Buttered Rum. The resort also features free live music each summer Sunday.
3925 E. Snowbasin Road, Huntsville, 888-437-5488, Snowbasin.com
U Pick 'Em: Driving from Ogden, hit Huntsville's Shooting Star Saloon for a burger. From SLC, do the same at Taggart's Grill.

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Piute County
Best Bank-Robber Roots
Butch Cassidy's Boyhood Home
Every Utah county east of what is now I-15 seems to lay some claim to the legacy of the famous and beloved outlaw, Butch Cassidy—born in 1866 in Beaver as Robert LeRoy Parker. The cabin in which he was raised was built several years later by his Mormon pioneer family just over the way in Piute County. From that humble start, something triggered young Butch—along with trusty sidekicks like The Sundance Kid and Kid Curry—to rob tens of thousands of dollars from Western banks. It wasn't the scenery that did it.
Highway 89, Circleville, CirclevilleUtah.org
Twofer: If you need a place to stay, try Butch Cassidy's Hideout Motel in Circleville.

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San Juan County
Best Red River
The San Juan
When discussing Utah's three notable rafting rivers, the lovely San Juan River nearly always comes in a distant third behind the Green River and the Colorado River. Could be that it's far away and too remote for many, but river guides know better. The San Juan gave birth to modern-day rafting, moves downstream deceptively fast, boasts stunning scenery, delivers riders to Native American petroglyphs, has some nice, wavy rapids and is considered a safer ride for families.
Most adventures begin in Bluff, BluffUtah.org
Red Meat: Venture to The Swingin' Steak in Mexican Hat where your meat literally rocks back and forth over the fire pit.

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Rich County
Best Summer Retreat
Bear Lake
Only two Utah counties are less populous than Rich County, but that just counts full-time residents. Check back in the summer when the jewel of Rich County—beautiful and deep blue Bear Lake—brims with second-home residents,
vacationers and weekend revelers. They relax in the abundant natural beauty of the lake, but they also come to golf, hike or bike (an easy bike trail circles the entire lake). It's noted for water sports, on which there is no limit. Plan on getting wet.
Highway 89, Garden City, BearLake.org
Broadway Beckons: Check out the always-popular local theater productions at the Pickleville Playhouse in nearby Pickleville.

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Salt Lake County
Best Star Base
Clark Planetarium
For decades, Utah school kids have marveled at the learning exhibits produced by the amazing staff at Clark Planetarium. Children today stand mesmerized at a Foucault Pendulum in the same manner that their great-grandparents did at the former Hansen Planetarium before man landed on the moon. The Hansen begat the more spacious Clark Planetarium in 2003 when the facility relocated to the Gateway, and the famous star-shows projected in the Hansen Dome Theater never miss a quark. With a recent makeover, the planetarium has its telescopes aimed at future Utah generations—perhaps those headed to Mars and beyond. An imagination factory, Clark is a very special reason to love Salt Lake County.
110 S. 400 West, Salt Lake City, 385-468-7827, ClarkPlanetarium.org
Best Salt Lake County Representative in the U.S. Congress: None.

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Sanpete County
Best Football Pipeline
Snow College
By any measure, Snow College consistently ranks as one of America's best. It's affordable. It has a high graduation rate. Former students rave, its teacher-to-student ratio is excellent—and so is its football team. After two years, many of those Badgers grow into University of Utah Utes. Here's just a short list of those gentlemen: Garett Bolles, Star Lotulelei, Matt Asiata, Sunia Tauteoli, Pasoni Tasini, Evan Moeai, plus Murray's own James Aiono and Riley Richmond. Go Badgers (and future Utes).
150 College Ave., Ephraim, 435-283-7000, Snow.edu
FORE! The 18-hole course at Palisades State Park in Sterling is one of Utah's best tracks.

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Sevier County
Best Big Macks
Fish Lake
Some of the biggest fish caught anywhere in Utah are at Fish Lake. Besides the familiar rainbows, browns and splakes (a hybrid of brook and lake trout), anglers are often surprised to learn that the lake is also a fishery for perch and pike. But everyone knows it's the lake trout—the mighty mackinaw—upon which Fish Lake stakes its claim. Though even larger macks are found at Flaming Gorge, monster-sized lake trout are the calling card of this gem of a mountain lake.
State Route 25, Richfield, FishLakeResorts.com
Fireworks: The annual Fourth of July parade in Richfield is a perfect slice of Americana pie.

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Summit County
Best Reclamation
Historic Union Pacific Rail Trail
After shuttling to the Park City region for more than 100 years, the Union Pacific Railroad abandoned the line. Utah's Division of Parks and Recreation stepped in, along with A&K Railroad Materials, and in just a few years, Utah's first non-motorized rail trail was born. By foot, horse, ski or bike, the nearly 30-mile trail offers users a scenic treat easily accessed by all residents of the Wasatch Front.
StateParks.Utah.gov
Beer here: Before or after that ride, visit Molly Bloom's Gastro Pub at Kimball Junction.

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Tooele County
Best Horseback Riding
Stansbury Mountains
Tooele County is home to many miles of the former Pony Express trail, so it only makes sense that horsemen have long valued the variety of horseback riding to be found in Tooele County. From dusty trails along the valley floor to treks high into the Oquirrh Mountains, there are plenty of options. Many consider the very best of those choices to be the varied rides in the Stansbury Range, still fairly undiscovered and always rugged, wild and beautiful.
ExploreTooele.com
Ghostbuster: The not-quite-dead town of Ophir still evokes the wild, mining West.

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Uintah County
Best High-Elevation Beer
Vernal Brewing Co.
So, so many people think microbrew pubs are only found in chic urban hoods. Not so. Evidence: Vernal Brewing Co., which not only feeds and fuels the hearty souls of Utah's coldest zones, but is also a crowd favorite at the annual Utah Beer Festival. With some of the more cleverly named beers around (Not Your Mama's Milk Stout, She's a Peach Wheat and .50 Caliber IPA), you'll easily find a matching meal before heading into the Uintas, floating the Green River or snagging a trout at Flaming Gorge.
55 S. 500 East, Vernal, 435-781-2337, VernalBrewingCo.com
For Flatlanders: Wet the lures for giant bass or bluegill at Pelican Lake, south of Vernal.

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Utah County
Best of Bob
Sundance Mountain Resort
Robert Redford has given much to Utah—notably the Sundance Film Festival. But in this corner, his greater gift is the transformation he delivered to the former Timp Haven resort after he purchased it and renamed it Sundance. Now, it's a fully developed ski-mountain and summer resort (try the zip line). Two longtime City Weekly favorites to be had at Sundance are dining in the Tree Room and imbibing at the Owl Bar. Classics.
8841 N. Alpine Loop Road, Sundance, 800-892-1600, SundanceResort.com
Best BYU Tweeter: Boney Fuller (@boneyfuller). Follow. Laugh. Repeat.

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Wasatch County
Best Hot Pot
Homestead Caldera
Remember the scene in 127 Hours when James Franco and the gals jump from a cliff ledge to a body of blue water below? That was really a natural hot-spring pool inside the Homestead Caldera and, well, a few hundred miles from where the movie was set. No matter. Scuba divers have used the crystal clear waters for lessons and diving for years, and since it's located right at the popular Homestead Resort, locals have visited this unique 10,000-year-old hot pot for nearly as long.
700 Homestead Drive, Midway, 435-654-1102, HomesteadResort.com
Great Eats: Snake Creek Grill in Heber City is consistently rated one of Utah's best eateries.

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Washington County
Best Multi-Use State Park
Sand Hollow
Ranking third in size among Utah's state parks, this valued area near St. George offers OHV riders and water-sport lovers plenty of options. The dunes that give the park its name are a magnet for those who don't mind getting some dirt in their eyes, while the waters of Sand Hollow reservoir do likewise for those who don't mind some water smearing their make-up. Golfers join the fun at nearby Sand Hollow Golf Resort.
3351 Sand Hollow Road, Hurricane, 435-680-0715, StateParks.Utah.gov
Margaritaville: Springdale's The Bit & Spur is the place to wet your whistle in Zion land.

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Wayne County
Best Rock Art
Horseshoe Canyon
We are always torn when telling others about certain Utah treasures because some people, frankly, are jerks—especially the variety that defaces the art, devaluing the culture and history of Utah's first residents. The rock art in Horseshoe is no secret, though. It's fairly easily accessed (albeit leading to a strenuous hike) and is among the finest examples of rock art in Utah including the oft-photographed Great Gallery.
NPS.gov
Aloha: The town of Loa—Hawaiian for "large and powerful"—was named by a Mormon missionary who served in Hawaii.

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Weber County
Best King Tut Legacy
Peery's Egyptian Theater
There were once more than 100 U.S. theaters inspired by and constructed in a style celebrating ancient civilizations. Grauman's Egyptian Theater in Los Angeles is the most famous of those that remain, and of that small number, Utah has two Egyptian jewels—one in Park City and one in Ogden. Ogden's Peery presents both film-centric events (like the Big Lebowski Festival) and live musical and stage performances. No matter the reason for attending, you'll be struck by the beauty of the structure and glad that is has survived.
2415 Washington Blvd., Ogden,
801-689-8700,
EgyptianTheaterOgden.com
Pick a Wife: Ogden's Own Distillery produces the popular Five Wives Vodka, resulting in the best local advertising promotion in these parts.


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