Best of Utah 2020 | The complete list of winners from our readers and staff | Best of Utah | Salt Lake City

Best of Utah 2020 

The complete list of winners from our readers and staff

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Food & Drink | Readers' Picks

Best Pizza
The Pie

The Pie is the unsung hero of many a Salt Lake student. Anyone who has graduated from the University of Utah, in particular, owes a debt of gratitude to this pizza establishment. How many late-night study sessions were fueled by pizza from The Pie? How many undergrads popped in for a quick slice in between classes? How many study groups gathered within its dimly lit walls to prepare for an upcoming exam? Maybe all that college-student cash financed The Pie's expansion to other areas of the Wasatch Front. If the world were a just place, every graduating class commencement would include a mention of gratitude for The Pie. (AS) Multiple locations, thepie.com
2. Pie Hole
3. Este Pizza

Best Donuts
Banbury Cross

As we embrace wearing sweatpants and our new remote working lives, donuts have become powerful tools for getting us out of bed in the morning. If they're Banbury Cross donuts, we might even attempt to make a good day out of it. Banbury offers literally dozens of ways to satisfy that deep-fried, sugar-dusted craving, but the cinnamon crumb donut in particular is a wonder among wonders. It has the perfect rise, giving each bite a fluffy texture that quickly melts in your mouth. The cinnamon crumb finish adds yet another layer to this donut's arsenal, making it one of the most delightful sweets one can get in our neck of the woods. (AS) 705 S. 700 East, SLC, 801-537-1433, facebook.com/BanburyCrossDonuts
2. Big O
3. Donuts and Deli

Best Burrito
Beto's Mexican Food

The burrito menu at Beto's is an accurate indicator of someone's personality. We tend to gravitate toward the Texano and machaca side of the burrito spectrum—if that describes you as well, then we're probably best friends. If you're more of a carne asada or California kind of burrito enthusiast, we'd probably collaborate well on a professional project. If you go for the fish or camarón burrito, we might start out as enemies but work our way into a grudging respect for one another. Of course, the Beto's breakfast burrito is the great equalizer—we could end worldwide conflict if everyone on the planet ate one of these at exactly the same time. (MS) Multiple locations, betosmexicanfood.com 2. Albertos
3. Lone Star Taqueria

Best French Fries
Bruges Belgian Bistro

For years, french fries have been relegated to the sidelines while burgers and chicken fingers got the main dish treatment, but that was before Bruges. While it's home to a number of other tasty creations, the fries—or frites—at Bruges can stand proudly as a meal in and of themselves. It's the twice-fried approach combined with the wide range of dipping sauces that make the Bruges frites so delightful. For a true frites experience, one must experience the Machine Gun sandwich, in which those famous frites are stuffed into a baguette with lamb sausage and spicy andalouse sauce. (AS) Multiple locations, brugeswaffles.com
2. Spitz
3. Crown Burger

Best Food Truck
Cluck Truck

What's the secret to winning the award for Best Food Truck? Apparently it involves locally sourced chicken brined for 24 hours then dredged in corn flakes and special spices, which is exactly how Cluck Truck preps their deliciously moist chicken tenders before rolling them up in a variety of wraps, like the Hawaiian or Buffalo, with homemade sauces and slaws. Don't forget a side of garlic Parmesan fries! (MW) roaminghunger.com/the-cluck-truck-ut
2. Waffle Love
3. Fácil

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Best Brewery
Fisher Brewing Co.

There are many ways to create a successful business model. But it takes real insight to find a formula that fires on all cylinders. Fisher fans not only find the beer delicious, they also clamber for the cozy, open-air industrial brewhouse that enhances the drinking experience. Combine that with a neighborly staff and a philosophy that encourages stewardship of public lands, and you've got a prosperous, home-grown craft beer watering hole that any community-minded person would be a fool to pass by. (MR) 320 W. 800 South, SLC, 801-487-2337, fisherbeer.com
2. Shades Brewing
3. TF Brewing

Best Seafood
Current

With a focus on sustainability, chef Alan Brines offers up some of Salt Lake's finest seafood, including oysters on the half shell, grilled halibut with saffron cream and quite possibly the world's best fish stew in a coconut lemongrass broth. Save room for dessert; award-winning pastry chef Amber Billingsley makes a killer flourless chocolate torte topped with tahini caramel and apricot spice pureé. (MW) 279 E. 300 South, SLC, 801-326-3474, currentfishandoyster.com
2. Market Street
3. Harbor

Best Appetizers
Eva

The greatest thing about date night in Eva's intimate dining space is that anything on the menu can be considered an appetizer. With a focus on small plates, highlights like the oink, oink, oink—pork belly, pork loin and bacon-wrapped garlic with celery-apple salad, mustard vinaigrette and cambozola—and fried cauliflower with whipped ricotta are meant to be shared, alongside a specialty cocktail. (MW) 371 S. Main, SLC, 801-359-8477, evaslc.com
2. HSL

3. Provisions

Best Local Spirit
Five Wives Vodka

The Ogden distillery that built its business on the herbal spirit Underground breathed new life into their brand in 2011 with the introduction of Five Wives Vodka. It's made from water that comes from a hidden spring in Ogden Canyon, inaccessible to motorized vehicles and physically hiked out five gallons at a time. City Weekly readers obviously love the clean taste and the fact that this special spirit is 100% distilled from corn, making this 80-proof vodka gluten-free as well. No wonder it's one of the state's best-selling brands. (MR) 615 W. Stockman Way, Ogden, 801-458-1995, fivewivesvodka.com
2. High West Campfire
3. Salt City Vodka

Best New Food Trend
Ghost Kitchens
Ghost kitchens began trending even before COVID restaurant closures—among Utah's first was the Greek Tyrant. The pandemic, however, has helped the concept skyrocket as a way to provide diners with ever-expanding takeout/delivery options without the need for indoor seating or even a brick-and-mortar operation. Notable names like Ghost Sushi, Tandooria, Mad Dough and Silver Moon Taqueria operating out of the Ballpark area's ComCom Kitchen (67 W. 1700 South, SLC, 801-694-2390, comcomkitchen.com) are all ghost concepts worth checking out. (MW)
2. Takeout
3. Banana Bread

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Best Local Beer
Kiitos Brewing

Kiitos Brewing saw their popularity blossom when they launched their Coconut Stout and Coffee Cream Ale, now staples on most bar taps. They have a plethora of other year-round beers—if you're new to the craft-brewery game, go with something easy like a blonde ale, amber or pilsner. If you want to give your taste buds a kick, try out their imperial stout or double IPA. (MS) 608 W. 700 South, SLC, 801-215-9165, kiitosbrewing.com
2. Uinta
3. Shades

Best Gyros
Greek Souvlaki

When you advertise the best gyros in Utah, it's nice to have the cred to back your claim, and readers agreed that Greek Souvlaki is the real deal. Maybe it's the warm, fluffy pita bread and house-made tzatziki, or perhaps the rotisserie lamb and beef, slow cooked to perfection. Whatever you like most about that first bite, don't forget to order a side of fries and tuck a few of them inside your gyro like a true Greek. (MW) Multiple locations, greeksouvlaki.com
2. Local Greek
3. Yanni's

Best Distillery
High West Distillery

Utah's original post-Prohibition distillery put the Beehive State on the world's whiskey scene when it debuted with Top Ten honors at the 2008 San Francisco World Spirits competition. Since then, they can claim shelf space in bars and restaurants all over the globe, multiple coveted awards, the world's first ski-in "gastro-distillery" and the world-renowned distillery at the Blue Sky Ranch in Wanship. From bourbon to rye-barrel finished cocktails to Silver Whisky, it's no wonder City Weekly readers cherish this distillery above all others. (MR) Multiple locations, highwest.com
2. Ogden's Own
3. Sugar House Distillery

Best Ramen
Jinya Ramen Bar

This Japanese import has been making waves and plans for rapid expansion since it arrived in Sugar House a few years ago. Their black-and-red tonkotsu ramen are the stars of the Jinya menu, and their Sprouting-up Ramen with crispy Brussels sprouts, kikurage and tender pork belly is a lovely take on the traditional ramen recipe. I'm always a sucker for their different wonton ramens. Of course, if ramen isn't what you're craving (weirdo), you can always try out Jinya's mini tacos served in crispy wonton shells. When the weather starts to cool down, we're pretty quick to thank our lucky stars that a ramen joint like Jinya isn't too far away. (AS) Multiple locations, jinyaramenbar.com
2. Tosh's Ramen

3. Yoko Ramen

Best Burgers
Lucky 13

From the peanut butter-slathered Nut Butter burger to the foot-high Big Benny, Lucky 13 has always had something for everyone. With a killer variety of crowd-pleasing burgers, sandwiches, sides and salads, it's not the biggest surprise that this local favorite has added yet another Best of Utah notch to its belt. With the recent opening of Lucky's Iron Door Roadhouse in West Jordan, burger-loving Utahns have twice the opportunity to get some of the state's best burgers along with a wide variety of craft beers and cocktails. If meat slapped between two buns is at all your thing, Lucky 13 is a must. (AS) 135 W. 1300 South, SLC, 801-487-4418, lucky13slc.com
2. Proper Burger
3. Crown Burger

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Best Sandwiches
Moochie's Meatballs & More

In a world of excellent sandwiches, it's tough to find something better than a meatball and provolone or a Philly cheesesteak. Our local sandwich heroes at Moochie's have found a way to corner the market on both while remaining true to their sloppy spirit. A sandwich at Moochie's is always a battle to distract yourself from savoring the hot, melty goodness in your hands for long enough to make sure none of it ends up on your shirt. Before you dig into one of these famous creations, stock up on napkins and make sure to snag a bottle of their signature jalapeño mayo for liberal application to each marvelous bite. (AS) Multiple locations, moochiesmeatballs.com
2. Caputo's Market and Deli
3. Feldman's Deli

Best Catering
LUX Catering and Events

There will come a day when COVID is behind us and we can all sit down together again. When that day arrives, you'll want a quality caterer like LUX Catering and Events. Whether you're hosting a charity event, wedding or business meeting, they provide award-winning menus, decor, floral arrangements and bar services to match every mood, with an eye for design that's sure to create a memorable experience for your guests. (MW) 1578 S. 300 West, SLC, 801-466-2537, luxcateringandevents.com
2. Tilted Cup
3. Blended Table

Best Hard Cider
Mountain West

When Jeff Carlton and Jennifer Hamilton relocated to SLC from Pennsylvania, they were taken aback by the lack of local hard ciders available to Utahns. Mountain West Hard Cider became a sleek and modern cidery that immediately became a staple of Salt Lake's emerging Marmalade neighborhood, creating ciders of all stripes, including some that feature hops and others aged in whiskey barrels. City Weekly readers have also embraced Mountain West for The Garten, an outdoor patio styled like a modern beer and cider garden. (MR) 425 N. 400 West, SLC, 801-935-4147, mountainwestcider.com

Best Culinary School
Park City Culinary Institute

From basic classes such as knife skills to graduate-level courses in exotic international cuisines, the Park City Culinary Institute has been helping chefs of all levels be all that they can be. This hub of gastronomic higher education hasn't missed a beat since going virtual with their famous cooking classes, giving home chefs the ability to practice their skills in their own kitchens. For those seeking a career in the culinary arts, PCCI offers certification programs in baking and cuisine both in-person and online. In short, PCCI has become a bastion of culinary enlightenment for chefs and bakers of all skill levels. (AS) 1484 S. State, SLC, 801-413-2800, parkcityculinaryinstitute.com
2. UVU
3. SLCC

Best BBQ
R&R Barbecue

It didn't take long for this food festival favorite to carve out a sizable piece of barbecue turf along the Wasatch Front. R&R started out as the brainchild of two competitive barbecue aficionados who put their smoked ribs, brisket and pulled pork up against some of our nation's finest and came away with a wide range of accolades. Having proven itself against the old guards of Memphis and Texas barbecue, R&R fired up their smokers full-time to keep Utah's barbecue craving satiated. If there's a smoked meat on the menu, chances are it'll be the best you've ever had. (AS) Multiple locations, randrbbq.com
2. Pat's Barbecue
3. SugarHouse BBQ

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Best Salads
Spitz

How do you win the Best of Utah award for Best Salads when you really only have one salad on the menu? You make sure it's the doner salad from Spitz: to-die-for balsamic or lemon herb dressings (and pita strips to dip in it), crispy garbanzo beans and fried lavash chips, cool tzatziki and cucumbers, plus all the staples like tomato, green onion, carrots, olives, pepperoncinis and a crumble of feta atop a bed of romaine and cabbage. Now that's a salad! (MW) Multiple locations, spitzrestaurant.com
2. Cafe Zupas
3. Cafe Rio

Best Chicken Dish
Pretty Bird

Whether you're getting your fried chicken dolled up with coleslaw and served up on a bun with some crinkle-cut fries or scarfing down a quarter bird doused with hot sauce like a Nashville savage, your fried chicken dreams come true at Pretty Bird. Housed within its cozy Regent Street space, the Pretty Bird team has dedicated itself to the pursuit of near-perfect Nashville hot chicken. Anyone familiar with this Southern favorite knows that Pretty Bird is serving up the good stuff. It's crispy and liberally spiced on the outside while remaining tender and juicy on the inside every time and maxing out the heat levels with the hot behind is a fiery adventure that we've been happy to take. (AS) 146 Regent St., SLC, prettybirdchicken.com
2. The Cluck Truck
3. Curry Fried Chicken

Best Cookies
Ruby Snap

At Salt Lake's original prestige cookie shop, the lovely "ladies" of Ruby Snap are expertly crafted celebrations of the cookie—one of the world's most celebrated desserts. Each pinup girl-inspired cookie at Ruby Snap embodies sophistication, adventure, danger and just a little bit of hot, hot heat—and it's nearly impossible to be satisfied with just one. Luckily, the team at Ruby Snap is considerate of this reality, and they make it easy to walk away with a few dozen at a time. If you ever do find yourself in this situation and are looking to make a few boxes disappear, feel free to bring them by the office. We're helpful like that. (AS) 770 S. 300 West, SLC, 801-834-6111, rubysnap.com
2. Crumbl
3. Goodly

Best Soups
Soup Kitchen

It takes a special kind of gift to make exceptional soup. Here is a food that has been with us since humans first learned how to boil water, and yet the team at Soup Kitchen have managed to turn that humble staple into something singular and craveable. Cliché as it sounds, the love that the Soup Kitchen has for its namesake is what gives each bowl of hot, satisfying goodness its appeal. Of course, their lax rules on how many breadsticks you can pile on your tray with each purchase makes a big difference as well. (AS) Multiple locations, slcsoup.com
2. Cafe Zupas
3. Porcupine Pub and Grille

Best Sushi / Best Japanese Restaurant
Takashi

As a precautionary measure, Takashi has been take-out only since the summer. That hasn't stopped customers from naming them Best Sushi and Best Japanese Restaurant for the umpteenth time. Even if it's served in a to-go container, Takashi's rolls are the best in town. The Sunshine Roll travels well, a tasty blend of salmon, lemon, cucumber, avocado and spicy sauce. (MS) 18 W. Market St., SLC, 801-519-9595, takashisushi.com
Best Sushi Runners-up
2. Sapa Sushi Bar & Asian Grill
3. Tona Sushi Bar & Grill
Best Japanese Restaurant Runners-up
2. Kyoto Japanese Restaurant
3. Sapa Sushi Bar & Asian Grill

Best Tacos
Taqueria 27

Before Taqueria 27 arrived on the scene, the idea of a taco and tequila bar was relatively unknown to most locals. Now that it's expanded its reach and demonstrated the true, unifying potential of duck confit tacos and imported tequila, things will never be the same. Sure, Taqueria 27 has plenty of tacos ideal for carnivores, but their vegetarian options are just as tasty. Grilled pears and roasted beets, portobello mushrooms, tomatillo salsa and roasted peppers are all on the menu, creating a taco paradise that diners from all walks of life can enjoy. On top of their already stellar menu, the taco and fresh fish of the day are enough to pique the taco lover's curiosity. (AS) Multiple locations, taqueria27.com
2. Taco Taco
3. Lone Star Taqueria

Best Ethnic/Specialty Market
Tony Caputo's Market and Deli

There's a reverence toward food within the walls of Tony Caputo's that is scarce in most religious buildings. It's not the kind of reverence that excludes the novitiate, nor is it the kind that demands some sort of penance to be truly experienced. It's the kind of reverence that exists when passionate people converge upon an ideal and genuinely want to share it with others. Perhaps this is why Caputo's offers high-brow classes on chocolate appreciation and cheese connoisseurship, delivered with enthusiasm and consideration. Every person who ends up taking food seriously in one way or another always finds their way here, and Caputo's welcomes them with open arms. (AS) Multiple locations, caputos.com
2. Black Cherry Mediterranean Market
3. Ocean Mart

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Best Brewpub
Squatters

Nobody had made beer in Salt Lake City since Lucky Lager closed up their west-side brewery in 1967. The thirsty folks of SLC would have to wait 22 more years for Jeff Polychronis and Peter Cole to open Squatters Brewpub in 1987, exposing the people of the capital city to beer styles they thought had long gone extinct. Many craft beer players have come and gone over the past 33 years, but when it comes to classic beers in a wholly familiar surrounding, no place other than Squatters will fit the bill. (MR) Multiple locations, squatters.com
2. Red Rock Brewing
3. Wasatch Brewery

Best Wings
Trolley Wing Co.

Consistently earning the prestigious title of Best Wings in Utah year after year, Trolley Wing Co. is a crowd favorite, in part due to the endless combinations you can concoct among 17 flavor options and four heat levels. Are you a sweet-and-spicy red-chili Szechuan lover? Or perhaps a more mild garlic-honey BBQ? Traditional, but make it atomic? However you like 'em (there are vegan wings, too), order an extra basket—they'll go fast! (MW) Multiple locations, trolleywingco.com
2. Wing Coop
3. Wing Nutz

Best Vegan
Vertical Diner

Vertical Diner's greatest success in the field of plant-based dining was shattering the myth that vegan food was stuffy and starched—like the Amish of the culinary world. After downing a plate of dude cakes and a chocolate sundae, it becomes clear that plant-based cooking could be just as comforting, fun and satisfying as anything else. It's a restaurant that also set the stage for Salt Lake's surprisingly diverse plant-based food scene—Vertical Diner's success established the demand, and we have all kinds of great plant-based eateries as a result. Thanks to Vertical Diner and its use of foods like nutritional yeast and tempeh, previously narrow-minded foodies have a whole new perspective on plant-based eating. (AS) 234 W. 900 South, SLC, 801-484-8378, verticaldiner.com
2. Zest Kitchen and Bar
3. Buds Sandwich Shop

Best Liquor Selection
Whiskey Street

Aptly named, Whiskey Street's stockpile of imported bourbons; ryes; and American, Irish and Scotch whiskeys is well in the hundreds. The bottles are shelved and backlit, overarching a 70-foot bar, creating an old-time yet modern feel and ambiance. Whiskey Street has the classic cocktails and creative in-house selections created by their top-shelf bartenders. (MS) 323 S. Main, SLC, 801-433-1371, whiskeystreet.com
2. Lake Effect
3. Water Witch

Best Bar Menu
White Horse

A modern American brasserie, White Horse hits it out of the park in everything from shared plates, snacks, sandwiches and steaks. The Egg 'n' Chips—potato chips, 63-degree egg, malt vinegar powder and truffle—are a must try, as is the bacon and jalapeno Mac 'n' Cheese. The sweet-toothers are sure to enjoy the bourbon butterscotch pudding. (MS) 325 S. Main, SLC, 801-363-0137, whitehorseslc.com
2. Purgatory
3. Piper Down


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Food & Drink | Staff Picks

Best Reason to Rise and Shine
Hruska's Kolaches

There's a case to be made for hibernating until 2020 is over but that would mean missing out on the ultimate comfort food: Hruska's Kolaches. Baked fresh daily using a scratch-made dough recipe inspired by their great grandmother, siblings Ross, Cory and Devin fill their kolaches with fillings like homemade jam and hand-mixed sausage. Get 'em while they're hot; Hruska's is open Monday–Saturday until noon or sell out, whichever happens first. (MW) Multiple locations, hruskaskolaches.com

Best All-Natural Latte Love
Affogato West

How can you not love a place that has the best-tasting lattes and owners who support the community any way they can? They also make many of their ingredients In-house and avoid using high-fructose corn syrup, artificial colors, dyes and flavorings. The balance between the coffee's sweetness and bitterness ("love and chaos") is on point, because we all still love that coffee flavor! (ML&CL) 214 N. 1000 East, St. George, 435-922-1049, affogatowest.com

Best Slice of Italy
Centro Pizza

With one of the best margherita pizzas we've had in a while, it's hard not to feel like you've just stepped into a restaurant on the other side of the world. These pizzas are light enough to forgo the pizza food coma and made with quality seasonal ingredients sourced from local farmers. There's also something to be said about their specialty pizzas (i.e., the Dolce Diavola). It's a must try! (ML&CL) 50 W. Center St., Cedar City, 435-867-8123, centropizzeria.com

Best Onion Rings
Crown Burger

It's not difficult to find a decent burger in Utah, so sometimes the decision of where to go comes down to side orders, and Crown Burger takes the prize with their homemade, golden-fried, perfectly crunchy onion rings. You won't find obnoxiously thick beer batter or over-size onion slices that can't hold onto their coating at this family-owned Greek establishment, but instead the perfect accoutrement to famous pastrami burgers and gyros—don't forget the fry sauce. (MW) Multiple locations, crown-burgers.com

Best Meat Lovers Paradise Burger
Cultivate Craft Kitchen

This locally sourced restaurant is paving the way for Draper to enjoy farm-to-table. Cultivate's menu changes with the seasons, utilizing foods harvested at their peak. Choose from a variety of burger types on offer, but you won't go wrong ordering the brisket burger with brie cheese and white BBQ sauce—an incredibly delicious spin on a burger, from (top) bun to (bottom) bun. (ML&CL) 12234 S. Draper Gate Drive, Ste. 105, Draper, 801-274-4230. cultivatecraftkitchen.com

Feldman's Matzo Ball Soup
  • Feldman's Matzo Ball Soup

Best Use of Schmaltz
Feldman's Deli's Matzo Ball Soup

Schmaltz, or chicken fat, is a must-have ingredient for matzo ball soup, which is a must-have soup for anything that ails you—even if your ailment is just 2020 in general. At Jewish deli Feldman's, owners Michael and Janet Feldman make each bowl with a massive, fluffy matzo ball surrounded by large bites of roasted chicken, tender carrots and celery and a stick-to-your soul broth that will have you slurping up every last spoonful. (MW) 2005 E. 2700 South, Salt Lake City, 801-906-0369, feldmansdeli.com

Best Boba Break
Ding Tea

Getting tired of your usual boba order and love unique toppings to completely change the flavor? Boba is a Taiwanese invention, and these drinks come straight from the source, providing high-quality tea. With so many tasty options—from cheese foam to coffee jelly—you can shake up your boba order every day. (ML&CL) Multiple locations, dingtea.club/locations

Best Noods
Hong Kong Banjum

The variety of noodlery in Utah has seen an uptick in recent years, which is nothing but good news. While there are many strong contenders in this category, the jajangmyeon at West Valley's Hong Kong Banjum gets my vote. On paper, it sounds deceptively simple—homemade ramen noodles doused in a lustrous black bean sauce—but the more you eat, the more you realize this is a recipe that has been in the making for generations. It's the kind of food that tickles triggers of comfort-food oxytocin no matter what you grew up eating. Anyone who takes comfort in the warm, slippery presence of high-quality noodles, needs to give this stuff a try. (AS) 3513 Constitution Blvd., Ste. 100, West Valley, 385-900-8607

Best Fondue
Kimi's Chop & Oyster House

Stylish and modern, with warmth and charm, Kimi's has consistently provided fine dining on par with or even better than any snooty eatery striving for diamonds or stars. We were a fan of Kimi Eklund's first place, Absolute!, and then Dijon, but we're totally nuts about her fondue here at Kimi's Chop and Oyster House. It's not too thick, and the cheeses are a special blend that make us weep with joy. (BDL) 2155 S. Highland Drive, SLC, 801-946-2079, kimishouse.com

Best Takeout to Eat in the Park
Laan Na Thai

This mom-and-pop shop brings you no nonsense Thai cuisine in a counter takeout format. Across from the newly renovated Pioneer Park, the lunch/dinner combo is the closest you'll ever get to fast-food Thai. These first-generation immigrants dreamed of bringing the very best flavors from their home, and the result is a quick, flavorful food that can be eaten anywhere. (ML&CL) 336 W. 300 South, SLC, 801-363-2717

Best Pockets of Sunshine to Uplift Your Weekday
Mad Dough

These Bismark-style doughnuts are inspired by the cook's favorite childhood treat. Filled with four unique flavors every week, these delicious pillows of goodness can instantly launch you into nostalgia-land. Everything from the dough to the filling is fresh and is bound to put a smile on your face. (ML&CL) 67 W. 1700 South, SLC, maddoughslc.com

Best Kabob-e Jujeh
The Med

Serving up Old World Mediterranean cuisine for two decades, family-owned restaurant The Med and its eclectic decor are just the thing to satisfy your need to get out of the house while still making you feel at home. Head straight for the kabob-e jujeh, lemon-and-herb marinated chicken skewers cooked to juicy perfection atop a bed of basmati rice with roasted tomato, warm pita bread and a bracing bite of raw onion. (MW) 420 E. 3300 South, SLC, 801-493-0100, medslc.com

Best Rachel (Not From Friends)
Road Island Diner's Rachel

Whether you call it a turkey Reuben or a Rachel, the historic Road Island Diner in Oakley does it right with house-marinated, roasted turkey breast carved and piled high on toasted rye with sauerkraut, swiss and Thousand Island. Try it with a side of potato salad (whole grain mustard is the secret ingredient) and save room for a treat from the soda fountain. (MW) 981 W. Weber Canyon Road, Oakley, 435-783-3467, roadislanddiner.com

Best Vietnamese Weekend Specials
Saigon Sandwiches

There's much more to Vietnamese cuisine than pho and banh mi. Treat yourself to a delicious Vietnamese special each weekend, one you've probably not tried in Salt Lake before. Savory dishes include bun cha (grilled pork meatballs with noodles, the same dish that the late Anthony Bourdain slurped with President Obama in Hanoi) and bún riêu cua, a savory stew served with tomato broth and topped with minced freshwater crab. Quite a flavor overload from an unassuming Sandy strip mall. (JW) 8528 S. 1300 East, Sandy, 801-281-7400, saigonsandwich.me

Best Hangover Cure
Sensei + The Hero at Vive Juicery

Now that every day feels like a Friday (or what day is it even?), it's easy to get carried away with cocktails. Balance out your bad decisions with the one-two punch of Vive Juicery's Sensei, an alkaline charcoal lemonade to purify toxins and soothe your stomach with lemon, ginger and honey, followed by The Hero, electrolyte-packed coconut water with chia seeds, pineapple, pear and grapefruit to get you back to 100% in a jiffy. (MW) 1597 S. 1700 East, SLC, 801-875-8923, vivejuicery.com

Best 'Crustacular' Pizza
Slackwater Pizzeria and Pub

These large pizzas carry the most amazing crust that's so irresistible, it's hard to not call this a personal pizza. With a hint of sweetness in every bite, this dough is harmony between the classic-crust meets deep-dish pizza. Each pie has distinct sauces and toppings—you're sure to find one that fits your mood. (ML&CL) 1895 Washington Blvd., Ogden, 801-399-0637; 10290 S. State, Sandy, 801-930-5147; slackwaterpizzeria.com

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Best Wiener
Porky's Kauai

Hot dogs are one of those foods that get a bad rap, even though a bad one is still pretty good, all things considered. Those who doubt the culinary excellence of this humble sausage delivery system only have to visit Porky's Kauai. Their pineapple sausage topped with kalua pork and pineapple relish will make you into a wiener believer. It's a soulful, smoky, sweet mess of a meal, and it goes perfectly with their house macaroni salad. A visit requires a trek through the mess of 1-15 construction through Lehi, but this Hawaiian import is well worth the risk. (AS) 785 E. 200 South, Lehi, 801-803-3783, porkyskauai.com

Best Grocery Store Cookie Selection
The Store

From Reese's peanut-butter-cup cookies to an oatmeal cookie that brims with raisins, The Store is the perfect place to complement staple purchases with a bit of sugary sin. "Our cookies are baked fresh every day, all day. It's almost always possible to get a warm cookie," says Whitney Jackson, bakery assistant. Utah Jazz radio voice David Locke touted the "mudslide"—chocolate on chocolate with chocolate chips—on his radio show. Locke's promotion inspired The Store to add mudslide ingredients to its mocha ice cream. Ten dozen of the Grand Royale cookies, featuring macadamia nuts, chocolate chips, and coconut, are baked fresh daily. Grand Royale is also now an ice cream flavor. The Cutler's peanut-butter cookie features peanut-butter chips along with healthy swaths of both peanut butter and chocolate frosting—pure decadent heaven. (CC) 2050 E. 6200 South, SLC, 801-272-1212; 90 S. Rio Grande, SLC, 385-213-7900; thestoreutah.com

Best Family Meal Takeout
Vessel Kitchen

Even though Vessel Kitchen has been proudly doling out a menu of tasty and healthy fast-casual cuisine, my ever-growing need for non-pizza takeout options during the pandemic led me to seek them out. Their family meal option is a lifesaver for when existential dread has sapped the will to cook from your bones but you also want to feel like a responsible parent for including more vegetables in your kid's diet—not that I know what that's like or anything. These family combos consist of a protein like braised beef with cumin, paprika and rosemary or roast chicken with a ras el hanout dry rub along with three sides like ratatouille and roasted Brussels sprouts. There's something tasty and healthy for everybody. (AS) Multiple locations, vesselkitchen.com

Best Unique Spirits
Holystone Distilling

When entering a market with a new product, a serious challenge is finding a niche. Holystone Distilling's answer was to not only find a niche, but to produce new products. Their Bosun's Navy Strength gin comes in at a battleship worthy 114 proof. Perla is Utah's first grape-based vodka. Our state's first absinthe comes from Holystone (Apparition Absinthe Verte), and Tsunami Shochu is another first, with roots in Japan, made with koji, barley and rice. All that niche marketing is easier because each product comes inside a gorgeous Holystone bottle. (MS) 207 W. 4860 South, SLC, 503-328-4356, holystonedistilling,com

Best Ogden Beer Selection
Angry Goat Pub & Kitchen

Ogden's craft brewery scene is on the rise. Rooster's on 25th Street expanded into a second location on B Street, while UTOG, Zolupez and Talisman recently opened up. You can find their products and most other local beers on tap at "The Bayou of the North," aka Angry Goat Pub, which boasts a selection of over 200 brews in stock. (MS) 2570 Washington Blvd., Ogden, 801-675-5757, AngryGoatPK.com

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Best Local Beer King
Craft by Proper

The Proper Brewing group is as innovative as they come; all of their three entries into the Utah beer market are markedly different in appeal. Their latest Craft by Proper notches it up, though, by emphatically selling only Utah brews. Besides their own notable beers, CBP pours dozens of Utah only beers with scores more available in can or bottle. Can't make it to Tooele for Bonneville, Utah County for Strap Tank, Ogden for UTOG in one day? You can taste all of them easily at just one trip to Craft by Proper. Leave room for 2 Row, Shades, Hopkins, RoHa, Bewilder, Mountain West, Wasatch, Park City Brewing ... and the rest. (MS) 1053 E. 2100 South, SLC, 385-242-7186, craftbyproper.com

Best Sausage on Your Doorstep
Beltex Meats Butcher's Box Service

Did someone say sausage fest? Beltex Meats delivers the goods right to your front porch on the weekends, along with in-store purchases. The butcher shop hand selects the meat from a variety of Utah producers, and they offer all the classic cuts and use the whole animal—nothing goes to waste. Check their website for zip code delivery availability. (MS) 511 E. 900 South, SLC, 801-532-2641, BeltexMeats.com

Best Ogden Brew Addition
Rooster's B Street Brewing Co. & Taproom

While Salt Laker's have been blessed for decades with multiple brew pubs and breweries, they haven't been exactly sitting still in Ogden, either. Besides Ogden boasting its own growing A-List of breweries, a 25th Street landmark, Rooster's Brewing recently expanded into Layton and, in 2019, expanded again but closer to their roots. Their new digs are at a new development that also houses Ogden's Own Distillery. There you'll find all the great food and beer faves from the noted Rooster's menu, plus being able to do so on their fine outdoor patio. (MS) 2325 B Ave., Ogden, 801-689-2879, roostersbrewingco.com

Best Beers That Don't Taste Like Beer
Shades Brewing

Breweries know that they have the attention of beer fans; it's the beer-averse folks they'd really like to woo. The brewery that has found the most success at bridging the gap between the lovers and haters of beer is Shades Brewing. From cobblers to pies, Thai and Indian dishes to smoothies, Shades' brew crew has developed an ale that will blow the minds of any adult beverage drinker. No flavor combination is out of bounds, including dill pickles. Yes, pickles. (MR) 154 W. Utopia Ave., South Salt Lake, shadesbrewing.beer

Best Adult Beverage Hat-Trick
Silver Reef Brewing Co.

It's not unusual to see local breweries delve into other aspects of the adult beverage market. There's growing momentum to enhance alcohol production from beer to spirits. St. George's Silver Reef Brewing Co. has taken things a step farther, which crowns them kings of the adult-beverage trifecta. Not only do they produce beer and spirits, they have also acquired their own Utah-based vineyard and are currently making chardonnays, pinot grigios and a sangiovese. What's next? Mead? (MR) 4391 S. Enterprise Drive, St. George, 435-216-1050, stgeorgebev.com

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Best First & Last Stop
Strap Tank Brewery

When Strap Tank Brewery, Utah County's first licensed brewery in about 100 years, opened in Springville, it gave people a reason to linger in Utah County. The only downside was that unless you were heading to points farther south, it was quite the drive. But now they've opened in Lehi, meaning that Strap Tank has you covered on both ends of the county—north and south. Heading to Moab? You first stop in Lehi, then again at the Springville location. Coming home? Do it in reverse. Great beer and food on one strip of Interstate 15. Perfect. (MS) 596 S. 1750 West, Springville, 385-325-0262; 3661 N. Outlet Parkway, Lehi, 385-352-8194, straptankbrewery.com

Best Hand-Crafted Spirits
Sugar House Distillery

Where once there were no local distilleries in this high and dry desert, Utah is now home to kegs of craft spirit makers. In beautiful metal stills, the artisans of Sugar House Distillery tend over their specialty small batches of bourbon, rye, malt and vodka with ever proudful eye, an attribute born of the dedicated eye of founder James Fowler. The result? Awards and lots of them. In 2020, their accolades include a Double Gold for their single malt whisky, a Gold for their bourbon and a Silver award for their silver rum from the heralded The Fifty Best spirits competition. (MS) 2212 S. West Temple, No. 14, SLC, 801-726-0403, sugarhousedistillery.net

Best Last Meal on Earth
Bambara Steak Frites

Absence really does make the heart grow fonder. Because the restaurant was temporarily shuttered due to COVID-19, Bambara lovers pined for chef Nathan Powers' dishes, most notably the steak and herbed frites with cipollini onions and a browned butter bearnaise. Now that they're back in business, your dinner awaits, alongside a glass of Turley Dusi Vineyard zinfandel '17 and maybe one of Bambara's famous cookies for dessert. (MW) 202 S. Main, SLC, 801-363-5454, bambara-slc.com

Best Coffee App
Beans & Brews

With over 50 locations in Utah, Beans & Brews Coffeehouse is catching up to the more pervasive Seattle-based mermaid brand. We all know which cuppa is superior, too. Aside from serving us better joe, our local chain built a COVID-friendly app way before it was cool to be contactless. The Beans & Brews app allows customers to order in advance to have at the ready when pulling up to their many drive-thrus, making the seemingly long lines clear up quickly to get us on with our day. On top of that, it tracks your purchases like the traditional coffee stamp cards, but in this case, you'll never lose your rewards the next time you clean your car. (MS) Multiple locations, beansandbrews.com

Best Way to Have Your Beer and Eat It, Too
Bohemian Brewery's Pilsner-Battered Fish & Chips

Fish and chips fans, this one's for you! Bohemian Brewery doesn't cut corners when it comes to their pub fare fave, hand dipping cold-water halibut (or salmon, should you prefer) in house pilsner batter and frying it to golden perfection. Served up with garlic fries, house remoulade (tartar sauce in layman's terms) and creamy coleslaw, all you have to do is decide which of their dozen-plus beers you'll choose to wash it all down. (MW) 94 E. Fort Union Blvd., Midvale, 801-566-5474, bohemianbrewery.com

Diversions Poutine
  • Diversions Poutine

Best Poutine
Diversion Poutine

Depending on where you are reading this in Utah, you're roughly 700 miles from the Canadian border. We're here to tell you that you need only go to the chic Marmalade district to snag Canada-famous poutine right here in Utah. A lot of places get it right, many get it wrong. At Diversion, you'll find yourself a perfect bite. Pair it with some suds and you're set. (MS) 535 N. 300 West, SLC, 801-657-7326, diversioneatery.com

Best Gnocchi
Caffé Molise

Where other Italian restaurants have tried and fallen short, Caffé Molise makes gnocchi the way your nonna used to. Don't have a nonna? No matter; drop by Caffé Molise's new (and beautifully renovated) downtown location for gnocchi di patate, pillowy potato and semolina dumplings ladled with fresh tomato cream, basil and toasted pine nuts. (MW) 404 S. West Temple, SLC, 801-364-8833, caffemolise.com

Best 'Drain the Tank' Beers
Desert Edge Brewery

Desert Edge first opened its doors almost 50 years ago, when it served cheap Coors to college students. After many years of evolution, the Trolley Square pub and brewery has transformed into a family-friendly affair with many tasty craft beers. With their kegs brimming with delicious ale, Brewmaster Chad Krusell wants to "drain the tanks" for a special offering of $2 14-ounce glass brews and $8 growler refills. (MS) 273 Trolley Square, SLC, 801-521-8917, desertedgebrewery.com

Best Eggplant Parm
Fratelli Ristorante

They're brothers, hence the name "Fratelli," Italian for brothers. Co-owners Pete and Dave have grown up in the restaurant industry and are all about keeping it real, using house sauces, fresh ingredients and family recipes. They've just moved the restaurant to a brand-spanking new location in Sandy, where they're serving up their spectacular Italian dishes, including their eggplant Parmesan. Made with Grandmother Mary's recipe, its luscious layers of eggplant, spinach, mozzarella, Parmesan and marinara are a standout. If you'd prefer not to dine-in, check out the full-service deli and espresso and gelato bars. There's something for every hunger pang. Squisito! (JW) 8612 S. 1300 East, Sandy, 801-495-4550, fratelliutah.com

Best Foamy Beers
Grid City Beer Works

Wait. What? Foamy beers? That's normally a thing that will get a bartender knocked on his ass—but not at this new South Salt Lake brewery. Grid City Beer Works absolutely revels in their foam, to the point where patrons are lining up to slam pints of foam or "milky" lagers. Driven by Grid City's Czech-made Lukr beer faucets, this alternative beer-drinking method is an Old World tradition that may look as easy as drinking air, but is far from it. Like your lagers a little more traditional? They've got that, too. (MR) 333 W. 2100 South, SLC, 801-906-8390, gridcitybeerworks.com

Apollo Breakfast Sandwich
  • Apollo Breakfast Sandwich

Best Affordable Breakfast
Apollo Burger

You know them for great burgers, but Apollo Burger dishes up mouthwatering breakfasts, too. The inexpensive breakfast bowl features a pile of hash browns and your choice of protein and cheese. At only $4.99, you might feel like you're stealing from them. It rounds out a solid lineup of quick and delicious brekkie items to get your day rolling. Bacon and eggs go for only $6.79. To boot, the entirety of their morning menu comes in under $8 with the exception of the New York steak and eggs ($9.99). That leaves more for the burgers! Go, ham omelet! (MS) Multiple locations, apolloburgers.com

Best Holy Matrimony of Beer and Pizza
Level Crossing Brewing Co.

Utah is lucky to have so many distinguished and award-winning local brewers. While you cannot go wrong with any of the beer choices at Level Crossing (made impeccably better thanks to their expansive—and warm—outdoor patio), you most certainly can't go wrong pairing such beer with one of their perfectly oven-baked pizzas. Try the Sweet Home Chicago or The Level Crossing pizza, matched with a specialty beer release like October's fine Astro Shake. Classic. (MS) 2496 S. West Temple, SLC, 385-270-5752, levelcrossing.com

Best Reason to Order Dessert First
Stanza's Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake

Pastry chef extraordinaire Amanda Billingsley has outdone herself with this one! Topped with moscato strawberries, pistachio sable crumb and vanilla mascarpone cream, the lemon ricotta cheesecake at downtown Italian restaurant Stanza is the cheesecake every other cheesecake wishes it could become. Double down and order the Pillow Talk martini with Godiva chocolate liquor, vanilla vodka and espresso for next-level decadence. (MW) 454 E. 300 South, SLC, 801-746-4441, stanzaslc.com

Best Take-Home Italian Dinners
Stoneground Italian Kitchen Carbonara Weekend Supper

One of the greatest things to come out of COVID is the emergence of weekend suppers at Stoneground Italian Kitchen. Created by head chef Justin Shifflet, these rotating Italian meal experiences feed up to four people and are available for pickup on Friday and Saturday. Follow them on Instagram @stonegroundkitchen so you don't miss staff-favorite carbona next time it hits the rotation. (MW) 249 E. 400 South, SLC, 801-364-1368, stonegrounditalian.com

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Best Beer Battlers
Bewilder Brewing Co.

Utah homebrewers know Cody McKendrick and Ross Metzger of Salt City Brew Supply fame. They opened their years-long dream, Bewilder Brewing, in mid-December 2019. Then, 2020 happened and brought its own set of challenges including a delayed manufacturing license. Lie down? Never! Now, the spacious Bewilder is set to celebrate its one-year anniversary with a menu that includes several varieties of handmade sausages to go with their popular suds. We all need their fighting spirit now. (MS) 445 S. 400 West, SLC, 385-528-3840, bewilderbrewing.com

Best Way to Crack an Egg
The Dodo's Spinach Mushroom Feta Quiche

It's hard to say no to pie. It's impossible to say no when that pie is filled with light-as-air egg custard, fresh spinach, feta cheese and mushrooms topped with tomato pine nut relish. Served at lunch and weekend brunch, The Dodo's famous quiche also comes with a cup of homemade soup (there's not a bad one in the bunch) or salade de maison. (MW) 1355 E. 2100 South, SLC, 801-486-2473, thedodorestaurant.com

Best COVID Meal Prep To Stay
WB's Eatery

Meal subscriptions and to-go meal prep isn't a new concept to digital delivery. But, at WB's Eatery—another quality emporium presented by the folks of Pig in a Jelly Jar fame—they take the monotonous guesswork out of dinner without forcing any long-term commitments down our throats. That means you can enjoy their glorious Market Meal chimichurri steak just once or part of an ongoing monthly plan. Shop their in-store bodega, subscribe to a box lunch program or, wait: Cannabis and Cocktail club is coming! (MS) At The Monarch, 455 25th St., Ogden, 385-244-1471, wbseatery.com

Best Roobins
Robin's Nest

Back when working from home was a novelty and not a necessity, businesspeople flocked to Robin's Nest for their specialty sandwiches. Nowadays in the coronavirus era, delivery and take-out is the name of the game. Josh Romar and his mother, Robin, are still behind the counter every day stacking up the meats for Robin's Nest's dozens of delicious sandwiches, including the Roobin, classically crafted with pastrami, dijon and sauerkraut. (MS) 311 S. Main, SLC, 801-466-6378, RobinsNestSLC.com

Best Paninis
Toasters

Enes Huskic immigrated to the States from Bosnia in 1996, and it didn't take him long to begin working on his passion in the food industry, opening up the first Toasters location in 2002. Now with four Salt Lake Valley locations, Toasters is a local favorite for sandwiches panini-style. The Premium panini is the creme de la creme, a helping of prosciutto, mozzarella, tomato, roasted red peppers and balsamic glaze. (MS) Multiple locations, ToastersDeli.com

Best Naan Stop
Himalayan Kitchen

Downtown and South Jordan are home to Himalayan Kitchen, a Nepali and Indian eatery optimal for lunch time and late-night meals. They have a plethora of vegan and gluten-free options, as well as the tandoori classics. The chicken tikka masala is a Himalayan staple, and the lamb vindaloo is as good as it gets. (MS) 360 S. State, SLC, 801-328-2077; 11521 S. 4000 West, South Jordan, 801-254-0800, HimalayanKitchen.com

Best for Cool Bottoms
Beerhive Pub's Ice Rail

Ah, the infamous bottom beer. After enjoying a delicious pour of Utah's finest ales or lagers, the time comes to decide whether to renew your order or knuckle down and chug the warm, stale remnants. Or, you can sit at Beerhive Pub's bar and place your pint on their ice rail, a literal strip of ice that keeps your liquid cold from the first sip to the last. With more than 200 local and regional beers to choose from at Beerhive, each sip is as fresh as when it's poured. (MS) 128 S. Main, SLC, 801-364-4268, Facebook.com/beerhive-pub

Best Build-Your-Own Breakfast
Eggs in the City

After years spent serving up hearty breakfasts and lunches on 1700 South, Eggs in the City is now nestled in their new location on 2300 East and just off the Interstate 80 exit. It's creativity galore for breakfast junkies—owner Heather Santi's Millcreek eatery specializes in build-your-own breakfasts (with dozens of options), either in the form of omelet, skillet or burrito. The potential combos are endless. Don't sleep on their killer lunches, either! (MS) 2795 S. 2300 East, Millcreek, 801-581-0809, eggsinthecityslc.com

Best Burger and Beans
Rich's Burgers-N-Grub

There's not a burger that Rich's doesn't do well. Downtowners migrate to their single (unfortunately) location and agree Rich's unique burgers (100% Angus, all-natural products) are the best downtown. What to match with that Queso, Slaw or Caprese burger? Deep-fried green beans, of course. Nowhere we know of serves them, and they are a "gosh darn delicious" addition to everything. Perfect fry sauce, too. Salt Lake needs more Rich's Burgers. (MS) 30 E. 300 South, SLC, 801-355-0667, richsburgersngrub.com


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