Dining Guide 2017 | Dining | Salt Lake City Weekly

Dining Guide 2017 

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Confirmed Classics
We tip our hats to longstanding, bona fide Utah eateries.
By Carolyn Campbell

When you think about it, a classic restaurant is like a familiar friend you're always happy to see. "A good classic restaurant is consistent," Melva Sine, president of the Utah Restaurant Association, says. "You know that when you go there, everything about your experience will be great, both from the food and the service side." Utah, she continues, is fortunate to have many classic restaurants in several categories, including traditional, casual and fine-dining. "While Utahns like cooking on their own, there is nothing else like going out to dinner and having someone else bring delicious food to your table and do the dishes afterward," she says. "Dining can be your destination. Regardless of what kind of food you like, we can accommodate you with the wide variety of restaurants we have here."

Yet, she adds, becoming a classic restaurant isn't easy. "Thirty-five percent of restaurants go out of business in the first year, and 70 percent close their doors during the first five," she says. Still, Utah boasts the third-fastest-growing restaurant industry in the nation, employing more than 100,000 people. "We call the restaurant industry the industry of opportunity," the expert continues.

When it comes to homegrown classics, everyone has their own venerable faves. Here are some of mine:

From outside the entrance of Maddox Ranch House in Perry, you can already smell the homemade rolls made daily with Brigham City flour. They are presented alongside corn bread and raspberry butter. Since 1949, this steakhouse with a drive-in attached has offered steak and chicken. Signature dishes today include shrimp, steak and bison. "They have the best turkey burgers and turkey steaks. No one in my world does it better, and I've tried them everywhere," Sine says.

Little America Coffee Shop is a Salt Lake City mainstay with a reputation for turning its tables more than any other restaurant in the state, Sine points out. "You can walk in there almost any time of the day or night and have a conversation." Favorites here include baked halibut, prime rib and the hot turkey sandwich. The rolls are airy, delectable and delightful, served with jams and jellies. Housed in a classy, downtown hotel, this coffee shop has been offering its reliable comfort food since 1979. Prior to the hotel tower's construction, the Little America Hot Shoppe eatery thrived on Main Street for many years.

According to Sine, local restaurant group Gastronomy truly brought the fresh fish market to Utah.

click to enlarge The Golden Veggie burger at Hires Big H - JOHN TAYLOR
  • John Taylor
  • The Golden Veggie burger at Hires Big H

Market Street Grill opened in 1980. Today, their three restaurant locations continue to do an amazing job presenting fresh seafood. Their delectable clam chowder, grilled-to-perfection salmon, flavorful halibut-and-chips and delicate sole filet are among a long list of seafood dishes that make any occasion special. For those wanting to replicate some of those dishes at home, their markets sell fish that they say is as fresh as any coastal city's.

Want to hobnob with the Beehive elite at bargain-basement prices? Hires Big H is a gathering place for the likes of Mitt Romney, Jake Garn and Gov. Gary Herbert, co-owner Mark Hale says. Since 1955, Hires has prided itself on freshness—hamburger buns are baked overnight and the burgers are pattied every morning. Tomatoes and onion rings are also prepared on the same cycle. "We have our own commissary where we produce all of our sauces," Hale says. Order a Big H hamburger, a mug of root beer and a serving of fries, and you'll swear you've gone to Archie and Betty heaven.

Lamb's Grill opened in Logan in 1919 and moved to Salt Lake City's Main Street in 1939. Manager Tony Hellstrom says the famous lamb shank, braised all day long, is a signature dish, as are the blackened salmon, fish and chips and, at night, rack of lamb. "Lamb's is a venerable institution," Hellstrom says. "There is a lot of business going on here—businessmen and politicians eat here regularly. Even John Saltas of City Weekly dines at Lamb's."

There you have it. Crowd-tested, publisher-approved.


Gourmet Grazing
Our food critic picks his ultimate meal, one dish at a time.
By Ted Scheffler


Alluring Appetites
Here are 7 SLC restaurants with design as sexy as the sustenance.
By Darby Doyle


A Cheapskate's Guide to SLC
Think good grub means breaking the bank? Think again.
By Amanda Rock


Try the Grilled Cheese
A vegetarian reviews local hotel food.
Story and photos by Ryan Cunningham


Hot for Tots
7 places that elevate the humble tater tot to art.
By Amanda Rock


Confirmed Classics
We tip our hats to longstanding, bona fide Utah eateries.
By Carolyn Campbell


The Meatmen Cometh
Inside the lost art of meat-cutting.
By Alex Springer


Where to go when you got it bad for boba.
By Amanda Rock


Make it pop
Where to go for fine food with a side of spontaneity.
By Darby Doyle


Breaking Bread
10 superlative sandwiches spots.
By Ted Scheffler


Humble Crumble
Here's where to get your cookie fix.
By Amanda Rock


Brain Freeze
Utah: Home to a bevy of frozen treats.
By Carolyn Campbell

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