Alamexo Cantina – Now open in the 9th and 9th area and by all counts, doing great business, and for good reason. Alamexo Cantina aims to be the more casual and relaxed twin to it’s downtown sibling Alamexo. The menu is still built around owner Matt Lake’s refined take on regional Mexican specialties, but is served up in a manner that’s great for family style dining. Grab two plates of that, one of this, and wash it down with a margarita (made using traditional damiana nonetheless). Lake quips you won’t find a bottle of Triple Sec at either location and my liver concurs this is the real deal.
Lake’s vision is that the neighborhood (where he also lived previously) will embrace the spot as an all occasions goto. Maybe a weekend cocktail and some guac on the patio, late night after work snacks, or a regular old full evening meal. The restaurant is still gearing up, but in time it will be open seven days a week for all meals.
I’m a long term fan of Alamexo and Lake’s cooking – which is the diametric opposite to the nine pound plates of turgidity covered in smothered cheese – aka so many bleh attempts at Mexican cuisine. I’ve had a few sneak previews of the food and am excited about this spot, I guarantee it will be impossible to get a seat on a sunny Summer afternoon on the patio next year.
268 State St #110, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
Avant Groove – Opened in the spot left vacant by failed bar after failed bar on Pierpont Avenue. This new business caught me a little off guard, and the concept is certainly unique for SLC. Here’s the low down from the business Facebook page:
The concept for The Avant Groove Jazz Club is the result of a lifetime of work, passion, performance, influence and experience. As a lifetime professional musician and jazz lover, John Vecchi has spent most of his adult life preparing for the perfect moment to bring such a club to a great city. He believes Salt Lake City is the place and the moment is now.
The Avant Groove will be an innovative, world-class, upscale-casual downtown music venue, jazz club and martini bar — bringing to Salt Lake City something totally unique, differentiated and unlike anything the city has seen before.
The Avant Groove’s unique design will feature intimate booths, sofas, comfortable chairs and tables, along with a full-service bar that will seat another 20-25 patrons. The club will be known not only as a world-class venue for jazz, but also for signature/craft cocktails, martinis, seasonal beer and an exclusive wine list. The Avante Groove will also feature an exceptional dining experience to compliment the music — offering a mixture of new-American, Italian and Mediterranean cuisine. The menu will feature small plates, salads, and entrees made from fresh, seasonal ingredients sourced from local providers.
Bhutan House – New for Sandy, this Bhutanese restaurant. The menu will be be instantly recognizable for lovers of cuisine from the general region, neighboring India and Nepal for example. Indeed the menu reads almost facsimile like, to that of Kathmandu or Himalayan Kitchen for example. This is no bad thing of course. One unique dish that did popup that I’ve never seen locally before: Ema Datshi – a special curry made with homemade cheese, potatoes, spicy chilli, radish, yogurt, garlic, tomato and green onion. Bhutan House is one of Spice Kitchen Indibator’s success stories, here’s the lowdown:
Originally from Bhutan, Kamal, Geeta, and their three children were living in Nepal before being resettled in Utah in 2010. Kamal’s entrepreneurial spirit shines through his new restaurant and this experience began when he owned his own small business in Nepal. After years of managing their catering business, this family is ready to call this permanent location theirs and feed the Salt Lake City community full time!
Before owning Bhutan House Restaurant, Kamal and Geeta joined Spice Kitchen Incubator in the spring of 2014 with dreams of owning their own food business. Three years of persistence and passion went into growing their business through catering special events and managing a food booth at outdoor markets. This family business is excited to open its doors and share their home cooking and culture with Salt Lake City as Bhutan House Restaurant!
Flavors range between traditional Bhutanese, Indian, and Nepali cuisine cooked fresh, many times in a tandoori oven! Loyal customers and foodies with recognize the familiar menu items like samosas, vegetable pakora, and momo, while goat curries, shrimp chow chow, vegetable coconut korma, and numerous other items will accompany.
1241 East 8600 South, Sandy, Utah 84094
122 W Pierpont Ave, Salt Lake City, UT 84101
Bolt Cutter – This Gallivan Avenue vegan restaurant is making huge waves – searches for Boltcutter’s menu on our sister site SLC Menu are through the roof. The 100% vegan menu has a Mexican mainstay with South American flair: tacos, burritos, ceviche with nary an animal in sight.
Equally popular is the adjoining Monkeywrench also now open, a 100% vegan friendly ice cream shop and espresso bar. Both restaruants are the work of the folks behind Buds, the vegan sandwich shop. The current growth of vegan and vegetarian friendly restaurants in SLC is remarkable and shows no sign of slowing down. Thankfully, this isn’t the veggie food of the 70s and some of the newcomers are creating some genuinely interesting dishes, even more carnivores like myself.
57 E Gallivan Ave, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
Carmine’s Italian Restaurant – Every time I write one of these roundups, I wonder what theme will stand out; it’s as if restaurateurs are connected to some universal unconscious mind. One time it’s nothing but wall to wall gyro (woohoo!), the next time sushi or banh mi. Well, this time around, its all about Italian restaurants folks. First up, this new Italian restaurant aimed at the denizens of Cottonwood Heights.
6926 S Promenade Dr, Cottonwood Heights, UT 84121
3005 S Highland Dr, Salt Lake City, UT 84106, Sugar House, Salt Lake City
Celeste Ristorante – See, what did I tell you. In the space once home to Roma Ristorante in Murray comes this new Italian eatery. The restaurant is the namesake work of one Paolo Celeste and the restaurant’s website sums up his story to date:
In 1995 Paolo moved to Salt Lake City, Utah with his best friend Marco Gabrielli and opened an Italian restaurant in Sugar House, Utah. In 2004 Marco & Paolo sold the restaurant in order to return to Italy, and open a restuarant in Versilia. Paolo later returned to Los Angeles to work for the famous Ago Grand company that owns many restaurants in Los Angeles. In 2017 Paolo moved back to Salt Lake City, Utah for a new adventure. opening the new Celeste Ristorante bringing authentic Italian food to Murray, Utah.
5468 900 E, Salt Lake City, UT 84117
Castellammare – It’s been at least 10 seconds, so who’s ready for some Italian restaurant into? Ready? Good. Apparently I wasn’t having one of my hallucinatory events when I past Michelangelo’s on Highland Drive just the other day; it was indeed new signage out front that I spotted.
The restaurant has now changed hands (again) and for the sake of me not confusing these interlinking tales, here’s the full story, past to present, courtesy of their website:
Michelangelo Ristorante was opened in 1994 by two brothers from Forte Di Marme, Tuscany Italy. Marco and Paulo Celeste came to America to help usher Traditional Italian Cuisine. First in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles, finally landing in Salt Lake City, where they opened their own place in a humble basement in the heart of Sugar House.
In 2004, Marco and Paulo sold Michelangelo Ristorante to two brothers John and Scott Ashley. Though not raised in Italy, John and Scott, two California transplants, carried on the traditions set by Marco and Paulo, along with their Italian family traditions introduced to them by their Grandmother who was from Torino Italy.
In 2017, Michelangelo Ristorante was taken over by new ownership which created Castellammare. We are committed to continuing the tradition of serving authentic Italian food.
Also worthy of note, it’s nice to see them highlighting gelato from their neighbors Sweetaly Gelato, just down the road in SoSL. South Salt Lake to the uninitiated, but if Denver can have LoDo, I’m formally launching SoSL.
Chedda Burger – Not Italian. This Foothill Drive location is the second outing for Nick Watts’ gleefully gonzo burger bar. There are burgers atop Krispy Kreme donuts, burgers with kimchi and pastrami, burgers with pulled pork and gravy. It’s all over the top, and it’s all good, just prepare to get a little messy. It’s not quite open at time of press, but expect this one to open up any day now. Unlike the downtown original, I believe this location is also approved for a liquor license. Good times.
1314 Foothill Dr, Salt Lake City, UT 84108
Even Stevens Sandwiches Cottonwood – The latest opening of our favorite sandwich shop, this time over in Cottonwood Heights. Open Monday through Saturday (7 a.m. – 10 p.m.) and on Sunday (9 a.m. – 4 p.m.). The concept is the same as ever, you buy a sandwich, they donate another in kind to a local charity. At this point they’ve donated more than a million free meals, let that sink in for a second; thats literally millions of dollars freed up in the budgets of organizations doing important work. It’d all be a bit worthy if the food sucked, and thankfully it doesn’t, the food is fantastic.
The CW heights location is the 17th in just 2.5 years for the home grown chain. The business now spans Arizona, Colorado, Boise and Utah with locations in Texas and the Pacific NW up next. Go eat a sandwich and pay it forward.
1346 E Ft. Union Blvd, Cottonwood Heights, UT 84121
The Honeysuckle Coffee Co – A new coffee shop for Sandy, best summed up in their own words:
We are passionate about hand crafted coffee and are excited to bring specialty coffee to the south side of the valley in Salt Lake City. In addition to our locally roasted & small batch coffee drinks we will offer a heathy line of teas, Italian sodas and fresh baked goods made with local & hormone free ingredients. Perfect for kids to enjoy a tea party in our play area! We love our city and want to create a space to belong with a sense of family.
8745 700 E #2, Sandy, UT 84070
Ichiban Sushi Plate – To my mind this is the third restaruant in Utah to use the Ichiban name, and as far as I know, none of them are related to one another; Ichiban apparently means best in Japanese. Christopher Lambert says it better than I can:
595 W 2600th S, Bountiful, UT 84010
Makanmakan Asian Street Food – A new Sandy restaurant specializing in Malyasian cuisine. That might be a first around these parts. Or at the very least, exceptionally rare. Beyond a filing with the city of Sandy listing Daniel Yuswadi as owner, details are scarce. All I could find at this time are a few delicions reviews and photos over on Yelp. Let me know if you try this place out, definitely looks interesting.
33 E 11400th S, Sandy, UT 84070
The Pie Pizzeria SoSL – You’re just going to have to learn to accept #SoSL is a thing guys; therein, new to the neighborhood is the latest location for The Pie, set to open any day now. Cruelly, at least for fans of The Pie’s style, this part of valley has long been outside the delivery zones of previous locations to the North and South. That should shortly be remedied, the SoSL operation is set to open any day now.
202 E 3300 S, South Salt Lake, UT 84115
Poppies – A new bakery and breakfast lunch spot, opening in the spot formerly home to Karma Cafe. Stop by for breakfast until 11 a.m. or lunch until 2.30 p.m. Or really, just be honest to yourself and go for one of their whole pies or cakes that run around $20.
1751 S 1100th E, Salt Lake City, UT 84105
PotStickers Plus 1 – Ever since I read that enigmatic business name, I’ve been furiously trying to figure out what the plus one is. Am I the plus one? Should I bring a friend as my plus one? Is there an extra menu item? Is it just the fact that these pot stickers are so delicious you can’t help but order one more? Whatever the mystery of that unusual moniker, the name of the game here is – you guessed it – pot stickers.
9197S 700 E, Sandy, UT 84070
Pulp Lifestyle Kitchen – For those who feel like they’ve gained an extra inch or three just reading this page so far, fear ye not. Over in Sandy, this new healthy eats restaurant should get you on the right track. Acai bowls, salads, soups, wraps, with lots of mentions of things like quinoa, hummus and kale. I don’t know about you, I already feel 10lbs lighter, just writing out quinoa, hummus and kale. Imagine what eating the stuff could do.
9645 S State, Sandy, UT 84070
Stanza – More Italian eats, you were warned. O.k. not a new restaurant per se, but with so many changes going on under the hood here – it’s as good as a new restaurant to me. Clearly not satisfied with hiring new chef Jonathan LeBlanc and revamping the menu, the restaurant recently also snapped up dessert whizz, Amber Billingsley. I’ve been the guest of the restaurant a couple of times in the past month, and things are looking decidedly exciting for 2018. The cuisine at Stanza is finally looking like a match for the big city interior of this snazzy and sizeable downtown restaurant.
What hasn’t changed? The pasta (bar one weirdo shape I understand) is still made in house fresh which is frankly nuts, and the sourcing of ingredients is still top notch. The same goes for the flexible Italian wine list supported ably by a range of fun cocktails. The service team is well drilled and the spot remains equally usable as a Friday night date spot or a working lunch. Everyone there right now as that extra special twinkle in their eye that tells you they’re all giddy about the current progress.
Need an excuse to go right now and check out the changes? Order up the lobster and gulf shrimp linguine and thank me later (crisp twenties if you meet me in person).
454 E 300 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
Taqueria 27 – A fourth location for this popular taqueria can now be found on the Northeast corner of Fashion Place mall. If you’re in the area, head on down for GODs, TODs, FODs and DODs. That’s guacamole, taco, fish and dessert of the day to newbies. Such specials change frequently, here’s an example for the downtown location:
TOD: fried chicken over romaine lettuce mixed with jalapeño mayo topped with watermelon mint salsa and sriracha on flour
GOD: honeydew, anaheim peppers, roasted jalapeño, lime and chilito
FOD: Atlantic salmon
DOD: strawberry banana cheesecake
6191 South State Street Ste 1997, Murray, UT 84107
Twisted Fern – Meanwhile up in Park City comes this new business form chef and owner Adam Ross. Ross previously spent the last decade over at Bistro 402 before opening up Twisted Fern in the Summer. Open seven days a week, the new American menu with pan-Euro nods reads eminently more affordable than some of Main Street’s pass-out prices.
1300 Snow Creek Drive, Suite RS, Park City, UT 84060
Rib & Chop House – A national chain, new to downtown SLC and just across from the Vivint Arena. At a glance this new steak house seemingly looks set to sneak into the market under the nose of the fancier high end joints, with a slightly more modestly priced menu.
140 South 300 West, Salt Lake City, Utah, UT 84101
Seasons Plant Based Bistro – Maybe I should have picked vegan cuisine over Italian for this roundup’s theme, Seasons is another new vegan restaurant for SLC. Actually, just kidding don’t worry, the menu here also leans heavily toward Italian dishes: pesto caprese, spaghetti pomodoro & meatballs, hand-cut ravioli, braised mushroom risotto, lemon herb tofu picata – all 100% vegan.
The restaurant has a full beer and wine list and also handily notes on their web site, “We respectfully decline modifications to our menu.”. So don’t go getting any ideas, o.k.
1370 State St, Salt Lake City, UT 84115
Saffron Valley Sugar House – Honestly, take the Sugar House moniker with some liberal sprinkling of salt; this is SoSL folks. Geographical boundaries aside, this is the third location of the Indian restaurant; the first you might recall in South Jordan, the second up in the Avenues. The larger Saffron group also comprises two Biscotts locations as well, that serve mighty fine pastries and chai I should I add. Handy hint, their chicken tikka stuffed savory pastries are the stuff of my dreams, clogged arteries and I want ten right now.
Of particular note with the Saffron Valley restaurants, the menus do not read like the carbon copy examples of their peers around town. Indeed even between Saffron locations, the menus are unique and interesting. Moreover, their press people tell me this is something the business wants to explore more in the future; thingk special dining events that showcase more diverse and unique food from a subcontinent that is home to a billion people and myriad more dishes than we generally see locally.
479 E 2100 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84115
Soul of Salt Lake Food truck – This new soul food truck started slinging the good stuff late July, but I missed it in the last roundup. Oops. It’s hard to keep up with the pace of new food trucks around town these days. At any rate, all the classics are here: fried chicken, mac n’ cheese, red beans and rice, collard greens and more.
If you spot it around town and try it, let me know what you think. Like anyone sane, I’m a sucker for fried chicken, and it’s looking like one of the hot trends around these parts soon. I know of at least three fried chicken venues planned to open as I write. Stock market investors, now would be a good time to buy shares in stent producers.
Sumo – Not much to go on with this one. Formerly Mizu, now Sumo. No word if this the same owners or new management. The website has little to no detail, except expect sushi and steak, seven days a week.
2843 S 5600 W, West Valley City, UT 84120
Sicilia Mia Sugar House – Wait. What. Did someone say Ita…sorry, I’ll let it go. I can hear you throwing dried penne at the screen in anger. Anyway, coming soon to Sugar House, the third restaurant for the family behind Sicilia Mia and Antica Sicilia. Indeed, I believe a downtown location is also in the works too. None of these are yet open, I’ll report back in the next update with more news as things solidify.
1040 East 2100 South, Salt Lake City, 84106
The Eklektik – Does what it says on the tin, and eagerly tries to convince you so with the use of those k’s. Krazy. The Ekektik is a restaurant, art space and event center all rolled into one. The menu looks fun and is loosely tied together with a Latin theme, both Euro and South American.
60 E 800 S, Salt Lake City, Utah, UT 84111-4104
Veggie House – Now open on State Street, this 100% vegan friendly pan-Asian restaurant. There’s Thai, Chinese and Vietnamese and it’s all plant based. Given this joint opened around the same time that the nearby Evergreen closed, my brain is desperately trying to link the two together; though I have nothing but supposition to suggest the two are in any way the same people.
52 East 1700 South, Salt Lake City, Utah
Ying’s Thai Sushi – Someone out there is calling this place fusion. Someone out there is making a terrible, terrible mistake. Someone out there is making me angry. Don’t be that person. Ying’s offers both traditional Thai and Japanese dishes as ostensibly two different menus. The two don’t meet, there is no tempura shrimp bathed in green curry, unless you order up two dishes and get creative at your table. You’re welcome by the way.
9414 S Union Square, Sandy, UT 84070
565 Firehouse – If memory serves this spot on 21st was home to at least one BBQ operation previously. This time around though, add Thai to mix with pulled pork and ribs. And according to this recent Tribune review – yes you can ask for that slow cooked meat to go into your Thai curry. Damn.
565 E 2100 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84106
That’s it for now, if I’m missing any new businesses in the last 2-3 months around the valley let me know: firstname.lastname@example.org
For previous installments of our new restaurant guide see the following:
June 2017: https://www.gastronomicslc.com/2017/06/07/new-restaurants-june-2017/
February 2017: https://www.gastronomicslc.com/2017/03/10/new-restaurants-february-2017/
October 2016: https://www.gastronomicslc.com/2016/10/23/new-restaurants-october-2016/
May 2016: https://www.gastronomicslc.com/2016/05/05/new-restaurants-around-slc-may-2016/
January 2016: https://www.gastronomicslc.com/2016/01/06/news-new-restaurants-around-slc-january-2016/
Hi, I’m Stuart, nice to meet you! I’m the founder, writer and wrangler at Gastronomic SLC and The Utah Review; I’m also a former restaurant critic of more than five years, working for the Salt Lake Tribune. I’ve worked extensively with other local publications from Utah Stories through to Salt Lake Magazine and Visit Salt Lake.
I’m a multiple-award winning journalist and have covered the Utah dining scene for more than a decade. I’m largely fueled by Uinta Cutthroat, alliteration and the use of too many big words I don’t understand. I ate all the pies.