It’s A Wrap – February 2018

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alamexo cochinita pibil
Alamexo: cochinita pibil

Salt Lake Magazine 2018 Dining Awards – The results are in, February saw SL Mag announce their yearly best of dining awards. The official critical picks by the magazine staff are as follows. These are all hard to argue with you’d have a great meal at any of these:

Cucina
Fireside on Regent
Firewood
Veneto
Silver Star Cafe
Manoli’s
HSL
Alamexo
Tin Angel
Provisions
Stoneground
Table X
The Paris Bistro

HSL - credit Slug Mag and Talyn Sherer
HSL – voted best in SLC by critics and readers (Slug Mga | Talyn Sherer)

While the following are the readers’ choice awards, courtesy of subscribers to the magazine:

Best Restaurant—Salt Lake City: HSL
Best Restaurant—Park City: Silver Star Cafe
Best Restaurant—Provo: Communal
Best Restaurant—Moab & Southeast Utah: Hell’s Backbone Grill
Best Restaurant—St. George & Southwest Utah: Painted Pony
Best Restaurant—Ogden and Northern Utah: Tona Sushi
Best Restaurant in Utah: Pago
Best Restaurant Discovery: Trestle Tavern
Best Indian Restaurant: Bombay House
Best Chinese Restaurant: Mandarin
Best Mexican Restaurant: Red Iguana
Best Southeast Asian Restaurant: Chanon Thai Cafe
Best Japanese Restaurant: Takashi
Best Middle Eastern Restaurant: Mazza Cafe
Best Quick Eats: East Liberty Tap House
Best Lunch: Plates & Palates
Best Breakfast: Bake 360
Best Comfort Food: Hub & Spoke Diner
Best Wine: Pago

Food Alley rendering
Food Alley rendering (SLC mayors office)

Food Alley – This huge new concept, anchored around dining, was recently announced by the Salt Lake City’s mayor’s office. Backed by the Nguyen family – operators of Sapa/Fat Fish/Bucket O Crawfish – Food Alley will encompass 48,000 square feet located at State Street and 800 South.

Scheduled to open in 2019, the $10 million investment into one of Salt Lake City’s Main Street designated commercial districts is expected to bring 700 jobs. Plans are in place for 17 restaurants on the ground level – -with space to house businesses from refugee entrepreneurs as part of the Spice Kitchen project. Plus 21 affordable artist lofts will be on the second level. Via press release, Mai Nguyen, CEO of Sapa Investment Group writes:

Not only is there a need, but a want for a place like Food Alley. People need diverse places to eat, a community where they can gather and interact, and Food Alley will be an ideal destination to gather, socialize and enjoy food and arts that people in Utah may not have access to elsewhere.

Food Alley will serve the youthful, diverse population that’s booming in the Capital City. It is just two blocks from City Hall and it’s evident that downtown is spreading farther south.

Already committed to Food Alley are “anchor restaurants” that include an Italian restaurant, sushi bar, ramen shop, beer bar and others. With hopes of bringing in chefs from around the country and beyond, Food Alley will also have pop-up space for traveling chefs who want to showcase their work in Salt Lake City for several weeks at a time.

The City’s Department of Economic Development has been working with Sapa Investment Group on Food Alley for more than a year. The department is providing funding to Spice Kitchen through the Economic Development Loan Fund, breaking down communication barriers surrounding the proposed homeless resource center and engaging the Nguyen family in Main Street efforts.

Utah Restaurant Association logo

Utah Restaurant Association – A couple of notes regarding recent updates to liquor laws courtesy of the URA. Expect these to be affecting diners quite soon:

.05 Blood Alcohol Concentration – Utah will be the FIRST state to lower the BAC to .05. After many attempts by the URA and others to have the .05 reconsidered the efforts have not been successful. Legislators are convinced that the .05 is already “saving” lives on Utah’s highways and have been unwilling to go to a tiered level of fines for anyone who is between .05 and .08. The states of Colorado and New York have a .05 however you are not issued a DUI between .05 and .08 you only pay a fine. You are only considered as a DUI if you are .08 or above. The URA and others pushed for this to be Utah’s policy but Legislators have been unwilling to negotiate on the .05.

Alcohol Amendments HB456 Sponsor: Representative Brad Wilson – 1. HB 456 eliminates the requirement for a restaurant to post a sign stating: This business is licensed as a restaurant NOT a bar. 2. Bars will be required to post a sign Bar – No one under 21 permitted (or allowed). 3. The bill addresses variance issues for restaurants that have been operating under a variance that was issued by the UDABC before January 1, 2007 and allows for this variance to continue. 4. On or after July 1, 2018 restaurants will be required to scan the proof of ID for any individual who looks 35 years or younger who procures (orders) an alcoholic product within 10 feet of a grandfathered bar structure. Restaurants will still be required to scan anyone seated at the bar. 5. Restaurant owners will only have to submit a RASP plan one time and then only re-submit if there has been a violation at the restaurant or there have been changes to the RASP plan. 6. Training will only be required one time unless there is a violation and then everyone in the restaurant will be required to be re-trained.

HB456 Passed out of Committee on Monday, February 26, 2018. Representative Wilson told the URA that he will have a revised version of HB456 with additional amendments shortly and we are waiting for this information.

Kind Burger food truck for sale
Kind Burger food truck for sale (Kind Burger)

Kind Burger – Want to buy a food truck, what about a Vegan burger concept with most of the groundwork in place? If so you’re in luck. For $7k the current owner of this ‘oh so close to launch’ business is offering the whole kit and caboodle per this Facebook post:

In order to build up a base for Kind Burger when it was ready to launch, I created a vegan food truck roundup called Friendly Food Truck Family. As that business has grown it has taken on a life of its own and I am finding now that all of the things I set out to accomplish with Kind Burger, I will be able to accomplish with Friendly Food Truck Family: A modest income, a platform to raise money for animals, and providing new and unique vegan dining experiences.

It is for this reason that I am selling Kind Burger and focusing all of my attention into building Friendly Food Truck Family. I am selling the business (Kind Burger) as whole with the truck, recipes, branding, and all social media pages. I’ll also volunteer my time as a graphic artist and video producer for
the first year to help you get it off the ground.

I am selling for very cheap. I’m not trying to turn a profit, I just want to get back what I’ve put into it. I believe $7k is a fair asking price. The truck is a 1999 Freightliner MT45 Step Van. Freightliner chassis, Utilimaster W700 16′ all-aluminium body, 5.9 liter Cummins 6BT (6 cylinder) turbo diesel engine, Allison 5-speed automatic transmission, rear roll-up door, backup camera. No body damage. The engine runs very strong, but the transmission needs some work. The interior is just an empty box. No modifications have been made to the original box and there are no appliances.

Our Facebook page has over 1,000 followers, all of which are very eager to support this business as soon as it opens! Many food trucks that have been in business several years can’t tout having that high of engagement with their online base! This is a great opportunity for an ambitious vegan entrepreneur to start a business that has reasonably low overhead getting into it, reasonably low risk, a strong base that’s been built up for two years, and a good cause driving it!

Johnniebeefs chicago dog
Johnniebeef’s – Chicago dog

Johnniebeef’s – Finally the off again/on again oddity of this Midvale homage to Chicago is currently back in an on again state. Maybe, just maybe, Italian beef sandwiches will be back on the menu in 2018. Maybe in the same location, maybe in a food alley, maybe on a truck, who knows!

Stuart avatar

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.

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