Rico Cocina Y Tequila BarHungry now? I know I am. The pictures above come from the imminent updates headed to Frida Bistro; started by Rico Foods’ Jorge Fierro 8 years ago, Frida was perhaps the first big name in town to really push the envelope of Mexican cuisine. Eight years is a long time in the restaurant world though, and plenty has changed since Fierro first started welcoming diners into his restaurant. Right now it’s fair to say that the current vogue is on more affordable, casual dining. Millennials hate those white table cloths you know. The upcoming evolution will see Frida Bistro evolve into Rico Cocina Y Tequila Bar; currently slated to roll out on May 2nd and align the restaurant more closely with contemporary trends. The update will also finally marry the Rico brand to the restaurant proper. When I met up with Fierro to take the snaps above, he joked that over the near decade of Frida, people always suggested he open a restaurant, “oh Rico Foods, I love your tamales and burritos, you should open a restaurant for sure!” The May 2nd update doesn’t just seek to rectify this mismatch of perceptions in name, the menu too is being reworked to incorporate more of Rico Foods; products that are made in the huge production facility right behind the restaurant space. Dishes are being slimmed down in both size and complexity with pricing suitably reworked. Check the link below for a preliminary menu to get an idea, but suffices to say entrees are dropping from the $20-$30 mark, to closer to $12-$16. Also new is a tequila bar space on the West side of the restaurant area, replete with its own dining space, bar and a wallet friendly bar bites menu. What’s not changing is the vibrant and fun restaurant space that’s always been a joy to dine in. The hard working crew out from and back and the affable Fierro all remain too. Also staying put is the patio out front which is perfect in warmer months for brunch – that too is coming just in time for cinco de mayo this year. Bookmark this one, you’ll want to check it out for sure. 545 W 700 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84101 (801) 983-6692 slcmenu.com/2018/04/22/rico-cocina-y-tequila-bar/
Al’s CafeFilipino (and international cuisine apparently) is the name of the game at Al’s in Farmington. The international moniker seems to be a handy license to cook up whatever sounds good – more than fine in my book. The menu jumps around from dishes like authentic Filipino lumpia to ham and cheese stuffed waffles. I’m sold. 1050 Shepard Ln #5, Farmington, UT 84025 (801) 447-9035 facebook.com/alscafeutah/
Alice’s KitchenOver in North Salt Lake the cuisine is this new diner. Dishes like chicken fried steak and French toast kick proceedings off for breakfast, but you’ll find a liberal sprinkling of Tex-Mex too: huevos rancheros, enchiladas, burritos, nachos and more. Breakfast and lunch served all week with dinner on select days. 94 N 400 W, North Salt Lake, UT 84054 (801) 992-3148 facebook.com/Alices-Kitchen-256957204315260/
Bumblebees Korean BBQReported on Facebook, Bumblebees BBQ is headed to Utah County:
People are buzzing about the news!!! In case you haven’t heard we are currently renovating our new location in PROVO right next to Cubbys on bulldog and state st!!! We are projecting it to open late April!! Like and comment if you’re coming to the Grand opening or if you’re just excited that it’s closer to you!!!The new Provo digs join the fusion restaurant’s existing properties in Midvale and West Valley, not forgetting their food truck too. Provonians (?) – make sure you come out and support these guys – you’ll be glad you do. Their Korean-American hybrid creations are wonderful. Try the Mr Kim burger topped with kimchi and a fried egg ASAP. 1254 N, State St, Provo, UT 84604 facebook.com/bumblebeeskbbq
Carnitas y Mariscos “Mi Niño”A new West Valley City casual spot that promises to do just one thing, and one thing exceptionally well: Michoacan style Carnitas. The tacos come with home made tortilla and are $1.99 a pop or if you want carnitas to go – $6.99 per pound. Catering available too. 4865 W. 3500 S. West Valley City, Utah 84120 (801) 964-4068 facebook.com/carnitas.mi.nino.utah/
Chinese TasteLittle to report on this latest addition to the South Salt Lake Chinatown complex. While I know little about this new spot, I should note their menu makes for interesting reading, also laying claim to being the first traditional Chinese BBQ in Utah. 3424 State St F, Salt Lake City, UT 84115 (801) 466-0888 chinesetastetakeout.com
À la Maison with Monsieur CrêpesYou can find more details on this opening in the SL Trib piece. If you don’t fancy battling the Trib’s paywall though, the short of the story is this former food truck operation now has a modest bricks and mortar location. The food truck is still trundling along too, and the cozy spot (once a vintage clothing shop) on 9th East offers both sweet and savory crepes. 1617 S 900 E, Salt Lake City, Utah, 84105 (801) 259-5843 monsieurcrepesut.com
Element BistroSomehow I managed to miss this one in the last roundup, so here’s a quick hat tip. This (kinda) new small plates and wine bar should be a massive boon for residents of Cottonwood Heights – who don’t have a huge amount of stellar dining (cue sound of complaints that restaurant X is where it’s at). Element offers a wide ranging selection of small plates with a dizzying array of ingredients and from what I’ve peeked at from afar on their IG account – it all looks rather tempting. The restaurant opens for brunch at the weekend and so far is garnering rave reviews on everything from Tripadvisor to Yelp to Facebook. Check out the fried chicken on their weekend brunch menu… 2578 E Bengal Blvd, Cottonwood Heights, UT 84121 (801) 666-6918 elementbistroslc.com
Fat Boy PhilliesMeanwhile in Murray the menu here is simple, stunningly simple in fact. You can count the menu items here on one hand, not that you need to really do that, there’s a clear star of the show: hefty Philly cheesesteaks. The restaurant is already becoming something of a not-so-secret under the radar hit; rumor has it that paying the $1 extra for the spicy sausage on your cheesesteak is totally worth the splurge…o.k. that name is starting to make sense. 5823 State St, Murray, UT 84107 (801) 261-0313 facebook.com/Fat-Boy-Phillies-390265938157833
Last CourseThis dessert studio in downtown Salt Lake City joins an original location in Draper. Personally I don’t have that much of a sweet tooth, but if you do, swing by their site and social media – it’ll likely set your pulse racing. 115 Regent St, Salt Lake City, UT 84111 (801) 410-4708 lastcourse.com
Jessie Jean’sReported by the Standard-Examiner – Roy’s Jessie Jean’s has moved over to Ogden, replacing Karen’s Out West Cafe – a stalwart of the now hip 25th Street – but sadly recently out of business. 5128 S 1900 W, Roy, Utah 84067 (801) 779-8000 jessiejeanscafe.com
KiraakTaking over the restaurant space off of 6th South left vacant by Copper Bowl comes this new Indian restaurant. I say new, the interior looks much the same, which is no terrible thing as the Copper Bowl guys (nee Tandoor Indian Grill) previously did a bang up decor job here. The buffet setup here is still a grand setup, a great big gleaming affair. The menu too reads a little different to the usual run of the mill: rum chops, lamb keema nachos, shrimp rascal, fish pulus and more. 214 W 600 S, Salt Lake City, Utah 84101 (801) 675-4512 kiraaak.com
Korean BistroThis brand new family ran business comes to the space left empty by Temari in Ogden. The brand new Korean eatery officially opened its doors on April 11th and is now serving Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. As well as Korean favorites like bulgogi and japchae, you’ll find a smattering of Chinese and Japanese dishes too. More details in this Standard-Examiner piece. 458 40th St, Ogden, UT 84403 (385) 238-4831 slcmenu.com/2018/04/19/korean-bistro-menu
KroranThose familiar with this location might previously remember KTC Crawfish And Bar and before that Ichiban Sushi. Now you’ll find Kroran – serving up sushi. In the mood for karaoke with your sahsimi? No problem – that’ll cost you $20-$40/hour. 6930 State St, Midvale, UT 84047 (801) 251-0682 kroranmidvale.com
Hamachi Pescatarian Grill & SushiInto the building once home to Asian Tao and before that the much missed Chef Gao comes this new sushi spot – who at the very least win the award for most creative restaurant name. Hamachi is the work of one quite young entrepreneur who apparently has some decent chops at the sushi counter; more details on the restaurant and its owner at Utah Stories. 488 E 100 S Salt Lake City, Utah 84111 (801) 359-2092 hamachislc.com
Maria’s Mexican GrillThis new Millcreek Mexican spot quietly opened with next to no fanfare, no press releases and no hubbub. That said, they seem to be doing a roaring trade already in the former Cowboy Grub space off of 33rd South. Hailing from Ogden, this second outing for the same operators has a menu stacked with everything you might be craving, chimichangas to carnitas. There’s a full bar, tons of parking and locals would seem to be lapping it up. 3336 S 2300 E, Salt Lake City, UT 84109 (801) 883-9774 mariasmexgrill.com
Mayuri Indian GrillI’m not certain if this is a rebranding of the former Tikka Indian Grill spot on Foothill or a completely new operation. If memory serves, the old Tikka was more a fast casual concept and Mayuri seems to be a full service restaurant; moreover the enu at Mayuri seems more complex than I can recall with South Indian specialities like dosa. There’s also lunch buffet for just $9.99, Monday-Friday 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. 1336 Foothill Dr, Salt Lake City, UT 84108 (801) 582-0307 mayuriindiangrill.com
Namaste IndianWow, all said its been a busy few months with Indian restaurants rebranding left, right and center. If you’ve tried any listed here, please do let me know; I’m hoping some gems will appear among all the action. This one comes to the old Spice Bistro space in Holladay. If you recall, Spice Bistro attempted to mix a classic American steakhouse menu with an Indian one, a quite incongruous feeling, chowing down on a T-bone while your companion orders a paneer tikka masala. I’m guessing I’m not the only one who just felt, well, weird. A cursory glance online seems to suggest they’ve kept the relatively upscale interior of Spice Bistro. If memory serves this restaurant also had a huge patio out back that should really be a gold mine come the Summer, time will tell. 6121 S Highland Dr, Holladay, UT 84121 (801) 930-9855 namasteindiarestaurant.com
Nomad Truck / Cluck TruckFirst came the Cluck Truck sporting awesome fried chicken sandwiches on wheels. Then came Nomad Eatery with awesome chicken sandwiches indoors. Now the circle is complete and the Nomad Truck is here, with errr, more awesome fried chicken back on the road. Look – if somethings not broken, don’t change it. Well, maybe rename it. Joking aside, these guys are winning plaudits from just about everyone who tries their chicken sandwich, so more power to them.
Pho ToOut in Taylosville this time, a neighborhood we don’t often see much action in, a new Vietnamese restaurant. This looks like a fabulous addition for the good folks out West, in an area that is all to often dominated by fast food. Pho To offers a full and familiar menu with bun, pho, rice dishes and more. Oh, there’s an extensive range of boba drinks too. 5308 S. Redwood Rd, Taylorsville, Utah 84123 (801) 542-0780 facebook.com/justforPho/
Press TogetherBack to Ogden again and this second iteration of the heath focused restaurant, now open on 25th Street. The menu is packed with juices, smoothies and words like cashew milk and acai. I feel about eight times healthier just from reading their menu, let alone ordering off of it. More details in the Standard-Examiner. 195 South 25th Street, Ogden, UT 84401 presstogether.com
Pretty BirdAn honorable mention because yes, as you’ve probably noticed, Pretty Bird has finally opened to a baying public. After what seemed like aeons, Viet Pham’s return to the SLC food scene has been a non stop Instrgam storm of fried chicken sandwiches. Oh. So. Many. Instagrams. The restaurant is now besieged on a daily basis by fans wanting to get their fried chicken fix. This insatiable demand shows no sign of letting up with queues out of the door daily. The restaurant sells out each and every day. My own speculation is that the tiny spot is intentional and a test kitchen of sorts; not only in generating demand, but in perfecting how the concept can work in a confined space. My guess is the guys are trying to nail down a fast food concept and execution that can scale; do you really expect TV-star Pham to be slinging fried chicken all the hours of the day for years and years to come? It wouldn’t surprise me if we saw Pretty Birds up and down the Wasatch Front over the coming months and years. Remember, fast casual is THE thing right now. 146 Regent St, Salt Lake City, UT 84111 prettybirdchicken.com
Ramen 930The ramening, the ramenification, the ramenition, the ramenocalpyse – whatever you want to call it, ramen is hot with a capital, er, R. Adding then to a list of noodle joints around the valley (Tosh’s Ramen, Tonkotsu Ramen, Yoko Ramen, Kobe, Jinya to name just a few) is this spot in Lehi. It’s all big and bold and bright and they’re not the only ones noodling up Lehi right now… 2975 Club House Dr, Lehi, UT 84043 (801) 753-7979 slcmenu.com/2018/03/19/ramen-930-menu/
Ramen NationMike Fukumitsu is the man behind this Lehi ramenatorium. If the name rings a bell you’d be right, Fukumitsu is the endlessly charming owner of Kobe in the Olympus Hills Shopping Center. Particularly grizzled foodies will also remember him from his days working the sushi counter at Kyoto too. As well as some solid sushi skills, Fukumitsu is known for his solid ramen at Kobe, which before opening – he spent time in Japan to hone his skills by all accounts. 3370 N Digital Dr, Lehi, UT 84043 (801) 341-8902 facebook.com/ramennation
Samurai NoodleYes, your eyes are not deceiving you, another ramen shop, this time in Draper. By now you’d think the state was at risk of not having enough noodle capacity to meet demand. Fear ye not, as you can see in the picture above, these guys have their own noodle technology. Locked up safely behind glass – bulletproof no doubt. As such the business promises free noodles for all:
As a specialty Japanese ramen shop, we are proud to be diligent, honest, and passionate about ramen. We will never serve pre-made, artificially preserved broth or use mass-produced commercial noodles. If you stop by our Samurai Noodle restaurants, we promise to always present you with our fresh, handmade noodles11483 State St, Draper, UT 84020 (801) 987-3887 facebook.com/ramenutah/
Tandoor Indian Grill 2There’s now a second location of the Tandoor Indian Grill located on Highland Drive in Holladay. I don’t really have any more info on this one, other than congratulations to the family behind the business. Over the years I’ve had my worries about their 33rd South location but they’ve taken it from strength to strength after a series of failed former occupants preceded them. Tandoor on Highland now has a legion of fans. 4828 Highland Dr, Holladay, UT 84117 (801) 999-4243
Tortilla UnionMore Mexican cuisine, this time over in the Station Park development of Farmington. This location is the second for a company that hails out of Seattle. Their menu combines a mix of Southwestern, Mexican and Baja inspirations. The interior looks like they’ve spent a pretty penny in bringing the concept to Utah. 60 W Promontory, Farmington, UT 84025 (801) 923-1668 tortillaunion.com
Toasted Barrel BreweryWho says Utah is dull, we’re the third hippest place in the U.S don’t you know? We’ve got more ramen, fried chicken and craft beer than you can shake a beard at! Case in point, this latest craft brewer to hit the scene, first reported as far as I know by Utah Stories is this new brewery that will focus squarely on barrel aged sours, kettle sours, balanced IPAs and wild beers. The brewery is also seeking to open a tasting room ASAP too. Here’s the companies Kickstarter promo video: 412 West 600 North, North Salt Lake City, UT (801) 657-6942 toastedbarrelbrewery.com
Also coming soon
16 Post Office PlaceFormerly Kristauf’s Martini Bar – and now purchased by the Takashi team – the business recently garnered its liquor license. Rumor has it that this new bar will have a food menu that focuses on Peruvian/Japanese small plates. Tommy Nguyen (previously Rye and Takashi) might be helming the kitchen there too. Or it might be another ramen spot, who knows take all rumors wit liberal sprinting of fleur de sel.
Este DeliOpening downtown any time soon. The original owner David Heiblim is no longer involved in operations as he is going on to open…
The DispensaryThis new health focused restaurant will offer pies and um, . Here’s the opening menu.
FreshiesNot only is Utah home to the Worlds Best Burger (Lucky 13) its now home to the Worlds Best Lobster Roll – Freshies Lobster Co. Crazed hyperbole aside, this food truck that made the late to bricks and mortar is bring the goods to SLC this Summer.
MoochiesWord hot off the streets is that Moochies Meatballs & Subs are a new location on 2100 S. and State Street in the old Inkleys building. Signange is up, but that’s all I have for you right now.
Ice Cream & Paletas La MichoacanaA palateria coming along just in time for Summer so I hear, about 2650 W and 4700 S.
T.F BrewingSpeaking of brewing, Kevin Templin was Red Rock’s brewer to 18 years and now he’s gonna go it alone. T.F. is expected to debut its lager forward brewing in the fall.
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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.