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New Dining Options in Salt Lake and Beyond

Published: 12/31/2006

Several significant new dining destinations entered the scene over the past year (summer 2005 to summer 2006), adding more spice to Utah’s already savory mix of restaurants. From Asian Fusion/American in a rock and roll venue to modern French in the Cottonwoods, Salt Lake offers more varied and tempting choices than ever before.

Here’s what’s new on the menu [alphabetical listing]: 

Faustina--Jared Young, the longtime chef at Salt Lake’s Oasis Café—one of the city’s favorite vegetarian friendly dining spots—lets his carnivorous side shine at Faustina, the Oasis’s new sister restaurant. Both restaurants are conveniently located a few blocks from the center of downtown, attracting neighborhood, local business and University of Utah crowds. Faustina’s décor is lively and colorful, emphasizing soft greens, deep purples and contemporary, curved lines. Outdoor dining is available on a small patio on the secluded east side of the building. Faustina offers a carefully selected wine list as well as local brews on tap. Popular menu items include lamb medallions with an aromatic rosemary demi glace and sour cherry reduction, salmon Wellington and housemade soups as well as housemade desserts. Lunch and dinner. 454 East 300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-746-4441.

Franck’s--Chef Franck Peissel presides over an exhibition kitchen in a cozy, 50-seat French-themed restaurant in the Knudsen’s Corner area of Holladay, a woodsy area just minutes from the Cottonwood Canyons. Here, in a former chef’s cottage on the grounds of his “big sister” restaurant, Tuscany, the charming Frenchman greets his guests as they walk through the door with a view straight into the kitchen. The ambience is contemporary and romantic, complete with a small patio in a private garden with a fire pit—perfect for Salt Lake’s starry nights, spring through fall. Peissel’s menu is French at heart but incorporates a few modern American twists. Appetizers include tender slow roasted pork with pumpkin gnocchi and Madeira ginger veal reduction; ménage à foie (foie gras prepared seared, in a torchon and a terrine, accompanied with brioche, huckleberry gastrique and fleur de sel); and PEI mussels meunière with pommes frites. Entrees on Franck’s ever-changing menu may include potato crusted trout with cauliflower couscous and citrus beurre blanc; a meatloaf of slow braised pulled pork, veal and chicken; and pan seared snapper with vegetable lasagna in a voilette beuurre blanc. Franck’s shares an extensive, award-winning wine cellar with Tuscany. “Franckly,” it’s the hottest restaurant ticket in town. Dinner only. 6363 South Holladay Blvd., Salt Lake City, 801-274-6264.
Harry’s--All-American, supper clubby and chic, Harry’s is a welcome addition to the bustling Sugarhouse neighborhood of Salt Lake. The décor is spare and contemporary, with oxblood red banquettes, neutral walls, dark wood trim, dramatic lighting and smooth surfaces. The restaurant’s charming French zinc and tile bar will look familiar to diners who remember the space’s former occupant, L’Avenue (former home to chef Franck Piessel, now of the just-opened Franck’s).  Part of Utah’s growing Latitude Restaurant Group, Harry’s emphasis is on beef—from prime rib to rib eye and deluxe burgers—but diners may also order sushi rolls, a sashimi salad and other whole meal salads from the moderately priced menu. The wine list is simple and well-suited to the menu and cocktails are a specialty. Harry’s offers great summer patio dining with views of the greenery of Sugarhouse Park and the towering Wasatch peaks to the east. Lunch and dinner. 1355 East 2100 S., 801-467-4505.

MacCool’s--Irish right down to its homey shepherd’s pie and Guiness stew, MacCool’s is a bright, modern Irish restaurant/pub at the south end of the Foothill Shopping Center on Salt Lake’s East Bench. The food is hearty and fresh-made, the place is family friendly and servings are generous. Like most businesses in this upscale outdoor mall, MacCool’s is independently owned and operated. Lunch and dinner. 1400 Foothill Drive, Salt Lake City. 801-582-3111.

Panache--A lunch-only restaurant and evening wine bar in the Wells Fargo Building in downtown Salt Lake, Panache occupies one of the city’s most opulent spaces. Italian marble and fine appointments give the restaurant an elegant feeling, but chef Garry Maxwell’s eclectic American menu is full of basic comfort foods, with a spin. Lunch menu favorites include a hot chicken and brie sandwich, piled with caramelized onions and served on ciabatta; shrimp risotto, hearty pastas and Maxwell’s meatloaf.  In the adjoining wine bar, local “wine diva” Vicky Martinez has created a food-friendly wine list that is unmatched in Salt Lake for its terrific variety and helpful groupings. Cocktails are also available. The bar area, which also includes a completely sealed cigar room, opens on its east side to the soaring atrium of the office building it occupies, complete with downtown views. With a wood-fired oven on site, the wine bar serves an ever-changing menu of small pizzas and tapas. 299 South Main St., 801-535-4311.

Pine--From Greg Neville, owner/executive chef of Salt Lake’s stellar Lugano Restaurant, Pine is an American wine-country-inspired breath of fresh air, nestled in the distinctive pines on the bank of Big Cottonwood Creek, just 4 miles from the mouth of the Cottonwood Canyons. This summer its 100-seat deck promises to be one of Salt Lake’s most lively and desirable spots for lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch. Neville and his wife Julie joined talents to renovate a former seafood restaurant and transform it with modern fixtures, copper glazed concrete floors, warm natural tones, original art and highlights such as walls of shimmering blue tiles. Dining areas are tiered, with several cozy niches, including two large round booths that you step down into—sort of like into a mini-sunken living room. Floor to ceiling windows on one wall of the restaurant reveal views of Mt. Olympus to the east. Neville’s team includes chef Jonah Hornsby and one of Salt Lake’s top pastry chefs, Amber Billingsly. Highlights of the seasonal menu include: bourbon cured smoked salmon with fresh corn blinis; five-spice duck confit with creamy white grits; Manila clams with potatoes and linguisia in yellow curry broth; scaloppini style organic pork with a silky chard flat; rose scented flan; blueberry/lavender bread pudding; chocolate/mocha crème brulee. Lunch and dinner. 4760 South 900 E., Salt Lake City, 801-288-2211.

Ruth’s Chris Steak House--Of national acclaim on popularity, Ruth's Chris occupies the historic Pierpont building (which started out as the first Salt Lake high school) in downtown Salt Lake and is operated by franchisee, Latitude Restaurant Group.

The Salt Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau is a private, non-profit corporation responsible for the promotion of Salt Lake as a convention and travel destination. Salt Lake is a unique fusion of metropolitan city and quaint mountain town; the towering Wasatch Mountains that embrace Salt Lake offer a dramatic backdrop to the vibrancy and activities of downtown. Having recently undergone a $58 million expansion, the Salt Palace Convention Center now boasts 679,000 square feet of exhibit and meeting space, ideal for groups of all sizes and needs. For more information on all that Salt Lake has to offer, visit