Salt Lake City is never one to rest on its laurels when it comes to food and drink, and the last three months have been no exception. If it’s been a while since you’ve checked out the latest and greatest changes to our foodie scene, we’ve got just what you need—a recap of some of the very best new openings in town.
The opening of this massive new facility at The Gateway (located on the west side of downtown) is something of a coup for our fair city. Flanker is a new concept from Vegas-based Carver Road Hospitality, and the first location for a grander roll out across the country. Flanker offers a mix of dining, drinks, and hands-on entertainment all under one roof—covering some 17,500 square feet in total.
On the food side of things, Flanker’s menu offers a playful take on traditional bar food, with several surprises up its sleeves; signature lobster fritters are finished tableside with a flurry of powdered sugar, while classic chicken wings are provided with your very own sterno heater for extra crisping. As you explore the space you’ll find karaoke booths, sports simulators, shuffleboard, a private nightclub area, and even a contemporary cocktail bar, known as The Parlor. Overseen by world-renowned mixologist Francesco Lafranconi, the fun-flair from the kitchen spills over to the bar menu as well—ever witnessed a smoke gun finished cocktail?
6 North Rio Grande Street, Salt Lake City, UT 84101
Scion represents one of the most exciting new bars to open in Utah in quite some time, focusing as it does almost exclusively on craft cider. Scion is unique in the whole state and offers hands down the best selection of ciders for possibly hundreds of miles in any direction.
The headline here are the 20 taps of cider on draft, ready for you to explore with guidance from the expertly drilled team. Draft selections are backed by a deep range of canned and bottled ciders, both local, regional, and internationally imported. Smartly chosen wine, beer, and spirits (leaning local where possible) round out the beverages. The Scion crew even plan to offer their own in-house cider in the coming months.
A modest array of conservas and charcuterie is available for snacking, but the bar more than welcomes guests to bring in food from neighboring Central 9th restaurants such as Laziz Kitchen (Lebanese), Central 9th Market (pizza, sandwiches, burgers), and Nohm (Japanese).
After an extensive remodel, the central dining space at The Grand America Hotel is now open and welcoming diners. With their return comes a luxurious new interior design as well as a completely retooled menu. The watchword here is affordable—nothing tops the $30 mark—and many dishes land healthily lower still. Moreover, it’s an accessible inventory of dishes; a lineup of dishes representing a who’s who of comforting European classics—think French onion soup, gnocchi, and steak frites.
The update is ably supported by an all-new bar program featuring a number of house specialty cocktails; wine, local beers, and spirits also feature too. The newly reworked bar space also has plenty of thoughtfully made alcohol-free mocktails to sample too. Be sure to check back during the warmer months, when Laurel is expected to take the wraps off what’s likely to be one of the city’s finest patios.
555 South Main Street
Salt Lake City, UT 84111
2022 sees this award-winning local brewer make a major move to downtown SLC. Temporarily shuttering their South Salt Lake taproom, Shades have now opened a city center location. Shades are renowned for their innovative and left-field brews. Just check out their social media feeds and you will see what we mean—a recent example, their Indian Masala American-Style Sour Ale brewed with Indian curry, garam masala, and coconut. At the time of press, the original tap room in South Salt Lake is slated to return in the next few weeks as well.
Casot is an all-new boutique wine bar located in the 15th and 15th area of Salt Lake City. Owned by serial restaurateur Scott Evans (Pago, Finca, East Liberty Tap House, Hub & Spoke, and others) the compact bar is built around Evans’ love for small artisan winemakers, with a particular predilection for organic, biodynamic, and natural wines. A rotating menu is notable for a selection of 50 or so wines, several of which are only available in Utah at Evans’ cozy new space. If you stop by for a tipple, be sure to check out the centerpiece of Casot - a fabulous bar imported from Milan that’s more than 100 years old.
1508 South 1500 East
Salt Lake City, UT 84105
Building on the success of their west-side taqueria, Monarca is the latest venture from the team behind the highly regarded Santo Tacos. Their new restaurant moves into the space left vacant by the now departed Alamexo on State Street. Monarca is the most upscale outing for the team to date and affords guests a more complicated selection of dishes. Trendy birria sits alongside mole smothered enchiladas and mountain-high molcajete bowls that heartily feed two. And for those that might be lamenting the previous tenants—one thing that hasn’t changed is the tableside guacamole service, made to spec right in front of your eyes.
268 South State Street
Salt Lake City, UT 84111
This fried chicken joint recently expanded to Utah by way of SoCal, and with it, another restaurant in a long list increasingly focused on sustainability and product sourcing. Originally co-founded by celeb-chef Richard Blais (of Top Chef fame), Crack Shack uses only free-range Jidori chicken raised on small Californian farms; the result of this, as far as Thrillist is concerned—the “Best Fried Chicken Restaurant in the US”.
Crack Shack provides the fried goods in a number of formats—chicken plates big and small, piled high sandwiches, and lighter fare such as salads and bowls. This is the first location for the small chain in Utah, which see it move into the hip 9th and 9th area just a few miles from downtown SLC.
912 East 900 South
Salt Lake City, UT 84105
When MFM landed in the Beehive, it did so with aplomb, opening multiple locations in short order and lighting up many an Instagram feed with their dizzying creations. Mr. Fries Man’s menu takes heaving mountains of golden French fries, then layers on eye-opening topping after topping. Mr. Fries Man lets you answer your deepest darkest food queries, without anyone batting an eyelid. Want to experience what lemon garlic crab topped fries with a drizzle of buffalo sauce tastes like? Go for it.