In a culture known for coining new phrases, professional foodies, Caleb Cannon and Max Motter, have cooked up a new description for the dining atmosphere they’re creating: progressive casual.
The owner-chef duo are as well-matched in their enthusiasm as they are in experience. Caleb, who is also the business catalyst for downtown Salt Lake City’s Tinwell bar, has been a long-standing member of the city’s extended food and beverage family, and chef Max has over a decade of fine dining experience. Housed in a venerable space with a history of local flavor, Yoko Ramen is opening their doors this month in the Broadway building shared by Dick N’ Dixie’s bar.
“Salt Lake has a lot of room for this,” Caleb asserts, and the pair look forward to redefining diners’ expectations in Yoko’s casual neighborhood setting. Both Caleb and Max are exemplary fans of the urban lifestyle where everything you need is within walking distance, and they’re confident that Yoko will augment downtown’s livability.
The kitchen and dining space is historically quirky. Working within the area’s creative limits, Max has designed a menu that can be delivered, he says, “fast and right. No one’s going to have the same menu that we have,” he says. The inclusive bill of fare will list regional ramen recipes with 100 percent from-scratch soup bases that, Max notes, will be “seasonal and uniquely prepared.” Gyoza will also be a featured Japanese cuisine.
From this gustatory launching pad, the menu takes a progressive twist. Recognizing a collaborative opportunity, Yoko will be serving their same menu through a wall cutout to Dick N’ Dixie’s customers. Bar patrons can order the same high quality wings, salads, sandwiches, and specials prepared in Max’s kitchen; and Max is adamant about food quality that is “accessible to all patrons, and is affordable. Price doesn’t have to dictate value,” he says. The all-options menu will also include vegetarian and vegan eats.
The drinks menu, Caleb mentions, will be “small and smart, but we want to have fun with it,” he adds, as he imagines a late-night group reveling at a table presented with sake bombs. Excellent food, inclusivity, and “a sense of community” are what Caleb and Max aim to achieve.
Yoko Ramen is located at 473 E. 300 S.