Utah Business

Downtown’s Restaurant Scene—Out with the Old and in with the New

As some of Salt Lake’s oldest restaurants close, new ones move in to fill the gap with cutting-edge, creative menus.


Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.

Salt Lake City’s restaurant scene is quickly changing. Sadly, the old guard, white tablecloth restaurants like Lambs, Atlantic, and The Judge and Cinegrill, have all recently closed. And the modern millennial-type boutique and craft places like Whiskey Street, Bodega, Red Rock and the newly minted White Horse (which was opened by the same John Prince who financed Whiskey Street) on Main Street offer a more modern unique taste and environment.

As Salt Lake becomes more urbanized, and the condo and apartment building boom continues, the new urbanites are hungry for change. In this process, we’re beginning to see a rapid change in the food culture in downtown.

Consumers can get a great experience at one of several brewery/restaurants like Squatters, Red Rock and now Fisher Brewery—who don’t serve their own food but instead invite different food trucks for lunch service everyday. Customers can enjoy fresh craft beers on tap, with the best food truck fare.

Although, it’s very sad that Utah’s oldest restaurant, Lambs Grill has closed. The latest simple boutique/craft approach offers something very special as well (that doesn’t need to appeal to only men with manicured beards who wear skinny jeans.)

Other new restaurants that have opened in downtown include, Mollie and Ollie, Gappo, Zest, and Spitz, that appeal to the artistic and expressive culture, as well as a taste for the future of food, creating cuisine and ambiance that steps out of the bounds of traditional fare.

Millennials crave fresh ingredients and a crafted feel to the food they eat—dishes that are bold and real at the same time. In order to stay prosperous in the food industry, local businesses are adapting to these new tastes, riding the wave, and using new ideas to satisfy the insatiable hunger for the new and innovative.

These places are the cutting edge, creating more room for the City of Salt to be artistic and unique, like flowers growing through cracks in the pavement: local, fresh and unique are the mantras of the new restaurateurs.

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