The first thing you may wonder when you enter Roots, is if it’s a restaurant or a juice bar. It has the look of both with its food, fresh-pressed juices, smoothies, and gourmet coffees. At Roots, the breakfast menu isn’t large, but I wish I could have tried it all—because everything looked phenomenal.
I went with the Roots of Your Day Breakfast: farm-fresh eggs cooked your way, house potatoes, choice of meat (applewood smoked bacon, pork sausage patty, and cottage bacon, or veggie sausage), a choice of toast, English muffin or pancakes. And not just any pancakes: buttermilk, buckwheat, or the pancake of the day (apple cinnamon during my visit).
The potatoes are rustic and crisp cooked with onions for aromatics; the two slices of thick-cut applewood-smoked bacon were a meat-lover’s euphoria. But best of all were the pancakes—my eating partner and I ordered one buttermilk and one apple cinnamon. The buttermilk pancake somehow managed the impossible trick of being both fluffy and heavy; it was a mouth-watering creation. The apple cinnamon pancake was so sweet and fresh, that it could have also doubled as a dessert.
Opened in November 2011, Roots Cafe may just have one of the finest breakfasts around. The staff is incredibly attentive, knowledgeable, and passionate. Located on the west side of 2300 E., just south of Evergreen Ave., it’s easy to find.
Arrive here early, though, as it can get busy. While wondering if I would get a table was agony, enjoying the food and atmosphere was absolute ecstasy.
3474 S. 2300 E.
Salt Lake City, Utah, 84109
Finn’s opened their present location on 1100 E. in 2006. It was a return for them as their original restaurant (also named Finn’s) opened in 1952 on Parleys Way—same
family, same great quality. Prior to Finn’s arrival, no establishment seemed to last long here.
Figuring out exactly what Scandinavian cuisine is this required a bit of an investigation. There are dishes here you would recognize in many a breakfast joint—eggs benedict, omelets, and french toast, for example. What may come across as unique however, would be: Pyttipanna, Jule Kake French Toast, Norsk, Norwegian waffles, and the aptly named Scandinavian Breakfast.
Pyttipanna is bits of beef with diced potato, carrots, and onions topped with a poached egg. This is a European version of a skillet; it tastes very healthy and fresh.
The Scandinavian Breakfast is poached red trout served with tartar sauce, two eggs, hashbrowns, and toast.
The Norsk: Bay shrimp, capers, and havarti cheese—sounds like a fancy hors d’oeuvre.
The jewel of Finn’s breakfast are the Jule Kake French Toast and Norwegian Waffles.
Listen to this description for the french toast: “Flavorful Norwegian Christmas bread with raisins, citron, cardamom, and dipped in cinnamon cream batter.” And the Norwegian Waffles: Seasoned with cardamom, and served with a side of sour cream and wild Lingonberries. There are no sales skills or hyperbole necessary—that description alone sells it.
Thanks to the Gurholt family for reopening Finn’s and becoming the culinary jewel of the neighborhood. If you are not able to vacation to Norway just yet, come here for a taste instead—pun intended.
1624 S. 1100 E.
Salt Lake City, Utah, 84105
Tonkotsu Ramen Bar
A couple of years ago, it seemed as though Ramen was the latest food trend. It’s funny how something that was so hot yesterday can quickly become old news. Would the same
thing happen with Ramen?
Last year, I made an attempt to revisit a Ramen restaurant on 3500 S. in West Valley only to find it closed—but sometimes the best things in life happen when plans change.
Just across the street from my failed attempt at lunch, I saw another Ramen Bar. This place was located in a nondescript strip mall, and the named screamed for my Attention. Tonkotsu Ramen Bar specializes in Japanese Ramen with a western twist.
They opened their doors in September 2015, and in that time, have served over 100,000 bowls of noodles to Utah’s expanding foodie audience. Their namesake dish, Tonkotsu
Ramen, boasts a flavorful fatty pork broth with generous servings of pork chashu and fresh toppings including mayu (black sesame oil), menma (seasoned bamboo shoots), nori (seaweed), and negi (green onions).
With a wide variety of menu choices from traditional and fusion ramen, Tonkotsu Ramen Bar is a great culinary experience for hardcore ramen fans and first-timers alike.
Menu items include chicken wings, pork ribs, sandwiches, and asian desserts.
Tonkotsu is owned and operated by Chef Zaldy Ilagan, serial entrepreneur, Dennis Nguyen, and restaurateur, Joachim Guanzon. They make your meal memorable not only by delectable dishes, but also with atmosphere and hospitality. This restaurant treasure is no passing fad. The only question is: how soon can you get here?
1898 W. 3500 S.
West Valley City, Utah, 84119
To see more photos by Tyson Rollins visit his website.