Many people ― including me ― seem to be so serious about food these days. Instagram and other social media platforms have created venues for the posting of perfect food pix. But is the food we really eat all that perfect looking all of the time? And so what if it’s not? It’s worth remembering that while not all food is of art museum quality, it’s there to provide sustenance, nutrition and yes, enjoyment. So let’s try to really enjoy our food and maybe not take it quite so seriously. Here are some dining destinations that specialize in merging fun with food. Yes, it’s okay to play with your food.
If you are looking for food, fun, and games, the new Flanker Kitchen + Sporting Club at The Gateway is the perfect place. This adult (21 & over) fun zone spans some 17,500-square feet. It’s an entertainment complex that features The Sporting Club for gameday viewing parties and nighttime socializing, private karaoke and sports simulator suites, and the speakeasy-style Parlor cocktail lounge complete with retro bowling lanes and throwback music. Late into the night, DJ’s spin tunes for guests and a high energy party builds to a crescendo as the clock approaches midnight and beyond.
Along with all the fun and games at Flanker, guests are treated to cuisine that is elevated far above standard bar/club fare, with menu items that range from Taverna Tots and House-Smoked Chicken Wings charred on your personal tabletop grill, to Lobster Fritters, Truffled Beef Carpaccio, and Spicy Tuna Bites. There is also a bustling bar scene at Flanker Kitchen + Sporting Club, and if you’re looking for a quiet corner to converse in, I suggest heading over to The Parlor, an old school-type bar with leather banquettes tucked away in the rear of the sprawling Flanker space. Guests at The Parlor can shoot pool, bowl, and play classic games, or just hunker down and enjoy a craft cocktail.
Looking to put a little magic into your life? I suggest an evening at Mystique Theater in West Jordan’s Gardner Village. At Mystique, guests can enjoy world-class magic artistry from performers such as Matt Donnelly, Larry Wilson, Alex Ramon, George Tovar and others, along with a sit-down gourmet dinner. Mystique Dining offers two separate and unique venues: Mystique’s Grand Dining Chamber and The Prestige Parlour of Magic. At the former, guests indulge in a gourmet dinner prior to the evening’s audience-participation magic show. Menu selections include Orange and Wild Boar Sugo with Pappardelle; Pan-Seared King Salmon with forbidden black rice; Wagyu Hanger Steak with pommes frites; Zaatar-Rubbed Bone-In Pork Loin with farro; Blackened Chilean Sea Bass with quinoa tabbouleh; Prime Rib; and much more. Mystique also can accommodate dietary restrictions such as lactose intolerance, gluten-free, allergies, etc.
Another way to have fun with your food is to laugh the night away at a Wiseguys comedy club in downtown SLC, Ogden, or Jordan Landing. The comedy lineup at Wiseguys runs the gamut from local open mic nights and journeymen comedians to world-class names like JB Smoove, Jimmy Pardo, Marc Maron, Margaret Cho, Jeff Ross, Dave Attell and my favorite, Maria Bamford. The food and drink at Wiseguys is not to be overlooked, and I especially love the Black & Blue Burger with Cajun spices and blue cheese crumbles, as well as the yummy Bavarian Pretzels with beer cheese. Beverages range from bottled and high-point beers to cocktails, specialty shots like the White Gummy Bear, and even wine by the glass.
Japanese-style Teppanyaki restaurants can be loads of fun, with good food to boot. At restaurants like Tepanyaki Japanese Steakhouse in Layton, Ogden’s Kobe Teppanyaki, and at Salt Lake City’s Benihana, you’ll be entertained while you eat. Chefs with razor sharp knives slice and dice right before your eyes while you are seated at a communal hibachi grill. Whether sizzling flying shrimp on the hot grill, tossing slivered onions and catching them on a spatula, or preparing sushi tableside, there is delicious food and a show to be enjoyed at your favorite Teppanyaki restaurant.
Dinner and a show, anyone? Desert Star Dinner Theater in Murray has just kicked off its 2022 season with The Phantom of the Opera, running through February 26. At Desert Star Theater you’ll enjoy performances of favorite Broadway and off-Broadway shows, along with good grub and a fun, friendly staff. The specialty here is pizza, including Chicken Alfredo, Hawaiian, Smoked BBQ Chicken, and build-your-own pizzas, plus salads, nachos, cheesy garlic bread, and desserts like Chocolate Lava Cake, ice cream floats and sundaes, oven-fresh streusel, flan, and more. Upcoming shows include Beverly Hillbillies 90210, Hunk-Cules I’m Too Sexy for My Toga, Legally Brunette, and Calamity Jane. So get out there and have some fun with your food!
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