Lots of Heart at Homecoming Southern Kitchen & Bar in Downtown Salt Lake

Homecoming Southern Kitchen & Bar is all about comfort food with a Southern slant. It’s food and drink served from the heart.


Some of the menu offerings at Homecoming Southern Kitchen & Bar. Photos by John Taylor.

I had only been writing about food, drink, and restaurants for a year or so when Christopher’s Seafood & Prime Steakhouse opened in downtown Salt Lake City on Pierpont Avenue. The new steakhouse took over the space that was formerly home to Gastronomy Inc.’s Baci Trattoria Italian restaurant and club. That was in 1995, and well before downtown dining destinations with heavy carnivore appeal such as Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, Spencer’s for Steaks & Chops, The Capital Grille, and others entered the meaty fray. It was also one of the first restaurants to serve USDA Prime cuts of meat and Wagyu beef, as well as meats from prestigious purveyors like Snake River Farms, Niman Ranch, and 44 Farms. 

In 2018, Christopher’s moved into the historic Peery Hotel, rechristened as Christopher’s Prime Tavern and Grill, and was renamed even more recently simply as Christopher’s Prime. 

Also in 2018, Sonoma Wine Bar + Grill opened in The Peery, featuring the flavors and ambiance of California’s wine country in a relaxed and congenial atmosphere. I mention Christopher’s and its long history as a downtown dining destination here because it is owned and operated by the BonPatt Restaurant Group and the longtime business partners that the group is named for Anthony Bonomini and Christopher Patterson. 

BonPatt is also behind Sonoma Wine Bar + Grill, as well as Fat Jack’s Burger Emporium and Toro Rosa bar. And now, there’s a new feather in the BonPatt culinary cap: Homecoming Southern Kitchen & Bar, which recently landed in another historic downtown location this one the longtime home to The Olive Garden on 200 South near the Salt Palace. The driving forces behind Homecoming Southern Kitchen & Bar are Tara and Tony Bonomini, and you’re going to love what they did with the place. 

Gone is any remnant of the old Olive Garden, and I was told that a lot of sweat equity went into turning the stale chain restaurant into something very inviting and unique. The owner and their crew gutted the former Italian restaurant and the result after much hard work is a spacious, airy eatery with a lively bar near the entrance, lots of window seats, and a modern but very warm and inviting ambiance. Even the mostly 80s music is right up my alley. There’s also a sidewalk patio which is going to be a superb spot to gather when the weather warms up a bit.

As you’ve probably surmised, Homecoming Southern Kitchen & Bar is all about comfort food with a Southern slant. It’s food and drink served from the heart. The owners have an ongoing love affair with the South, saying that they “traveled to the South 100 times before, experiencing their true Southern hospitality and ridiculously scrumptious food representing a melting pot of influence. We wanted to bring the styles and flavors of the South to Salt Lake City.” It’s a dream they say they’ve had for more than 20 years a dream that has finally come to fruition. 

Nashville chicken.

They’ve certainly nailed the Southern-style hospitality, with super-friendly servers like Jack, and General Manager Elias Jackson, who treat every guest like they were family. Chef/Partner Andrew Carraway oversees the Homecoming Kitchen, and I was impressed that although he’s dishing up comfort food, the ingredients are top-notch. For example, the chicken in the spectacular Nashville-style fried chicken is Mary’s Organic Chicken. You’ll also find Kobe beef on the menu, cuts of beef from Niman Ranch, and the folks at Homecoming say, “We search everywhere for the freshest and highest quality ingredients, but we always start in our backyard first. Over 70% of our menu is locally grown, raised or produced.” 

Of course, menu items like Andrew’s Spicy Ass Rock Shrimp aren’t local thank goodness but those crispy crustaceans are totally addictive, as are the country-fried oysters with jalapeños. Homemade chicken and seafood gumbo and from-scratch chicken noodle soup give you an idea of the warm culinary vibe at Homecoming. And big, meaty slabs of Prime Rib are a specialty of the house, served with horseradish cream and roasted garlic au jus. Come hungry because the portions are ginormous, from the buttermilk fried chicken and BBQ baby back ribs (half-rack or full), to the hearty shrimp & grits, and pork belly with biscuits. But don’t leave before indulging in Chef Carraway’s sour cream cake; it’s a heavenly dessert passed down from his grandma. Hey, how could cake grilled in butter be anything but divine?

Chicken biscuits.

Homecoming Southern Kitchen & Bar couldn’t be more aptly named, because the hospitality, cuisine and libations there all make you feel like you have indeed come home. The back of the shirts the Homecoming servers wear pretty much say it all: “Bless your heart.” 

This is a place with plenty of heart.

Join our newsletter.
Stay informed.

Related Articles