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Owner-cum-Salt Lake City Councilman J.T. Martin stocks more locally manufactured and marketed inventory in this cozy little historic store than seems possible. V Chocolates. Bath salts mined from the Great Salt Lake. Morgan Valley Lamb. Beehive cheeses. Winder Dairy products. Happy (free-range) turkeys. And of course, there’s always big baritone-voiced Jack the butcher in the back of the store cutting meat to order and sharing tips on braising, barbecuing and brining. You’ll pay more for the little extras, but sometimes you gotta have them. An on-site restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner rounds out the neighborhood feel.
1706 E. 1300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-581-0138
BEST DIRT BAG
Biograss Sod Farms
They don’t call it “Sandy” because the earth is rich and robust—and there are plenty of other places in the valley where the quality of the soil makes “how does your garden grow” less the question than “will your garden grow.” Peter Bell’s Sandy-based business designs its own combinations of soil, manure and composted bark to create a potent booster for Utah’s grim ground. When the fork lift delivers a 1,500-pound resealable bag of black garden soil, your harvest may be on its way to cornucopia-filling bounty.
9980 S. State, Sandy, 801-562-9090, BioGrass.net
BEST BIG BOX SUPERMARKET
Rather like Brigham Young’s original Salt Lake City streets, Harmon’s store aisles are wide enough to turn around an ox cart. But we’ll settle for the standard Utah family-size shopping cart. Another reason this locally owned chain is outstanding: Its huge selection of fresh produce, with growing attention to organic choices. The newer stores, and those that have been extensively remodeled, feature expanded gourmet-cheese departments and fresh bread baked on the premises. Those grinning Harmon brothers have also given serious thought to busy shoppers who have little time to cook, with an extensive “to-go” section that stocks tasty choices well beyond standard potato logs and fried chicken.
Multiple locations, HarmonsGrocery.com
BEST NEIGHBORHOOD CONVENIENCE STORE
Shop N Go
Maverik it isn’t. Or 7-Eleven either. And we’re thankful for that. It’s a crowded little corner shop, dimly lit and stuffed with an inventory that clearly shows an understanding of the convenience shopper’s mind. Dave Smith has owned the gas station/convenience store for 15 years and can be found daily working the counter. Over the years, we’ve found the following items just when we least expected: Salt Lake Roasting Co. beans in bulk (and at grocery-store prices). Rolls of duct tape. Motor oil additives. A variety of shoelaces. Gorilla Glue. Tasty frozen yogurt. In the summer, you’ll find regular deliveries of Alaskan salmon through Dave’s connections (you’ll find it in a metal ice chest just inside the door), pine nuts and other seasonal delights. Plus, locals are always standing around the front of the store gabbing, and the counter help will offer a biscuit to your pooch tied up outside.
1702 E. 1700 South, Salt Lake City, 801-486-3146
BEST SUNDAY AFTERNOON DIVERSION
BEST NEW BREW
Wasatch Beers’ “Devastator”
From the people who brought you Polygamy Porter with the classic slogan “Why have just one?” comes the 8 percent alcohol-by-volume Devastator, pictured with a raging ram barreling through an exploding downtown Salt Lake City with the temple and the capitol consumed in flames. Available in state liquor stores, this beer packs a whallop at 8 points but with a strong but smooth, bready flavor. The double bock variety here is not beer for any leftover Atkins’ followers, as this brew is pretty much like drinking a loaf of bread in a bottle.
BEST FLY-FISHING SHOP
Western Rivers Flyfisher
You might find cheaper flies at a sportsman’s box store. You might even go online. But, if you enjoy the golden-hued moments of fly shop camaraderie, don’t miss spending some time at Western Rivers Flyfisher Shop. Fishing guru Steve Schmidt and his staff will spend as much time as you like rummaging through the bugs and suggesting what is hitting, what hatches are up, and water conditions throughout the West. Beyond fine service and pleasant surroundings, the shop puts 1 percent of profits into the environment, a movement started by Yvon Chouinard founder of Patagonia, a national firm featuring fly-fishing gear.
1071 E. 900 South, Salt Lake City, 800-545-4312, WRFlyFisher.com
BEST FLY-FISHING INSTRUCTOR
Norm Albiston teaches the fly-fishing class at the University of Utah during spring semester. Too late for this spring, but there’s always next year. The course is open to nonmatriculated folks along with degree seekers. Albiston, who pays the bills by working for the LDS Church by day, devotes much of his spare time to this sport of kings. He is brilliant in his ability to make this complex sport simple. For example, he’ll tell you, “fish where the river changes,” and “fish the foam.” Albiston takes his charges at the end of the class to the lower Provo River, where they have an uncommonly great day and get chuckles as Albiston chugs madly through the current in his waders, lifting rocks to show how flies emerge, with childlike wonder and curiosity written all over his face.
Course: Parks, Recreation & Tourism 131, University of Utah, spring semester
BEST IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY
J. Shawn Foster
In an earlier life, Foster was a reporter for The Salt Lake Tribune. But he found his true career calling a few years ago after graduating from the University of Utah college of law and hanging out his solo-practice shingle. With the post-9/11 crackdown on people of Middle Eastern descent and the government tracking of their activity and whereabouts, as well as the whole rush to send anyone with brown skin packing back to Mexico, Foster keeps plenty busy. He says a full 20 percent of his immigration cases involve Muslims fighting to live and work in the United States, while everything else comes down to claims of torture victims seeking political asylum and federal cases over Latino immigration. Foster is bright and compassionate, and he speaks fluent Spanish.
10 W. Broadway, Suite 500, Salt Lake City, 801-363-3011
BEST EVERYMAN’S BICYCLE SHOP
After years of working for others, Biker’s Edge owner Zach Chatelain decided five years ago it was time to take matters into his own hands and open his own place at the—almost—top of Utah. This shop carries workhorse road bikes by Cannondale and Felt, as well as popular mountain bike lines Santa Cruz and Kona. Good selection, and top-notch service, including a full range of tuning and repair plans, ranging in price from $35 to $200. The staff is well-informed, always willing to chat up favorite rides and to give advice.
232 N. Main, Kaysville, 801-544-5300, BEBikes.com
BEST “COMMIE” FARMERS MARKET
The People’s Market
The moniker of the 2-year-old summer market in Jordan Park sounds like something out of Russia before the wall came down. The attitude matches. While there might be a greater selection of vegetables at Salt Lake City’s older Farmer’s Market at Pioneer Park, the People’s Market is truly a local event. Begun as a yard sale, Peoples Market is formally dedicated to fostering local small-scale farming and small business entrepreneurs. You will find clothing made in a neighbor’s home or food grown in the back yard. The market also runs a “barter board” for people to trade needed services. It runs Sundays, June through October, at the Peace Gardens in Jordan Park.
BEST CUTTING EDGES
L. Lorenz Knife Sharpening
The Ronco slices and dices, but do you know where to go to sharpen and grind? File and grate? Scrape and polish? L. Lorenz Knife Shop (aka The Grinding Shop) does it all. Sprucing up everything from garden tools to yo mama’s old steak knives, to thinning shears for your thinning hair, this is the place to cut a deal. Even on new knives, too. Now nearly 100 years old (98 to be exact), there are no more of the Lorenz clan at the shop. Owner Mark Woodward takes that proud tradition seriously—he’s not at all about being dull. He’s the sharpest knife in the drawer.
29 E. 400 South, Salt Lake City, 801-363-2821, LLorenz.com