It's been 29 years since City Weekly released its first-ever Best of Utah issue. During that time, and taking into consideration the bevy of imitators that have come and gone, you'd think we'd run out of ideas by now. Think again.
Showcased once more in a fancy, glossy package (a format we debuted last year), our ragtag team of desperado staffers and contributors have assembled an unabashed love letter to some of the people, places, products and services that truly make Utah special.
Emblazoned in this publication, you'll find some 200 unique options meant to get you out of the house and into a local boutique, cinema, bar, eatery, park or body-modifying studio just to name a few. Additionally, you'll discover several reasons to become more politically active by attending a march, lending your support to community-action groups, ringing up your elected representatives and, hopefully, vote.
Throughout these pages, you'll also stumble upon a celebration of the ultimate Utah-centric art exhibit (one revolving around those pesky "This premise is licensed as a restaurant not a bar" signs, no less), an ode to Hot Cheeto-crusted grains and an obscure reference to a 1970s martial arts TV series.
In the end, we hope you hold onto this magazine and see it as an oracle of things to do in and around the Beehive State between sips of low-point beer and gulping mouthfuls of green Jell-O. How's about catching an experimental theater performance inside a Provo mall, enjoying continental fare in Logan or rocking hoop earrings with no shame at Bryce Canyon National Park? They're all inside.
Oh, and we haven't forgotten about reader input—a Best-of hallmark since its origins. More than 10,000 of you cast a record 144,873 votes across the seven categories in our readers' section. Thank you all, and props to the steak lover who wrote-in "F*ck if I know" under Best Vegan Restaurant; the eight of you who needed more time to fill out the ballot and responded "Hmmm" in some of our poll's queries; and the disgruntled soul who answered "Holly, my neighbor," in the Worst Utahn category.
Restaurateurs, students, activists, servers, Utah natives, fresh transplants and everyone in between—this issue is for all of you. Yes, even you, Holly.
Cindy McBride Gibbs
Great Salt Bake.
Ronette Nelson Knight
Latter-day Strains (but that's more of a brand name. It would have to have sub strains to make any sense).
Diet Coke Smoke.
The other green casserole with crunchy stuff.
Seagull Diesel, Provo Gold, Kolob Kush.
The Real Housewives of Salt Lake Hash.
Prophet's Private Stash, Temple Hemple, Holy Toke. High-n-Zion.
Bee-high State, Porter Smokewell, Modab.
Joseph Spliff, Temple Recommend, Bonneville Blunt.
Zion Curtain 3.2.
Capitol Reefer, Foot Lucid, Latter-day Dank, Jon Bluntsman Jr., Greatest Grow on Earth, Multi-level Marijuana, Doobie a Favor and Use Your Turn Signal.
As long as it's legal ... who cares?
Best Proponent of Utah Love
In 2018, the Imagine Dragons frontman expanded his LoveLoud Festival, which celebrates Utah's LGBTQ youth and raises awareness about the staggering suicide problem they face. With a new venue (University of Utah's Rice-Eccles Stadium), an attendance that more than doubled (from 17,000 to 42,000 fans) and a fundraising haul 10 times higher than in 2017 ($1,000,000 vs. $100,000), Reynolds made a huge impact on his adopted state. But the money was secondary to LoveLoud's main goal: spreading an inclusive brand of Utah love that treats everyone—gay, straight, religious and not—equal. "Growing up Mormon, you're quick to close your door if you feel like someone's attacking you," Reynolds told City Weekly in June. "If we're going to have this dialogue, it needs to come from within." (NM)
Best Hollywood First Amendment Proponent
A headline-grabbing fixture since her 1960 big-screen debut in Tall Story, two-time Oscar-winner Jane Fonda has gone through several reinventions (Spandex-clad workout, anyone?) giving ample material for a documentary based on her life, Jane Fonda in Five Acts, which premiered during the Sundance Film Festival. Apropos of Park City's Respect Rally—a gathering that commemorated one year since national Women's March—the actress took the stage and asked for attendees to support the Freedom of the Press during a passionate speech. "Let's find a way to protect and expand public media, both national and community-based," she told the crowd. We couldn't agree more. (EL)
Best Conservation Warriors
Utah Recycling Alliance
Between Fix-It Clinics, Sustainability Summits and Pop-up CHaRMs (collections of hard-to-recycle materials), the Utah Recycling Alliance is doing its part to keep Utah as green, and habitable, as possible. By encouraging a zero-waste lifestyle, these tree-hugging, earth-loving recyclers are helping people reuse their old and busted keepsakes by giving them the skills they need to make future repairs at home. Embrace your inner "Tim 'The Tool Man' Taylor" and learn how to fix broken blenders and messed up bicycle chains at a Fix-It Clinic, or recycle your old tires or DVDs at a Pop-up CHaRM; whatever URA program you do, you'll be giving the earth, and Utah's environment, a much-needed hug (KL)
Best Nature-Loving Ladies
Women Who Hike
Mom always cautioned you to never talk to strangers on the street. But talking to them on the internet and hiking into the wilderness with them is totally fine. I mean, we can't all be axe murderers, right? That's just statistics. Women Who Hike was started as a way to connect women who just want to hang out in nature with each other, and has exploded to chapters all across the U.S. The Utah Facebook group has more than 1,300 members, and state ambassadors familiar with off-the-beaten-path trails lead hikes several times per year. You don't have to be a dedicated backpacker to join—women just getting into the hobby are welcome to post questions and seek beginner hiking buddies. Hiking solo is no excuse to stay off the trail. (SA)
Best Failled Australian Import
Great Salt Lake Whales
Now for some history. Mr. James Wickham, upon first stepping foot onto the Great Salt Lake's banks must have surely—eyes squinting, scanning the watery horizon—said, "Call me Wickham." He, like Melville, had a whale to sale. The story goes, at least according to a June 24, 1890, article in the now-defunct Utah Enquirer, that in 1865 a "scientific English gentleman," Mr. Wickham, got it in his head to launch the Utah whaling industry within the Great Salt Lake's confines. He and a few like-minded men went a whale huntin' off the shores of Australia, plucked two whales from the depths, and brought them to Utah courtesy of a freightliner from Australia to San Francisco, and a train from San Fran to these parts. In a scene straight out of Whaling for Dummies, Wickham made a chicken-wire enclosure for his new pets and casually plopped them in. After about five minutes, the whales saw their chance, burst through the wire, and swam out into the depths. Needless to say, Wickham's Whaling Co. never quite took off, but if you sit along your favorite bank near dusk—eyes squinting, scanning the horizon—you might see a little geyser spout up from a whale descendant, proudly claiming the Great Salt Lake for itself. (ZS)
Best LGBTQ Advocate From an Institution You Wouldn't Expect
A faithful Latter-day Saint and former bishop, Richard Ostler encourages fellow devout Mormons to embrace LGBTQ people, groups the LDS church has historically stigmatized and demonized. Ostler hosts a podcast called Listen, Learn & Love and posts respectably trafficked Facebook statuses advocating for Mormons to respect and engage with LGBTQ people. Al though not affiliated with the church in any official capacity, Ostler's advocacy is an encouraging step forward, as it represents a radical set of actions that are all too rare in 2018—ditch your preconceived notions, seek out and talk with people whose experiences are vastly different from your own and, most importantly, listen. (KL)
Best Local Duped by Sacha Baron Cohen
British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen tricked conservatives and progressives into acting out embarrassing situations while filming his Showtime series Who Is America? Among the group was Utah gun rights activist and Women Against Gun Control founder Janalee Tobias, who fell for Cohen's prank after he told her his son had been killed by a terrorist and that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wanted toddlers to be trained with firearms so they could join the war against terrorism. While singing about killing militants with guns hidden in stuffed animals, Tobias was goaded to endorse using a "Dino gun," "Puppy pistol" and "Uzicorn" to fight the good fight. (KL)
Best Boneheaded Group Standing up for Their Second Amendment Rights
Utah Gun Exchange
Shortly before the survivors of the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School came to Utah in July, The Salt Lake Tribune reported that Bryan Melchior, one of the owners of the Utah Gun Exchange, had been following the students around the country in a militaristic armored vehicle. As the school shooting survivors advocated for gun regulations, Melchior held counter-rallies, protecting his civil rights by stalking teenagers. "The hostile environment created toward gun advocates in the Northeast is not unlike the hostile environments a black man would have experienced in the South hundreds of years ago," he told the Trib. Alrighty then. (KL)
Best New Social Media Follow
Utah's liquor stores can't advertise what's on sale. That doesn't stop Park City resident Kirsten Park, though, who runs the @utahsidebar account on Facebook and Instagram. Park takes away the pain of navigating the state's inventory online by doing it for you, posting the latest wine or liquor listed at a discount. She also includes a story about each item she posts, such as a $17.99 bottle of Hell-Cat Maggie Whiskey named after a Dead Rabbits gang member in Manhattan in the 1800s. So, not only do you learn about the best deals in Utah, you also read the history and inspiration behind the product—something you won't get from the state. (RH)
Best Political Brawl
Mia Love and Ben McAdams
Arguably the most interesting election in the Utah 2018 midterms, the Mia Love/Ben McAdams race had it all—allegations of both candidates using illegal campaign donations, political operatives masquerading as reporters to spy on the opposition and, of course, the specter of President Donald Trump, who won Love's district in 2016 with a mere 40 percent of votes. Final numbers haven't been tallied at press time, so we'll go ahead and issue two predictions: If McAdams wins, the Democrats gain another seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, adding to a potential blue wave that would give the minority party a much-needed boost of political power. If Love wins, her Republican star continues to rise for two more years until she does the same dance in 2020, when both she and Trump would be up for reelection. (KL)
Best Theater You Can't Believe Is in a Provo Shopping Mall
An Other Theater Co.
Edgy, contemporary theater and Provo would seem to fit together about as comfortably as pedestrians and e-scooters. But this innovative company, performing out of a 49-seat space that once was a RadioShack, has been shaking things up with challenging work that in another era might have gotten them shut down by the morals police. They debuted in 2017 with productions of How I Learned to Drive, which touches on pedophilia and incest, and Next Fall, about a gay couple grappling with the constraints of Christianity. But it was their faithful take on Angels in America and its heavy Mormon themes and characters that really cemented An Other on Utah's cultural landscape, fulfilling their vision of bringing diverse voices to a region that's begging more and more for them. And they're not letting up—coming soon is the dragalicious musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch and the closet-case comedy Perfect Arrangement. (RK)
Provo Towne Centre, 1200 Towne Centre Blvd., (second floor near Dillard's), anothertheatercompany.com
Best New Theater Home
Wasatch Theatre Co. at the Gateway
While Salt Lake County continues the important work of providing theater space for many performing arts companies, there's also a special feeling that comes from a company finding a place to call its own. As The Gateway transitions from a primarily retail space to an entertainment and experiences hub, Wasatch Theatre Co. planted its flag in one of those empty spaces to kick off its 2018 season. In addition to the company's own productions—like the recent You Got Older—the space also allows for collaborations with other, smaller companies. (SR)
124 S. 400 West, 801-973-2051, wasatchtheatre.org
Best Place for a Morning Dip
Fairmont Aquatic Center
Start your day off right with a few laps at the Fairmont Aquatic Center. Located in the heart of Sugar House, the eight-lane, 25-yard lap pool is perfect for experts and novices, giving swimmers the space they need to do their best Michael Phelps impersonations. There's also a leisure pool that doubles as a children's playground, so drop off the kids to play while you strengthen that heart. The Salt Lake County-owned space is especially great for arthritic and chronic pain sufferers because it offers water aerobics and aqua Zumba classes, as well as a water-filled walkway that's ideal for those with bad knees, ankles and feet. (KL)
1044 E. Sugarmont Drive, 385-468-1540, slco.org/fairmont/pools
Best Backcountry Drive
Any drive billed as the best in Utah will catch an adventurer's eye. The only passage over a geological formation that vexed pioneers for decades? That puts the Burr Trail into a category all its own. Located in a remote confluence of Capitol Reef National Park, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, the Burr Trail features 70 miles that cross the contorted and once-impassable Waterpocket Fold. About one-third of that is unpaved, with a one-mile stretch offering up steep 12-percent grade switchbacks. "Spectacular" doesn't begin to do this drive justice, but you have to be prepared: Bring all your own food, water, gas and supplies and don't even think about attempting the Burr Trail if any rain is in the forecast. (NM)
Best Route to Zion National Park for an Agoraphobe
U.S. HIGHWAY 89
As the saying goes for those stricken with wanderlust, "It's about the journey, not the destination." The best way to live out the alleged Emerson quote is the backroads to Utah's Zion National Park. Hate crowds but love Mother Nature? Take the historic U.S. 89 to Mount Carmel Junction, 16 minutes from the east entrance of ZNP. "The west [main] entrance is a zoo," says Marco, a frequent park-goer and resident of Mount Carmel. "It can take you half an hour to get through that entrance." Route 89 stretches from Canada through the U.S. to Mexico. So if you fancy a Thelma & Louise trip—I'm not telling you to go or anything—there's really something for everyone. (RF)
Best Scenic Drive for Visiting Guests
Guardsman Pass to Park City
Beehive State residents face this dilemma all the time: visiting guests who want to see "the real Utah" without driving all the way to Zion or Arches. Try this relatively short summer-only route: Meander up Big Cottonwood Canyon, punctuated with a Donut Falls hike or a stroll around Brighton Lakes. Take your time topping Guardsman Pass, stopping for wildflower selfies, then check on the other half at Deer Valley before hitting Main Street in Park City. Stock up on sundries at Kimball Junction, and if kids are involved, don't miss the Olympic Museum, where admission is free and the 2002 Games go on forever. Best of all? The trip down Parley's Canyon gives your houseguests 30 minutes to snooze before catching their second wind in Salt Lake City. (NM)
Best Place To Take in Utah's Wildlife Before It's Gone
If you fashion yourself an ornithologist, the wetlands around the Great Salt Lake are a great spot to explore Utah's variety of birds. But act quick: The Inland Port—an international trading hub with planes, trains and automobiles—is on its way. The nearly 20,000-acre development will vastly change the area near the airport. Some fear it will have an effect on bird migration patterns. So before they're pushed out by the most invasive species of all—humans—head out to the Northwest Quadrant and savor it while you can. (RH)
Best News for Brews and Views
The downtown Salt Lake City Brewvies has become an institution, providing a place to watch new and classic films while enjoying a frosty adult beverage and hearty meal—even fighting for your First Amendment rights to do so. That opportunity has expanded, with Brewvies opening its second location this year. Dinner and a movie has always been fun, and it's still even more fun to combine the two, and give a kick to the theatrical moviegoing experience. (SR)
2293 Grant Ave., Ogden, 801-392-2012, brewvies.com
Best Place to Unleash Your Inner Tarantino
Utah Film Center Artist Foundry
If you're looking to cast or cut that amazing indie film you've been slaving, sweating and crying over, it's hard to find a better place to do it than the Utah Film Center's Artist Foundry, which had its grand relaunching in September. This is a place for the craft of filmmaking: rehearsal and audition rooms for discovering the next Meryl; open-access editing bays geared up with Final Cut and Adobe Creative Cloud; a screening room to check your film's progress or watch a flick from the Foundry library; a conference room where you can sign that huge Hollywood distribution deal; and a cushy lounge where you can load up with every filmmaker's most important tool—free coffee. The Foundry also has frequent workshops on directing, screenwriting and fundraising, as well as equipment rentals for members, including microphones, tripods and big expensive cameras that you really don't want to drop. (RK)
320 S. 300 East, 801-509-9747, utahfilmcenter.org/artistfoundry
Best Second Chance To Dance
It's Been a While Dance Co.
For many who love to dance, there comes a time when life steers you away from the possibility of it being a professional career—but that doesn't mean those folks can't still do what they love. Based out of the South Jordan Rec Center, It's Been a While Dance Co. invites non-professionals to gather and improve their skills at tap, ballet, modern dance and more. And those part-time dancers can even get a chance to perform in front of audiences at the Rose Wagner Center during an annual program, just like the pros. (SR)
10866 S. Redwood Road, South Jordan, 801-580-2576
Best $10 Voucher
Golden Hills Motel
Is it a restaurant or is it a motel? The mystery ends here—it's both! The hidden gem that is Golden Hills is the thriftiest motel closest to Zion National Park. Guests get a $10 voucher to—you guessed it—Golden Hill restaurant to load up on housemade blueberry pies and coffee before heading out on the mainy trails of Zion. Golden Hills is the best stay for procrastinators booking last-minute rooms. While there's cable, Wi-Fi is spotty—but, hey, who needs it when you have Utah's kickass southern wilderness? (RF)
4530 State, Mount Carmel, 435-648-2268, goldenhillsmotel.com
Best Place To Stick it to the Establishment
For months, Utahns have been bombarded with news—and even fake news—about Proposition 2, the ballot initiative that would legalize medical cannabis. The Legislature was virtually silent until fall on making the plant available to those suffering from arthritis, epilepsy and other ailments. So, the public has taken matters into its own hands. But that initiative only covers medical conditions. If you really want to stick it to "the man," why not follow some people's lead and move to Nevada or Colorado? Those states allow medical and recreational use. And you'd be taking your hard-earned tax dollars to states with a little more freedom. How does that sound, Legislature? (RH)
Best Tattoo Shop To Get a Regrettable Neck Tattoo at 18
Big Deluxe Tattoo
So, you just turned 18, you can legally vote and mark your body with whatever the hell you want. You want your knuckles tattooed? Your face? Neck? Inner lip? Big Deluxe's talented tattoo artists will get the job done. After going through a military-like apprenticeship that destroys relationships, the artists don't care if you want to get matching tattoos with your girlfriend of a month. Big Deluxe has two locations only a block away from each other, so there's always availability. Tattoos are forever until you can afford laser removal, so, choose Big Deluxe for good-looking ink. (RK)
662 S. State, 801-595-1186, bigdeluxetattoo.com
Best Nearby Refuge from the Urban Jungle
I laughed out loud the first time I biked the concrete path around Liberty Park. I'd just moved to Salt Lake City from Texas, a state where voters consider the word "taxes" to be a curse. As I explored the environmental heaven that is Salt Lake's second-biggest park (Sugar House Park is larger), I saw Tracy Aviary, a park-within-a-park at least partially funded by taxpayer dollars. What's more, I later learned, voters have continued to OK funding after the aviary was built. I shudder to think what Texans would have done had that request been on their ballots. They likely would have flipped 'em a bird of their own. (KL)
600 E. 900 South
Best Free Parking
It can be too easy to get a parking ticket downtown these days. Gone are the change-only meters that might let you get away with a few unpaid minutes. Now, everything is electronic, and it can be easier to see who hasn't paid. Not to worry, though. Downtown still has a few free parking spots on the street if you look hard enough. If you're up for a little walking, Japantown, where Nihon Matsuri is held each year just west of the Salt Palace Convention Center, usually has some free two-hour spots you can snag. It's also an easy location if you're going to a concert at Abravanel Hall. (RH)
100 South between 200 and 300 West
Best New Place To Buy Alcohol
Lee's Discount Liquor
I know this is the Best of Utah, but there's a store in Mesquite, Nev., that's long been popular with passersby who stop and purchase liquor. Why? Because you'll likely find cheaper prices than at local state-operated outlets. Now, Lee's Discount Liquor has opened a location closer to the Wasatch Front in West Wendover, Nev. Just 90 minutes west of Salt Lake, the town draws thousands from the area to its casinos. With the possibility of approving medical and later recreations cannabis, the town could soon be the closest one-stop shop for all the "sinning" you can't do in Utah. But until then, you can at least find full-strength beer and discounted liquor after you've finished losing your paycheck at the blackjack table. (RH)
1355 W. Wendover Blvd., West Wendover, Nev., 775-299-3033, leesliquorlv.com
Best F.U. to the Legislature
A couple of years ago, Utah's quirky Legislature passed a law requiring bars and restaurants to post signs by their entrances that read, "This premise is licensed as a bar. Not a restaurant" or vice versa. It was meant to avoid confusion, but all it really did was add more to the mix (not to mention, look beyond backwards to outsiders). The signs are now gone, but not forgotten, as their spirit lives on in mocking T-shirts and other wares. Go to a beer festival and you'll likely spot a shirt that reads: "This item of clothing is licensed as a T-shirt, not a shoe," or something similar. But why stop at shirts? How's about a sign that reads "This establishment is licensed as a place of worship, not a policy-making think-tank" or "This number is licensed as a speed limit and not a mere suggestion"? (RH)
Best Public/Private Public Art
The challenge of "public art" is that there is relatively little public space, and plenty of privately owned territory that could become glorious with an artist's touch. Ogden First has collaborated with businesses in Ogden's downtown core in an effort to transform vertical surfaces with murals. The project launched in September with a 2,000-square-foot work dedicated to the life cycle of the monarch butterfly, located appropriately enough on the Monarch building at 455 25th St. And this is just the start of a project to make art part of the vitality of downtown Ogden every day. (SR)
Best Penis Envy
V. Project, Gary Vlasic
Anyone who's familiar with the internationally acclaimed work of Utah-based multidisciplinary artist and experiential designer Gary Vlasic knows he's practically the Picasso of penises. His newest permanent installation on Market Street is no exception, with the ethereal and edgy human-scaled illuminated panels in the lofty vertical space giving patrons in the know—they're subtle!—a little bit of "Where's Waldo" fun while they're waiting for their hamachi ceviche. Pro tip (see what we did there?): This also gets more entertaining with every Japanese whisky consumed. (DD)
Post Office Place, 16 W. Market St.
Best Showcase of Utah to the World
Westworld and Yellowstone
Utah's tourism is built around the state's beauty, its expansive landscapes and its recreation. For years, Hollywood has taken note, too. HBO aired its second season of Westworld last spring, and showcased Southern Utah's picturesque features as backdrop to the show's wild "amusement" park. And most recently, Paramount Network aired a nine-episode debut season of Yellowstone featuring Kevin Costner. Yellowstone's story takes place in Montana, where some of the filming is done, but the majority of it is shot near Park City. Like Westworld, the series showcases Utah's natural beauty. And if any Utahn watched the first episode, they'd recognize Rice-Eccles Stadium and Salt Lake's foothills through character Beth Dutton's office window. (RH)
Best Critically Acclaimed Novel by a Local Author That I Bought at Target and Haven't Read Yet
My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent
A local author made it big, like, Super Target big. My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent (gabrieltallent.com) was published this year and has received stellar reviews from The New York Times, NPR, Los Angeles Review of Books and many other prestigious journals. Stephen King even dubbed Tallent's debut novel as a "masterpiece." Super Target isn't exactly a book-buying destination; they carry the most popular books everyone is talking about. Seeing the familiar cover of My Absolute Darling on a Target shelf, I grabbed a copy, and was thrilled for Tallent. According to a Salt Lake Tribune article, one of his first gigs was cleaning toilets at Target. It's pretty cool to see a local author going from cleaning toilets at Target to selling his best-selling award-winning book there. (AR)
Best Way To Watch the Greatest Films From the Greatest Filmmakers
Salt Lake Film Society's Tower Theatre DVD library
The streaming media world of the 21st century suggests that it's easy to find any movie any time, but have you tried recently to track down a classic more than a few years old on Netflix or Hulu? Trust old-school physical media, courtesy of the Tower Theatre's expansive collection of vintage films on DVD. Many of them are conveniently grouped by director, so when you're trying to complete your viewing of Kurosawa or Scorsese, you don't need to wonder if your computer will ever serve it up to you. (SR)
876 E. 900 South, 801-321-0310, slfs.org
Best Old Media-to-New Media Transfer
Preserve the Memories
Technology changes fast, and for some families, that means precious memories are stuck on viewing formats that aren't supported much anymore. Folks who have videotapes, floppy disks or other obsolete hardware can now transfer those images and home movies into digital formats—and all for free, thanks to equipment available through the Salt Lake County Library System's "Preserve the Memories" program. Based at the West Jordan main branch, it's a way to once again enjoy special times that have been sitting somewhere in a box. (SR)
8030 S. 1825 West, slcolibrary.org
Best Meditations On Solitude
Jana Richman, Finding Stillness in a Noisy World
Utah native Jana Richman has written beautiful works of fiction about how people are shaped by the natural landscapes of their lives, but she's just as gifted at exploring that subject through her essays. This slim but potent volume collects reflections by Richman on a variety of subjects all touching on the quest for an internal and external life of balance. From earthy contemplations of the importance of dirt to insights on the experience of walking, Richman tells personal tales that ring with the universality of making peace with a complicated world. (SR)
Best Cultural Crafts
Urban Indian Center Art Market
What started as an opportunity for both experienced and novice Native American artists to share their wares and make a little money, the Urban Indian Center's weekly art market celebrated one year in operation this summer. Each Wednesday, community members are welcome to bring crafts, art or food to share and sell. On some days, only a few tables are scattered around the main hall, but other weeks see a busier crowd, and organizers emphasize that all are encouraged to join in. (SA)
120 W. 1300 South, uicsl.org
Best Poetry Performance
Salt City Unified Slam Poetry at National Poetry Slam
Utah-based slam poets have visited national competitions before, but never before have they made quite this big a splash. The five-person Salt City Unified team of Jesse Parent, Jose Soto, Tanesha Nicole, Dorothy McGinnis and RJ Walker took the 2018 National Poetry Slam in Chicago by storm in August, dazzling attendees with a "concept bout" in which everyone created original works around the general theme of The Wizard of Oz. The team's fourth-place finish was the highest ever for an SLC team, and their work was so memorable that they sold more books of their poetry than any other team at the event. (SR)
Best Way To Get To Know Salt Lake's History
Salt Lake City's Past Forward Program
Utah's capital city is full of historic neighborhoods and there might not be any better way to learn about their architecture and history than from the experts in Salt Lake City's Planning Division. As part of its Summer Planning Series, the division invites residents to tour various areas and show examples of how historic buildings have been retrofitted for modern use. Keep an eye out for when the next tour takes place and you'll likely learn something new about your neighborhood you never noticed before. (RH)
Best Bike-Themed Dance
Provo Bicycle Collective Sadie Hawkins Dance
There's no better feeling than joining dozens of cyclists to temporarily block traffic. Feelings of grandeur are further magnified when you're wearing your Sunday best—whether that's a tulle tutu or a color-coordinated tux. Provo Bicycle Collective's take on the classic girls-ask-boys dance starts with a ride that highlights Provo's best bike infrastructure and ends at the dance hall of your high-school dreams, featuring a photo booth, DJ'd dance music and the drink of champions and teetotalers: La Croix. A bonus: all proceeds benefit the Bike Collective's programs. So grab your bike, dust off your prom dress and get ready to bust some sweet moves. (NC)
397 E. 200 North, Provo, 801-210-9032, bicyclecollective.org/provo
Best Local Website for Getting Your Kink On
Perhaps you've heard, but there's a lot of sexual repression in Utah. In the last few years, though, a growing number of new organizations have sprung up that are trying to change that perception. There are groups for leather fetishists, puppy players, bondage and submission fans, and pretty much anything your horny little consenting-adult heart can imagine. The best way to enter these secret realms is to get to know others who share the same kinks as you, and a great place to, umm, bond with them, is by hooking up through beehivekink.com, a Utah-only event calendar you can use to meet with like-minded folks. Several of these groups host "munches," which are informal get-togethers in public spaces like coffee houses and IHOPs, where newbies can introduce themselves, members can get to know them, and you can, hopefully, gain a sponsor who will allow you into the more private parties where the clothing-optional action is. The site is an entryway to a side of Utah that will make you think you're definitely not in Utah anymore. (RK)
Best Way To Help the Environment for $1.50
Reusable straws at Beans & Brews
Just when you thought 2018 couldn't get any worse, the case for the vilification of plastic straws was made. Last July, Seattle became the first major U.S. city to ban single-use plastic straws and utensils. The same month, coffee behemoth Starbucks announced a complete distancing from the devil's cylinders by 2020. Three years ago, plastic consumption worldwide totaled 300 million metric tons, which as Business Insider notes, "essentially means that for each one of the world's 7.6 billion humans, we're making 88 pounds of plastic a year." Utah lawmakers are known for being staunch environmentalists (*inversion cough*), so who knows if such regulations will ever arrive here. Still, if you want to do your karmic part to eliminate waste, local caffeine suppliers Beans & Brews have your back with reusable, logo-branded stainless steel straws ($1.50) either bent or straight. Now, if I could only get over my habit of chewing on straws as I'm about to take my first sip. Don't get me wrong, I love the environment, but no baby tortoise is worth me walking around with a chipped front tooth like some sort of goon. (EL)
Multiple locations, beansandbrews.com
Best Month for Foodies
Forget about the usual gluttony associated with the winter holiday season. Utah foodies were treated to one helluva month in September 2018. To recap a few of the highlights: the month saw sellout crowds at Local First Utah's Celebrate the Bounty (localfirst.org) premiering the newly renovated Historic Eagle Building, Wasatch Community Gardens Tomato Days events, the extended 6-day/17 Salt Lake Food and Wine Fest by the Salt Lake Restaurant Association (saltlakefoodandwinefest.com), and month-long Farm-to-Glass Cocktail Competition (saltlakemagazine.com). Topping the trend, a handful of happy food journalists also traipsed up to Deer Valley for a delicious preview of dishes that Park City chefs (parkcityrestaurants.com) presented in New York for a James Beard House Foundation dinner. All hail stretchy pants! (DD)
Best Way To Evict the Friends Living On Your Head
The incessant itching, the eerie feeling that something is crawling in your hair and, gross, are those eggs around your ears and neck hairline? It's not in your head, it's on it—you've got lice. Last August, a professor at the University of Utah demoed OneCure, a handheld device you can use at home that allegedly kills lice, super lice and 99.2 percent of eggs in a single one-hour treatment. The small tech uses heated air to smoke the little bastards out, giving you back your hair and piece of mind. Gone are the days of shamefully being sent home from school and waging war on the insects with special shampoo. (KL)
Best Young-Person Diss of a Congressional Candidate
Young Republicans and College Republicans' spoof of Ben McAdams' ad
Alright, Ben McAdams' shower ad is a little odd. In the 30-second spot, the fully clothed Salt Lake County mayor and Congressional hopeful bathes himself five separate times—in five different outfits—and goes out of his way to say he doesn't support Republicans' favorite bogeywoman, Nancy Pelosi. But the Young Republicans and College Republicans' response is even weirder. In their mock video, four young people step into the shower while wearing their clothes, and (spoiler alert) by the end of the video they all get in at the same time. Even a horse gets in on the scrubbing action. Most disturbing? One guy brushes his teeth while he's in the tub. Who does that? (KL)
Best Show of Solidarity
A movie's box office intake after nabbing a Best Picture Oscar; a butt facial's popularity after being tweeted about by Kim K.; the visibility of a local business after it's heralded as a Best of Utah winner. Fine, one of these things is not like the others, but still, you gotta admit that being chosen by your community as a standout in your field is something to beam about. Enter Diabolical Records, which in a move reminiscent of Santa sending moms to buy toys at Gimbels in Miracle on 34th Street, took to social media and urged supporters to not vote for them, but competitor Raunch Records. See, Raunch's owner, Brad Collins, has been battling bladder cancer. Diabolical's Adam Tye and Alana Boscan: You prove that Best of Utah isn't just a yearly issue; it's a frame of mind. (EL)
Best Follow on Twitter
Whether you're a Utah Utes, Brigham Young Cougars or Utah State Aggies football fan, following the exuberant and often bleak takes of @thejazzyute on Twitter is a must. Sure, most of the tweets center on Utah football. When the Utes are struggling, sometimes the tweets say what we're all thinking but don't want to admit. It accurately represents the ups and downs football fans have watching their favorite team. And if the tweets aren't about football, you get an occasional take on Utah politics. It might seem gloomy at times, but such is the life of a Utah football fan. (RH)
Best Reminder that Humanity's Existence Is Fleeting
Yep, it took 29 years to give this bad boy an award. Listen, we're lucky to live in Salt Lake City. In many parts of the U.S., the effects of climate change are so slow-moving that they're intangible, making the calamity a vague threat that will maybe harm us someday. But here, we're blessed every single winter with horrendous air quality that slows down our intellectual capacities and poisons our bodies, reminding us on the reg that climate change will one day kill us all and probably lead to our extinction (hey, at least we have fry sauce, right?). Salt Lakers are ahead of the curve, better able than most to grasp the depressing consequences that the U.S. government's inaction will likely have on the entire world. If nothing else, at least our last words can be, "We told you so." (KL)
Best Human-Powered Conservation Effort
Utah Conservation Corps' Bike Crew
Three times a year, the Utah Conservation Corps takes a bunch of 20-somethings into the woods, outfits them with chaps and helmets, and hands them chainsaws. (Don't worry—training is extensive and meticulous.) But nothing takes the environmental idealism as far as their bike crew, the only vehicle-less conservation corps crew in the nation. This summer, the grungy cyclists powered up mountain highways with eight days' worth of food and supplies, lugged chainsaws to their worksite in bike panniers, chopped down hundreds of invasive trees, and ate way too much dirt. No cars needed. (NC)
Best Mobile Feminist Collective
Mobile Moon Co-op
The folks at Mobile Moon Co-op are really into plants. Like, really into them. Founded by Erika Longino, the collective is based out of a veggie-oil-powered 1980s bus. Its aim: to be a place for women and queer people to gather and learn about the bounties of Mother Earth. This past year, the collective has hosted free community workshops on tea reading, botanical medicine, herbal tinctures and kombucha making. They've also published several educational botanical zines featuring local artists and herbalists. Look for the co-op's distinctive bus throughout Salt Lake Valley, and for empowerment with a side of tea, stop by during their next workshop. (NC)
Best Autonomous Unit for Mid-Mall Snacking
Shopping mall food courts aren't always the best places to look for local flavor, but that's slowly starting to change. Thanks to the Taste for the Space competition at the Shops at South Town just more than a year ago, local shopping meccas are starting to turn their attention toward scrappy underdogs like Arancini Snack. An original competitor in Taste for the Space, Arancini Snack has found a home within Murray's Fashion Place Mall. It's a delightful standout from the food court's usual suspects—it's nearly small enough to be called a kiosk, and it uses every inch to display Sicilian art along with its trademark arancini, a Sicilian snack of rice balls covered in crispy breading and deep fried. Arancini Snack makes a few varieties—some are stuffed with pizza accoutrement, and others packed with seafood and a creamy white sauce. The fist-sized arancini are easy to eat on the go, making them perfect companions for a bit of window shopping. (AS)
6191 S. State, 801-300-7127, facebook.com/arancini-snack
Best Spot for Summer Treats
The Shack at Jolley's
When the temperature doesn't drop below 90 degrees until after the sun sets—and the sun doesn't set until after 9 p.m.—there's only one way to fight back: with shaved ice, soft serve and fountain sodas. Luckily, The Shack attached to Jolley's Gift & Floral (which is itself attached to Jolley's Pharmacy—family owned and operated in Salt Lake City since 1954) provides just such a seasonal respite from June through September. Even better than the smorgasbord of flavors (who's up for a garbage pail mix of Tiger's Blood, Wild Poisonberry and cheesecake?) is More Jolley's Mondays, which adds food trucks, extended hours and special deals to the summertime mix. Kid-tested, parent-approved and the perfect way to avoid adult responsibility on a Monday night. (NM)
1676 E. 1300 South, 801-582-1625, jolleysgifts.com
Best Fancy Fast-Food Dining Experience
Crown Burgers by The Gateway
A Salt Lake institution since 1978, the décor and setting can vary between Crown Burger locations, but the one on 300 West is truly something to be in awe of—stained glass windows, oak paneling, an imposing fireplace, chandeliers, leather chairs, hanging tapestries worthy of a high-born Westerosi castle and gargoyles that stare as you munch down on your souvlaki stick. What's that, Little Finger? You're in the area for a Jazz game or a show at the Depot? Spend $18 on your meal, and they'll let you park there for free. (EL)
118 N. 300 West, SLC, 801-532-5300, crown-burgers.com
Best Grocery Store Deli
Harmons Grocery deli has solved the conundrum of craving good food, but being too lazy (or busy!) to make it yourself. Stock up on home-cooked goodness like rotisserie chicken, easy entrées and healthy salads for work-week lunches. Whether you're full-on omnivore or prefer vegan fare, Harmons Deli has you covered. They also have a well-stocked salad bar and a variety of hearty soups to go. "Our delicatessens are quite unique from any other grocery store," Andy Walker, Harmons Grocery's senior marketing manager, says. "Every single item we offer in our delicatessen is made from scratch. All of our recipes are made in stores by our chefs. Our salad bars, for example, offer more than 70 different options, all of which are hand-prepared daily—and even our dressings are all made from scratch." (AR)
Multiple locations, harmonsgrocery.com
Best Use of Ice Cubes In a Coffee Shop
Moab Coffee Roasters' iced coffee
Moab is a hip haven for anyone who likes brunch, brews and beers. The coffee market is pretty saturated in the red-rock city, but don't sleep on Moab Coffee Roasters. This is the first place in Utah I saw stocked copies of City Weekly—almost 250 miles away from SLC! But the real reason it's a gem is its iced coffee. Unlike other shops that load cups to the brim with ice, MCR won't water down your caffeinated nectar of the gods. The brown cubes have coffee in them, ensuring no cup space is wasted. Save the water for the trails. (KL)
90 N. Main, Moab, 435-259-2725, moabcoffeeroasters.com
Best Iced Coffee Value
Pour overs and drip coffee are great. Chai lattes in the winter are divine. But for at least four months in Utah, iced coffee reigns supreme. Upon arriving as a new resident last summer, my first due diligence involved sampling all the coffee shops in town looking for the perfect combination of taste and value. After much deliberation, the winner is clear: Caffé Expresso, where you can get a 32-ounce iced coffee or iced Americano for just $3.50. With three locations—Highland Drive, 9th and 9th and Sugar House—a swing through the drive-thru is convenient from nearly anywhere in the city. And you can't beat the endlessly positive attitude of Caffé Expresso's employees, who plow through double lines during morning rush hour with impeccable aplomb. (NM)
Multiple locations, caffeexpresso.com
Best Down Under Jolt
Located in an alley between 200 and 300 South, the new Campos Coffee flagship store in Salt Lake City is a caffeine enthusiast's dream. The 4,500-square-foot spot is the first roastery the Australian company opened in the U.S., and the second Campos in Utah (the other is in Park City). The downtown café offers breakfast and lunch, but most important are the baristas who know serving coffee and espresso is more an art than service. The pricey pour-overs are worth the extra dough; the extra few bucks nets you a postcard that tells you exactly where your brew came from, giving you a glimpse of its journey from, say, El Silencio, Palestina, Huila, Colombia to Salt Lake City, Utah. (KL)
228 Edison St., 801-953-1512; 1385 Lowell Ave., Park City, 435-731-8377, us.camposcoffee.com
Best Taquería That Treats You Like Family
Taquería Los Lee
This new joint on 2700 South and 700 East (in the space that used to house Ali Baba Afghani) is a taco-lover's dream—and an honest-to-goodness family-owned restaurant where you're treated like kin, too. With a colorful tile mosaic, framed lotería cards on the wall and kids running around the cozy space, you'll feel like you're in your abuela's living room. The authenticity baked into the carne y papa, puerco rojo and asada tacos is mouth-watering, while new gordita and burrito options pack a flavorful punch. It's the little things that matter, however: the cilantro, onions and salsa separately packed in to-go orders; the evolving daily pozole and enchilada specials; real Mexican sodas with your combo purchase. This is the real deal, people. (NM)
2646 S. 700 East, 385-259-0764
Best Beer for National Park Road Trippin'
Uinta Brewing Co.'s National Park Golden Ale
Considering Utah has five national parks, it'd be stupid not to have a beer specifically designed for taking into the incredible lands that surround us. Uinta Brewing Co. managed to accomplish this feat with their rotating National Park Golden Ale. This special ale features some of our nation's greatest national parks on each can, with Delicate Arch proudly representing the Beehive State. Brewed with Carapils and Crystal malts and a moderate addition of Willamette and Sterling hops, Uinta's Golden Ale is approachable, refreshing and not to mention, just too damned cool. (MR)
1722 S. Fremont Drive, uintabrewing.com
On That Note, Best Ramen Refills
Jinya Ramen Bar
When I visit a ramen place, it's not all that uncommon for me to slurp up all my noodles before finishing my broth, and I imagine most ramen fans are in the same boat. During one of my early visits to Jinya Ramen Bar, I was pleasantly surprised when a waiter noticed that my broth happened to be devoid of noodles and asked if I'd like some more. I had to ask him to repeat himself—did he just offer to refill my noodles? Is that a thing? As it turns out, ramen refills are indeed a thing, both at Jinya and beyond. The practice is called kae-dama, and most ramen shops in Japan offer their dishes with the option. While I'm sure it's possible to get a ramen refill at any place that takes its noodles seriously, this waiter at Jinya—bless his eternal soul—was the first person to open my eyes to this cultural norm, and he will always have my gratitude. (AS)
Multiple locations, jinya-ramenbar.com
Best Neighborhood Pho
No matter how many times I draft this blurb, no words can properly communicate my love for Thai This. At first, I was going to talk about how my grandma and I visit there when we need a little (or a lot of) comfort food. She orders the chicken pad thai ($7.99)—pulled noodles wok-tossed in a subtly sweet traditional sauce, with shredded chicken and roasted peanuts—and I order the pho gai (or chicken pho) ($7.99)—a sumptuous combination of warming broth, slim rice noodles, shredded chicken and an assortment of herbs and veggies, such as basil and soybean sprouts. Then, I thought about mentioning how the first time I ate here was on a date (which went pretty well), and my date insisted we get the Thai iced tea ($2.50) and the coconut sticky rice with mango ($5.99), both of which are perfectly addicting in their sweetness—as far as I'm concerned, together they constitute a fully balanced meal. Draft after draft, I was eventually left with this: Thai This is damned delicious, damned affordable and, dammit, well worth the drive to West Valley from anywhere in Utah. Tell your neighbors. (ZS)
2836 S. 5600 West, Ste. 10, 801-967-0949, thaithisfood.com
Best Southern Utah Oasis
Surrounded by the deserts of Southern Utah and carefully placed by the beer gods near the gates of one of the most beautiful places on the earth, Zion Brewery has become the beer mecca in Utah's outdoor playground. Under relatively new ownership, Utah's southernmost craft-beer outpost has exploded with purpose and flavor; stunning thirsty northern beer nerds craving innovative session beers. When Zion's strawberry rhubarb gose periodically hits SLC, it's gone in days. Not many breweries in northern or southern Utah can claim beers like that. (MR)
95 Zion Park Blvd., Springdale, zionbrewery.com
Best Cruelty-Free Steak
Meatless substitutes are, more often than not, unholy abominations. Not that there's anything wrong with trying to recreate steak, burgers or bacon in a way that keeps our animal brethren safe, but most attempts at meatless meats don't cut the mustard. It wasn't until I visited Table X that I realized the problem with meatless meats is that most purveyors are so myopic about the process. When I sat down to a plate of intermountain gourmet mushrooms ($20) or their aptly named vegetable steak ($22) and found my brain was triggered in places I typically reserve for medium-rare steaks, I realized that meat isn't an ingredient—it's a state of mind. (AS)
1457 E. 3350 South, 385-528-3712, tablexrestaurant.com
Best Big Meals in a Bite-Sized Building
Laan Na Thai
Chefs and Thai immigrants Yupin and Wichai Charoen have been running their restaurant for just over two years now, and their operation is still going strong. Five people feels like a crowd inside Laan Na's almost-literal-hole-in-the-wall location, but the close quarters are worth squeezing into to get your hands on pad see ew, drunken noodles or any of their slew of curries. If there's room, you can cozy up to the window-side counter to feast, or mosey outside in good weather. Either way, your stomach will be satisfied with the Charoens' homeland cuisine. (SA)
336 W. 300 South, 801-363-2717, facebook.com/laannathai
Best Lucky Charm
Talisman Brewing Co.
A talisman is typically an inscribed ring or stone that is thought to have magic powers and bring good luck. In Utah, Talisman is a brewpub located in the northernmost part of Ogden that cast spells on your tongue and creates a cozy space for thirsty northern folk. Ogden's "other brewery" has raised the craft-beer game in Weber County, creating locally made beer styles our denizens at the top of the compass could previously only get in Salt Lake City. Talisman Brewing Co. is truly a lucky charm. (MR)
1258 Gibson Ave., Ogden, talismanbrewingco.com
Best Mashed Potato Delivery System
The New Haven at Nuch's
Not too long ago, hitting up Nuch's for a New Haven pizza became my go-to birthday tradition. Before I dig into the significance of this particular pizza, and why I only eat it once a year, you first need to understand my relationship with pizza itself. Within a 48-hour period, I have some iteration of pizza coursing through my system. If it's slathered in sauce, cheese and pepperoni and it's within a one-mile radius of my current position, you can bet I'll eat the damned thing. And Nuch's New Haven is not just any ordinary pizza, you see. Instead of sauce, it's spread with a velvety purée of garlicky Yukon Gold potatoes hit with mozzarella, asparagus and bacon. Nuch's favors the New York style, so this party happens on a thin crust and gets fired up in a brick oven. It's a truly transcendent experience, which is why I only reserve it for one night each year. Alas, this night recently passed me by—is it next year yet? (AS)
2819 S. 2300 East, 801-484-0448, nuchs-pizzeria-and-restaurant.com
Best Edible Safari
Imagine surreptitiously trekking the streets of Roy, bushwhacking a path through dense forestation, all in search of some prized game—lions, tigers, bears ... There's no need to break out the topee and cargo pants. Instead, head to Burger Bar. Established in 1956 by Ben and Rita Fowler, Burger Bar is a time-tested, hometown hangout offering handcrafted burgers ($7), shakes and malts ($3), and an array of deep-fried delectables ($3). But what keeps me coming back, setting out like Teddy Roosevelt on safari, is Burger Bar's Meat of the Month. Each month, the restaurant offers a different exotic meat burger ($11) to any spirited hunter—I've personally eaten camel, ostrich, shark and alligator. If you've got enough grit, I'd suggest ordering your fries old fashioned, getting a peanut butter shake for good measure, and pitting yourself against BB's latest delicacy. (ZS)
5291 S. 1900 West, Roy, 801-825-8961, burgerbarutah.com
Best Gastronomic Gamble
Spice to Go at Spice Kitchen Incubator
Spice Kitchen has always been a flagship for diverse eating in Salt Lake, and its Spice to Go project has provided a way for locals to take some of that diversity home with them. Every week, Spice Kitchen spotlights an up-and-coming chef—typically one of their potential restaurateurs—and lets them cook up take-home meals that curious diners can order in advance. The best way to keep tabs on the rotating menu is via social media—Spice Kitchen announces each week's chef and menu on Sundays, giving customers until Thursday to place their orders. Spice to Go has been up and running for over a year now, and the program has managed to gross over $80,000. Not only is this a great way to explore the international cuisine Spice Kitchen's members are creating, but it helps local entrepreneurs realize their culinary dreams. (AS)
2180 S. 300 West, 385-229-4484, spicekitchenincubator.org
Best Re-creation of Childhood Memories
Kiitos Brewing's Dreamsicle
It was only around for a brief, summery moment, but if you were lucky enough to sip on the Dreamsicle craft brew on tap at Kiitos Brewing, you likely had a sudden rush of sense-induced childhood memories. Is it strange to capture the exact smell and taste of a Dreamsicle in a glass of beer? Yes. Is it also delicious? Damned straight. We can only hope Kiitos brings this swirling concoction of reminiscence back long-term. (SA)
608 W. 700 South, 801-215-9165, kiitosbrewing.com
Best Reminder of Philadelphia in a Local Grocery Store
Soft pretzels at Smith's
It's difficult for Philadelphians to find reminders of home once they leave the City of Brotherly Love. The stereotypes are largely true—we're a curmudgeonly bunch who as a general rule will never try your "Philly" cheesesteak. And OK, we get it, the Jazz are fine, but they're not the Eagles. Elitism aside, occasionally I get homesick and find myself more willing to try foods made "Phamous" by my hometown. One acceptable substitute is a $1 soft pretzel at Smith's. Even though it's shaped like a traditional German pretzel and not the "s" figure associated with Philadelphia, the salty goodness gets the job done and gives me an emotional hug for a cheap price. (KL)
Multiple locations, smithsfoodanddrug.com
Best Sandwich for Five
The Big John at Grove Market and Deli
My track record for eating—and finishing—freakishly huge sandwiches is pretty solid. I figured that tackling Grove Market and Deli's Big John ($11.49) on a day when I was equal parts hungry and self-destructive wouldn't be much of a challenge. Boy, was that a mistake. When you order the Big John, you're essentially ordering a personal delicatessen. It's a football-sized hoagie bun stuffed with all seven of Grove's deli meats, topped with Swiss and American cheeses and bedecked with lettuce, tomato and pickles—a sandwich that can easily feed you and four of your friends. I vividly remember standing in the cozy marketplace watching as the woman behind the counter just kept adding meat to the sandwich, every so often fixing me with a look that said, "You have no idea what you're getting into." (AS)
1906 S. Main, 801-467-8860, facebook.com/grovemarket
Best Doughnut Fusion
In the many visits I've made to West Valley's Donut Boy, I've seen them transmogrify everything from apple pie to Victoria sponge into doughnut form. Lately, their Instagram feed has revealed their bakers are accepting requests, which means it's only a matter of time before I call them up for a doughnut inspired by neon purple Pop Tarts and black coffee, which once came to me in a nightmare. Until then, however, I'm more than satisfied with Donut Boy's flair for the dramatic—for best results, ask them for a mixed dozen and let them pick your lineup. You end up driving home with a cavalcade of deep-fried pastries that look like they came right out of Willy Wonka's factory. (AS)
2194 W. 3500 South, 385-528-0782, facebook.com/donutboywvc
Best Tropical Toast
Matterhorn French Toast
Maple syrup has been such a staple accompaniment to breakfast baked goods, we sometimes forget that there are other creative options. The Matterhorn food truck serves up innovative, piled-high French toast options like the Switzerland, which finishes off a treat of Nutella, bananas and whipped cream with their own special coconut syrup. The concoction is so popular with guests, you can even buy it by the 12-ounce bottle to take home. (SR)
Normal Ice Cream
If you've visited Trolley Square in the past year or so, then you might have noticed the disco ball surface of Alexa Norlin's chrome ice cream truck parked conspicuously within the east entrance. If you've had the pleasure of visiting Normal ice cream truck, then you know it's anything but. Norlin's team specializes in housemade soft serve ice cream, or ice cream in its "natural state," as Norlin puts it. On a given day, Normal Ice Cream serves up vanilla bean soft serve topped with olive oil cake, blueberry and brown butter ice cream bars or their own take on Choco Tacos, which are a nostalgic dream come true. I'm always a fan of trying whatever Norlin has on the menu, but I go all Whitney Houston for the vanilla soft serve with Normal's signature dulce de leche dip ($4). (AS)
602 S. 700 East, 801-521-9877, normal.club
Best Pale Ales
Desert Edge Brewery
The English invented the pale ale, but America perfected it. Now, I'm not slamming pals across the pond; they make some great suds. We Americans just happen to be gifted with brilliant indigenous hops. The best local spot for the best examples of American pale ales is Trolley Square's Desert Edge Brewery. Brewmaster Chad Krussel just gets it. His pale-ale game is strong; incorporating the best hops the world has to offer with local and international barley to make basic ales that are stunning in their simplicity and flavor profile. Made you thirsty, didn't I? (MR)
273 Trolley Square, desertedgebrewery.com
Best Chimney Sweep
Although chimney cakes have been around for a few hundred years—you might have missed them because they're traditionally called kurtoskalacs and live in Hungary—this street-friendly dessert has started to pop up in certain places around town. Sweet Chimneys is currently the most accessible and arguably most creative of these bakeries. Their operation is mobile, but you can consistently find their food cart at Gardner Village (1100 West 7800 South) on Saturdays where they whip up chimney cakes topped with everything from Fruity Pebbles to toasted coconut. These conical confections are perfect mobile snacks, so it's a wonder they didn't catch on here earlier. Regardless, they're here now, and they're most definitely worth your time. (AS)
Best Alcoholic Bang for Your Buck
Squatter's Hop Rising Double IPA
While not the best beer in the city, Squatter's Hop Rising is an exceptionally drinkable 9-percent ABV double IPA. Prices vary, but the canned or bottled brew seems to go for less at bars than similarly alcoholic crafts. Smooth, malty and exceptionally hoppy, this bad boy is best for those who are morally opposed to the glorified water that is Utah draft beer. Cheers to all those who roll their eyes when they remember they can't buy PBR from the grocery store because it's basically filtered H2O. Who says you should have to drink a dozen pints to get your night going? (KL)
Multiple locations, squatters.com
Best Bake Sale
Fillings and Emulsions
Like most Americans, chef Adalberto Diaz was horrified when he heard stories of immigrant families being detained and separated at the U.S. southern border. An immigrant himself, Diaz saw himself reflected in the plights of these families, which inspired him to mobilize. Doing what he does best, he and a few other local bakeries organized an epic bake sale in June. During the bake sale, customers could purchase some tasty baked goods and help generate funds for The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES). Overall, the event was a significant success—the bakers were able to raise more than $14,000 on the first day. It's
the kind of story that reminds us why we have bakeries in the first place—someone's got to make sure that we get a little sweetness out of life. (AS)
1475 S. Main, 385-229-4228, fillingsandemulsions.com
The Rising Bun
Taking a cue from the steamed buns that are integral to Chinese cuisine and hitting them with pork belly, pickled mustard seeds and chile-hoisin sauce, Lehi's The Rising Bun has created something special. Although the innards of each bun are tasty, and they come with clever names like Krispie Yum-Aguchi and the Bun-Dance Kid, the reason to visit The Rising Bun is to actually taste the pillow-soft buns they steam day in and day out. They nail the texture, making toppings like curry fried chicken or miso-marinated tofu stand at attention. Should you venture southward to grab a handful of these buns, make sure you also pick up an order of Comrade Fries ($4.95), a fork-able helping of fries topped with kalua pork and chile-hoisin sauce. (AS)
3725 N. Thanksgiving Way, Ste. A, Lehi, 801-331-8251, therisingbun.co
Best Seafood Subscription
Community-supported agriculture has been a successful way to promote seasonable, sustainable eating—but apparently plant products aren't the only way to make the system work. Seaforth Fish Co. applies the same principle to seafood, bringing fresh, sustainable and ethically caught seafood to Utah as part of a subscription service. For $69.95, you can get a monthly 5-pound pickup (in South Jordan) of sockeye salmon, halibut or rockfish in flash-frozen, vacuum-sealed portions. And your commitment helps support practices that ensure future sustainability. (SR)
Best Sourdough Pancakes With a View
Silver Fork Lodge
Since 1947, Silver Fork Lodge and Restaurant has been a popular destination to escape the city. It was a brisk morning when my husband and I drove up Big Cottonwood Canyon to visit the rustic restaurant. The patio was cozy; fluffy blankets were given to guests and sheepskin adorned each chair. We settled in, admiring the view of the Wasatch-Cache National Forest with mugs of hot coffee. I ordered their famous sourdough pancakes ($10), made from a starter that's more than 70 years old. These pancakes are the most sourdough-y, tart and scrumptious you'll ever devour. Order the short stack for $6 to accompany your savory breakfast and thank me later. (AR)
11332 Big Cottonwood Canyon Road, Brighton, 801-533-9977, silverforklodge.com
Best Place To Nosh
Feldman's stands alone when it comes to authentic Jewish deli-style sandwiches stacked mile high, gefilte fish, blintzes and dozens more East Coast-influenced items that have turned the establishment into a neighborhood fixture. To sweeten the pot, live musical entertainment and variety nights also call the place home, turning your visits into more than just an opportunity to stuff your face with pastrami and injecting a cool dose of New York chic to the Wasatch Front along the way. (EL)
2005 E. 2700 South, 801-906-0369, feldmansdeli.com
Best Downhome Breakfast
Sweet Lake Biscuits & Limeade
According to a 1980s advertising campaign, the best part of waking up is a cup of instant coffee. Those in the know, know it's a bellyful of Sweet Lake's signature Hoss. Leave your McMuffin expectations at the door; we're talking about a hearty slab of fried chicken breast, topped with egg, cheddar, bacon and gooey sausage all stuffed inside a heavenly biscuit guaranteed to make your tastebuds exclaim, "Yee-haw!" Complete your meal with some freshly squeezed OJ, signature limeade or cup o' joe. No Folgers here though, only organic Caffe Ibis. (EL)
54 W. 1700 South, 801-953-1978, sweetlakeslc.com
Best Way To Eat Vegetables You Think You Hate
Crispy Brussels Sprouts at Franck's Restaurant
If you've got a lingering belief that certain foods are yucky—remnants of a picky-eater childhood, or preparations that rendered those foods borderline inedible—maybe you just need to see what they're like in the hands of a pro. The crispy Brussels sprouts appetizer at Franck's takes those often-misunderstood mini cabbages, roasts them to a delightful texture, and tops them with Parmesan, a vinegar reduction and toasted almonds for a treat that turns your veggies into a comfort food you'll be fighting your table partners to finish. (SR)
6263 S. Holladay Blvd., Holladay, 801-274-6264, francksfood.com
Best Flavors of Nepal in the South Valley
Some of the more exotic flavors of international cuisine are easy to find in downtown Salt Lake City, but harder to come by in the farther reaches of the valley. Himalayan Kitchen's State Street location serves happy customers downtown, but the South Jordan location offers a convenient way for south-siders to get their fill of dishes with a different kick than traditional Indian cuisine. If you've ever had a hankering for traditional Nepali goat curry or momo dumplings filled with bison, the deliciousness doesn't have to be so far away. (SR)
11521 S. 4000 West, South Jordan, 801-254-0800, himalayankitchen.com
Best Gas Station Snacks
Jacksons Food Stores
If your gas station doesn't offer pebble ice and fresh maraschino cherries for your fountain drink, you deserve better. Add flavor shots and a squeeze of lemon or lime for a DIY dirty soda at half the price of those fancy drive-thru joints. If soda's not your thing, grab a bottle of cold-brew coffee or kombucha. Need a protein boost? Scan the good-for-you snacks for hummus or grass-fed beef jerky. To balance it all out, treat yourself to a fresh sugar cookie, made from scratch for only $1.79 or grab a Krispy Kreme doughnut (or a dozen!). Jacksons also stocks the expected gas station fare like deli sandwiches, warm breakfast sandwiches, nachos and has a grill featuring hot dogs and other good stuff. (AR)
Multiple locations, jacksons.com
Best Ice Cream With a Side of Inclusivity
Howdy Homemade Ice Cream
While Howdy Homemade is worth a trip because of their huge repertoire of ice cream flavors that you can't get anywhere else—my love for their Dr. Pepper chocolate chip burns brightly—but it's also an excellent place to participate in a culture of inclusivity and celebrate diversity. A large portion of Howdy Homemade's workforce consists of people with disabilities, which contributes to the unique vibe that emanates from the Millcreek ice cream shop. It's clear this is a place where everyone loves their job, which is why it's so fun to roll in for a frozen treat. Or an ice cream cake. Or a milkshake—honestly, you can't really go wrong here. (AS)
2670 S. 2000 East, 801-410-4302, howdyhomemadeicecream.com
Best Restaurant Dessert Combo
Copper Kitchen's brown sugar cake
Maybe for some, dessert is just a chance for a burst of sugar at the end of a great meal. At Copper Kitchen, the signature dessert delivers a variety of flavors and textures that makes it remarkable. The brown sugar cake itself is a moist, slightly caramelized slice of joy, but the plate also features a delicious coconut ice cream, a sprinkle of toasted cashews and a guava gelée that provides not just a bright burst of color, but a tangy complement to the other flavors. Leave room for this one. (SR)
4640 S. 2300 East, Ste. 102, Holladay, 385-237-3159, copperkitchenslc.com
Best Place To Feel Like You're in the Big City
You've heard it before: Salt Lake City? More like Small Lake City, am I right? But, damn it, SLC is growing and there are places to experience the big-city vibe. Stroll into Lake Effect on a weekend night and you'll likely catch some live music. The chic interior and skilled bartenders liven up the spot, making you feel like you're in a concrete metropolis, not a town in the Intermountain West. With specialty cocktails and potential sighting of local band Joshy Soul and The Cool, Lake Effect is setting trends downtown—and the scene for your next date. (RH)
155 W. 200 South, 801-285-6494, lakeeffectslc.com
Best Blackout on a Budget
If you're strapped for cash, a cash-only bar might not be the first place that comes to mind for a night out. But if you can scrounge up a few greenbacks, X-Wife's Place gives you the biggest bang for your buck. The spot, thanks to its proximity to the University of Utah's campus, attracts a young crowd and with that, plenty of well-priced drinks. Try one of their Root Beer Mind Erasers—a drink you're supposed to suck down all at once to get that root beer float taste—and when you're ready for beer, there are plenty of options for a measly couple dollars. Try your hand at a game of cornhole out back or work your way to the pool table and, maybe, you'll win yourself a few more dollars to get you through the next round. (RH)
465 S. 700 East, 801-532-1954
Best Club Culture Booster
Jesse Walker of New City Movement
Jesse Walker's brand of cool wraps you in a warm, welcoming embrace—an inclusive characteristic central to his 25-year reign in SLC. Moving from Idaho in 1993 on the tailwind of fashion designer and raconteur Jared Gold, Walker immediately fell into the DJ rotation at Bricks, Club Manhattan, the Holy Cow and a hundred other long-gone but never-forgotten nightclubs. In 1998, he founded New City Movement, a forward-thinking collective that promoted a brighter future through dance music, design, art and culture. As a main incubator of the prodigious local DJ scene we enjoy today, Walker's secret for success is simple: "Never stop being interested in everything and everyone. Also, never quit your day job." (NM)
Best Place To Drink in Public
University of Utah tailgates
This ain't New Orleans or Las Vegas (or anywhere else that's fun), so don't you dare pop open that can of beer on the streets! We're more modest up here—except on Saturdays in the fall. If the University of Utah has a home game, you can bet you're allowed to crack that brew and walk around the tailgate no questions asked. Hell, if you want to pop a hole in the bottom and shotgun it down your throat, be our guest. It's no Southeastern Conference tailgate, but the party is just as fun. Of course, don't do anything too silly and draw attention to yourself. Be patient and wait in line for the port-a-potty—don't relieve yourself outside. But by all means, let the sun's rays warm you while you and your red-clad friends bask in the joy of an outdoor party and revel at the chance to (maybe) win the big one. (RH)
Tailgate lot at the corner of 500 South and Guardsman Way
Best Spot To Drink During the Week
O'Shucks Bar & Grill
If you find yourself in need of a drink on a Wednesday night, there might not be a better deal in town than O'Shucks' $3 schooners. But the fun doesn't stop there. The basement bar also houses Ahh Sushi, and the friendly wait staff shuffles back and forth to serve your beer and sushi cravings. (RH)
22 E. 100 South, 801-359-6770
Best Armchair Quarterback Spot
With a projection TV, plenty of seats at the bar and a wide selection of food, this Sugar House staple is a great place to get your Sunday afternoon quarterback on. The front dining area includes a couch and lounge chairs where you can backseat coach your favorite team. Whether it's the Jazz, Utes, Cougars (the place is mostly red, though) or your favorite NFL team, you'll find plenty of friends here to weigh in on what play they would have called instead of whatever chicanery just played out on screen. (RH)
1063 E. 2100 South, 801-463-9393, fiddlerselbowslc.com
Best Drink and an Off-the-Beaten Path Bite
Utah might be strict with its liquor laws but that hasn't slowed the rising number of new watering holes around town. In fact, the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control has multiple bar licenses available—a rarity until this year—so expect more. If you can't keep up, why not slow down and check out some of the city's tried-and-true establishments. Duffy's Tavern doesn't have the shine and new-digs feeling some other places do, but that's what makes it glow. If the baseball diamond is your fancy, this is the place for you, especially if you're from Chicago. Duffy's walls are covered in Cubs, Blackhawks and Bears memorabilia. But it's also a welcoming place for homers if they're looking for fellow Utes fans. Try one of their famous sandwiches, dabble in some pool and cheer on your team while getting cozy at this neighborhood staple. (RH)
932 S. Main, 801-355-6401
Best Eclectic Programming
Consider Millcreek's Liquid Joe's a jack of many nightlife trades. Whatever floats your boat—from a revolving door of metal acts to a residency from beloved SLC party band Spazmatics—can be found here. Is karaoke more your thing? Warm up your vocal chords and head here on Tuesdays. Want to live out your Vegas fantasies? LJ's Monday poker night—boasting a $500 purse—is sure to do the trick. (EL)
1249 E. 3300 South, 801-467-5637, liquidjoes.net
Best One Night Only and Encore
Avant Groove Jazz Club & Martini Bar / Button Down Bar
Back in April, I wanted to find the type of raw, sweaty Jazz club that Jack Kerouac describes in On the Road—you know, the kind that could get you in trouble with the law. What I found was Avant Groove, the brainchild of Bay Area jazz vet John Vecchi—and though suit-and-tie classy, it did not disappoint. I chatted with Vecchi, drank a Broken Time—Bulleit Bourbon, ginger liqueur, lemon twist and rosemary garnish—and heard the Elastic Jazz Quintet's bone-rattling, lunatic rendition of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit."Kerouac would have been proud. Regrettably, Avant Groove permanently closed its doors on June 21, 2018. However, a few months ago, investor and long-time jazz fan Ross East bought the building, and has since created Button Down Bar, a new twist in the same space. Button Down prides itself on its versatility—equal parts sports bar and nightclub—and local ties, screening games and keeping their bars and taps fully stocked with wares from Utah distilleries and breweries—Dented Brick, High West and Wasatch, just to name a few. If you're the drinkin' type, I'd recommend the BDMF ($9), a sour watermelon and cranberry number, or the Heavenly SL,UT ($9), a mixture of Five Wives vodka, egg white and other secret flavors, which tastes like a liquid key lime pie. Or if, like me, you're still itching for a little jazz, you can attend Wine Down Wednesdays, featuring an extended wine list and the Elastic Jazz Quintet, still vamping their sweet madness. (ZS)
122 W. Pierpont Ave., 385-259-0573, buttondown.bar
Best Night Out
Looking for a unique dinner and drinks one-two punch? This place has you covered with its combo Italian restaurant/lounge. Bloody mary piled to the sky accompanied by some pork tenderloin? You got it. Asian pear martini and a hand-tossed pizza? Step right up. Regardless if your mood is downtown cool or uptown swank, Elixir always delivers to the masses of thirsty and hungry denizens far and wide. (EL)
6405 S. 3000 East, Ste. 101, Holladay, 801-943-1696, elixirloungeslc.com
Best Pampered Concert Experience
Premium Seating at The Depot
Sometimes you want a live-music experience that's all about being in the middle of a pulsing crowd; sometimes, you just want to enjoy your favorite artist with a bit less stress. The Depot offers an upgrade option from the standing-room-only general admission, with premium seats that include a separate entrance, in-seat service, private bar and access to an open-air patio when you need to get a bit of fresh air. You never have to feel like you're too old to rock 'n' roll. (SR)
13 N. 400 West, 801-355-5522, depotslc.com
Best Elected Official
At press time, Ben McAdams is crisscrossing Utah's 4th Congressional District in an outrageously orange school bus—perhaps a nod to his first job as pumpkin picker when he was 12—to unseat Rep. Mia Love. Pollsters predict a squeaker. Even his critics, however, grudgingly admit during his six years as Salt Lake County mayor, the 43-year-old Democrat has reached across the aisle to get things done. CNN calls his style "pragmatic, wonky and slightly quirky." Well, wonky's OK if you can juggle a $1.3-billion budget—with no property-tax increase. And who can forget McAdams' foray onto the mean streets in the Rio Grande district to experience homelessness first-hand?
2. Spencer Cox
3. Derek Kitchen
I Am Salt Lake
People over a certain age recall with fondness the "Golden Age" of television, when shows were broadcast live and Americans welcomed the likes of Milton Berle and Jackie Gleason into their living rooms. Well, history might be repeating itself. Podcasts now are the rage, and none is more well crafted than the popular weekly I Am Salt Lake. For the past five years, hosts Chris and Krissie Holifield have prowled the streets, seeking interesting folks in business, art, music, film, food "or anything else [Chris] finds intriguing." So far, they've interviewed more than 300 people, and show no signs slowing down. Who knows? I Am Salt Lake might someday be in the same entertainment pantheon as I Love Lucy.
2. Geek Show Podcast
3. Radio West
Best Nonprofit Organization
Best Friends Animal Society
For 32 years, Best Friends Animal Society has been a global leader in the no-kill movement to protect unwanted and abandoned animals. When it began, some 17 million animals annually were "put to sleep"—one of society's most monstrous euphemisms. Today, the figure is down to four million. But that's not enough, says Best Friends, whose ambitious goal is to "Save Them All." From sponsoring trap-neuter-return programs for feral cats to combatting puppy mills, it's been on the forefront of animal protection. And don't forget the society's crown jewel: The sprawling Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah's red-rock country near Kanab—home to some 1,700 rescued critters.
2. Planned Parenthood
3. Utah Pride Center
Best Political Scandal
Inland Port Authority
It's been called Utah's largest economic-development project—ever. Yet the bill creating the Utah Inland Port Authority was introduced, re-written and ramrodded through the 2018 Legislature on the second-to-last night of the session with no time for scrutiny or debate. Even its sponsors weren't exactly sure what it said. Called back into a special session, lawmakers tweaked the law, but not everyone's happy—especially Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski who fears the state is trampling on the city's taxing and zoning turf. After all, the 38 square miles are within SLC's boundaries. Then, outgoing House Speaker and land developer Greg Hughes raised some eyebrows when he appointed himself to the authority board, but soon stepped down. It turns out—surprise!—he owns property nearby.
2. Bears Ears
Best Radio Show
Radio From Hell
"Nothing is certain except death and taxes" ... and that City Weekly readers will overwhelmingly vote Radio From Hell as their favorite show. For the umpteenth year (we've lost count, really), the early morning, four-hour show on 96.3 FM has swept the field. Over the years, hosts Kerry Jackson, Bill Allred and Gina Barberi (with producer Richard T. Steadman in the booth) have become old friends to countless fans. There's never a dull moment with recurring features like "Big Boy News & Opinnuendo" and "Boner of the Day," and Sister Dottie S. Dixon occasionally dropping by the studio. It all began, incidentally, as The Fun Pigs on Ogden's KJQ in 1986, making it one of the country's longest-running shows.
2. Radio West
3. Dave & Deb
Best Radio Station
It's a well-documented fact that Donald Trump isn't a fan of reading—though he has an impressive array of flat-screen TVs in his bedroom. But what about radio? It's a pretty sure bet that he wouldn't listen to KRCL 90.9 FM. It's too damned informative. Shows like the thoughtful and sometimes-provocative Democracy Now! just wouldn't turn his crank (or his dial). That's not to say the nonprofit, listener-supported station is overly cerebral. Far from it. Throughout the day and night, DJs entertain with music from their own playlists: Vintage rock to new wave; forgotten favorites to music from around the world. KRCL next year marks 40 years on the air—and here's to 40 more.
Best Social Cause
The homeless. Most mornings, you see them sleeping on the edge of Main Street planter boxes or huddled in abandoned storefronts. But for every "vagrant" we encounter, there are dozens more hidden in the dark and desperate shadows of homelessness—including families, children and veterans. In less than 18 months, the county will open three new shelters/resource centers with a capacity of 700. But simultaneously, the 1,100-bed Road Home will close its doors—leaving a 400-bed deficit. The city, meanwhile, has allocated $21 million to subsidize low-income housing construction. Until officials can come to grips with the influx of people pouring into the valley and rising rents, homelessness is going to be a Gordian Knot.
2. Medical cannabis
3. Suicide prevention
Best Sports Reporter
Any die-hard fan can spout statistics and sometimes obscure facts about their favorite sport. But it takes years of up-close observation and interaction to know the real stories behind them. That's why Utahns rely on David James for all things sports-related. He signed on with KUTV Channel 2 in 1992, and in the quarter-century since has built a solid reputation as an authoritative—but never strident—source of sports news. James anchors the station's two "Talkin' Sports" weekend shows, and can be heard on a morning-drive talk show on 1280 The Zone. Even when he disagrees with callers, the genial James is always amiable ... and usually right.
2. Dave Fox
3. Wesley Ruff
Best TV News Reporter
If Nike or Adidas were ever to seek endorsements from journalists instead of athletes, they'd be in hot pursuit of Fox 13's Ben Winslow. The bearded dynamo literally sprints from assignment to assignment—tweeting all the way to a growing cadre of followers. While it's all so cutting edge, he churns out old-fashioned solid journalism, too. Since joining the station nearly two decades ago, Winslow has collected scads of accolades, including a national Edward R. Murrow Award, and another from the Religion Newswriters Association. On his Facebook page, he simply says: "I'm a reporter ... covering a lot of politics, courts and polygamy." Then, he adds wryly, "Sometimes those intersect."
2. Chris Jones
3. Morgan Saxton
Best TV News Station
When it entered the Utah television market as KSTU in 1978, Fox 13 initially was regarded as the poor cousin among the local network affiliates. All that changed when it hooked up with Fox, and took off like an Atlas rocket—including its news department. In a few short years, Bob Evans, Hope Woodside (who recently left after 23 years), Dan Evans and crew have earned a reputation for rock-solid reporting. Did we mention Big Budah? Add to that May's announcement that Fox 13 had inked a "new, expansive content-sharing agreement" with news powerhouse, The Salt Lake Tribune. A poor cousin? No longer.
2. KUTV Channel 2
3. ABC Channel 4
For 33 years, Sterling Poulson has been telling local television audiences what Mother Nature has in store. After a stint at KSL Channel 5, he moved to KUTV Channel 2 in 1989 where viewers have come to expect detailed—but understandable—explanations of Utah's notoriously mercurial weather patterns. He cut his earned as a forecaster during a 10-year hitch in the Air Force, including a tour of duty in Vietnam (where the weather is wild, too). Paulson's all-time favorite story was the freak tornado that hit the capital city in 1999. The 67-year-old finds time, too, to direct the 120-voice Choral Society of Utah.
2. Allison Croghan
3. Kevin Eubank
Call him what you may, but former Congressman Jason Chaffetz (last year's Worst Utahn winner) is no shrinking violet. No sooner had he abruptly resigned his House seat last year, the four-term right-wing darling had settled into a comfy commentator booth at Fox News. The ambitious and often abrasive Chaffetz is rumored to have his sights on Gov. Gary Herbert's desk—but "Available Jones" is being coy on seeking a third term. While he ruminates, the 51-year-old has found time to pen a new book on the sinister The Deep State. In it, he writes of scoundrels who "brazenly abuse their power—spying, manipulating and misleading." Yes, Jason, it sounds all too familiar.
2. Mike Lee
3. Mitt Romney
Best Concert of the Year
Being part of a great show is one thing; being a part of a movement is something else entirely. For the second year, Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds brought together a great lineup of music—including his own band, Neon Trees' Tyler Glenn and Grace VanderWaal—for a full day that also featured speakers addressing the challenges faced by LGBTQ youth. The result was a spectacular event that raised more than $1 million for nonprofits like the Trevor Project.
2. Chris Stapleton
Best All-Ages Venue
Over the past 15 years, the fine folks at Kilby Court have worked hard to turn a small converted garage into a cherished fixture of Salt Lake City's music scene. From local upstarts to touring indie darlings and everything in between, Kilby gives music fans of all ages and of all stripes a chance to see their favorite artists up-close and personal.
748 W. Kilby Court, 800-513-7540, kilbycourt.com
2. The Complex
3. Diabolical Records
Best Dance Company
Generations of family members have shared the holiday magic of Ballet West's distinctive annual performance of The Nutcracker—but if your familiarity with the company ends there, you've got some wonderful discovery ahead of you. From revitalized versions of classic pieces to the opportunity to experience the best new works from around the country at the National Choreographic Festival, Ballet West offers experiences that allow your spirit to soar right along with the dancers.
2. Repertory Dance Theatre
3. Ririe-Woodbury Dance Co.
DJ Bad Hair Day
Defending his 2017 win in this category is only the latest achievement for the artist born Andre Adams, who has spent the past decade building a résumé that has taken him from hosting rap battles at U92's Summer Jam to DJing for Salt Lake Screaming Eagles professional football and opening for acts like Pitbull, T-Pain, De La Soul and TechN9ne. And his talents expand to writing and producing his own music, making him a truly multi-threat entertainer.
2. John Florence
3. Brad Wheeler
Best Friend of the Arts
Utah Arts Alliance
There should never be a barrier to creative people finding a way to bring their work to the world—at least that's the principle behind this wide-ranging organization. From creating the Connect program to offering a showcase for new artists, to staging the free Urban Arts Festival annually, to providing studio and creative workspace, UAA and executive director Derek Dyer keep expanding the boundaries of who can be an artist. utaharts.org
2. Dina Krikova
3. Cat Palmer
Urban Arts Gallery
The location moved down the block at The Gateway recently, but it's still the place for a uniquely egalitarian take on visual arts showcases. Annual events like the Skate Deck Show, or exhibitions centered around pop-culture pillars like Star Wars and video games invite every kind of creator and every kind of spectator to be part of the experience of what a gallery can offer.
116 S. Rio Grande St., 801-230-0820, urbanartsgallery.org
2. Phillips Gallery
3. 15th Street Gallery
Best Instagram Feed
The stalwart downtown second-hand store is more than just a great place to pick up vintage clothing, or hang out with the resident cats. The shop keeps its Instagram followers in the loop on the latest new arrivals with regular posts, or showing customers selfie-modeling a perfect find. It's also a great way to find out when they're having a clearance sale.
Best Live Music Venue
Every place has its downside, and while some of the logistics of getting into and out of Usana continue to prove challenging, it's hard to argue with the experience patrons have when they're at the show. The 20,000-capacity amphitheater continues to be the state's main summer showcase for some of the world's biggest musical acts, bringing classic-rock icons and modern superstars from every genre to adoring crowds.
5150 Upper Ridge Road, West Valley City
2. Red Butte Garden Amphitheatre
3. The Depot
Best Local Band/Group
Few bands exemplify resilience like this quartet, as they soldier into their third decade. Neither landing, then losing, a major record deal, nor vocalist Neal Middleton's brush with paralysis after falling from a balcony, nor drummer Jake Smith's 2003 car accident has kept them from an impressive output of earthy hard-rocking music, and from playing to packed houses throughout the state and around the country.
2. Imagine Dragons
3. Pixie and the Partygrass Boys
Natural History Museum of Utah
The stunning Rio Tinto Center welcomes guests to a place that feels distinctively Utah inside and out. Permanent exhibitions showcase the history of the region's Indigenous peoples and prehistoric inhabitants (with complete life-sized skeletons), teach about local ecosystems and highlight geology with dazzling gemstones, all in a hands-on way that welcomes learning experiences for every age.
301 Wakara Way, 801-581-4303, nhmu.utah.edu
2. Utah Museum of Fine Arts
3. The Leonardo
Best Music Festival
The potentially high-stress environment of a massive music festival can't help but feel more laid back when the attendees get to sleep where they're partying. The edge of the river in Heber City turned into a mini-city this June, where more than 30 acts—including headliners like Wiz Khalifa and Halsey—provided the musical energy, and the beautiful setting provided the incentive to camp out and make it a wild three-day weekend.
2. Das Energi
3. Reggae Rise Up
Best Piece of Public Art
It's kind of an unfair fight, since Robert Smithson's 1970 work—a 1,500-foot coil of basalt and salt on the shore of the Great Salt Lake—is a landmark not just in the sense of its familiarity, but in its place in the history of environmental art. While the drought-reduced level of the lake might be alarming for many reasons, it has offered visitors a chance to experience a unique and fascinating piece of Utah art history.
2. SLC Pepper
3. Banksy in Park City
Best Theater Company
Salt Lake Acting Co.
For 48 years, Salt Lake Acting Co. has built a history of inspiring and entertaining audiences with a unique mix of locally created world-premieres, cutting-edge new works and even Tony Award-winning Broadway musicals. With the annual season finale of Saturday's Voyeur exploding Utah's sacred cows with its satirical bite, the company proves over and over again that this can indeed be the place for risk-taking theater that's not afraid to get its hands dirty.
168 W. 500 North, 801-363-7522, saltlakeactingco.org
2. Hale Centre Theatre
3. Pioneer Theatre Co.
Honorable mention: Viva La Diva
Best Visual Artist
Year-in and year-out, City Weekly readers share their love of Palmer's photographic artistry, which can find her everywhere from a wedding to a booth at the Utah Arts Festival to shooting protesters at the Capitol spelling out "Go Home Trump" with their bodies. As she told CW in a 2018 interview, "I have the portraiture work, and I have my art work. ... For one, I'm being commissioned by people, and for the other, I'm coming up with my own ideas, where I can get angry, get rowdy, get loud."
2. Sril Art
3. Daniel Overstreet
Best Record Shop
Randy's Record Shop
In an age where physical media seems on the verge of extinction, there are still places that celebrate discovering music by picking it up with your hands. Now celebrating its 40th anniversary, Randy's still pulls in patrons with a massive collection of vinyl LPs and 45s—and, yes, CDs—plus quarterly sales that allow music lovers to carry even more stuff home, and treat it with love.
157 E. 900 South, 801-532-4413, randysrecords.com
2. Graywhale Entertainment
3. Raunch Records
Best Barber Shop
Jed's Barber Shop
With nearly 20 years of experience, you could say Jed Beal knows exactly what goes into a good haircut, and what goes into building a good barber shop. Beal started Jed's in 2011, when he decided he wanted to create a shop that married classic charm with a clean, modern interior. Open seven days a week, Jed's now has three locations committed to making every customer feel pampered.
Multiple locations, jedsbarbershop.com
2. City Barbers
3. Salt Lake Barber Co.
The King's English Bookshop
Why walk the large halls of Barnes & Noble or purchase a book on Amazon when SLC is home to one of the coziest bookstores out there? The King's English Bookshop was started in 1977 by Betsy Burton and Ann Berman through their mutual love of good books and the classic bookshop. Currently, the shop not only hosts authors from all over the world but is also part of the Utah Humanities Book Festival.
1511 S. 1500 East, 801-484-9100, kingsenglish.com
2. Ken Sanders Rare Books
3. Weller Book Works
A' La Mode
Opened in 2016 by Jasmine Gordon, Angelique Gordon and Sarah Skeps, A' La Mode does things a little differently in the world of boutiques. Not only can you visit the store and get the "fashionistas" there to style you, but you can also sign up for A' La Mode's by-mail styling service. All you have to do is fill out a survey and the shop will ship you a personalized style box set to fit you perfectly.
265 E. 900 South, 845-393-4446, alamodeboutique.com
3. Hip and Humble
Best Comic Book Store
Black Cat Comics
Greg Gage started Black Cat Comics in 2004 with a mission to make a shop with the largest selection and a classic feel. He believes the focus on purely comics is what really sets his shop apart. "There's not many stores left any more," he says. "So it's nice to have a store that focuses just on that." Gage also invites local creators to share his shelves with their own work, and hosts large names from the comic book world at Black Cat's annual anniversary signings.
2261 S. Highland Drive, 801-461-4228, blackcat-comics.com
2. The Nerd Store
3. Dr. Volt's Comic Connection
Best Garden Supply
Started by Vernon and Murriel Smith in 1955, Millcreek Gardens has a strong local connection to not only Millcreek but much of the valley. People drive from all over the Wasatch Front to look over the selection covering Millcreek's 3 ½ acres. The gardens also carry a large array of perennials, trees and supplies, setting it apart from other smaller shops.
3500 S. 900 East, 801-487-4131, millcreekgardens.com
2. Cactus and Tropicals
3. Glover Nursery
Best Pet Supply Store
All dog owners have, at some point, given their dog a bath that went bad. Maybe your beloved canine made a break for it or gave you a bath in the process. At Paw Paw's, which opened in 2010, you can wash your dog in a tub just the right size and equipped with everything you need to make the experience positive—for both parties. And after their bath, you can reward your pet with high-quality, organic, grain-free and/or raw treats.
624 S. 300 West, 801-531-4200, pawpawsdogwash.com
2. The Dog's Meow
3. Healthy Pets
Best Piercing Studio
Koi Piercing Studio
It's fitting that the best piercing studio in Utah was actually the first all-body piercing studio in the state. Curt Warren opened Koi in 1997, feeling nowhere else took a clean, professional approach. Warren, as well as Melissa Christensen (shop manager) and Patrick Bogdanich (senior piercer), all are members of the Association of Professional Piercers, so you know you're in good hands.
1301 S. 900 East, 801-463-7070
2. Enso Piercing + Adornment
3. Iris Piercing Studio
With a long list of awards already under their belt, Lunatic Fringe isn't new to the competitive salon world. Business partners and husband-and-wife team Shawn Trujillo and Angie Katsanevas started the Lunatic Fringe brand in 1999. They have a strong list of values that underpin operations in 10 locations spanning Utah, Idaho, Tennessee and Ohio.
Multiple locations, lunaticfringesalon.com
2. Landis Lifestyle Salon
3. Got Beauty
Best Smoke/Vape Shop
Opened in 2013, iVape's strength lies not only in its helpful and knowledgeable staff but in its incredibly large selection. The shop carries more than 100 mods and more than 250 flavors. Making a choice might be hard here, but at least you only have to make one stop for everything you could want. Alex Ogilvie, shop manager, says his favorite part of iVape is having "The only shop in the state with an outdoor flavor bar."
4523 S. Redwood Road, Taylorsville, 801-268-8273, ivapeslc.com
2. Blackhouse Vapor
3. Peak Vapor
Best Tattoo Artist
Bret Johnson, Sacred Souls Tattoo
It seems each day there are more and more tattoo artists in Salt Lake. It's hard to choose the right person when the pool is so full of talent. Some are good, yet only at one thing, and others are good at just about everything. Bret Johnson is clearly one of the latter. When you're ready to take that big step, Johnson can handle the art of your choice with his versatile style. 244 S. 500 West, 801-372-3876, facebook.com/bretjohnsontattoos
2. Tori Lake at Black Thumb MST
3. Sarah de Azevedo at Locust Tattoo
Best Tattoo Shop
Tucked away in the heart of Sugar House, Yellow Rose was opened in 2010 by Luis Flores. Shop manager Briana Brunelle, who has worked for the company for five years, says it's the "quality of work that [the artists] put out" that keeps customers coming back. Now employing seven artists, Yellow Rose has the professionalism and creativity to make that next tattoo pop.
2006 S. 900 East, 801-415-9596, yellowrosetattoos.com
2. Big Deluxe
Best Thrift/Consignment Store
There are a lot of reasons IconoCLAD has been Salt Lake's favorite shop since 2014. For some, the shop cats Bugsy and Lola brings them back; for others, it's the great price on rad clothing. You can find everything from day-to-day wear to festival fashion—all at shockingly low prices. Everything you find here is handpicked for style, so you know you can't go wrong. Even stop by for those stylish pollution masks during fire or inversion season.
414 E. 300 South, 801-833-2272, iconoclad.com
2. Uptown Cheapskate
3. Pib's Exchange
Best Bike Path
Jordan River Parkway
Utah has great mountain biking, but two-wheel enthusiasts can also find plenty of options around the Salt Lake Valley, such as the Jordan River Parkway. The more than 40-mile urban trail stretches from Utah County north to the Great Salt Lake in Davis County and offers a scenic way to see Salt Lake's green spaces and waterways.
2. Legacy Trail
3. Provo River Trail
Best Bowling Alley
Throw on your bowling shoes and make your way to Bonwood Bowl for a night of rolling entertainment. The 42-lane alley and pro shop can help even the most casual of bowlers get set for two, three, even four games of bowling against your friends and family. With multiple league options available, the facility has you covered for all of your hardwood alley needs.
2500 S. Main, 801-487-7758, bonwoodbowl.com
2. Fat Cats
3. Olympus Hills Bowling
Best Hiking Trail
If you need a hiking spot but don't have the time for a 10-mile all-day trek, Donut Falls in Big Cottonwood Canyon is a trail friendly for all hiking abilities. The 3½-mile round-trip journey lets you take in some of Utah's most majestic canyon landscape and a cool waterfall to boot. Bring your camera and see if you can snag a better photo of the falls than a professional.
Mill D Trailhead, Big Cottonwood Canyon
2. Lake Blanche
3. Dog Lake
Best Gear Brand
Brands are all about messaging these days and Cotopaxi, started by Brigham Young University graduate Davis Smith, is quickly becoming a household name among outdoor gear options. The philanthropic-minded retail outlet partners with nonprofit organizations and donates a portion of its profits to help those in extreme poverty around the world. The brand also sponsors Questival, the increasingly popular 24-hour adventure race. Now, when you see someone sporting a llama logo, you'll know where it came from.
74 S. Main, 385-528-0855, cotopaxi.com
2. Black Diamond
Best Public Golf Course
With two courses to choose from and located among the Wasatch Mountains, Mountain Dell has plenty of natural beauty to admire while you slice your tee shot right. Just a few minutes east of Salt Lake City off of Interstate 80, this golf course offers players a mountain getaway for an affordable price—just mind the wildlife while you're out there.
Interstate 80, Exit 134, 801-582-3812
3. Old Mill
Best Recreation Sports Store
Gear up for your next outdoor adventure at State Street's Recreation Outlet. With good prices on quality equipment, the shop gives you a chance to get outdoors without making a serious dent in your wallet. The knowledgeable and experienced staff can provide advice on what's hot today and what equipment will keep you safe as you explore Utah's natural beauty.
3160 S. State, 801-484-4800, recreationoutlet.com
2. Wasatch Touring
3. Kirkham's Outdoor Products
Head east of Ogden to find one of the Wasatch Front's best spots to fish and dabble in water sports. If you have a boat or, better yet, a friend with a boat, Pineview Reservoir has plenty of space to cool down during Utah's warm summer months. If you prefer staying close to shore, the reservoir also has a few swimming areas where you and the family can recreate safely.
Highway 39, Ogden Canyon
Best Running Event
Also known as "Utah's Spring Run Off" and rated by Runner's World as one of the Top 10 marathons in the world, the Ogden Marathon starts at 5,400 feet of elevation and follows a gentle downhill path. The course takes you around Pineview Reservoir and down Ogden Canyon. It's hard to find a much more scenic (and grueling) 26.2-mile course.
2. Ragnar Relay
3. Salt Lake Marathon
Best Skate Park
If you can't find a clean rail to grind around town, you might have to practice at a nearby skatepark. Located in the southwest corner of the park, Fairmont's concrete-and-metal haven offers you a chance to hone your skills free of security chasing you off. The park is full just about any weekend and has you covered on whatever extreme sport you want to try next.
1040 E. Sugarmont Drive
2. Sandy Skate Park
3. Jordan Park
Best Skate Shop
This local shop on Salt Lake's east bench has been a go-to spot for skating and snow sport needs for 34 years, and for good reason. The staff is happy to help you find what you need to make sure your winter, or summer, shredding goes according to plan. Forget those corporate chain outlets and find a local expert who can get you on your way.
3119 E. 3300 South, 801-487-8600, milosport.com
2. Salty Peaks
3. Raunch Records
Best Ski Resort
With more than 3,000 vertical feet to test your downhill prowess, Snowbird is internationally known for its challenging and fun terrain. The resort also always has one of the earliest opening days of the season in November, in case you get bored of the fall months and need an early snow fix. It not only offers runs down the Little Cottonwood Canyon side, but also along the backside of the mountain to Mineral Basin.
9385 S. Snowbird Center Drive, Snowbird, 801-933-2222, snowbird.com
If you prefer snowboarding over skiing, then Brighton, one of the most popular resorts for boarders, might be for you. The resort has more than 1,000 acres of terrain as well as a park to test your grinding and aerial skills. Its lift tickets are still some of the best deals around the Wasatch Front. If you prefer an even bigger discount, check out their night skiing option. Just be sure to bundle up.
8302 S. Brighton Loop Road, Big Cottonwood Canyon, 801-532-4731, brightonresort.com
3. Powder Mountain
Best State Park
Forget the traffic and crowds at national parks like Zion and Arches, and check out some of Utah's most interesting rock formations at Goblin Valley State Park. Sandstone has eroded over millions of years to resemble short, mushroom-shaped hoodoo rocks, better known as "goblins." Don't hesitate to make the journey south to see some of the state's strange, yet colorful, natural beauty.
Goblin Valley Road, Green River, 435-275-4584
2. Antelope Island
3. Snow Canyon
Best Water Skiing
In need of an adventurous getaway with options for everyone? Look no further than Lake Powell. The "fake lake, real fun" motto of the Southern Utah destination lives up to its billing when you explore the lake's flooded canyons and other sandstone features. Between houseboating, waterskiing and easy-access hikes, Lake Powell offers plenty of entertainment on land and water.
2. Bear Lake
City Cakes & Café
Careful, once you experience these vegan and gluten-free cakes and baked goods, you might just have to make the lifestyle switch. Since 2010, owner Nanette Wessels has earned a reputation for delivering high-quality products with exceptional customer service. With offerings such as cinnamon rolls, cookies, muffins and so many more baked treats derived from organic ingredients, there's ample reason to give City Cakes a try.
1860 S. 300 West, 801-359-2239, citycakescafe.com
2. Tulie Bakery
3. Ruby Snap
The Park Café
On any particular morning at The Park Café, you might spot superstar athletes from the Utah Jazz, Real Salt Lake or the University of Utah. Or, you'll recognize the familiar faces of regulars lining the tables. No matter your background, The Park Café's exceptional staff welcomes you with open arms and a friendly smile. Start your morning with French Toast Foolishness—an inch-thick serving with a side of savory bacon and house potatoes.
604 E. 1300 South, 801-487-1670, theparkcafeslc.com
2. Ruth's Diner
3. Roots Café
Rye always has a homey feel to it. Are you brunching with your mom and pop? Got a business meeting? Out with friends? All feel acceptable here. Stick with the traditional two-egg breakfast, brioche French toast or waffle with house potatoes, or branch out with the marinated duck bowl—a helping of pomegranate roasted duck, pear confit, rice, chevre and duck egg. Delicious.
239 S. 500 East, 801-364-4655, ryeslc.com
2. La Caille
3. Ruth's Diner
How does any restaurant survive four decades like Mandarin? Family atmosphere, excellent staff and, of course, a phenomenal menu. That culture is what the son of Greek immigrant Gregory Skedros created back in 1978. Today, Skedros' daughter Angel, along with her husband, Paul Manfredini, operate Mandarin. Skedros, 91, ensures his restaurant reigns supreme by preparing his salivating Szechuan and kung pao secret sauces.
348 E. 900 North, Bountiful, 801-298-2406, mandarinutah.com
2. Asian Star
3. Little World
Best Coffee Shop
Beans & Brews
It's the American Dream—working your way from humble beginnings into an industry juggernaut. That's what happened to the Laramie family when they opened the first Beans and Brews near Liberty Park in 1993. Now, dozens of cozy coffee shops line Utah streets and have spread through Idaho and Nevada over the past few years. Thanks for ensuring Utahns don't have to succumb to Dunkin' Donuts or Starbucks.
2. Publik Coffee Roasters
3. Coffee Garden
Fillings & Emulsions
Pastry chef and owner Adalberto Diaz has been refining his pastry skills for the past 30 years. "Chef Al" took his talents to the Food Network back in 2015, where he was recognized as a finalist on Holiday Baking Championship. Within the glass cases at Fillings & Emulsions, you'll find an array of masterfully crafted macarons, quick breads, tarts, petitte gateaux, custards and more mouth-watering pastries.
1475 S. Main, 385-229-4228, filingsandemulsions.com
2. Gourmandise The Bakery
Best Downtown SLC Restaurant
The Copper Onion
Copper Onion owner Ryan Lowder found the secret ingredient when it comes to restauranteuring. The native Utahn traveled the globe—from Colombia to Barcelona to New York—for inspiration for Copper Onion's creative menu. Favorite dinner options include the classic Roman dish cacio e pepe as well as the melt-in-your-mouth patatas bravas.
111 E. 300 South, 801-355-3282, thecopperonion.com
3. Blue Iguana
Since he was a young boy, Aristo Boutsikakis had a vision to create a restaurant honoring his family's home, the Greek island of Crete. Staying true to Greek culture and tradition, Aristo's grows herbs, makes cheese, kneads bread and butchers meat all on their own. Whatever they possibly can't make in house, Aristo's sources locally. The meze (small plates) are spectacular, as are the charbroiled lamb chops served with fresh-cut fries and sautéed garlic rapini.
244 S. 1300 East, 801-581-0888, aristosslc.com
2. The Other Place
The early bird gets the worm, or in Bombay House's case, a seat at the table. If you are indeed late to the dinner rush, no need to worry—you can simply call in your order (though even the pickup line can get crowded) and enjoy one of the scrumptious curries, masalas and kurmas at home. What is everyone swarming Bombay House for, anyway? The chicken makhani prepared tandoori-style with oven-toasted garlic naan is life changing.
Multiple locations, bombayhouse.com
2. Saffron Valley
Best Innovative Menu
Foodies in Utah should already be aware of Briar Handly, Melissa Gray and Meagan Nash's other successful restaurant, Handle in Park City. They've since ventured into the Salt Lake Valley to create HSL, an oasis of locally sourced vegetables and ingredients that come together to form one of the finest menus around. For a different taste, dig into the General Tso's-style cauliflower or the market fish plated with a serving of corn fondue and foraged mushrooms.
418 E. 200 South, 801-539-9999, hslrestaurant.com
2. Table X
It didn't take long for the family-run Sicilia Mia to exert a strong presence on the local Italian dining scene, quickly opening up three more iterations around the valley. For starters, try the burrata quattro stagioni, a mouthwatering burrata mozzarella served with housemade Italian sauces and bread. For the main course, watch in awe as skilled waiters prepare spaghetti alla carbonara tableside in a wheel of aged parmigiana for a night to remember.
4536 S. Highland Drive, 801-274-0223, siciliamiautah.com
2. Cucina Toscana
3. Caffé Molise
It's surreal to think that Takashi is now more than 13 years old, a testament to its service and the care Takashi and Tamara Gibo give their pristine cuisine. This summer, they've taken on another venture with tapas-inspired Post Office Place just next door, but Takashi still reigns supreme when it comes to Japanese. If you appreciate artfully crafted dishes, the azekura is a must. Seared beef is balanced on top of tempura-fried portobello mushrooms and green beans for a picturesque meal.
18 W. Market St., 801-519-9595
3. Jinya Ramen Bar
Why would you build a second restaurant two blocks from the first? That's what Red Iguana did with Red Iguana 2 to alleviate the seemingly endless out-the-door line of customers wanting to indulge on the best Mexican food this side of the border. While all dishes are sure to blow you away, the signature moles come highly recommended. The mole negro tops them all, which is a combination of dried chile mulato, negro pasilla, Mexican chocolate, raisins, peanuts, walnuts and banana. Trust us when we say it's exceptional.
Multiple Locations, rediguana.com
2. Blue Iguana
3. Salsa Leedos
Best Middle Eastern
The Best Middle Eastern Restaurant award has gone to Mazza for 17 straight years, and for good reason—nowhere else can you enjoy as exquisitely prepared, authentic Middle Eastern cuisine such as falafel, shawarma, kebabs, dips and salads. At either the 9th and 9th or 15th and 15th locations, patrons can devour tasty plates such as the bone-in lamb shank or pumpkin kibbeh.
912 E. 900 South, 801-521-4572; 1515 S. 1500 East, 801-484-9259, mazzacafe.com
2. Laziz Kitchen
3. Cedars of Lebanon
Best New Restaurant
Passion for cooking fabulous food is what inspired owners Ashton Aragon and Max Shrives to open their up-and-coming restaurant. For a starter that is sure to swarm your brain with a flood of memories, try the tasty pigs in a blanket. And the fish and chips exceeds all expectations. Sit down and enjoy your favorite meal inside the newly renovated interior or quiet patio, all while making new traditions of your own.
501 E. 900 South, 385-202-7167, traditionslc.com
3. Seasons Plant-based Bistro
Best Ogden Restaurant
A perennial Best Of winner, Tona Sushi plates its dishes so masterfully and artistically, you'll wonder if it's permitted to deconstruct the food. The dining area offers seating at the bar, where you can watch the artists—err, chefs—handcraft sushi, or you can kick off your shoes and sit in traditional low-rise tables in the O-Zashiki Room for an intimate and romantic setting.
210 25th St., Ogden, 801-322-8662, tonarestaurant.com
3. Roosters Brewing
Best Park City Restaurant
Riverhorse on Main
With such a unique ambiance and menu, it's no surprise that Riverhorse on Main is Park City's Best Restaurant yet again. Thanks to its ever-changing menu—seasonally as well as demand based—no two experiences at Riverhorse are the same. Classics joined with new concepts make this menu one you cannot duplicate anywhere else, such as the Riverhorse classic—a macadamia nut crust on Alaskan halibut.
540 Main, Park City, 435-649-3536, riverhorseparkcity.com
2. Blue Iguana
In 1930, Uruguay defeated Argentina in the very first World Cup, Neil Armstrong and Sean Connery were born and the television was barely an idea. Ruth's Diner was also established in 1930, and is now entering its 88th year of serving Salt Lake natives hearty meals. Located a short drive up Emigration Canyon, patrons flock to the serene patio to take in the surrounding sights and sounds of the mountains.
4160 Emigration Canyon Road, 801-582-5807, ruthsdiner.com
2. Cliff Dining Pub
3. Blue Iguana
Best Salt Lake Valley Restaurant
Cliff Dining Pub
"From Draper, for Draper." That's the motto Cliff Dining Pub has lived by since its inception, creating an eclectic, globally inspired menu. In 2017, it took home honors for Best New Restaurant, and now enjoys a statewide reputation well beyond Draper. If you need help deciding what to order, the cast-iron burrata is as masterfully presented as it is tasty.
12234 S. Draper Gate Drive, Draper, 801-523-2053, cliffdiningpub.com
2. La Caille
3. Log Haven
Sawadee takes its reputation as the most authentic Thai restaurant in the state to heart. The family-run establishment is widely known for preparing spectacular Thai dishes such as nam phrik oong, soups and curries. The dumplings are a must—rice-flour packets stuffed with minced shrimp and bamboo shoots with a sensational sesame-oil chili sauce.
754 E. South Temple, 801-328-8424, sawadee1.com
2. Skewered Thai
3. Chabaar Beyond Thai
Best Utah County Restaurant
Communal offers guests a family-style, farm-to-table experience like no other in Provo, priding itself on its reputation as a home away from home. Next time you cross the Point of the Mountain and are in Utah County, don't forget to try Communal's popular spinach zucchini dip and the hanger steak with chimichurri.
102 N. University Ave., Provo, 801-373-8000, communalrestaurant.com
2. Black Sheep Café
3. Bombay House
Zest Kitchen & Bar
Zest Kitchen & Bar is unlike any dining experience in Salt Lake City. Its extensive menu is sure to appease your appetite whether you prefer gluten-free, meat-free or soy-free entrées. Even if you don't have any dietary restrictions, Zest is sure to impress. For something different and delicious, try their baked zucchini and cheese. Don't forget to pair your meal with one of their unique cocktails, such as the spicy jalapeño margarita.
275 S. 200 West, 801-433-0589, zestslc.com
2. Vertical Diner
With three locations around the valley, Oh Mai has got Utahns covered with delicious Vietnamese cuisine. Their banh mi sandwiches have garnered the most notoriety, but you'd be remiss if you didn't scarf down the filling pho served with your choice of beef cuts, herbs and traditional hearty broth. Oh Mai will gladly cater your next event, too.
Multiple Locations, ohmaisandwich.com
2. Somi Vietnamese Bistro
3. Pho 33
Best Wine List
It's easy to see why La Caille has the best (and probably most) wines in the state—while it sources its wines internationally, the estate also has its own in-house vineyard and winery. The winery sits in Little Cottonwood
Canyon at an elevation of 5,380 feet, allowing the grapes to ripen slowly and purely in the high altitude. The wine cellar at La Caille is expansive, storing hundreds of bottles within the chateau.
9565 Wasatch Blvd., Sandy, 801-942-1751, lacaille.com
2. BTG Wine Bar
3. Log Haven
While the term "small plates" might be enough to make a budding foodie roll their eyes, downtown's Eva has reenergized the tapas concept with inventive new twists on established standards, and in-house originals. Brussels sprouts with delicately toasted hazelnuts lightly drizzled in cider vinegar? Yes, please. Lamb and pork cevapi with green harissa and roasted veggies? Step right up.
317 S. Main, 801-359-8447, evaslc.com
2. Whiskey Street
3. Porcupine Pub & Grille
For generations, bacon was relegated to side-dish status. Then, a sort of Robert Downey Jr. comeback occurred and thin slabs of heavenly goodness broke free from their breakfast-food chains. Enter the 1300 South eatery. From the hickory- and applewood-smoked BLT ($8) to the gargantuan and self-described Pigpen burger ($10.50) to yes, the in-house Big Salad ($10), the cured meat is the real star here. You know, it's moments like these when I realize how much of a culinary superhero Lucky 13 is.
135 W. 1300 South, 801-487-4418, lucky13.com
2. The Park Café
3. Pig & a Jelly Jar
There's a reason the SLC staple has branched out far and wide with South Jordan, Lehi, Farmington and Pleasant Grove locations: damn good barbecue. Be it in tender pulled pork, brisket, spare ribs, chicken or sausage iterations, finger-licking smokiness reigns supreme. Whatever you choose, leave room for sides. From baked beans to hushpuppies to garlic smashers with brown gravy, you'll be ever so glad you did.
Multiple locations, randrbbq.com
2. SugarHouse Barbeque
3. Pat's Barbecue
Epic Brewing Co.
The name really suits the place. The State Street institution started in 2008 when Utah laws regulating breweries were relaxed, allowing founders David Cole and Peter Erickson to go all out in the Beehive. Since then, the pair's Intermountain Wheat, RiNo Pale Ale and newer additions like Tart 'n' Juicy Sour and Hopulent IPA have become the stuff of legend. In the mood for a quick bite? Epic's "tap-less taproom," tucked away at the right of the retail store, offers paninis, soups and sandwiches seven days a week.
825 S. State, 801-906-0123, epicbrewing.com
2. Wasatch Brewery
3. Kiitos Brewing
Talk about a no-brainer. Whether you're on your way to a Salt Lake Bees game or making a special trip, this is the place for killer burgers. Seven ounces of fresh, 100 percent local ground chuck and freshly baked buns are the foundation. From there, you can let your imagination run wild. Featuring classics like the Bacon Stinky Cheeseburger to Franken-creations like the peanut-butter-slathered Nut Burger, Lucky 13 never disappoints. Want to etch your name in the history books? Test your gut with the Lucky 13 Challenge and win $200 cash.
135 W. 1300 South, 801-487-4418, lucky13.com
2. Proper Burger
3. Burly Burger
With a menu chock full of Mexican cuisine standouts—including chiles rellenos, molcajetes and pipián—this eatery quite literally has something for everybody. Whether they're naked or ahogado-style (smothered in red or green chile sauce), you can't go wrong with any of the locale's hearty burritos. A solid carne asada version calls the place home, but those looking to take a walk on the wild side should opt for the res, chile colorado or tinga Poblana instead. Room for something sweet? The cinnamon and Corn Flakes-crusted fried ice cream is calling your name.
165 S. West Temple, 801-533-8900; 255 Main, Park City, 435-649-3097, blueiguanarestaurant.net
2. Lone Star Taquería
3. Red Iguana
With the arrival of Fisher Brewing Co. and a recent large-scale public art initiative, SLC's Granary District has experienced quite the renaissance. Adding a little sweetness to the hood, RubySnaps' pin-up worthy offerings are sure to satisfy even the most discernible sweet tooth. Say hello to your new friends: the almond-infused Audrey, the tart and sweet oatmeal Betty and the flirty, velvety orange Judy.
770 S. 300 West, 801-834-6111, rubysnap.com
3. Crumbl Cookies
Best Dairy-Free Menu
It was the worst Christmas present ever: Waking up a couple of years back around the holidays, only to realize I'd become lactose-intolerant. Snug in my bed, taunting visions of cheese, milkshakes and especially ice cream danced through my head. In the months following, I gave many specialty options a try, only to be utterly disappointed. Then, a ray of sweet sunshine in the shape of an "anti-dairy" creamery pierced through my bland, disillusioned sky. Lucky for me, their mint chip, banana brownie and funfetti options are better than their dairy counterparts. Unluckily for my waistline, it's dangerously close to my work.
53 E. Gallivan Ave., instagram.com/monkeywrench
2. City Cakes & Café
3. Normal Ice Cream
High West Distillery & Saloon
There's a reason this Summit County original rose to the top of this poll. Inspired by a trip to Maker's Mark distillery in Kentucky, former biochemist David Perkins headed West to establish his own operation in Park City alongside Jane, his wife. A dozen years later, High West sits at the big boys' table. Just how strongly have its American Prairie Bourbon and High West Campfire blend taken hold? In 2016, Whisky Advocate magazine named High West "Distiller of the Year." Cheers to that.
27649 Old Lincoln Highway, Wanship, 435-649-8300, highwest.com
2. Ogden's Own
3. Beehive Distilling
Since the dawn of man, circles have represented family ties, closeness and protection. Among Native American tribes, the formation has been a symbol of equality, signifying that no one person is more important than the other. At Banbury, they are the shape of some of the most delectable treats you've ever tasted. Be 'em raised or cake, sugared or glazed, a baker's dozen of these Homer Simpson-approved doughy confections are a guaranteed hit—at home and at the office.
705 S. 705 East, 801-537-1433, facebook.com/banburycrossdonuts
2. Big O
3. Lehi Bakery
Best Ethnic/Specialty Market
With the distinction of being the largest Asian supermarket in the state, the establishment prides itself in stocking its shelves with top-quality products. On the hunt for hot and spicy udon noodles, Lee Kum Kee Panda oyster sauce or dried shrimp? Give this superstore a go. To sweeten the pot, the Sandy emporium also carries an array of Chinese herbs, fresh seafood and specialty vegetables—from arrowroot to nagaimo.
115 W. 9000 South, Sandy, 801-255-1118, oceanmart.net
2. Caputo's Market & Deli
3. Southeast Market
Best Food Truck
"There are a lot of myths that people buy into, like food trucks are a trend—they're not," TV personality Andrew Zimmern told City Weekly in September. "As long as human beings have been eating food communally, food has been mobile. This is a 40,000-year-old trend, which makes it not a trend." The sentiment surely rings true within SLC's thriving food truck scene. Honoring this tradition, Waffle Love has transformed the ubiquitous breakfast dish into stellar sweet (the fruit-topped Nutella Love, for example) and savory (chicken avocado tartine) creations.
3. Freshies Lobster Co.
Given this publication's ownership, discussions have erupted, strong words have been exchanged and grudges have formed at City Weekly HQ when the debate on what is the region's best Greek food erupts. The readers, however, have spoken and laid the honor of distinguishable gyro on OGs Greek Souvlaki. Just what makes it so great? A mix of primo lamb and beef meat rotisserie-cooked and sliced to perfection, warm pita, oh-so fresh veggies and your choice of either traditional or red pepper tzatziki. Vόστιμο.
Multiple locations, greeksouvlaki.com
2. Greek City Grill
3. Crown Burgers
What's that you ask, "Has the Best of Utah gone all hippy-dippy?" Not quite. Consumer habits have changed, and according to a recent study, what was once thought to be a niche elixir is now poised to represent a $1.8-billion industry by 2020. So, what is kombucha? At its core, a beverage resulting from fermenting sweet tea with a culture of bacteria and yeast, and SLC's Mamachari is at the forefront, with its uniquely brewed varieties. No need to hold your breath when trying it—flavors like concord grape, jasmine rose and lavender honey are as invigorating as they are familiar.
1415 S. 700 West, Ste. 4, 385-202-3391, mamachari.cc
Wasatch Brewery's Polygamy Porter
It doesn't get more homegrown than this. Paying homage to a part of Utah's past (and still one of its current misconceptions), it's easy to be faithful to this American porter-style beer. Described by Utah Brewers Cooperative as a "smooth, chocolatey easy-drinkin' brown porter that's more than a little naughty," you'll be introducing her to Mom and sealing the deal in no time. Look no further, your celestial beer is here.
2. Red Rock Brewing Co.'s Elephino
3. Uinta Brewing's Cutthroat
Honorable mention: A. Fisher Brewing Co.'s Lager
Ogden's Own's Five Wives Vodka
Managing partner of Ogden's Own, Steve Conlin knows three things: How to take a solid portrait, rock a fedora like no other and distill some damn good vodka. Available at state liquor stores and any bar or club worth its salt, the spirit crafted from Utah mountain springs is your best choice—be it for a layman's screwdriver, a gentleman's martini or an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink bloody mary. Cheers to local spirits!
2. Beehive Distilling's Jackrabbit Gin
3. Sugar House Distillery's Sugar House Vodka
Established in 1980 in a nondescript basement location near the University of Utah, and later across a multitude of locations throughout the valley, The Pie has established itself as a true Beehive original. You can't go wrong with any of the specialty pizzas here—the shroomy Holy Shitake, the feastful Stromboli or the self-described Mountain of Meat—all have a good dose of amore hand-tossed right in.
Multiple locations, thepie.com
2. Este Pizza Co.
3. Pie Hole
Think salads are but bland side dishes? Horse food you promised your doctor you'd start infusing your diet with (accompanied by a hearty steak, of course)? Well, think again. No longer a mere filler, salads here take center stage in Cobb, timeless Caesar, verjuice vinaigrette-drizzled chopped salad, quinoa or the applewood-smoked bacon BLT.
Multiple locations, triodining.com
Moochies Meatballs and More
Sandwiches as art? If you've tried any of Moochies' bad boys, you'll realize it's not that much of a stretch. Perhaps it's the fresh ingredients in its mouth-watering Atomic Meatball, sausage and peppers or hot wing chicken sammies. Maybe it's the place's humble origins in the back of a pottery shop. Either way, one bite and you'll agree these sandwiches have "museum quality" written all over them.
Multiple locations, moochiesmeatballs.com
2. Even Stevens
Current Fish & Oyster
Step into the realm where swank and freshness collide in beautiful harmony. Housed in a former auto repair shop, the closest things to engine revving you'll hear in the building now are delightful moans from downtown denizens who over its three-year history have transformed Current into one of SLC's premier dining destinations. Pick from a sea of options—open-shell oysters, green-lip mussels, West Coast kumamoto and the legendary Seafood Tower call the place home.
279 E. 300 South, 801-326-3474, currentfishandoyster.com
2. Harbor Seafood & Steak
The weather has turned, your comfy sweater has made it out of the dresser and pumpkin spice everything litters store shelves. It could only mean one thing: soup season is here! A Salt Lake original that first arrived on the scene in 1974, the Soup Kitchen has mastered the game and with its four locations and holds the crown for best soup provider in the land. With options fit for a queen, like chicken noodle and opulent split pea with ham, available by the cup, bowl, quart or gallon, consider them the barons of borscht; the chancellors of chowder; the viceroys of vichyssoise.
Multiple locations, slcsoup.com
Last year around this time, our publisher selected the fist class of Best of Utah Hall of Fame inductees—businesses and individuals who are perennial favorites—and not surprisingly, Takashi was at the top of that list. A perpetual winner for more than a decade, Takashi Gibo's baby is now a full-grown Utah culinary staple that always delivers its unique brand of sushi elevated. Bummed by the wait? Neither snow nor rain nor heat should stop you from stepping into its new, adjacent Post Office Place bar, where you can throw down a signature cocktail—like the pisco-infused Nikkei sour or the mezcal-tastic Oaxacagroni.
18 W. Market St., 801-519-9595
Brace yourself for the best three words you'll hear all day: tacos for breakfast. That's right, son. Sure, T27 has changed the game with Mexican street-food-inspired dishes like grilled pear and roasted beet tacos, mango guacamole and duck confit quesadilla, but its Saturday and Sunday brunch (11 a.m.-3 p.m.) is where it's at. Try the turkey chorizo and egg or Oaxacan steak and egg tacos and consider your life changed. For the full experience, order a house special jalapeño cream ale to wash it down.
Multiple locations, taqueria27.com
2. Blue Iguana
3. Taco Taco
Trolley Wing Co.
Looking for savory, filling and just the right kind of messy wings? This neighborhood haunt is sure to do the trick. The operation literally started out of a trolley car nearly 20 years ago. Since then, TWC has morphed into two thriving brick-and-mortar locations. Whether you go the traditional or vegan route, a plethora of flavor combinations exists. Nothing catching your eye? Create your own mix with options like Sriracha, smoky ancho and a Rick Sanchez-approved spicy Szechuan—a flavor for all seasons.
2148 S. 900 East, 801-538-0745; 736 Blue Vista Lane, Midvale, 801-312-9532, trolleywingco.com
2. Wing Coop
3. Wing Nutz
Best Bar/Club Patio
The Green Pig Pub
Looking for a rooftop deck with sweeping views of the Wasatch Range and the Romanesque Salt Lake City and County Building? Look no farther than The Green Pig Pub, nestled in a historic building near Exchange Place. Sightlines of Gallivan Center make the 3,000-square-foot patio even more desirable during the summer, but live music and DJs turn it into a destination any time the sun's out.
31 E. 400 South, 801-532-7441, thegreenpigpub.com 2. The Hog Wallow Pub
Best Beer Selection
No matter what beer you're dreaming of, The Bayou probably has it. A menu stuffed to the gills with more than 500 international selections goes hand-in-hand with Cajun food and intimate jazz—but for beer lovers, this is heaven on earth. Handwritten descriptions add a quirky touch to those special beers from near and far, while the Bayou app gives connected connoisseurs a real-time look at the menu.
645 S. State, 801-961-8400, utahbayou.com
3. Beer Bar
Best Dance Club
With more than 12,000 square feet of danceable space spread across three floors, Sky combines a premium sound system with high-tech lighting for the best dance club experience in Salt Lake City. Owner Ken Dinsmore drew inspiration from Burning Man's communal energy to breathe new life into Utah's nightlife, creating space for VIPs (20 reserved suites) and all-night partiers dancing under the stars of Sky's retractable roof. 149 W. Pierpont Ave., 801-833-8714, skyslc.com
2. Area 51
3. The Westerner
Best Gentlemen's Club
A must-see men's club on the West Coast circuit, Trails has all the pomp and circumstance of a high-end strip joint combined with two full-service bars and a restaurant offering lunch and dinner. Conveniently located off Interstate 15, it's a favorite with travelers and locals alike, boasting service with a smile and the sexiest of Trails Girls. You might not find true love, but you will find good, clean adult entertainment.
921 S. 300 West, 801-363-2871, trailsmensclub.com
2. American Bush
3. Southern Exposure
This comfortable little club is off the beaten downtown path, but the trip south is worth it. Wood-grained chairs and tables evoke a classic neighborhood bar atmosphere, but once karaoke starts each night at 9, the focus is on the music. Warm up in a private sound booth so you hit the stage confidently; in between songs, maintain your energy with specials from the Highlander's rotating kitchen menu.
6194 S. Highland Drive, 801-277-8251, highlanderutah.com
2. Piper Down
Best Late-Night Bar Grub
Proper Burger provides the perfect antidote to a night on the town. Pick from beef, black bean and sweet potato or vegan patties, then dress it up with a cornucopia of strange sauces, toppings and sides. Best of all, you can make your burger dreams come true until 10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 11 p.m. Friday-Saturday—and wash it all down with a fresh draft from Proper Brewing next door.
865 S. Main, 801-906-8604, properburgerslc.com
2. Whiskey Street
3. Piper Down
Best LGBTQ Bar/Club
The Sun Trapp
This neighborhood joint might look like any other bar, but the people at The Sun Trapp are the best. You'll find a cadre of friendly mixologists slinging strong concoctions, while the welcoming regulars won't waste a second before they chat you up. Regular fundraising events reinforce the community spirit of the place. And they advocate wearing white after Labor Day—our kind of watering hole.
102 S. 600 West, 385-235-6786, suntrapp.com
2. Club Try-Angles
Best Liquor Selection
Whiskey Street opened in 2013 with 130 varieties of its namesake liquor—since then, it's nearly quadrupled that total. The extensive menu includes a whiskey pairing for each food item, and bartenders have mastered the fine art of combining classic cocktails with seasonal twists. All mules follow the original 1941 recipe from Cock 'n' Bull Pub, while a devotion to new spirits spotlights limited-release bourbons and other delicacies.
323 S. Main, 801-433-1371, whiskeystreet.com
2. Lake Effect
3. White Horse
Best Live Music Bar/Club
With daily concerts covering everything from indie rock and hip-hop, to electro-pop and country, no national touring band comes through Salt Lake City without making a stop at The Urban Lounge. Local bands consider a headlining gig here a rite of passage, too. And why not? The sound is perfect, the stage is visible from anywhere in the club, you can dance or relax, and even sold-out shows feel intimate. 241 S. 500 East, 801-746-0557, theurbanloungeslc.com
2. The Royal
3. State Room
Best Neighborhood Bar
A Bar Named Sue
Johnny Cash reigns supreme at A Bar Named Sue, and you get the feeling The Man in Black would love the well-stocked jukebox, cheap drinks, locals-only vibe and free pool. Both locations of the Sue have all the modern trappings, too: weekly poker, bingo and trivia with hefty cash jackpots, NFL Sunday Ticket and live rock bands on the weekends. Mouth-watering food is always on the menu, too. 3928 S. Highland Drive, 801-274-5578 & 8136 S. State, Midvale, 801-566-3222, abarnamedsue.net
2. Legends Sports Pub
3. The Break
Best Non-Downtown Bar/Club
The Ice Haüs
Beer, brats and booze—what more do we need? At The Ice Haüs in Murray, these staples rule the roost, but rave reviews pour in for the peripherals, as well. Regulars love the Philly cheesesteak and poutine , thankfully served until midnight. Entertainment fans love the eclectic weekend music and comedy lineup. And who doesn't cherish The Ice Haüs' irreverent perspective and bawdy Facebook posts? 7 E. 4800 South, 801-266-2127, icehausbar.com
3. The Royal
Best Ogden Bar
Creatively circumventing the state's 1½-ounce pour law takes guts. Celebrating your downtown Ogden building's former life as a whorehouse takes balls. Cohesively incorporating three different floors into one business takes moxie. Transforming Ogden into a nationally recognized destination takes heart, which is exactly what Alleged owner Jared Allen has shown in spades as he's built this bar's brand in concert with the world-class Ogden Twilight Series.
201 25th St., 801-990-0692, alleged25th.com
2. Funk N Dive
Best Park City Bar/Club
No Name Saloon
Want to enjoy Park City without joining the 1 percent? Spend a day at No Name Saloon, nestled on the heart of Main but a world away from the nouveau riche "ski bum" hordes. Rickety odds and ends line the walls, but a sprawling rooftop patio and rapid-fire service at two bars makes this institution feel more down-home than derelict. Instead, regular folks hold court here—rare for PC.
447 Main, 435-649-6667, nonamesaloon.net
2. The Downstairs
3. Park City Live
Best Salt Lake Bar/Club
With a variety of multi-level seating options, Gracie's covers all the bases. Some nights jump with jazz and bluegrass; on weekends, brunch lovers rejoice. Shoot pool inside or read a book on the patio. Tease your taste buds with a curry burger or visit the old country with pomodoro alla tagliatelle. The choice is yours—some call it an identity crisis; others, the best kind of choose-your-own-adventure. 326 S. West Temple, 801-819-7565, graciesslc.com
2. Bourbon House
3. Lucky 13