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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