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2022 in Utah’s food scene

Twelve months ago, people insisted on dining outdoors on heated patios as the Omicron variant of COVID-10 surged. By April, masks were (mostly) removed and people were back in bars and restaurants. In fact, 2022 has been the most turbulent year for the restaurant industry since the pandemic began.

Restaurant consultants Baum + Whiteman have knocked out several predictions for 2023 that track Utah. Fast casual chains are doing well. Small and medium independent businesses are struggling.

The research firm also said, “When you look at the number of luxury private clubs that have been launched, you’d think we’re back in the Roaring Twenties.” The trend can also be seen locally, with the opening of his 30,000-square-foot private social club Edison House on December 5th.

Oh, Butterboard is so 2022.

Here are our thoughts on last year’s top food stories and what they mean in the next 12 months.

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) On October 21, 2022, the annual collaboration between Mountain West Hard Cider and The Green Urban Lunch will pour over 5,000 pounds of golden apple juice into containers, I made hard cider. box. Nearly 300 Salt Lake County homeowners have donated over 33,000 pounds of Grade B apples to a limited-release, low-volume Green Urban Lunchbox hard cider made with a variety of local Salt Lake County apples. Pressed.

10. Sideli

Not long ago, Utah had only a handful of ciders. Salt Lake City’s The Hive and Mountain West, Torrey’s Eta his place. Just last year, the Scion Cider Bar opened in the Granary District. Plus, at least he has three ciders on the way soon. Six Sailor Cider, Thieves Guild Cider, Second Summit Hard Cider Company.

A long go-to for people with gluten allergies, cider is being discovered in the nifty space between wine and beer by those who find it comes in a variety of flavors.Scion Cider Bar As told us (look for our New Year’s story), Utah’s apple growers and ciders are a close-knit community dedicated to bringing in interesting new beers and producing quality small-scale cider. is.

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Pretty Bird’s Fried Chicken Sando at the restaurant’s newest location in Midvale, $12, Sept. 13, 2022.

9. Chicken, chicken, and more chicken

We rounded up the best chicken tenders in Utah this summer. One of his most popular spots for chicken, tenders, and everything else is Pretty Bird. Pretty Bird plans to expand its stores in Utah and eventually nationwide. Chicken restaurants keep popping up, including national chains Crack Shack (the latest is in Riverton), Raging Caines, El Pollo Loco and Slim Chicken. Of course, another big development this year was bird flu.

(Rick Egan | Salt Lake Tribune) A mural outside the new Woodbine Food Hall in the Granary District, Tuesday, August 2, 2022.

8. Mixed-use restaurant

With development booming throughout Salt Lake, including the Post District, Granary District and both Maven Districts, it’s hard not to walk under the shadow cast by the cranes these days. Most of it is supported by food businesses such as Granary’s Woodbine Food Hall and Post District’s Urban Hill.

(Chris Samuels | The Salt Lake Tribune) Elcio Zannatta serving baked cheese puffs at Aubergine Kitchen restaurant in Draper on Monday, October 3, 2022.

7. Healthy fast-casual restaurants

Two restaurants in Utah, Aubergine Kitchen and Vessel, have expanded rapidly this year. Both focus on “upscale casual” ultra-healthy meals, with Aubergine refusing to serve anything with refined sugar (including drinks) and Vessel emphasizing local ingredients. increase. In a semi-related development, West Valley-based Trü Frü, which coats fresh fruit in chocolate, has been acquired by Mars, the conglomerate that makes Snickers and M&M’s, which is looking to expand its (relatively) healthy offerings. I got

(Rick Egan | Salt Lake Tribune) Paella Mar/Muntaña, La Bomba Rice, Bilbao Chorizo, Confit, Chicken Thighs, Rock Shrimp, Mussels, Piquillo Peppers, Peas, Saffron, Mar/Muntaya, Friday, November 18, 2022 Year.

6. Friendly fine dining

Pago was the first restaurant in Salt Lake City to successfully make fine dining more intimate and casual. offering “affordable luxury”); Gateway’s Italian graffiti; March | Muntanya at the Hyatt. Urban Hill in the Post District.

(Sean P. Means | The Salt Lake Tribune) The Durango Bar at 923 S. State St. in Salt Lake City, Tuesday, August 30, 2022 — has been trying for months.

5. Liquor commission deathmatch in progress

DABS handed over its final bar license to Moab’s Proper Brewing at its December meeting. Now next year he has three licenses left by July. That is, unless the Utah legislature finds a way to increase the number of licenses, given the fact that they decided on his 11th hour to revoke the vote of the committee on returning minibottles to liquor stores. , is unlikely.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) WannaCinn is a new Utah company that makes artisanal cinnamon rolls and opened in August. We plan to roll out about six new locations over the next six to 12 months. They will assemble his ‘cinn’ box on Monday 31st October 2022.

4. Food businesses run like tech startups

Increasingly, local food businesses are being launched with the ambition to become national brands from the start. Established companies are heading in that direction, too. This includes WannaCinn, Swig, Beans & Brews, Banbury Cross Donuts, Laziz Kitchen and CupBop. (The last of these, CupBop, went as far as the true startup move, “Shark Tank.”)

One of this year’s outliers was Squatters and Wasatch Breweries, but the beer is now controlled by corporation Monster Beverage, and the restaurant and taproom are now owned and managed by the original founders.

(Rick Egan | Salt Lake Tribune) Valter Nassi at his former restaurant, Cucina Toscana, in 2010.

3. A big loss in the food scene

In 2022, Utah has lost its share of food icons, including Kitty Pappas, who ran the eponymous steakhouse in Woods Cross. Greg Skedros, who ran The Mandarin on Bountiful for decades. Richard Wood of Fernwood Candy.

The most serious impact may be the death of Valter Nassi in September. Valter Nassi’s restaurants introduced the Utahns to authentic Italian cuisine, raising the bar for local dining and leaping the city to a much more sophisticated mode of dining. As many of his friends and admirers will attest, he also had a great impact on everyone he came into contact with.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Thursday, February 6, 2020 at the new Lee’s Market at the corner of 300 North and 400 West in Salt Lake City. The store he closed in October 2022.

2. Continuing losses of SMEs

This can be equated with the loss of niche species in the ecosystem. Every time Utah loses a place like Leeds Market or Hector’s Market, it means we’re very close to food monoculture. Hell’s Backbone Grill & Farm in one boulder looks like it’s going to get through with some help from friends. The restaurant will get worse before it gets better.

Ready-to-eat food from Marcellus Foods, slated to open in early 2023 (photo credit: Marcellus Foods)

1. Survival of innovation

As depressing as that last item was, Utah is also a hotbed of food and beverage innovators whose flexibility and creativity have allowed them to survive in today’s industry’s turmoil.

Marcellus Foods’ Eve Cohen plans to open a low-waste grocery store in 2023, and Salt Lake City will also wait years to open its first grocery cooperative. Even Utah’s all-time favorite workout her table, which announced a comeback earlier this year, is changing its approach with her food truck and online store.

Small, brick-and-mortar restaurants have struggled, but small, agile food businesses such as ghost kitchens, food trucks, and independent chefs reaching customers through the web and Instagram are doing well. Another thing that helps these businesses survive is working together within the vibrant food and beverage community, either on a case-by-case basis or through more formal support and advocacy.