Local chefs are spicing up the state’s culinary atmosphere, mixing c...Read More
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2014 Corporate Cuisine Awards
Peri Kinder, Sarah Ryther Francom, Rachel Madison & Heather Stewart
July 3, 2014
Local chefs are spicing up the state’s culinary atmosphere, mixing creativity with delectable menu items to introduce a new level of sophistication to Utah diners. And restaurant patrons are eating it up.
In the last decade, the state’s food scene has skyrocketed as eateries try to keep up with more educated diners and customers look for something tasty, eclectic and surprising. As people travel more (experiencing international cuisines), and as individuals relocate to Utah (and look for their favorite foods), restaurants have had to adapt—or lose business.
Local food writer Heather King has evaluated food destinations for nearly 20 years and marvels at the change in the restaurant culture in Utah, along with the incredible variety of menu items.
“People are craving ethnic foods. I can’t believe how many Thai restaurants are in this state. And at one time there were four Ethiopian restaurants,” she says. “People are willing to pay more for something that tastes really amazing.”
Local products are also being highlighted on menus. Chefs shop at nearby farmer’s markets to pick up only the freshest ingredients for their dishes. At Bambara, which garnered the “Best Hotel Restaurant” award this year, Chef Nathan Powers wows guests with his creative use of local foods. In Utah’s modern restaurant scene, chefs and restaurant owners must use quality items and provide something with a modern twist to attract customers, like an innovative mixologist or a world-renowned pastry chef.
Food trucks are still a big trend in the state with several vendors offering mobile gourmet cuisine that’s a little easier on the wallet. And award-winning local breweries continue to upgrade, reinvent and integrate new ideas to stay ahead of
Culinary connoisseurs with sophisticated palates seek out adventurous offerings, and are finding them at Utah’s restaurants. A local café is now offering pâté, while a fish farm in the state produces high-end caviar. Blood sausage is on the menu at a Utah-based deli, and quality sushi and Ethopian injera is easier to find—as is ceviche, the star on the menu of Del Mar al Lago, winner of the “Best Kept Secret” award.
“Park City was at the foreground of adventurous cuisine with so many people coming to Sundance from out of state. But now I can go to any restaurant in the valley and be surprised. There is better talent using better ingredients,” says King.
For diners not familiar with advanced menu options, several restaurants offer small plates (tapas), which give patrons a bite or two to decide if it’s something they enjoy. These ideas are creating a culinary zeal—and a new wave of educated foodies.
Utah’s gastronomic scene has attracted the notice of several big cities. And while the state’s dining might not be as advanced in options, ingredients and creativity, local chefs are certainly ramping things up while adapting to changes in the market.
As more dining selections become available, King looks forward to watching the continued evolution of Utah’s restaurant offerings, but reminds people that the state’s scenery is also a big draw for unforgettable dining experiences.
“Go out and dine in the mountains. We have these amazing resorts, particularly in the summertime, where it’s gorgeous and cooler. We forget how close these amazing restaurants really are,” King says. “I don’t think Utah is behind the times at all, but we have so much more room to grow.”
Get ready for a mouth-watering experience as you discover the winners of our 2014 Corporate Cuisine Awards. These restaurants and venues, which were chosen by our readers, exemplify Utah’s deepening culinary terrain and offer the perfect setting for business deals, casual meetings or a night on the town with important out-of-town guests.
Best Power Breakfast
Market Street Grill - Downtown
48 W. Market Street, Salt Lake City, UT 84101
Consistency is what makes Market Street Grill a breakfast hotspot—that and the fact that the restaurant serves up delicious dishes like eggs benedict paired with crab cakes, broiled salmon or Alaskan snow crab, says Fred Boutwell, general manager.
“We don’t do anything fancy,” he says. “It’s funny because we’re critiqued a lot for not being very creative and not changing anything. But we follow the old adage of ‘if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.’ It’s real food. We don’t use artificial anything and it’s not too expensive. People know what they’re going to get. That’s one of the reasons we’re so popular.”