Your feet are aching. Your backpack is overflowing. The beer in your hand is nearly empty. It’s time to call it a day and hopefully get a decent meal before you either hit the sack or head out to one of the many Outdoor Retailer parties. Perhaps you’ve been coming to OR for a decade and you always hit up your favorite place but it’s just too crowded. Or perhaps you’re a newbie to this giant show. Either way, food is crucial to your success. With Uber, a pedicab, or a car, the city has plenty of options when you need something to eat.
Here is a list of my top 6 spots for every budget. Ballers scroll down, budgeters keep reading.
For the freelancer/intern/volunteer/coordinator getting paid in experience and not much else:
- Rye is located next door to The Urban Lounge, a music venue that plays host to local and touring bands. The food is locally sourced American food with an Asian twist. I love their truffle herb fries and whiskey cocktails. The ambiance is decidedly arm tats and work boots, but with a hallmark friendly vibe that is pervasive in the beehive state. People are nice. It’s wonderful. Most of the items on the main menu are $15 or less, with a few standouts in the upper teens and low twenties. You can even get a salad that will fill you up for less than 10 bucks.
Mai Bun Mee Sandwich Shop offers the best food that I’ve eaten for less than $10 in probably a decade. It’s delicious and cheap and I should probably get around to ordering one of their fabulous sandwiches, but I’m obsessed with their noodles. I almost always order the vermicelli noodles with chicken and I could easily eat this meal once a week. It’s never crowded and they even offer vegan options for those of you who forsake meat.
- East Liberty Tap House is exactly what the neighborhood of 9th & 9th needed. It’s an intimate little eatery with a good selection of beers and a small, well-curated menu, which they update regularly. The modern decor is minimalist enough to be calming after a long day on the trade show floor. A beer and an entrée will set you back around $15. If you have to wait for a table, pop across the street to visit Helen at The Stockist, one of Salt Lake’s premiere clothing boutiques. Her store has a clear point of view, merchandizing that tells a story and a shop-in-shop collection from Iron & Resin, one of the original brands to show in the Venture Out section of the Outdoor Retailer Trade Show.
Where to go if you’re planning a work dinner or just have the luxury of a company card:
- Pago is my favorite restaurant in SLC. It’s an intimate setting, so make reservations. Their menu is the kind of farm-to-table scrumptiousness that I knew and loved when I lived in Portland. It’s impossible to order wrong at Pago. I love the burger, the seasonal fish dishes and their kale caesar salad. I’ve also been wowed by their pork and steak dishes in the past and I’m always happy with the wine selection. Prepare to spend some money and end the evening well. It’s worth it.
- Manoli’s is a new Greek restaurant on 900 South just West of Liberty Park. They serve small plates, which makes it a perfect spot for a group dinner. Their sliders, orzo mac & cheese, and seafood dishes are my favorite. They also have a house cocktail list that will make you feel like you’re in a much larger city. This is our new “go to” spot in town.
- The Paris Bistro serves up old world glamour with consistently tasty French food. Most of the other diners will either be on a date or at a work dinner. It’s the kind of place you take someone who you want to impress. We moved to Utah from France and The Paris Bistro provides the perfect amount of nostalgia for our time abroad, along with flavorful food and excellent service. The kitchen can take awhile, but the food is worth the wait. Beef Stroganoff and the prawn risotto are two of my favorite dishes. And yes, risotto is Italian… but this is Salt Lake, and they aim to please.
Other notable spots include: Hub & Spoke, Current, and Takashi.
If you missed my first post about spots near the Salt Palace Conference Center, check it out here.