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Friday, February 13, 2009

Ted puts us in his Top 100 list!

Dining Guide 2008

By Ted Scheffler

Salt Lake City Restaurant Listings

Fifteen years ago, I began reviewing restaurants for the Private Eye, which eventually would becomeCity Weekly. And, this month, I officially became City Weekly’s dining editor, the paper’s first. The new job—which is a lot like the old job but with more meetings—along with the publication of this 2008 dining guide, gives me an opportunity to reflect on a decade-and-a-half of local dining. A lot of restaurants have come and gone in the past 15 years. Many have endured; some haven't. And a few are so new, I’ve yet to visit them.

Gone but not forgotten: I get a little teary recalling the eggs and offal at Bill & Nada’s, the incendiary chili from Elvis Nixon’s, Café Creole's great gumbo and the overall vibe at Bubba’s. But does that mean things were better in, say, 1993 than they are now? Hardly. Despite what seems a 10-to-1 ratio of new franchise eateries to independent one-offs in recent years, there are still plenty of unique, soul- and stomach-satisfying restaurants well worth your while. I’m buoyed by the appearance of newer venues such as Five Star Cuisine, Ganesh, Chanon Thai Café, Baxter’s American and Pizzeria 712—restaurants that seem to prove the exception to the rule that only mega-money matters in creating exciting places to dine. Along with the new kids on the block, tried-and-true restaurants also strive to improve and evolve. Hey, you can even get lunch now at Metropolitan, Salt Lake City’s gold standard in the contemporary American cuisine category.

Part of the new dining editor gig is overseeing the food section of City Weekly’s nifty new Website, launching any day now. As one component of that, I was asked to compile a list of my favorite 100 places to dine along the Wasatch. You’re getting a preview of those in this issue. Note that I didn’t call these the “best” restaurants, or Utah’s Top 100. Looking back over the past 15 years of eating, these are simply the places I come back to again and again, when I’m off-duty and on my own dime—my favorite cafes, bistros, buffets, elegant eateries and fast food joints from Provo and Heber to Salt Lake City and Logan. There are probably a few I’ve forgotten or missed. But, overall, I think the list is a pretty good starting point—a place from which to navigate your way to your personal favorites. So, bon appétit, and don’t forget to tip your server.

Bohemian Brewery
In the vast, sprawling desert of fast food and strip malls that is Midvale, Bohemian Brewery is a beer-lovers oasis. Owned by a family with roots in Czechoslovakia, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that Bohemian Brewery produces the finest Czech-style lagers in the state, all brewed according to the Reinheitsgebot German Purity Law. (This is a good thing.) The food options are terrific, too: Bohemian goulash, Bavarian bratwurst, pirogues, chicken paprikash and Old World roast pork are my favorites. Be sure to check out the Vespa collection and the cool artwork while you treat yourself to an award-winning Cherny Bock.
94 E. 7200 South, Midvale, 801-566-5474