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#38: Rawtopia – A Food-Inspired Spiritual Awakening

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Omar Abou-Ismail doesn't have your typical restaurant owner story. Originally born in Lebanon, Omar and his family traveled and lived throughout West Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, and the Middle East, and eventually settled in Utah. After studying geophysics and mechanical engineering at the University of Utah, he began working with the U.S. Navy as a geophysicist. And then, in 2005, he opened Rawtopia. You could say it was a bit of a leap in career.

What started as a curiosity about the raw food movement became a passion, and his love for sustainability and care for the earth only fueled the flames. After he switched to a raw food diet, Omar began to feel more healthy, happy, and energetic. This new-found life style change felt akin to a spiritual awakening, and Omar wanted to share this feeling with the Salt Lake City community.

Rawtopia opened in Sugar House in 2005, and has become a staple in Salt Lake. Along with providing high-quality, healthy food, it also serves as an educational resource for people who are unfamiliar with what the raw food diet entails. Overcoming adversity, trials, and tribulations, Rawtopia has also celebrated many victories.

Join us as we sit down with Omar Abou-Ismail, and dive into his fascinating story, and all the lessons and changes that led to the creation of Rawtopia. We also learn what it means to eat raw food, and how the physical, mental, and sometimes spiritual benefits of a healthy and raw diet.

For more information or to browse our episode archive, visit theutahfoodie.com or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. See you next week!

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#33: Sage's Cafe & Vertical Diner - Vegan and Vegetarian Before it Was Cool.

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Vertical Diner and Sage’s Cafe are two leading restaurants in Utah that promote plant-based foods on their menu, with large offerings of exclusively vegetarian and vegan dishes. Today, vegan and vegetarian menu options aren't uncommon -- but 17 years ago, in 1998, it was rare... and the thought of opening a vegetarian-only restaurant in Salt Lake City seemed impossible.   

It was then that Ian Brandt, owner of Vertical Diner and Sage's Cafe, set out to popularize a non-meat diet (beyond tasteless leafy salads!) and provide better dining options for vegetarians and vegans in Salt Lake City. Brandt started with a small vegetarian, gluten-free food truck --thought to be the state's second-ever food truck to hit the streets-- and peddled his approachable vegetarian food at music venues and popular business locations.

After encouragement from loyal customers, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian alike, Ian Brandt opened his first permanent location. In the late 1990's, and named after Ian's firstborn son, Sage's Cafe was born.

Now today, 17 years later, Brandt runs two successful vegetarian restaurants in Salt Lake City at the center of a significant movement in the veganism movement. Tune in to today's interview with Vertical Diner and Sage's Cafe owner and chef, Ian Brandt, as we discuss why people choose a vegetarian and vegan diet, and talk about the horrors of modern day factory farming and animal cruelty. Join us.

Vertical Diner

801-484-VERT

http://verticaldiner.com/

2280 South West Temple, SLC

 

Sage's Cafe

801-322-3790

http://www.sagescafe.com/

234 West 900 South, SLC

 

For more information or to browse our episode archive, visit theutahfoodie.com or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. See you next week!

#25: Allgood Provisions - Responsible Snacking

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Jake Boyd has always been passionate about organic food and environmental sustainability, but didn't know the best way to make an impact. After working full-time and moving to Park City to explore the famous Utah ski slopes, his childhood roots came full circle and he ventured into the food world. Having been raised by parents that grew up farming, the passion and drive to start a company from scratch that focused on non-GMO, sustainable, organic snack foods.

Hence began All Good Provisions, a local Utah company that has expanded to over 400 stores throughout the country. With products in Whole Foods, Caputos, and Liberty Heights, All Good Provisions has exploded throughout the organic food scene. With a focus on highlighting and working with environmentally conscious farmers, Jake and his small team have taken this idea and grown it into a company that is focused on providing delicious, healthy snacks that all are focused on a cause. With one percent of every sale going towards environmental organizations throughout the world, their products have a further reaching impact than the immediate nutritional benefits.

Jake has recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund their new product, The Oven Stoked Series, and are planning on rolling out more products throughout the state, and throughout the country.

Thank you for listening to The Utah Foodie!

For more episodes and information, visit theutahfoodie.com or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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#13: Vive Juicery - All About Local, Cold-pressed Juice

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Vive Juicery is cold-press juice shop in Sugarhouse that makes fresh fruit and vegetable juices -- and it's the product of Brittany Thaxton's blood, sweat, and tears over the past two years.

And just this week, Vive is celebrating the grand opening of their second location in downtown Salt Lake City, right by People's Coffee on 219 E Broadway. So today we sit down with Brittany to reflect back on their last two years, starting all the way to their farmer’s market days, to their original Kickstarter campaign that got them the startup capital they needed to make Vive a reality, and all the way up to today, where they have 20 employees, two locations, and press a lot of juice.

Join us today on an episode of The Utah Foodie that takes us through all this and more with Vive Juicery owner Brittany Thaxton and our host Chase Murdock.

Vive Juicery

www.vivejuicery.com

801-824-9190

Sugar House: 1597 S 1100 E

Downtown SLC: 219 E Broadway

For more info visit theutahfoodie.com or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, orTwitter.

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#6: Even Stevens Sandwiches - Talking food with a cause, local, and growth with Jamie Coates & Sara Day

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Today we talk sandwiches with Even Stevens' creative director Jamie Coates and director of community engagement Sara Day. But not just any old sandwiches... sandwiches with a cause. For each sandwich Even Stevens makes, they donate one to a local nonprofit partner here in Utah. And after just one year of crazy growth, Even Stevens now has two locations --and a third on the way-- and have donated a whopping 75,000 sandwiches. Awesome.

In this episode our host Chase Murdock sits down with Sara and Jamie to learn about what drives Even Stevens and how they got started. Their founder Steve Down is intriguing. He's not your stereotypical restaurant guy. As their blog puts it:

Steve Down dons a suit daily, quotes Goethe, orates words like compassionate capitalism, and carries Steve Job’s biography in his back pocket. And he lays it out on the table: he isn’t a “restaurant guy”. Blue eyes don’t lie has perhaps been his creed since birth. He isn’t a 20-something hipster with tousled hair jetting off to developing countries. He doesn’t use Instagram. (The rest of the team does plenty of that)

We applaud the vagabond millennial, but Even Stevens is a tale of it’s own. Think of your parents’ wisdom mixed with the progressive spirit of youth. A New York Stock-exchange meets Woodstock kind of romance. Steve has forever been a champion for the next generation.

 

And like their founder Steve, Even Stevens isn't stereotypical either: they're making a large splash in the Utah food scene and showing all of us what it means for a business to be authentically engaged in their community and focus on local, while simultaneously creating a large, multi-location restaurant brand.

We also go into Even Stevens' food menu, their beer pairings, and talk about how they use local ingredients in at each location. You can hear Sara and Jamie's passion for what they do and in this episode it's clear that Even Stevens isn't just building a restaurant -- they're building a movement.

Listen in.

 

EVEN STEVENS DOWNTOWN SLC

200 S 414 E  |  385-355-9105

EVEN STEVENS SUGARHOUSE

2030 S 900 E  |  801-953-0357

EVEN STEVENS DRAPER

COMING SOON!

 

For more info visit theutahfoodie.com or follow us on FacebookInstagram, orTwitter.

 

 

#4: Squatters - Doug Hofeling, A history of Utah's purveyor in craft brewing & eco-friendly food.

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Today on The Utah Foodie, our host Chase Murdock talks with the man behind Squatters: COO and General Manager, Doug Hofeling. Since quietly opening their doors on Broadway in 1989, Squatters has become a Utah staple in the restaurant and brewing scene. But when co-founders Peter Cole and Jeff Polychronis were getting started, their intentions were simple: they just wanted great beer, a friendly atmosphere, and a culture focused on quality, their community, and the environment.

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Squatters has always been successful, but the last five years have been explosive. In 2012 they announced a merging with their friendly competitor, Greg Shirf at Wasatch Beers, and the Utah Brewers Cooperative -- a massive brewing and bottling operation in South Salt Lake. They were also acquired by Firemen Capital Partners, a private equity group in Boston who wanted to invest in the craft brewing business and help Squatters and Wasatch combine and expand.

Today, Squatters boasts five high-volume brew pubs in Utah and ships bottled craft beer to 16 states. They've been listed as one of the Top 50 craft brewers in the country and hold 17 World Beer Cup awards, which is a feat only two other brewers in the US can also claim. As Squatters continues to expand and receive recognition for quality beer, many in our state feel they are representing Utah and shattering our historic reputation of not appreciating a great brew.

Importantly, Squatters has been able to maintain its commitment to a triple bottom line philosophy of People, Planet, Profit, that drives an emphasis on investing in the community as well as eco-friendly, ethical, and healthy food.

Join us in this episode as we further explore all of this and get to know Doug Hofeling, the man at the helm of this reinvented craft-brewing leader.

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Squatters' Website >> http://squatters.com/

Wasatch's Website >> https://www.wasatchbeers.com/

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