Salt Lake Restaurants

#40: Naked Fish Japanese Bistro – The Flavor is in the Details

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When thinking about high-quality, fresh sushi, a restaurant in Utah doesn’t immediately jump to mind. But Johnny Kwon, one of the founders and the owner of Naked Fish Japanese Bistro, is working to dispel that assumption. High-quality, authentic sushi can be found in Salt Lake City, and it will change your expectations about what sushi, and Japanese cuisine, can be.

Before Naked Fish Japanese Bistro arrived on the Salt Lake City food scene in 2009, the Latitude Group owned and operated numerous restaurants throughout Salt Lake City, Park City, and the Wasatch front. Mikado, the first Japanese restaurant in the state, was under their umbrella. After a series of unfortunate legal issues, Mikado and the Latitude Group went under. What was left in the wake were some of the top chefs in the state, and a hole that needed to be filled.

Johnny Kwon and his business partners took on the challenge, and Naked Fish Japanese Bistro was born. Their goal and focus was to  put authentic Japanese cuisine and high-quality food as a priority in all of their decisions. With Akane Nakamura serving as Executive Chef and Sunny Tsogbadrakh as Executive Sushi Chef, Naked Fish places an emphasis on quality and attention to detail both in the front, and back, of the restaurant.

Join us as we learn about the detailed sourcing that goes into the food, beverages, and preparation of every item at Naked Fish, as well as the tips and tricks to eat sushi like a pro.

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

#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!

#31: "An Evening Out in SLC" - Food Tips With Foodies

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Welcome to The Utah Foodie! On today’s episode we bring in two of our state's top food writers and critics to help us craft a perfect night out on the town exploring Salt Lake City's food scene.

This is our third installment in our monthly "Food Tips With Foodies" series where we bring in local food experts and talk food for an hour on a pre-selected topic. Last month, we explored Breakfast & Brunch in Utah with Chris Holified of I Am Salt Lake and Chelsea Nelson of Heartbeat Nosh. In October, we brought in Amanda Rock of Amanda Eats SLC and Jeffrey Steadman from Yelp.com to talk Fine Dining options around the state.

Today we’re on with Kathy Stephenson and Heather King:

Kathy Stephenson has been The Tribune food writer since 2000, covering all aspects of eating including dining, alcohol and agriculture. A Utah native, she began working at The Tribune in 1982 while a student at the University of Utah. She honed her journalism skills covering various topics including communities, education and (fun fact) Figure Skating during the 2002 Winter Olympics.

Heather King is a food writer and restaurant critic for The Salt Lake Tribune, Devour Utah, Downtown SLC magazine and Examiner.com. She is the co-founder of The Utah Review where she writes about arts, culture, food and travel. She is the founder of Utah's Ladies Who Lunch groups, a member of the Association of Food Journalists and a proud Great Dane owner.

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

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#26: Food Tips With Foodies | Breakfast & Brunch in Utah

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Welcome to The Utah Foodie! On today's episode we sit down with some movers and shakers in Utah who know a thing or two about the best breakfast and brunch spots throughout the state! This episode is the second installment of our monthly series, "Food Tips From Foodies," where we bring in some of Utah's best food critics, chefs, podcasters, and food enthusiasts to talk about everything and anything in the Utah food scene.

Check out our last Food Tips From Foodies where we talk fine dining in Utah.

Today we're joined by Chelsea Nelson and Chris Holifield:

Chelsea Nelson is the founder of food and craft cocktail blog, HeartbeatNosh.com and also heads a local Cocktail Club. Chelsea has always been a writer first and foremost, and after putting herself through college waiting tables in the SLC area, her love for the food and beverage community grew. In 2009, she launched her first food website, Nosh Maven - which later morphed into Heartbeat Nosh. She has loved writing about food and cocktails as the SLC food scene has blown up over the past 5 years, and has found SLC to be a wonderfully collaborative and supportive community for food writers and bloggers. She is a Digital Marketing Director for a local nonprofit by day, and loves spending time with her husband, Russ, and 1 1/2 year old, Clementine.

Chris Holifield is the host and producer of the I am Salt Lake podcast. After helping organize a handful of the very first local instawalks (Instagram meetups) in the summer of 2012 and spending countless hours wandering the streets of SLC trying to showcase the city through photography, he decided to take things up a notch by interviewing people from the Salt Lake City area. With over 3 years of doing the podcast he has interviewed over 200 people from local businesses, art, music, film, and anything else he finds intriguing. The podcast has struck a chord with the locals and has slowly risen to the top of one of the most listened to podcasts along the Wasatch Front. You can find the podcast in iTunes, Stitcher Radio, or at www.iamsaltlake.com.

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

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#19: Zest Kitchen & Bar - Healthy eating with Casey Staker

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Zest Kitchen & Bar is a 3-year old restaurant in downtown Salt Lake City that was launched by Casey Staker in late 2012. It's an organic, vegetarian, gluten-free restaurant with a fresh juice cocktail bar and they’re right on 275 S 200 W — across from Red Rock, right around the corner from Squatter’s and the convention center. Zest is trendy, it’s upscale, and their food is lightweight and healthy. And at night, the cocktails flow — all fresh juice and ingredients but with a creative twist. Drinks like a jalepeño margarita, a ginger spice whiskey cocktail with a fresh apple slice, and a summer beet sangria.

But on the weekend nights, Casey's history in the nightclub business shows through: at 10p on Friday and Saturday nights Zest has music and dancing, and the small vegetarian restaurant goes from dinner to nightclub, with great DJs, music, and club atmosphere.

Casey Staker’s career started in 2004 when he bought in to a new nightclub at the time, the W Lounge. And almost 10 years later, Casey closed it down to pursue his next project — a place he would actually want to hang out at… a restaurant with healthy food and drinks that’s open late, and he could go to on the weekends. So in 2012, Zest Kitchen & Bar was born.

On today's show, we sit down with Casey Staker to talk about his life growing up in rural Utah, to running one of the hottest clubs in Salt Lake City, to today where he works out of Zest, dreaming up healthy food and cocktail menu items, and planning for expansion. Tune in.

 

Zest Kitchen & Bar 275 S 200 W, Salt Lake City 801-433-0589 http://www.zestslc.com

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#18: Tony Caputo Retires

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Tony Caputo: we all know the name. He’s the man, of course, behind Tony Caputo’s Market & Deli — a downtown Salt Lake City staple.

Caputo's has been a large part of the Utah food scene since 1997, when Tony opened up across from Pioneer Park. It’s part deli, part market, and today.. a large third part that is their online store, where they ship out hundreds of boxes each day filled with fine cheese, chocolate, meats, oils, jams… in fact, they’re the largest premium chocolate company in the United States.

Tony Caputo is now 66 years old. It was about this time last year that he started thinking about retirement and his intentions to hand the reigns of the business over to his son Matt, and Matt's wife Yelena. But it was just a few weeks ago that Matt published a moving blog post on the Caputo's website where he spoke fondly of his father and how he would miss spending time with him at the downtown location they are still in over 18 years later.

The deli and market are such a large part of the Caputo family and Matt’s post was moving.. and officially kicked off a new chapter for the family business.

On today's show, we sit down with Tony Caputo to reflect on his career and hear stories of his days running Caputo's Market and Deli. If you know Tony, you know him as a caring, passionate, and friendly person and over the years he has had a large influence on the Utah food scene. Listen in as we celebrate his career and wish him well in his retirement as he starts his next chapter now that he's officially retired from Tony Caputo’s Market and Deli.

 

Tony Caputo's Market & Deli

www.caputosdeli.com

801-531-8669

314 W 300 S, Salt Lake City

 

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#15: The Chocolate Conspiracy - A story of healthy eating & a career in chocolate.

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AJ Wentworth attended the world's largest nutrition school in New York City, after spending years as a health coach and working at a retreat center in rural Arizona where he taught his patients about raw food and holistic, healthy living. To put it simply, AJ doesn't have the background you'd expect of a chocolatier.

In NYC, AJ fell in love with the idea of healthy, raw chocolate -- made of real cacao beans and while staying healthy, remaining sweet, and well... like chocolate. So he started making his own version of chocolate in his apartment, and peddled them at school to make a few bucks and get feedback from his fellow classmates.

When he returned home to Salt Lake City, AJ Wentworth opened The Chocolate Conspiracy and today, just six years later, they have a large wholesale presence where they sell in over 10 states, a few countries, and out of their small chocolate shoppe in downtown Salt Lake City at 774 S 300 W.

AJ joins us today to talk about how he reconciles his passion for health, and his passion for sweets... and how he started The Chocolate Conspiracy back in 2009 as a young creative, with no background in business.

Join us on today's show of The Utah Foodie, with AJ Wentworth and our host Chase Murdock.

 

The Chocolate Conspiracy

774 S. 300 W. (Unit A)

Salt Lake City, UT 84101

www.eatchocolateconspiracy.com

 

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#14: Rico Brand & Frida Bistro - Mexican Food & The American Dream

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Jorge Fierro has an incredible story. He left university in Chihuahua, Mexico in his early twenties to start a new life chapter in the United States, despite his parents' desire to have him complete his studies at law school to become an attorney.

When he arrived in America, he spent his nights on the streets and in homeless shelters while he learned English and struggled to find a way to make ends meet. His first job was herding sheep in rural Wyoming, before he finally made his way to Salt Lake City, Utah.

Ten years later, in 1985, Jorge opened Rico Brand -- a small pinto bean distributor bent on bringing authentic Mexican Food to to the United States. Slowly, Rico evolved. First, as a market in downtown Salt Lake City where he made authentic, fresh, ready-to-eat Mexican food that he sold to customers who came by his store or stopped by his booth at the Farmer's Market. A few years in, he finally caught his big break when a Smith's executive contacted him with an inquiry to carry his food in one of their stores. And the rest is history.

Today, Rico Brand is a multi-million dollar success story located in the Granary District with a large manufacturing and distributing arm and sister company, Frida Bistro, that serves up high-end, creative Mexican Cuisine in a sit-down, fine dining environment.

On today's show we hear from Jorge firsthand to his story about his pursuit of the American Dream, starting a food distributing company, and eventually launching a restaurant in downtown Salt Lake City.

Rico Brand www.ricobrand.com

Frida Bistro www.fridabistro.com 801-983-6692 545 W 700 S, Salt Lake City

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#9: Spitz - All about the Döner Kebab & Mediterranean street food + a new Sugarhouse location!

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After traveling all over Europe, Tanner Slizeski and Josh Hill weren't struck by the art or by the architecture. It wasn't the history, or any of the museums that kept Tanner and Josh up at night. It was the Mediterranean street food. Specifically, it was the döner kebab: the food cart staple made with beef and lamb cut off a marinated spit.

In fact, one of Spitz's owners even jumped in a river in Amsterdam off of a bet when his friend told him a döner kebab was on the line. And that's how Spitz was born: two young and fanatical Turkish food lovers set on bringing it to Utah with an American take, good local beer, and a great atmosphere.

In October 2013, Spitz opened its doors right downtown on 35 E Broadway and today they are one of Salt Lake City's busiest lunch destinations and late-night stops for dinner and a beer. On our show they announce a second location in Sugarhouse, talk about how they got the restaurant started, address their previously criticized wait times on their food, and told us where they're headed in the future.

Join us for a fun episode all about European street food and getting to know Josh and Tanner, the fun duo behind Utah's Spitz restaurant.

 

Spitz SLC

35 E Broadway, SLC

801-364-0286

Spitz Sugarhouse

1201 East Wilmington Ave, SLC

Coming in July 2015

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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!

 

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#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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#2: Forage Restaurant - Talking with chef & co-owner, Bowman Brown

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Bowman Brown is the chef and co-owner of Forage Restaurant, one of Utah's finest. In 2014, Forage was named one of the Top 100 Restaurants in America by Open Table, and since opening their doors in the residential neighborhood just north of Liberty Park, Forage has built a reputation for providing more than just a great meal.

Forage offers a dining experience: 3 hours of 13-16 courses on a prix fixe menu, of a set $89 for whatever chef Bowman Brown has on the menu for the night. Wine pairings can be added on for $65, or juice pairings for $21. Many call Forage a culinary or gastronomic experience, a dinner and a show, where each dish is crafted to both surprise and comfort.

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On today's program we interview Bowman Brown to talk about how he got his start in the restaurant business and what his intentions are with Forage. We talk about his personal career, where he draws his inspiration, and how he and his kitchen come up with a new menu each night.

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