When the lunch (or dinner) bell rings, these standout food spots will give you the fuel to study for finals. Here are our picks for some of the best dining in Utah.

The Cotton Bottom Inn & The Charleston

One’s an old favorite in a new space; the other’s a new upstart in an old (we’re talking 125-year-old) historic mansion. Last year, the group that owns Bar X and Beer Bar (famously including Ty Burrell, Phil Dunphy from TV’s Modern Family,) added the venerable Cotton Bottom Inn to their portfolio. The beloved institution now has an expanded patio and menu, including a plant-based version of the Cotton Bottom’s massive garlic burger. Meanwhile, down to Draper, The Charleston is drawing the “won’t go below 33rd crowd” farther south to a renovated mansion on beautifully landscaped grounds that offers an alluring outside dining experience with an exciting menu courtesy of chef/owner Marco Silva. 

The Cotton Bottom Inn: 2820 E. 6200 South, Holladay, 801-849-8847
The Charleston: 1229 Pioneer Rd., Draper, 801-550-9348

The Dodo & Pie Fight

Fruit hand pies from Pie Fight
Photo courtesy Pie Fight

Go here for pies that aren’t meant to be shared—not that you’d want to anyway. Order a slice of the famous Toll House pie from The Dodo’s chalkboard of pastries or pick one of several hand pies from Pie Fight’s grab-and-go, order-at-the-window 9th and 9th location. The former, entering its fourth decade, recalls a time when Sugar House was full of distinctive local favorites, not chains, and the latter’s a scrappy upstart making the most of a tiny space with a takeout- and delivery-friendly set up perfect for the 2020s.

The Dodo: 1355 E. 2100 South, SLC, 801-486-247
Pie Fight: 937 E. 900 South, SLC, 385-222-5373

Dolcetti & Spilled Milk

Take your pick: these 9th and 9th favorites, literally across the street from each other, are two of the coolest places to get dessert in Salt Lake. Dolcetti’s eclectic decor and approachable-hip ambiance are appropriate for coffeehouse chats, the gelato and sorbet flavors rotate daily and local love for the coconut sticky rice springs eternal. Spilled Milk has ice cream trucks and two permanent locations—one in Provo and the new one in SLC. The novelty concoctions, featuring favorite breakfast cereals, are equally appealing for squeaky clean date night planners and Fruity Pebbles-loving stoners.

Dolcetti: 902 E. 900 South, SLC, 801-485-3254
Spilled Milk: 907 E. 900 South, SLC; 495 E. 600 North, Provo, 801-556-1715

The Dodo: 1355 E. 2100 South, SLC, 801-486-2473
Pie Fight: 937 E. 900 South, SLC, 385-222-5373

Red Iguana & Chile-Tepin

Enchilada, rice, beans and taco from Chile-Tepin
Photo courtesy Chile-Tepin

You probably know why to eat at Red Iguana by now. The west-side staple has been a must-try for Mexican food lovers since Brigham Young proclaimed “este es el lugar.” (Okay, actually just since the mid-1980s, but still.) Its marvelous mole is so powerful the Cardenas family opened a second location just a block away from the storied original. Meanwhile, Chile-Tepin is quickly building a sterling reputation of its own. The decadent queso recalls the dearly departed Alamexo, and the unfussy but elevated menu of crowd-pleasing favorites is an ideal pre-Jazz game meal.

Red Iguana: 736 W. North Temple, SLC, 801-322-1489
Chile-Tepin: 307 W. 200 South, SLC, 801-883-9255

Best Restaurant That Won’t Make Vegetarians Feel Like Pariahs

No disrespect to the venerable grain bowl, but even the staunchest advocates of plant-based eating sometimes want some delicious comfort food instead of bland utilitarian concoctions. Sammy’s Bistro Express makes nearly every one of their sandwiches and bowls—think Philly cheesesteaks and gyro bowls—in vegetarian and vegan-friendly options. It’s fast and affordable, too.

1764 Uinta Way, Park City, 435-731-8730

4 Reasons to Cheat on Your Diet 

From hearty wholegrain breads to knife-thin crepes and sweet and sumptuous desserts, these Utah bakeries and patisseries make indulging in sinful sugars and carbs totally worth it.

Sweet Vinyl Bakeshop

This shop taught us that cupcakes can be sweet and too cool for school. In addition to the usual sugar, flour, vanilla, etc., Sweet Vinyl cupcakes are flavored with beer and liquor from local brewers and distillers. (Think imperial stout or lime and tequila margarita cupcakes.) Don’t worry teetotallers, there are classic non-alcoholic cupcakes, too.

1048 E. 2100 South, SLC

Granary Bakehouse

The cases of this bakery are filled with some of the best laminated pastries in town. Granary Bakehouse doesn’t skimp on the quality of the baked artisan breads, either, and sources with local ingredients.

1059 E. 900 South, SLC, 385-212-4298

Doki Doki Dessert Cafe

One of Salt Lake City’s most authentic Japanese bakeries and a purveyor of handcrafted pastries and cakes. The crepe cakes are made with more than 20 golden brown, soft crepes, layered with homemade cream, using fresh fruits and premium ingredients.

249 E. 400 South, SLC, 385-229-4339

Passion Flour Patisserie 

This plant-based patisserie is in an up-and-coming neighborhood and pairs puffed-up pastries with a complement of coffee and tea lattes. The croissants have flaky and buttery crusts, despite the lack of real butter.

165 E. 900 South, SLC, 385-242-7040

Best Ways to Earn Extra Credit

For extra credit, bring home one of the following to entertain and satiate your pod at the next post-pandemic party. 

Taste Off

Ever wonder who makes the best sugar cookie in Utah? What about the best BBQ? Taste Off allows you, along with your favorite people, to have your very own blind taste test at home. Decide for yourself which option scores the highest with a Take Home Taste Off kit.

Maven Oak Creative 

Putting together the perfect charcuterie board requires a touch of artistry. Don’t risk messing it up. Maven Oak Creative handcrafts delicious and pleasing-the-eye charcuterie boards and boxes that you can pick up and take home to wow your guests at your next get-together.


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