First Bite: The Local Market & Bar

New to the Salt Lake food landscape sits The Local Market & Bar, right in the heart of the city by the Public Safety Building and across the street from Library Square. 

Food halls are the ultimate please everyone solution when the group can’t agree on what they are in the mood for. (Does this happen to me regularly? I plead the fifth) Far beyond the near-extinct mall food court, a good food hall is curated with various choices from healthy to decadent, snacky to hearty, and of course, with some desserts tossed in for good measure. 

The other win? The Local has a full-service bar —one where you can grab a great cocktail or some wine with your food. They also have local brews and solid 0% ABV choices. I spoke with Fathom Croteau, General Manager at The Local. She explained that the bar area is separate (outlined in tile). Still, like any restaurant in Utah, if you are dining outside the bar area, a server will bring your drink to the table. 

Without further ado, here is the opening lineup. I spoke to the operators at each location and made a point of eating at every venue at least once. 

Luna Pizza Cafe bakes all its artisanal pizzas in a brick oven.

Jack Peacock, the general manager of Luna Pizza Cafe in Salt Lake City, shared the story of the pizzeria’s humble beginnings in Greenville, North Carolina. Founders Richard Williams and John Jefferson traveled to Italy to attend a Neapolitan pizza school, bringing their newfound knowledge back to the United States. Luna Pizza has since expanded, winning accolades as the best pizza in Greenville and the best restaurant for four consecutive years. At the new Salt Lake City location, patrons particularly enjoy the Prosciutto and Arugula Pizza, which Jack believes catches people’s attention with its visual appeal. He explains, “Seeing that thinly sliced prosciutto on top of a Neapolitan pizza, with arugula on top with a little drizzle of olive oil to make it glisten, it is irresistible.” Luna Pizza prides itself on its authentic Italian ingredients, importing pizza flour and San Marzano tomatoes from Italy. Jack is excited about the future of Luna Pizza, which has more locations planned.

As someone who spent an unexpected week in the Naples area in my 20s, I can verify that Luna Pizza transported me right back. 

Lamb & Feta brings authentic, fresh ingredients that showcase a wide range of Mediterranean flavors + Hog & Tradition BBQ hails from Utah pit master Geoff Patmides’ commitment to Southern BBQ. 

Geoff Patmides is the Executive Chef and wearer of all the hats for Lamb & Feta and Hog & Tradition BBQ. You might not find a correlation between the two, but Geoff grew up with his Greek grandparents, watching and learning how to cook. He’s owned multiple culinary concepts, including food trucks and The Local Greek, formerly in Taylorsville and then Riverton. With his diverse background and culinary chops, he wanted to highlight both traditional Greek fare and his Southern BBQ geekery at The Local. 

I have a full interview coming with Geoff to showcase his story. But in the meantime, here is what you should get: 

Lamb & Feta Gyro. Photo by Dan Campbell.

At Lamb & Feta, get the Gyro. You can pick your meat from lamb, pork, chicken, or chickpeas, or play a little mix and match. The hummus and pita are perfect for sharing, as are the house-made dolmathes. But the thing you don’t want to miss out on? The Galaktoboureko, which is a type of custard baked in phyllo. I’ve moved on from baklava in favor of this sweet treat.

At Hog & Tradition BBQ, get a classic combo platter. The meats are smoked in-house and are incredibly tender. The mac and cheese and collard greens speak to my secretly-wanna-be-Southern-gal heart. Be sure to get the purple ube cornbread topped with whipped hot honey butter. It is a little nod to Geoff’s Pacific Islander side of the family. It is almost cakey, and I honestly ate it as a dessert. 

Pop’s Burger is an elevated homage to the classic Americana burger joint serving delicious smash burgers, hot dogs, and fries.

Photo by Dan Campbell

At Pop’s Burgers, the legacy of the owner’s grandfather, who cooked during the Korean War, lives on through mouthwatering recipes that have delighted their family since 1952. Their unique burgers boast crispy edges rarely seen nowadays, made from high-grade steak trimmings sourced from Wasatch Meats. Mearle, the manager at Pop’s, explains that the secret to their burgers lies in squishing them flat to about a quarter-inch thick, creating a “nice crust” that locks in the flavor and adds a delightful crunch. Among their top offerings are the Classic Smash and the Smokehouse Smash, the latter featuring crispy onions, grilled onions, bacon, and jalapenos balanced by a sweet, smoky sauce. For those who crave spice, the Fried Chicken Sandwich packs a habanero-infused punch. And to finish off, Pop’s serves a totally Utah-style sweet treat, the Icebox Cake, which combines chocolate pudding, bananas, graham crackers, peanuts, and whipped cream.

Honestly, this might be my new burger addiction. I’ve been dreaming about their Pop’s Smokehouse and (my guilty pleasure secret craving) the Pop’s Chili Dog. 

Crave prides itself on high-quality comfort foods and healthy to-go sandwiches and salads, with impressive brunch offerings daily

Owner Brandon Bourdeaux, originally from Salt Lake City, spent 17 years in Tucson, Arizona, where he honed his culinary skills under the tutelage of renowned chefs and embraced the popular brunch culture. After recognizing an opportunity in his hometown, he returned to Salt Lake City to introduce his diverse and innovative menu at Crave. Bourdeaux’s dishes are a testament to his Southwestern roots, as seen in the best-selling Prickly Pear Chicken Sandwich, which he describes as having a “sweet citrus” flavor from the unique cactus fruit. The Three Cheese Philly and Avocado Steak Caprese Salad have also become crowd favorites. As Bourdeaux proudly states, “the flavor is just remarkable.” 

I also got the Three Cheese Philly and couldn’t have been happier. 

Crave team members. Photo by Dan Campbell.

Jessica Burns, co-owner of The Cereal Killerz Kitchen, shares her and her partner’s journey of leaving the corporate world behind to pursue their dream of a place where cereal could be enjoyed at any time of day. The couple wanted to create something they could run themselves, incorporating their family while working together. Despite initial assumptions, the process wasn’t always straightforward. The Cereal Killerz Kitchen’s core offerings include cereal milkshakes, and cereal iced coffee, with the cereal being the highlight of everything they serve. Jessica mentions that their restaurants evoke nostalgia by “pulling the box of cereal down, opening it up, and pouring it out of the box.” One of Jessica’s favorite creations is the “Small Money, Small Problems” dessert, which features vanilla and chocolate ice cream, s’mores cereal, graham crackers, marshmallows, Hershey’s chocolate, and chocolate sauce. 

I loved the Cookie Butter Crunch with vanilla ice cream, caramel sauce, teddy grahams, golden grahams, cinnamon toast, and cookie butter. Get a couple of flavors and share.

Showcasing southwestern fare inspired by Chef Francisco “Poncho” Portillo’s native New Mexico, Green Chile House presents genuine dishes such as tacos, nachos, and tortas for an authentic taste of the region.

I spoke with Kallie Portillo, the co-owner of Green Chile House. I have a complete profile on this local gem coming up. The owners take great pride in their food truck’s best-selling Green Chili Cheeseburger and Green Chili Chicken Sandwich, which they also offer as specials at their new brick-and-mortar location at The Local. Additionally, their top tacos are a hit, often being requested for catering jobs. Finally, for customers who crave an authentic taste of New Mexico, the Green Chile Enchiladas stand out. Kallie notes that patrons from New Mexico often remark that the enchiladas remind them of home, evoking a sense of nostalgia and fond memories.

I must confess – I’ve been back here three times, not just for the tacos, but for the house-made salsa. It is fresh, spicy, and infused with that green chile flavor. I LOVED the Shrimp Tacos along with the Fried Green Chile Chicken sandwich.

The Local Market as a Culinary Incubator & Social Event Hub

The culinary concepts at The Local Market are curated by Chef & Co-Chief Executive Officer at Hospitality HQ, Akhtar Nawab. It was designed to provide incubator space and exposure for new and established chefs growing their culinary businesses. Brick-and-mortar space with a retail-facing venue is hard to come by in Salt Lake City, and it is often the thing that holds chefs with big dreams back. 

The Local not only dishes up delicious food but also doubles as a communal spot for one-of-a-kind cultural happenings, such as artist exhibitions, lectures, trivia nights, and more. With a vast array of regional and global curators, The Local spotlights the creations of unique artists from various fields, distinguished distilleries, and a mix of up-and-coming and well-established musicians. Find the full events calendar here

Visit The Local Market & Bar, 310 E 400 S, Salt Lake City, (801) 413-1360

Interested in other local food halls? Check out Woodbine Food Hall.

See more stories like this and all of our food and drink coverage. And while you’re here, why not subscribe and get six annual issues of Salt Lake magazine’s curated guide to the best of life in Utah. 

Lydia Martinez
Lydia Martinez
Lydia Martinez is a freelance food, travel, and culture writer. She has written for Salt Lake Magazine, Suitcase Foodist, and Utah Stories. She is a reluctantly stationary nomad who mostly travels to eat great food. She is a sucker for anything made with lots of butter and has been known to stay in bed until someone brings her coffee. Do you have food news? Send tips to

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