First Bite: Uncle Jeffi’s, A Not-So-Classic Diner 

Walk into Uncle Jeffi’s in Holladay, and you’ll be greeted by all the classic diner vibes: pastel banquets, syrup in the air, kitsch scattered here and there, and an owner who greets you with a smile. You’ll also find diner classics, from three-egg omelets, a Reuben sandwich, and a stack of pancakes. 

Keep perusing. You’ll find a Thai Omelet with an “egg and coconut milk batter stuffed with sautéd chopped onions, chicken, or tofu. Served with shredded lettuce, cucumber, carrot, bean sprout, scallion, and cilantro.” Or the Kow Munn Gai Tord & Sweet Chili Sauce might catch your eye, a dish with a Hainanese twist, “garlic rice served with crispy fried chicken or fried tofu and sweet chili sauce.” Not-so-classic diner fare.

Uncle Jeffi’s is owned and operated by the same culinary duo, Anny and Jeff, who own Tea Rose Diner, Chabaar Beyond Thai, and FAV Bistro, which shares the parking lot. They have served Thai-style breakfast at FAV for a long time; it just wasn’t entirely on the general radar. So when the former Pig and a Jelly Jar restaurant pad opened up just across the way, they opted to open a diner-style breakfast and lunch-only spot. Which explains the variety and pan-Asian menu mash-up with more traditional takes on diner food. 

Opening in the late fall of last year, Uncle Jeffi’s took a couple of months to iron out service and the menu. Customers should not expect rapid-fire service at the best of times. This is a diner where you go to sit, talk, and enjoy the food. If you are in a rush, well, don’t be. And pro tip: be ready to order your entire meal (shared plates, beverages, main dishes, extras) simultaneously. Your server might not be back for a bit. While this could be a drawback for some, it can be nice to not feel rushed or hovered over during a meal. 

While you are there, the Thai Iced Coffee is the best in town, the Brown Sugar Boba is an indulgence, and the Kombucha is made in-house to add a few non-traditional additions to the diner beverage pantheon of black coffee and soda. 

If you are looking for pure comfort food, don’t miss out on the Jok (pronounced joke), a type of Thai rice porridge that is all savory instead of sweet like most porridge in the West. Jok is simmered until the rice is soft, almost gelatinous, and very thick. It is topped with either chicken, minced pork, or tofu and a raw egg (mixed in and cooked by the heat of the porridge). Carrots, ginger, scallions, and cilantro dress things up. And if you’re brave, ask for hot sauce or pickled chilies to go along with it. 

Uncle Jeffi’s is the perfect location to take vegans and vegetarians since most dishes can be adapted, subbed, or adjusted. Just ask. 

As it stands, the Thai-influenced menu is fantastic. It was so good that I couldn’t bring myself to try the bacon and eggs or the fried chicken sandwich all three times I visited. Next time. Or maybe I’ll try the Thai Coconut Pancakes served with coconut cream and chai butter instead. 

If You Go

Uncle Jeffi’s 
1968 E Murray Holladay Rd, Holladay

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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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