11 Places to Get Lunch in Salt Lake City

Remember lunch? We used to go to it, look forward to it even, but COVID and the grind have diminished our midday repast, making it the most-skipped meal of the day. What did lunch ever do to deserve that?

In the Gilded Age, Diamond Jim Brady’s lunch might start with a couple of dozen oysters, then go on to a brace of lobsters, some deviled crabs and roast beef. And he still had time to become one of the most famous millionaires of his time. One hundred years later, millionaires are a dime a dozen, but lunch is a rarity. Most Americans won’t stop working long enough to eat a real midday meal. The American lunch is shrinking in length, diminishing in importance and nearly bankrupt in imagination. From the luxurious, three-martini events of the ’50s, we devolved to power lunches in the ’80s, to lunch at the keyboard in the ’90s, to a PowerBar and a Zoom meeting in 2023. Even on weekends, it’s rare for us to devote much time to the midday meal. It’s time to take it back.

The Buffet Lunch 

You pays your money and you takes your chances—no decisions necessary until the food is in front of your face. That’s one beauty of a buffet; the other is variety. Be a vegetarian one day, a carnivore the next. It’s up to you.

Harmons Downtown

Serving a selection of delectable dishes prepared fresh in the deli, you can browse and pick and choose among a wide selection of choices, take your meal on the patio and do your shopping for dinner all at once. 135 E. 100 South, SLC, harmonsgrocery.com

Lunch Salt Lake City
Surya Bastakoti. Photo by Adam Finkle

Himalayan Kitchen

Excellent any time of day, Himalayan Kitchen’s lunch buffet is an excellent way to sample the range of Surya Bastakoti’s menu of Nepalese and Indian Cuisine. 360 S. State St., SLC, himalayankitchen.com

Rodizio Grill 

This is a lunch that lasts, giant skewers of meat are brought to your table Brazilian style and carved onto your plate by a roaming cadre of Gauchos. They will keep coming until you tell them to stop so wear your stretchy pants. 600 S. 700 East (in Trolley Square), SLC, rodiziogrill.com

Lunch Salt Lake City
Rodizio Grill. Photo courtesy of Rodrizo Grill

The Lunch Special

For a true assessment, any lunch price has to be multiplied by five, because that’s how many lunches you eat in a workweek. Ten (ish) bucks is the high mark; over that and someone else had better be paying.

The Robin’s Nest

The weekly “Blue-Egg Special” features a rotating cast of specialty sandwiches, and lunch deals include a half sandwich, salad or chips, a soda and a sweet treat to finish.  83 E. 300 South, SLC, robinsnestslc.com

Curry Fried Chicken

Curry Fried Chicken is actually a thing, and an actual restaurant that, in addition to its namesake curry-infused fried chicken, features a full halal menu including a delicious selection of hummus plates with salad, pita, and your choice of meat, falafel or veggie curry, under $10. 660 S. State St., SLC, curryfriedchickenslc.com

Siegfried’s Delicatessen

This traditional German deli boasts a menu with every meal under $10 and a daily meal special for $8.99. Try the sausage plate with one or two house made sausages accompanied by a selection of hearty side-dish options.  20 W. 200 South, SLC, siegfriedsdelicatessen.com

The Weekend Lunch

A lunch that is leisurely is the King of Lunches. A PowerBar is not lunch. We prefer a long, lingering lunch on a Saturday or Sunday with no back-to-the-office deadline. The Leisurely Lunch can start late and stretch all the way to cocktail hour. 

Lunch Salt Lake City
Sunday’s Best oysters. Photo courtesy of Sunday’s Best

Sunday’s Best

Originally (and hilariously) called “Brunch Me Hard,” Sunday’s Best has a mission for you. If you choose to accept, this will include a long lingering meal in one of its bright indoor or outdoor spaces, ideally with champagne. 10672 S. State St., Sandy, brunchmehard.com

Tradition SLC

Located with a patio overlooking Liberty Park, Tradition is an eminently civilized space to while away the afternoon. 501 E. 900 South, SLC, traditionslc.com

The ‘Old’ Friends Lunch

We don’t say “ladies who lunch” anymore. Although the label no longer implies white gloves and hats, and may not even include chicken salad, there’s still a whiff of the dated phrase here. Mainly it’s the difference between “just lunch” and gathering a group of longtime friends (of any gender) to talk about the good old days. It’s as much about the conversation as the cuisine. But it helps if you can get together at a spot that you actually went to in the “good old days.” Luckily, we have some places that fit the bill.

Lunch Salt Lake City
Photo courtesy of Gourmandise.

The Dodo Restaurant

Pretty much the SLC O.G. spot for the friends-who-lunch crowd. Yes. There is chicken salad (although the shrimp salad, served on a flaky croissant is our fave.) 1355 E. 2100 South, SLC, thedodorestaurant.com

Cucina

This neighborhood spot in the Avenues is a haven that opens early for a regular coffee crowd and closes late for a regular dinner crowd. Lunch on its patio is the sweet spot. 1026 S. 2nd Ave., SLC, cucinawinebar.com

Gourmandise 

This French-inspired café is the perfect spot to catch up with the old gang and then bring home something from the bakery for new friends (kids). 250 S. 300 East, SLC, gourmandise.com


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Jeremy Pugh
Jeremy Pughhttps://www.saltlakemagazine.com/
Jeremy Pugh is Salt Lake magazine's Editor. He covers culture, history, the outdoors and whatever needs a look. Jeremy is also the author of the book "100 Things to Do in Salt Lake City Before You Die" and the co-author of the history, culture and urban legend guidebook "Secret Salt Lake."

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