Newcomer: Immediate Amore at Fireside on Regent

Chef Mike Richey opened Fireside on Regent, and, now, there’s pizza. Perhaps the best pizza in town.

The tiny restaurant is the first to open on Regent Street, which we’re hoping will grow into a new SLC restaurant row, feeding the patrons of the Eccles Theater which opened late last year.

So far, I’ve been to Fireside four times and have yet to attend an event at the Eccles. Just sayin’.Richey’s been cooking around Utah for quite awhile—he was one of the opening chefs at Pago, where he set the standard for that groundbreaking restaurant and, by the way, made his caviar pillows famous. The same pillows are on the menu at Fireside—little golden potato puffs topped with scoops of caviar, like some kind of fantasy tater tot, served as unpretentiously as pickled eggs from a jar. Once again, the gorgeous mouthfuls sum up Richey’s food attitude: This is fine dining that feels like a neighborhood bar.

One section of the menu is called “Urban Picnic” and lists smallish sharing plates of dishes—squash blossoms filled with house-made ricotta and fried, with pepper and Meyer lemon; moules frites; avocado bruschetta and lamb pops. The artful Caesar comes with anchovy filets on top; the Sicilian salad was a bright fusion of shaved fennel, orange segments, sea salt and lemon juice. The kitchen’s forte is intense, memorable flavors that shout wow in the mouth. Pastas are made in-house, and range from the robust bucatini sauced with a rabbit-white wine braise to the delicate ravioli with roasted chicken and ricotta in a broth.And the pizzas? We especially love the chip-topped  “Evergreen” pie which a well-known local chef described enthusiastically as a “stoner’s dream.”

I guess I could have misunderstood him.Fireside, you’ll be happy to hear, is on the west side of Regent Street—that’s the side that can get liquor licenses. (The other side is owned by The Church.) That means there’s a nicely selected and reasonably priced wine list as well as cocktails and beer. Stop in before the show for a snack and a cocktail. Stop in after the show for late-night dinner and a glass of wine. Drop in with the kids for pizza and beer. Like more and more American restaurants, Fireside is an anytime place with a malleable menu and setting that is determined only by your mood.

Mike’s Pies

Fireside is small—just a long marble counter, some tables and a gorgeous tile-covered Valoriani pizza oven. The wood-fired Valoriani  Vesuvio is one of the most popular pizza ovens in Italy—the crust bubbles to an authentic bare char that joyfully marries the toppings and convinces you that this is what pizza really means. And if you think I’m exaggerating, go have some.

126 S. Regent St., SLC, 801-359-4011

See more inside the 2017 May/June Issue.

Photos by: Adam Finkle

Mary Brown Malouf
Mary Brown Malouf
Mary Brown Malouf is the late Executive Editor of Salt Lake magazine and Utah's expert on local food and dining. She still does not, however, know how to make a decent cup of coffee.

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