The Last Day at Tin Angel

If I wrote this on actual paper, you’d see runny ink and tear stains. I’m sad because another iconic place in Salt Lake City is disappearing: Tomorrow night, Aug. 31, 2019 is the last night of service at the original Tin Angel.

Jerry and Kestrel Liedtke with then-partner Robin Kilpatrick opened their funky little restaurant on the southwest side of Pioneer Park not long after I started writing for this magazine. It’s remained a favorite, won many awards including a slew of our own Salt Lake Magazine Dining Awards and has consistently been one of the best restaurants in the city.

Summer Saturdays would see Jerry roaming the Downtown Farmers Market across the street, choosing food for that very night’s menu. The Angel’s kitchen ethos was fiercely local. Tables were set with second hand china and dining room walls were hung with ever-changing local art.  You could say some of those things about lots of restaurants. (Well, not the china.)

With the loss of the original Tin Angel, Salt Lake City is losing another little piece of its remaining soul.

Tin Angel was not like any other restaurant. It was funky and laid back, less like a dinner out and more like a dinner in the home your favorite punky, bohemian friends. Robin left the nest some years ago. But Jerry and Kestrel, while raising two kids with a conscience, created a unique space on the frontier of Salt Lake’s ragged edge. The location was a bold choice at the time it opened and its presence brought and maintained a civilizing influence to a still troubled part of our city.

Determinedly personal, boldly different, absolutely unpretentious, the Angel’s style and feel was un-replicable. It has been the diametric opposite of a chain restaurant and everything that term implies. In a city which tends towards conformity, takes comfort in herd-thinking, is more inclined to copy than be original and likes to keep a close eye on appearances, Tin Angel was a rebel.

Kestrel and Jerry didn’t follow leaders or trends or rules. They followed their hearts instead and it showed in every meal at Tin Angel.

Tin Angel is not gone, K and J have taken over the bistro space at in the Eccles Theater on Main Street. But their funky perch across from Pioneer Park will close its doors on Aug. 31, 2019. I know the same love the Angels poured into the original will show up in new ways at the new place and I will dutifully review the effort soon.

But allow me a minute to mourn an old friend.

See all of our food and drink coverage here.

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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