Issues with a landlord closed a door and the city sort of opened a window for Kestrel and Jerry Liedtke, owners of beloved restaurant Tin Angel.“People used to walk in our old location, across the street from Pioneer Park, and say “This doesn’t feel like Salt Lake,” and Jerry and I would look at each other and say, “We nailed it!” says Kestrel Liedtke.
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Address: 131 Main St., SLC
When the couple opened Tin Angel, Salt Lakers had not seen anything like it before: Upscale, inventive food served in a thoroughly bohemian setting—the Angel was a total push back against the conventional style and vibe of most restaurants. But disputes with the building’s owner and aspirations piled up—as happens in downtown restaurants. So when the city sent out an RFP for restaurants interested in replacing the former bistro in the lobby of the Eccles Theater, the Liedtke’s jumped. Cautiously. Because there were (are) lots of challenges with this location. Food service was surely an afterthought for the Eccles designers because the cafe space is at the front of the building and the kitchen is at the back. Tricky, because diners are always on a deadline—either the show is starting or the intermission bell is ringing.
Basically, says Kestrel: “Service and speed is essential.” Another catch: The Eccles is a flame-free building: Food has to be cooked in an oven or panini-maker or other appliance. Kestrel was undaunted. Her reaction? “I thought it sounded fun!”
In a 30-page proposal, she outlined plans for everything from décor to hours of operation. (Tin Angel at The Eccles is open for both lunch and dinner—remember that when you’re shopping or looking at holiday lights.) Meanwhile, everything had to be approved by the Eccles’ design committee. That’s a big change from the former free-wheeling Tin Angel. The architects are hugely committed to the big, open, starkly white lobby space—a shock for anyone who ever dined at the original Angel.
Soft green banquettes and warm wood soften the space and, more importantly, the food and drink menu and the staff (some of whom have worked at the Angel for seven or nine years) have moved to the new space too.
And they’ve brought with them the familiar sense of coziness and welcome.
See all of our food and drink coverage here.