The space is comfortable, albeit somewhat noisy due to a high ceiling of naked plywood where the ductwork is fully exposed. Big windows on two sides let in ample light, made even brighter by white walls. The concrete floor supports square tables with padded bistro chairs, while one wall is lined with two larger tables that have banquette seating.
While the menu is divided into breakfast, lunch and salad selections, you can get anything at any time of day. Many items feature Sweet Lake's excellent biscuits, including a very good version of eggs Benedict ($10) that included the usual suspects perfectly poached eggs, ham and a lively hollandaise plus tomato and green onions. It came with a side of hash browns cooked with healthy chia seeds and green onions. For $2, you can substitute hash browns mixed with red quinoa, an interesting and tasty combination.
The St. Francis ($7) was toasted sourdough topped with asparagus and an egg, flavored with cracked pepper, a drizzle of olive oil and a generous blanket of arugula. It was the most mildly flavored of the dishes I sampled, but looked and tasted like straight-up health food. If you want to bulk up the calories and flavor, you can add bacon and avocado.
Mushroom gravy made a delicious platform for the T-Rose ($10), a biscuit loaded with a grilled portobello mushroom, an egg, asparagus and swiss cheese. It was an intriguing take on biscuits and gravy with a vegetarian twist.
Like a lot of the sandwiches at Sweet Lake, the T-Rose was held together with a skewer and had to be eaten with a fork. That was true, too, of the Pokey Joe, a decadent combination of pulled pork topped with limeade salsa, crispy cabbage slaw, cheddar cheese and crisply fried onions.
The Titanic ($10) actually required two skewers to anchor its towering ingredients: a slightly overcooked fried chicken breast, swiss cheese, tomato, iceberg lettuce, a large slice of a spicy pickle and a biscuit slathered with spicy sweet mustard. There was so much going on in that sandwich, it pretty much had to be disassembled to be eaten, but what a rewarding chore that was.
All sandwiches come with a basket of excellent house-made corn chips and a little dish of mint limeade salsa, which was slightly spicy and delectably different.
Limeade, after all, is a signature item at Sweet Lake, and makes an appearance in a number of dishes. As a beverage, it comes in a variety of flavors, from mint to habanero to ginger ($4-$5). I only wish it were available in more than one size. Twenty ounces is a lot of sugar, even if it's organic cane sugar. Ask for an extra cup so you can share.
Other beverages include fresh squeezed orange juice ($6), assorted teas ($2), hot chocolate ($3) and superb Caffe Ibis organic coffee ($2-$4).
If biscuits aren't your thing, Sweet Lake salads are very good: substantial enough for a meal, creative, and made with organic greens. My favorite was the Ruby Summer ($8), a verdant bed of spinach and spicy arugula topped with sliced avocado, grapefruit segments, slivered almonds, chopped jicama and a sprinkle of parmesan. Lime flavored the creamy dressing, which was spiked with chia seeds, and was a piquant complement to the summery salad's other elements.
The Utah Cobb ($9) is also good, and a variation on the classic, with a sliced fried chicken breast (perfectly cooked this time), avocado, black beans, queso fresco, bacon, cherry tomatoes and crumbled egg on mixed greens. The dressing was surprise! a limeade-spiked ranch that had a surprising kick.
A steak salad ($9) featured a perfectly sized and tender tri-tip cooked to order on greens flavored with mint, onion, jalapeño, lime and cilantro. Cucumber and tomato provided color and contrast, while the ginger sesame dressing gave it a decidedly Asian flavor.
Sweet Lake has a kid's menu with a peanut butter and jelly biscuit, chicken strips and grilled cheese ($3-$4) and a menu of side dishes that allow you to build your own breakfast.
Desserts feature (what else?) biscuits. A recent offering was a bread pudding with blueberries ($5), but the vanilla "custard" was more like a sauce, so much so that we asked our server whether they forgot the custard. Nonetheless, it was tasty and big enough for our party of five to share.
Sweet Lake is a quality addition to the city's brunch scene, with offerings that range from super healthy (the organic açaí bowl, $9) to decadent (the Hoss with biscuit, fried chicken, egg, bacon and sausage gravy, $10). The owners use locally sourced foods when possible and the prices are reasonable. Evolution can be a beautiful thing.
Sweet Lake Biscuits and Limeade
Food • HHhj
Mood • HH
Service • HH
Noise • bbbb
The new brunch spot offers quality breakfasts, sandwiches and salads at affordable prices, plus the limeade-based drinks that diners first met at the Pioneer Park Farmers Market. The produce is organic and ingredients are locally sourced as much as possible. Standouts include the Ruby Summer salad with greens, grapefruit and almonds, and eggs Bene
dict perched on a biscuit.
Location • 54 W. 1700 South, Salt Lake City; 801-997-9220
Online • www.sweetlake.madebeforedawn.com
Hours • Tuesday-Sunday, 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Children's menu • Yes
Prices • $-$$
Liquor • No
Reservations • No
Takeout • Weekdays only
Wheelchair access • Yes
Outdoor dining • Yes
On-site parking • Yes
Credit cards • Yes