Residents of Salt Lake City's Avenues know what they like and that's restaurants and bars they can walk to.
They've helped change zoning to attract neighborhood eateries which are in turn lured by the wealth of the area's potential customers.
Being a historic neighborhood doesn't hurt, either, since buildings long used as commercial sites get to remain businesses even in the midst of houses.
"I always say the Avenues are the most politically, most religiously, most economically, most sexually diverse neighborhood in Utah," said Dean Pierose, owner of Cucina Deli.
Located on the northern edge of the city from South Temple to the foothills and Canyon Road to Virginia Street the Avenues also is becoming a diverse dining destination.
With just about 22,000 residents, it supports more than a dozen eateries: Two Indian restaurants, one Tibetan and one Thai eatery, three dessert shops, four delis, a brewpub and a speakeasy. Plus there's a grocery and a liquor store.
In the past couple of months, two new restaurants have opened and another has added sit-down dinner. And the neighborhood's third coffee house is set to open soon.
"We're going back to what we used to have," said Stan Penfold, who represents the Avenues on the City Council. "The neighborhood really wants some place to walk and eat. They love that."
Chains? Not so much.
Steve Hatch, owner of Hatch Family Chocolates, remembers his childhood in Utah County where his neighbors lined up to visit a cookie-cutter restaurant. "The excitement here is supporting local," he said.
And that's what draws newcomers like the owners of Avenues Proper Restaurant & Publick House, which opened in April.
"There's not a lot of places outside of downtown where people can walk to and get a meal or a beverage," said co-owner Andrew Tendick. "In the Avenues there's a strong sense of community, and that's something we wanted to be a part of."
These restaurateurs are confident they haven't saturated the market. None interviewed felt they were competing with each other. Instead, they hope their different styles in close proximity will combine to bring diners in from the 'burbs.
Here's a snapshot of the Avenues's dining scene:
Avenues Bistro on Third • Kathie Chadbourne, can't contain herself when she walks through her restaurant's garden. The the former co-owner of Avenues Bakery, opened this bistro about a year ago. She rents a house three doors down. And now her backyard, her neighbors' and the restaurant's are sprouting all kinds of fruits and vegetables, along with chicken coops, beehives and an aquaponic experiment all to supply the restaurant. "Look at this, isn't this amazing," she says with a smile, looking at the rows of cabbage. "I cant wait to feed this to people."
The cozy bistro, with a speakeasy in the basement (password "Swordfish") and outdoor dining is decorated with cookbooks, large prints of gorgeous produce and chalkboards celebrating its local food sources. The pastries, croissants, scones, tortillas and buns are house-made. And chef Erik Daniels, formerly of the Copper Onion and New Yorker, said his goal is to provide "fresh, local, farm-to-table, good food."
The menu includes the turkey, Brie and apple sandwich (familiar to Avenues Bakery patrons) and Lulu's huevos rancheros. "It's a place where I want people to come and relax and feel like it's their neighborhood joint, it's their Cheers," Chadbourne said.
Avenues Proper Restaurant & Publick House • The three owners have all lived in the neighborhood and wanted to be part of the community when they decided to turn their hobby of serving 10-course meals to friends into a business.
Andrew Tendick and brothers Riordan and Liam Connelly rent space from neighboring Hatch Family Chocolate which makes an ice cream using Avenues Proper's Slainte Stout. Their shared parking lot warns violators will be "battered, deep fried & dipped in chocolate."
What they created could be a first for Utah: A small brewery located in the middle of a neighborhood. While a controversial city ordinance passed last year may invite more, this brewery-inside-a-restaurant can only sell its small batches beer on tap.
But that doesn't mean you'll only get beer crafted from Riordan Connelly, who worked at Epic Brewing Co. The menu features a changing rotation of only Utah beers, including Bohemian, Bonneville, Desert Edge, Epic, Hive Winery, Moab, Red Rock, Roosters, Shades of Pale, Squatters, Uinta, Unsacred and Wasatch.
They want to be a destination for Utah beer lovers and plan to age beers to compare different years side-by-side.
Tendick says they're also serious about food. Between he, Liam Connelly and sous chef Brendan Kawakami, they've worked at Caffe Niche, Fresco, Lugano, Meditrina, Paris Bistro, and the now closed Metropolitan, Center Cafe in Moab, Bountiful's Eatery 1025 and Avenues Bakery.
"We want people to be blown away by the food and service," said Tendick.
While the atmosphere is casual the owners are just as serious about the food. A popular choice is the house-ground Jones Creek burger served with Rockhill Creamery edam cheese on Eva Bakery buns. The $3 bites like duck fat popcorn and Pale Ale potato chips are meant to attract patrons who just want beer but by law have to order food. "The more places that you have, you become more of a dining destination," he said.
Cafe on 1st • The casual eatery/coffee shop offers sandwiches and Thai food, along with live music.
Cafe Shambala • A family-owned restaurant serving Tibetan food, including lots of vegetarian options and house specialities like Mo-Mos, beef or veggie-filled dumplings.
Cucina • Diners usually don't laugh when they read a wine menu, but they are sure to a smile when they check out the white wine selection at Cucina Deli: White zinfandel is described as "cloyingly sweet & simple with false fruit nuances," and is sold for $2,700. This long-time Avenues eatery, which served breakfast and lunch and take-out dinners, started offering sit-down dinners in February. The impetus: A neighboring preschool eliminated kindergarten, opening up the possibility of a liquor license.
Adding dinner required renovations, said owner Dean Pierose. Besides adding a so-called Zion Curtain to shield liquor pours from the public Pierose renovated the facade to add more glass, removed the pastel colored paint, and hired two evening chefs to prepare the nearly 20 small plate items, along with salads on the dinner menu. With their 600-pound smoker, they're house-smoking almonds (free with wine and beer), pulled pork, pork ribs, and duck. (A full-review accompanies this story.)
Dolcetti • Located in the former Hatch's Family Chocolate space, it doles out coffee, tea, espresso, pastries, waffles, smoothies and a changing menu of gelato. The gelato recipes and machinery are the same found at the Dolcetti in the 9th and 9th Salt Lake City neighborhood. But this place is owned by Cevan LeSieur, a ship captain (ferrying oil and gas tankers) who lives in the Avenues and updated the book "The Avenues of Salt Lake City." The dining options are "fantastic because ultimately as a city that's where you want to go. It adds vibrancy … that's been lacking in Salt Lake City," he said.
Einstein Bros Bagels • Serves bagels, sandwiches, coffee, espresso and snacks.
Hatch Family Chocolates • Steve Hatch and Katie Masterson, stars of the TV show "Little Chocolatiers," knew they wanted to remain in a neighborhood when they expanded their hand-dipped chocolate business. Last year, they moved from the corner of E Street and 4th Avenue to the former 8th Avenue grocery store near LDS Hospital.
"Our chocolate can be a little pricey," Hatch said. "We wanted people to seek us out as opposed to just drive by."
Now they have enough space to offer free movies, live music and sometimes magic shows throughout the summer. "Without the Avenues, we would have one out of business a long time ago. They've taken us into their families," he said.
Indian Market and Grill • It started as an Indian/Pakistani grocery store in 1980 drawing shoppers from Nevada, Wyoming and even Montana, when no other Indian market was available. It still sells staples such as garam masala spice mixes, basmati rice and coconut milk alongside a limited menu of dishes including korma curry and a tandoori chicken plate. The restaurant is also home to a travel agency, Sunrise Travels & Tours. "My store is like a mom and pop store. My wife is the chef," the Pakistani owner Marshall Motiwala said. "I'm never going to leave the Avenues. This is the best place in all of Utah to live."
Jack Mormon Coffee Co. • Specializes in roasting coffee beans fresh daily.
Java Jo's • The drive-thru offers coffee, specialty and frozen drinks.
Mrs. Backers Pastry Shop • This pink-and-white shop has been around since 1941, and the third-generation of owners say they can trace their baking history back 700 years. Inside smells like the butter cream frosting that decorate the elaborately designed cakes and cupcakes.
Publik • The coffeehouse, which means "community" in Dutch, is expected to open in the fall. Owners Matt Bourgeois (former owner of Porcupine Pub & Grille) and Missy Greis, are renovating two buildings: their wholesale spot downtown, where they will roast beans, and their retail space, the historic building that housed Two Creek Coffee. They are awaiting permits to build a larger kitchen in the Avenues space to sell "really fresh, unique, clean food that's outside of what a coffee shop typically provides," said Greis.
As to whether the neighborhood can have too much coffee, she said they'll roast their beans differently than the other local roaster, Jack Mormon.
"We all complement each other really well," Greis said.
Saffron Valley East India Cafe • Just two years after opening her first restaurant in South Jordan, Lavanya Mahate opened her second Saffron Valley in the former Pagoda restaurant in March. "We're thrilled to be a part of the Avenues," she said. "They're so educated. … They don't just order curry and naan. They like to explore our other flavors." The menu includes curries, kebabs and rice dishes, but also naan wraps; the South Indian speciality of dosas, (savory crepes filled with vegetables and meats); and Chinese food made Indian style. There's also a wine and chai bar and a lunch buffet.
"We have a little bit of everything from all regions of India," said Mahate, who was born in the southeastern state of Andhra Pradesh and also lived in the southern state Chennai until she moved to Utah in 2001.
The former director of the Women's Business Center at the Salt Lake Chamber takes her educator role seriously: She teaches Indian cooking classes; hosts food festivals at her restaurants, like the one in August on South Indian food; and offers weekly Tiffin Tuesdays, offering a variety of tapas-sized items from North and South India.
It's all served in a space decorated to feel like the British-influenced India of the 1920s, which reminds Mahate of her grandfather's home. There are peacock hues on the wall, a menu made to look like a tabloid and posters highlighting different regions of her home country from pre-independence. "We want you to get the feeling of being in a different place, a different time and era."
Sawadee Thai • Large menu offering appetizers, salad, soups, barbecue, fried rice, noodles, curries, fish, duck and vegetarian dishes in a sleek setting. Serves wine, too.
The Wild Grape New West Bistro • Owner Troy Greenhawt opened the bistro serving New American food in 2008, replacing the Avenues Bakery. Burgers are a favorite spiced lamb, organic beef, Colorado bison and portobello grilled over apple and cherry wood brought from Santaquin. The restaurant is also known for its cocktails. Greenhawt said he doesn't plan to change the menu in light of the new choices in the neighborhood.
"The people in the Avenues are just great people. They're into local and sustainable and organic."
Where to eat in the Avenues
Avenues Bistro on Third • 564 E. Third Ave 801-831-5409. Open: Daily, 8 a.m.-10 p.m.
Avenues Proper Restaurant & Publick House • 376 8th Ave. Suite C 385-227-8628. Open Tuesday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. for lunch. Tuesday-Sunday, 5-10 p.m. for dinner. Thursday-Saturday, 10 p.m.-1 a.m. for late-night bites.
Cafe on 1st • 39 I Street 801-532-8488. Open Monday-Friday, 6:30 a.m.-11 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 7 a.m.-11 p.m.
Cafe Shambala • 382 4th Ave.; 801-364-8558. Open: Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 5:30-9:30 p.m.
Cucina • 1026 E. 2nd Ave. 801-322-3055. Open Monday- Friday, 7 a.m.-9 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sunday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Dolcetti • 390 4th Ave. 801-990-7012. Open: Monday-Friday, 7 a.m.-10 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
Einstein Bros Bagels • 481 E. South Temple; 801-322-0803. Open Monday-Friday, 5 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday, 6 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sunday, 6 a.m.-4 p.m.
Hatch Family Chocolates • 376 8th Ave. 801-532-4912. Open Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Indian Market and Grill • 89 D St. 801-539-8402. Open: Daily, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
Jack Mormon Coffee Co. • 82 E Street; 801-359-2979. Open: Monday-Saturday, 8 a.m.-6 p.m.
Java Jo's • 401 E. 1st Ave.; 801-532-2899. Open: Monday-Friday, 5:30 a.m.-7 p.m.; Saturday, 6 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday, 6:30 a.m.-6 p.m.
Mrs. Backers Pastry Shop • 434 E. South Temple; 801-532-2022. Open: Tuesday-Friday, 8 a.m.-6 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Publik • 502 E. Third Ave. Opening later this year.
Saffron Valley East India Cafe • 26 E Street, Salt Lake City; 801-203-3325. Open daily 11 a.m.-3 p.m. for lunch. Monday-Saturday, 5-10 p.m. and Sunday, 5-9 p.m.
Sawadee Thai • 754 E. South Temple; 801-328-8424. Open: Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. for lunch; Monday-Thursday, 5-9:30 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 5-10 p.m.
Subway • 402 6th Ave. 801-746-1580. Open: Monday-Friday, 7 a.m.-10 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sunday, 9 a.m.-8 p.m.
The Wild Grape New West Bistro • 481 E. South Temple 801-746-5565. Open: Tuesday-Friday, 8 a.m.-1 p.m. for breakfast. Tuesday-Friday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. for lunch. Sunday, Tuesday-Thursday, 5 p.m.-9:30 p.m. and Friday-Saturday, 5-10:30 p.m. for dinner. Saturday-Sunday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. for brunch and lunch.