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Unlike many people in the Salt Lake Valley, I've never desired to live in the Avenues. That is until I visited Straw Market on 4th Avenue at E Street. A quaint and charming little corner store and café, the shop is the second location for owner Lee McDonald, whose first Straw Market in Ogden is well-loved by those who know it.

The Avenues location draws everyone — mothers and their young children on a neighborhood outing, a Mormon missionary breakfast, a casual business meeting over coffee and friends getting together over lunch. I've seen it all over the course of my visits here in addition to take-away orders for meals or a convenient and inexpensive stop for bottled water and a pastry. That appears to be the charm of the simple and clean Straw Market. There is something for everyone here.

Perhaps the biggest draw is the quality breakfast and lunch food at unbeatable prices.

Fresh pastries in the case sell for $1 each — and even half that an hour before closing each day. Straw Market is known for its cinnamon rolls covered with a thick smear of creamy frosting, but I was partial to the tart and tangy lemon bars dusted with powered sugar and the rich and chocolaty brownie. Each item from the display case comes wrapped with its own white paper doily, a delicate touch that also made on-the-go consumption easier.

Full breakfast items available all day include crêpes ($2.50 and $4), omelets ($4) and French toast ($2.50 and $4). Try the three-egg Denver omelet ($4) with plenty of ham and sautéed peppers and onions combined with melted cheddar cheese, or make it a full order for $6 that is delivered with crispy hashbrowns and a choice of cinnamon roll or toast with housemade jam.

A generous slice (think quarter of a small pie tin) of breakfast quiche ($4) was loaded with fresh mushrooms, green pepper, spinach and cheese surrounded by a flaky, buttery crust.

A selection of sandwiches and salads on Straw Market's lunch menu rounds out the café offerings. Try the Straw Market club ($6) loaded with ham, turkey and crispy, hot bacon or the beef grinder ($5) filled with sautéed peppers and onions. Make your lunch a combo with salad or chips and a fountain drink for just $7.50.

And if greens are what you're looking for, enjoy the spring greens salad ($3) topped with slices of green apple and almonds with raspberry vinaigrette.

According to the owners, prices at Straw Market are kept low to win and retain customers as well as keep the food moving quickly so everything is fresh, with little waste.

For such a small operation, service is friendly and thoughtful at Straw Market — if not slightly confusing. Orders are placed at the counter to start, but you don't pay until you've eaten and are ready to leave. One can assume this is to encourage additional shopping within the market for candy, chips, drinks or dessert to go, but it also results in having to potentially stand in a long line twice — once to order and again to pay.

But if you're eating in, food is brought to your table by the staff, who are also kind enough to deliver silverware and condiments if needed and wrap up leftovers to go if requested.

It's for these reasons that Straw Market is such a surprisingly pleasant and inexpensive treasure in the Avenues.

Heather L. King also writes for and can be found on social media @slclunches —


Straw Market

Food • HHhj

Mood • HHhj

Service • HHhj

Noise • bb

Straw Market offers delicious and inexpensive breakfast and lunch fare in the Avenues.

Location • 390 4th Ave., Salt Lake City; 801-935-4420

Hours • Open Monday through Saturday, 6 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Children's menu • No

Prices • $-$$

Liquor • No

Reservations • No

Takeout • Yes

Wheelchair access • Yes

Outdoor dining • No

On-site parking • Yes

Credit cards • All major