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Fireside on Regent, a new 50-seat restaurant serving wood-fired pizza and artisan pasta, has opened, making it the first of nearly a dozen eating establishments expected to settle in the redeveloped block behind the new Eccles Theater in Salt Lake City.
Fireside also is the first restaurant for chef/owner Michael Richey, who previously worked at Pago and Solitude Mountain Resort, as well as in several California, Florida and Colorado restaurants. After returning to Utah to open his place, he was drawn to the restaurant spaces there are two attached to the new downtown theater.
"It's a big jump to open your own restaurant, but being part of the theater makes it a little easier," Richey said. "I pushed hard to be the first one here."
Regent Street, between Main and State streets and 100 and 200 South, was designed to connect City Creek Center on the north and the Gallivan Center on the south.
The gritty street once home to Utah's daily newspapers and, before that, the city's red-light district underwent a $12.8 million face-lift as part of the Eccles Theater construction. A project of the Salt Lake City Redevelopment Agency, the street includes new sidewalks and planters, a public plaza and a midblock walkway that pays homage to the street's unique history. It also allows pedestrians a shortcut from Regent Street to Main Street.
The pedestrian-friendly design means that on show nights, hundred of theatergoers pass by Fireside and can see the flames dancing inside the wood-burning oven, shipped from Italy. The custom blue-tiled oven cooks pizzas in about 3 minutes, ensuring guests get to the show on time, said Richey.
The menu also includes salads, house-made pastas and sharable dishes. It serves wine, beer and spirits that can be enjoyed at the long 20-seat counter or at one of eight tables.
The Eccles Theater's second restaurant space, a few doors south of Fireside, will be home to Pretty Bird, a restaurant featuring Nashville-style hot chicken and owned by Utah chef Viet Pham, one of the co-founders of the now-closed Forage. It is expected to open in early summer, said Lara Fritts, Salt Lake City's director of economic development.
"Both restaurants," she said, "are a nice addition to our downtown offerings."
On the east side of Regent Street another 10 food and dining spaces are available. Nine are on the street level of the Regent Street Parking Plaza, which is owned by Property Reserve Inc., the real-estate affiliate of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The last street-level space is in the former Utah Power & Light building on 100 South and Regent. The corner building is owned by Taubman Properties, which operates City Creek Center, including the mall's two national chain restaurants The Cheesecake Factory and Brio Tuscan Grille. As a private entity, Taubman allows restaurants to operate with a Utah state liquor license, while PRI does not.
"We are excited about the interest we're seeing in Regent Street," said Dale Bills, PRI's director of communications and marketing, noting that active negotiations are under way on all spaces, with some tenants taking more space than a single unit.
"The retail spaces are all targeted for food: fast casual, desserts and treats or sit-down restaurants," he said. "We are talking to local food operators about concepts they may want to open on Regent Street. We are also in discussion with national operators who could bring some concepts new to Utah."
First on Regent Street
Fireside on Regent, which specializes in wood-fired pizza and artisan pasta, is the first restaurant to open on the newly redeveloped Regent Street.
Where • 126 S. Regent St., Salt Lake City; 801-359-4011. Does not take reservations.
When • Open Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to close; Sunday, 5 p.m. to close
Details • firesideonregent.com
Prices • $9-$23