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There will be no revival for Salt Lake City's Lamb's Grill.
The iconic downtown restaurant is being gutted, although pieces of its 100-year-old history will live on.
The antique bar, booths and other furnishings will reappear in a new Utah County restaurant sometime next year, and there is a possibility the street-level space at 169 S. Main St. could be remodeled for a new eatery, Lamb's owner John Speros said Friday.
The restaurant's wooden bar and mirrors as well as art deco booths, tables, wainscoting and even kitchen doors were sold to Jim Leany, a Brigham Young University graduate and a third-generation restaurant owner from Colorado.
The deal was signed June 30 for a price neither seller nor buyer was willing to disclose.
Leany said the furniture will be "dismantled piece by piece and refreshed," then moved into his planned restaurant, Tru Religion Pancake and Steakhouse, in the Midtown 360 project in Orem. The breakfast-only restaurant, which will not serve alcohol, is expected to open in 2018.
The large pieces of kitchen equipment have been sold to a restaurant supply business, and everything else from the plates and glasses to the silverware and salt and pepper shakers will be donated to Catholic Community Services to help refugees begin a new life.
"The deal is done and they are starting to haul things away," Speros said. "In a week or so, there won't be a lot left."
Lamb's Grill, one of Utah's oldest and best-known restaurants, was originally opened by George P. Lamb in 1919 in Logan and moved in 1939 to its location in Salt Lake City. Known for its old-school booths, white-linen tablecloths and ornate wooden counter, it was a favorite spot for Salt Lake City's power brokers to have a bowl of lentil soup or a cup of coffee.
Selling off the restaurant in parts is the worst scenario for Speros, who, along with his father, Ted, operated the venerable eatery for more than seven decades before selling in 2011.
Almost from the beginning, the new owners had personal and financial struggles. The problems came to a head in 2016, when the owners failed to file proper papers and lost their state liquor license. In April, when they were unable to meet financial obligations, the business reverted to the Speros family members, who searched for a new owner before deciding to sell the contents of the restaurant.
"Financially, no one wins in this deal," Speros said.
On Friday, carpenters had started dismantling the red oak tables and booths, revealing the original manufacturing labels that read "Salt Lake Cabinet Co. 1917."
Leany, whose family owns five restaurants in Colorado including the Pufferbelly Station Restaurant in Grand Junction and Starvin' Arvin truck stop eateries in Clifton, Delta, Fruita and Montrose is thrilled to be preserving a small part of Utah's dining history.
"These booths and tables are like a Pierce-Arrow," he said, referring to expensive cars made in the early 1900s. "They are the era of Al Capone and art deco. We want the character of the years to stay."
As for Speros who is thinking about writing a book about the history of Lamb's Grill the gutting of the restaurant in which he grew up has been emotional. When he thinks about "the time invested by Mr. Lamb, my father and myself, that is 100 years and three lives," he said. "It's hard to watch that disappear."