Ogden • In Ogden, when you ask where to hang out after a local event, or where to grab a casual bite and beer, you’re likely to hear Slackwater Pub & Pizzeria on the top of the list of suggestions. On Washington Boulevard next to the Ogden River, Slackwater offers fine pizzas, pub snacks and possibly the best beer selection in northern Utah.
Most seating at Slackwater is in an indoor/outdoor covered patio with rolling garage doors and firepits. Live music is common on the weekends, and the casual vibe encourages diners to sit and stay awhile.
Take a turn through the beer menu with more than 130 options, including all the local breweries from Squatters and Uinta to Epic Brewing in addition to regional, national and international choices. A white house-made sangria was refreshing on a warm summer afternoon seated by the river, while mimosas are featured during brunch on Sunday.
In its food, Slackwater uses high-end, quality ingredients so even pub classics such as nachos and chips and salsa come with a kicky chimichurri cream sauce and crisp handmade tortilla chips.
Pizzas run along the gourmet line with options such as the Taste of the Islands ($14) with tequila-shrimp ceviche and a cilantro and lime cream or the chicken marsala ($13) with shredded chicken, cremini and button mushrooms and a creamy wild mushroom sauce. There are also nods to more traditional combinations, such as the Pig & Pina ($11, ham and pineapple), the simple margherita ($12) or the heart-stoppingly good Cardiac Arrest ($12) with just about every kind of meat including pepperoni, herbed sausage, smoked ham and peppered bacon over marinara and three cheeses. Any pizza can be turned into a calzone for $1 extra, and is served with a side of marinara sauce.
At a casual joint like this, the pizza crust can make or break the restaurant. Here, I enjoyed several perfectly prepared crispy, bubbly crusts and one that came out a bit limp. Because the pizza comes with a generous amount of toppings, a substantial-yet-not-doughy delivery method is required. Slackwater has hit upon a successfully firm, but crisp, crust recipe.
If you’re looking for healthier options, salads are fresh and plentiful. The Slackwater house ($5 half, $7.50 full) offers a smart mix of greens topped with plenty of juicy tomatoes, crunchy cucumbers and shredded carrots and a choice of dressing. The Hail Caesar ($5 half, $7.50 full) featured crisp romaine lettuce along with asiago cheese, sundried tomatoes and the highlight of this dish, the herby, crunchy croutons. (Chicken or shrimp can be added to either for $1.50-$3.)
If a table of appetizers and a round of beers are more your dining style, then Slackwater delivers. Nate’s buffalo chicken wings ($10) were well-marinated before being cooked and sauced with a house-made spicy honey buffalo sauce. Tangy yet sweet, with a hint of heat, the skin had enough bite to it without being oily, and meat was actually present on these wings. Celery and a slightly watery gorgonzola/bleu cheese sauce were served alongside.
Dining with regulars, we were steered toward the smoked pork chile-verde nachos ($9), but as we neared closing time on a weeknight, they appeared as a mound of dried-out pork, soggy chips and partially melted cheese. Even our guests declared them a failure that particular evening.
Fortunately, the Spin & Art ($8, spinach and artichoke dip) delivered on the promise of artichoke hearts, fresh spinach and roasted garlic blended with plenty of creamy cheese and made accessible with more of the house-made tortilla chips.
Slackwater offers several cheeky choices for dessert. We waffled between the dessert calzone called Beautiful Disaster ($7.50) filled with peanut butter, Nutella, banana slices and mascarpone cheese or the 2nd Ward Delight ($7.50). The latter, basically a chocolate custard and cream-cheese pie with a graham-cracker crust topped with whipped cream and caramel sauce, was a disappointing and gloppy ending to an otherwise stellar evening.
Service at Slackwater is relaxed but not inattentive. We weren’t in a hurry either time I visited, so the pace was conducive to chatting with friends, but anyone in a rush might have been left wanting. Regardless, the servers were knowledgeable about the food and beverages and, when asked questions about specific seasonings or preparations, returned with detailed answers on their next check-in.
Slackwater Pub & Pizzeria has seemingly hit on the perfect combination of ideal location, fun atmosphere and above-average food that keeps Ogden residents coming back for more and visitors (like me) surprised and satisfied.
Slackwater Pub and Pizzeria
Food • HH
Mood • HH
Service • Hhj
Noise • bbb
A fun, casual pub and pizzeria serving appetizers, salads and gourmet pizzas along the Ogden River. Don’t miss the selection of more than 130 beers as well.
Location • 1895 Washington Blvd., Ogden; 801-399-0637
Online • www.slackwaterpizzeria.com
Hours • Open Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m.–10 p.m.
Children’s menu • No
Prices • $
Liquor • Beer and wine
Corkage • $15
Reservations • Yes for Sunday brunch only; no reservations after 6 p.m.
Takeout • Yes
Wheelchair access • Yes
Outdoor dining • Yes
On-site parking • Yes
Credit cards • All major