Mozzarella sticks? Check.
Cheese fries? Check.
Those are the tried-and-true menu items at nearly ever bar in the state.
Devil’s Daughter Bar & Grill’s menu is full of pub grub — including fried cheese, cheese fries and cheese-covered chips — but what separates this spacious Salt Lake City bar from most of its competitors is the loving use of a 7-foot-tall smoker.
That’s why smoked pork shoulder, ribs, chicken wings and chicken thighs help to create the backbone of the extensive menu offered at the pub, with reasonably priced, high-quality protein that tastes great when washed down with one of 14 beers on tap.
"There’s a lot of love that goes into that kitchen," said Kiel Howe, a cook who underwent six months of training on the smoker. Every day, he smokes pork for 13 hours, ribs for up to five hours, and chicken for up to four hours.
"I honestly think this is the best bar food in town," he said. "The only place close is The Bayou. Price-wise, we kill them."
Above-average food was part of the vision co-owner Kim Hansen had when she opened Devil’s Daughter in a nondescript close-to-downtown location in May 2011. The building was built in 1907, and once was the home to General Distributing for many years before the company moved to Amelia Earhart Drive near Salt Lake City International Airport. In more recent years, the space has been home to Club Orange and Rib Alley — the latter which explains why a smoker was included in the lease.
Hansen opened the bar when she decided to leave the mortgage business, when "everything went to hell in a handbasket" during the economic downtown. When she was younger, she worked in the kitchen at the now-defunct Zephyr Club as well as at other hotspots and eateries.
The extensive menu is accompanied by daily food specials that includes $1 baby-back ribs on Mondays, $1 smoked-chicken or smoked-pork tacos on Tuesday, 33-cent wings on Wednesday, $1 pulled-pork sandwiches on Thursdays, fish tacos on Fridays, $4 cheeseburger-and-fries combos until 4 p.m. on Saturdays, and $6.50 platters of steak and eggs on the Sabbath. Along with regular events that include Geeks Who Drink, Not Your Grandma’s BINGO, free pool and Texas hold ‘em tournaments and live music on weekends, the clean and well-lit-but-not-too-well-lit pub is a gathering space for a "melting pot" of customers, Hansen said.
Free offerings also include shuffleboard, foosball, the use of 12 big-screen TVs, and a previously unheard-of free jukebox.
The 275-person-occupancy bar focuses so heavily on food that it even has its own exclusive Three-Pepper Temptation barbecue sauce, with chipotle, habanero, and naga bhut jolokia peppers — the latter previously recognized by Guinness World Records as the hottest pepper in the world (until the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion came along). The bottle bears the admonition: "WARNING! Pity the fool who uses too much of this sauce ... Wicked HOT."
The condiments don’t end there — the kitchen also makes it own signature non-spicy barbecue sauce in addition to sweet-and-sticky St. Louis and vinegar-based Memphis barbecue sauces.
But what use is a good menu if the liquor is sub-par? That is not the case at Devil’s Daughter, where the most popular beer is a specially brewed concoction called Devil’s Ale. The bar also serves two of its signature drinks, the vodka-based Blue Devil and rum-based Plantation Punch, both costing $6.50. And if you are truly adventurous, you should try one of the house’s specialty shots, including the alluring cinnamon-oatmeal cookie shot.
The only question left is, Who exactly is the Devil’s Daughter?
"I can neither confirm nor deny that," Hansen said.
Devil’s Daughter Bar & Grill
533 S. 500 West, Salt Lake City
Open seven days a week, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.
No cover, ever
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