More space, same winning fare at Sage’s Cafe new Salt Lake City location
By Kathy Stephenson
The Salt Lake TribuneFirst published Mar 11 2014 11:14AM
With more than double the seating, an open floor plan with windows and a side room that can accommodate large groups, Sage’s Cafe looks nothing like its former self.
Until, that is, customers open the menu and see the carrot-butter paté, mushroom stroganoff and other familiar items that made Sage’s one of Salt Lake City’s favorite vegetarian restaurants.
"There’s so much more room, and I like the booths," customer Allison Duke said last week after having lunch in the new space at 234 W. 900 South. "In the other place, you felt like you were eating in someone’s one-bedroom apartment."
Owner Ian Brandt said he moved Sage’s from its original home at 473 E. 300 South after being unable to renew his lease with his landlord — who also owns Dick N’ Dixie’s bar next door.
Brandt selected the 60-year-old Jade Cafe on 900 South, one of the city’s oldest restaurant structures, for a new home. It’s next to the 900 South Trax stop and near a few other restaurants and bars in Salt Lake City’s Central 9th business district, including No Brow Coffee Works and Club Try-Angles.
After a three-month remodel, Sage’s Cafe reopened in mid-January, with seating for 110. The new building boasts more parking and is handicapped accessible, two things lacking in the previous location.
It also has a larger kitchen with room for a deep-fryer — something that couldn’t fit in the original 300 South kitchen.
"We’re now able to serve pommes frites with roasted garlic aioli and polenta fries with a house-made ketchup," said Brandt, who also operates Vertical Diner and Cali’s Natural Foods. Cafe SuperNatural, the restaurant Brandt opened two years ago in Trolley Square, closed at the end of January.
The new Sage’s Cafe also has a large private dining room, which Brandt has dubbed the Jade Room as a nod to the building’s history. It is available for private parties and events.
Brandt is waiting to finish the bar area inside the Jade Room in case lawmakers repeal the state’s "Zion Curtain" law. Brandt said he could save money if he didn’t have to build a structure to keep alcohol mixing and pouring out of view of minors.
While the new location is bright and cheery, Mary Catrow has mixed feelings about the move.
"I worked at the old place so I’m sentimental," she said. "I liked the front window, hardwood floors and quaint atmosphere. But moving will really be great for this area."