While Utah’s dining scene has seen plenty of new restaurants and food trucks open, some of our favorite eateries, unfortunately, closed their doors during the past 12 months.
The reasons are almost always financial, caused by an array of factors — from disagreements with landlords and business partners to mechanical issues and even changing consumer tastes.
So as the new year approaches, let’s take one last culinary trip and remember these eight Salt Lake City restaurants that bid farewell in 2018.
Sage’s Cafe • Salt Lake City’s original vegan restaurant quietly closed its doors in late September after nearly 20 years in business. The restaurant originally opened in 1999 at 473 E. 300 South, where it stayed for 14 years before the landlord forced owner Ian Brandt to move. Sage’s reopened in the old Jade Cafe location on 900 South. Then it moved again earlier this year to 358 E. 100 South. But it was short-lived. While Sage’s may be gone, its sister eatery, Vertical Diner — which has taken over the second Sage’s spot at 234 W. 900 South — will offer some favorites from its menu.
MacCool’s Public House • It’s unclear when or why this Irish-inspired restaurant — known for its fish and chips and lamb rib appetizers — shut down. But the popular spot, 1400 Foothill Drive, has already been taken over by new owners. It soon will be the second location for Black Sheep Bar and Grill, a West Jordan sports bar. The owners recently bought the bar license previously held by Scallywags, which also has closed.
Sea Salt • This Italian restaurant at 1709 E. 1300 South was abruptly shuttered just before Valentine’s Day. One day, customers were enjoying the pizza and pastas created by chef/owner Eric DeBonis; the next day, the breezy restaurant, with its open kitchen and marble bar, was closed for good. James Dumas, the former executive chef at Park City’s High West Distillery, and his wife, Kris, have taken over the space and recently opened One-0-Eight, a casual neighborhood bistro named after the area’s ZIP code — 84108.
Chow Truck • The food truck that launched Salt Lake City’s mobile eating scene eight years ago closed in June. Co-owners J. and Megan Looney attributed the closure to some “unforeseen mechanical problems” with the bright yellow truck decorated with a fire-breathing dragon logo. Paying for a major repair proved impossible. The Looneys have continued to cater events through the Chow Truck name and their private chef company.
Black Sheep at Epic Brewing • This popular Sugar House eatery combined the American Indian, Mexican and Southwestern cuisine of the Black Sheep Cafe (not related to the sports bar mentioned above) with the top-rated beers from Utah’s Epic Brewing. The two dining powerhouses amicably parted ways in August, about two years after opening at 1048 E. 2100 South. Owners Bleu and Oak Adams encouraged Salt Lake City fans to visit their original flagship location in Provo. Epic Brewery, which still owns the space, will soon open a bar.
New Yorker • After 40 years in business, this iconic downtown restaurant shut down in October, catching Utah’s dining community off guard. The basement restaurant, at 60 W. Market St., had a 1940s Art Deco elegance, with a stained-glass ceiling and luxurious banquettes — elements that originated in the historic Hotel Utah. It was a special-occasion restaurant where families celebrated important milestones — birthdays, weddings, anniversaries and promotions.
Finca • On Dec. 1, the 6-year-old Spanish tapas restaurant at 327 W. 200 South transformed into George and George Bar, named after the late father of owner Scott Evans. While several factors prompted the transition, Evans said the final straw came after recent changes to Utah liquor laws made it difficult to operate a bar and a restaurant in the same space.
The Dispensary • This cleverly named restaurant— dispensaries are where cannabis is sold in states that have legalized marijuana — specialized in “legal” pot pies and promoted the notion of “food as medicine.” But after four months in business, it closed. A combination of factors — including concept and food — may have led to its demise. The neighboring restaurant, Sweet Lake Biscuits and Limeade, has expanded into the space.