Two food businesses close; and Salt Lake City grill company will expand

(Photo courtesy of Mazza Mediterranean) The pandemic has forced the owner of Mazza Mediterranean to close his restaurant at 10660 S. State St. in Sandy.

Ali Sabbah, the owner of Mazza Mediterranean restaurants, announced in July that he would close his cafe in Salt Lake City’s 9th and 9th neighborhood for good.

But he planned to keep operating his new Sandy location — as well as the original Mazza at 1515 S. 1500 East in Salt Lake City.

The pandemic has changed those plans.

On Friday, Sabbah announced on Facebook that he was permanently closing his newest eatery at 10660 S. State St. in Sandy.

“With the current climate in the world, especially for restaurants during the Covid-19 pandemic, we have been unable to sustain the business needed to keep our doors open at our newest location,” he wrote. “We will still remain open at our original location at 15th & 15th and will continue to serve the people of Salt Lake City as we always have: with love and the utmost care.”

Tamale shop to shutter

The owner of Tamales Tita also announced this week that he soon will be closing his business.

This is devastating news for those who frequented the Murray and South Jordan farmers markets. Alin Olmos has been one of the most popular vendors, selling chicken, pork and beef — as well a jalapeno and cheese and sweet cream-filled — tamales for years.

“This Pandemic has hurt us,” Olmos wrote on Facebook. “Winter time has always been hard for us, but at least we started with a cushion from the farmer’s markets.”

In 2020, food vendors were not allowed to participate in farmers markets. Olmos tried to survive this summer on special orders and takeout, but was forced to look for other work. He has found a new job as a loan processor.

He will sell the last of his tamales — frozen so they can be saved and cooked for Christmas — until they run out.

Traeger Pellet Grills expanding

Traeger Pellet Grills will expand its Utah operations into Salt Lake City’s up-and-coming Granary District, a project that is expected to create 120 new high-paying jobs.

Currently located in Sugar House, Traeger — which makes pellet grills for smoking food — will make a capital investment of $24 million for its new headquarters, according to the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED). The company also could earn more than $880,000 in tax rebates over the next seven years.

“We’re glad to have such a well-known product headquartered in our own backyard,” Val Hale, GOED executive director, said in a news release. “A unique part of this new expansion is that its new facility will be located in an Opportunity Zone, which will help revitalize the Granary District of downtown Salt Lake.”

New liquor store opens Monday

The new liquor store in Saratoga Springs will open Nov. 16 at 11 a.m. — just in time for the busy holiday season.

It is the 48th state-run store and is located on a 2-acre site at 1285 N. Exchange Drive.

Like its newer siblings in Herriman and Syracuse, this Utah County store is designed to be energy-efficient and uses eco-friendly technologies to lower operating costs, the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control has said.

These newer stores also offer consumers wider aisles for shopping and single line queuing at checkout, which helps to avoid the long lines that often wind through the product aisles of older stores.

The Saratoga Springs store does have one unique feature: a “premium products room” that displays rare products in individually lit windows.

One thing missing from the new store — and all state-run liquor stores — is a way to refrigerate the beer that is sold. It was one of the top customer complaints in a recent DABC store survey.

Curry for Caregivers 2.0

Chef Katie Weinner — who got dinner-delivery props from state epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn on Twitter this week — is relaunching her Curry for Caregivers program.

Weinner, the owner of SLC POP, launched the meal donation program in March, shortly after COVID-19 hit. She delivered 60 healthy meals over six weeks to doctors, nurses and other health care workers.

“It’s a great way to support small business,” she said, “and our local caregivers.”

Donations to help cover food costs for this new 2.0 version can be made at gofundme.com/f/curry-for-caregivers-20.