Of all the ways Utahns differentiate themselves from people from elsewhere, one wouldn’t think the definition of “scone” would be one of them. And one would be wrong.
People in the rest of the world — particularly in the British Isles — consider a scone to be a crumbly tea biscuit, usually slathered in clotted cream (or, more commonly in the States, butter or margarine).
But, as The Salt Lake Tribune reported in 2006, that’s not the Utah definition of a scone.
In Utah, scones are more akin to sopapillas or fry bread, “hot, greasy, golden brown and sometimes the size of a Frisbee,” and traditionally served with honey butter.
Utah scones are much loved in many quarters, and sometimes laughed at, as The Tribune reported in 1999. Even outsiders have been impressed; for example, in 2010, Food Network called Utah scones “the best breakfast.”
For years, Utahns had a ready source for scones: The Sconecutter chain of fast-food restaurants. But the chain, which once boasted 11 locations in Utah, is no more. The Salt Lake City location shuttered in 2018, and caught fire in 2020; the last of the chain’s locations, in Sandy, closed last year.
Another place known for its scones, Johanna’s Kitchen in Sandy, closed in December 2015, after a gas leak caused an explosion and fire that gutted the restaurant.
An adventurous eater can still find Utah scones, if one knows where to look. Here are six restaurants where the Utah version of the scone is a highlight of the menu.
154 S. Main St., Heber City; 435-654-1771; facebook.com/chickscafe1771.
This restaurant’s buzz phrase is “where people eat by choice, not by chance.” Their specialty is chicken-fried steak, but people also go there for traditional Utah scones, for $3.25 apiece. Rather than being served with honey butter proper, they come with honey and butter served separately, on the side.
Midvale Mining Cafe
390 W. 7200 South, Midvale; 801-255-5511; midvaleminingcafecatering.com.
This cafe opened in 1985, and serves scones with honey butter on the side. They serve at least a couple of hundred scones a day, and more on the weekends. They also use their scones — priced at $2.95 each — for Navajo tacos, but only during the cold months. Keep up with what’s currently on the menu through their Facebook page.
447 E. 3300 South, South Salt Lake; 801-466-2860, ordernavajohogan.com.
As The Tribune’s Kathy Stephenson noted in 2006, Utah scones are basically fry bread. In addition to several hearty versions of the Navajo taco, including traditional and veggie versions, Navajo Hogan serves both plain and sweet fry bread — and both are a nice complement to the mutton stew, served on Saturdays.
Penny Ann’s Cafe
Three locations: 1810 S. Main, Salt Lake City; 1856 W. 5400 South, Taylorsville; and 280 E. 12300 South, Draper; pennyannscafe.com.
Penny Ann’s is known as “the home of the heavenly hot cakes,” but it’s also a destination for those who prefer scones instead of sour cream flapjacks. Penny Ann’s serves at least two dozen scones per day, priced at $3.95 per scone, and served up with the traditional honey butter.
7-11 Ranch Restaurant
77 E. Main St #2601, Vernal; 435-789-1170; 711ranchrestaurant.com.
Billing itself as “the oldest existing restaurant in Vernal,” 7-11 Ranch started as a hot dog stand in 1933. Today, it serves between 300 and 400 scones a day, according to owner Kam Pope. Yes, scones are essentially frybread, Pope said, “just a little fluffier.” Scones are their main thing, he added, and they use them as the base for Navajo tacos, sandwiches, or as a dessert, dusted in cinnamon and sugar. Plain scones are $1 apiece. (The restaurant has no relation to the many 7-Eleven convenience stores across the country. According to the restaurant, the name comes in part from founder Warren Belcher’s fondness for shooting craps, and because Warren and his wife, Daisy, wanted 11 kids and had seven.)
335 E. Gentile St., Layton; facebook.com/sillscafe
Sill’s also serves lots of scones — 200 to 300 per day — and uses them as the base for Navajo tacos (available on Wednesdays for $10.25), or as a side with soup or salad. For $3.50, you can order a scone with a side of honey butter, or for $5.75, order them as fritters filled or topped with apple, blueberry, cherry, raspberry or strawberry fruit compote. “They’re not small. People are shocked at how big they are,” a server told us when we called. “They’re as big as the plate!”
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