Is Hell’s Backbone Grill worth the drive? Definitely.

Also from Utah Eats: The summer’s first Zoo Brew event, a gin distiller gets a high honor, and new openings.

(Kolbie Peterson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Hell's Backbone Grill in Boulder, Utah, photographed on Saturday, April 27, 2024.

This article is excerpted from the Utah Eats newsletter, compiled by Kolbie Peterson, The Salt Lake Tribune’s food and drink reporter. To get the full newsletter in your inbox every Wednesday, become a subscriber by going to sltrib.com/newsletters.

Hello, Eaters!

Last week, I wrote about the incredible steak I had at Hunt & Gather in Torrey, and how it was absolutely worth the 213-mile drive. This week, I’m writing a final time about my southern Utah trip, describing the very best meal we had on that excursion: at the remote Hell’s Backbone Grill in Boulder.

We had an early reservation for 4 p.m., when the restaurant opened, so I was surprised to see the parking area filling right up when we arrived. A line quickly formed at the front gate, and we all waited there in anticipation.

Once 4 p.m. came, we started filing slowly into the restaurant, crossing a small stream and ducking under Tibetan prayer flags. As we were welcomed by the friendly staff, it felt like we were in store for a special evening.

I came ready to feast, of course, so we started off with an order of the “Blue Ribbon” biscuits ($5), which arrived with whipped sage butter and spiced peach jam ($1.50) — delicious!

I could’ve just eaten biscuits for dinner, but there was more. I ordered a drink called Purple Rain ($16, pictured above) that was a special for that night, made with Temple of the Moon gin (from Utah’s own Waterpocket Distillery), black currants from the Hell’s Backbone farm, fresh squeezed lemon juice, and ginger beer. This lovely sipper was aromatic, zippy and full of flavor.

(Kolbie Peterson | The Salt Lake Tribune) The Purple Rain cocktail from Hell's Backbone Grill in Boulder, Utah, photographed on Saturday, April 27, 2024.

Next we savored some of the “she devil” eggs ($7) and the asparagus with hollandaise (more on that below). For my main entree, I ordered another special, the local beef dinner pie, which I’ll also talk about more below.

For dessert, we ordered the “Baby’s Got the Blues” fudge brownie ($8) with a scoop of organic ice cream ($3). But nothing was sweeter than the post-dinner drive we took out onto the Hogback on Utah Scenic Byway 12 in the nearby Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, where the sides of the narrow highway fell away and we were driving on nothing more than a narrow spine of rock.

Looking over the edge, my stomach did flip-flops in the best way.

Live deliciously,


Food News

Hogle Zoo, at 2600 E. Sunnyside Ave. in Salt Lake City, is holding its first Zoo Brew event of the season on Wednesday, May 22, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. The event is a chance for beer lovers to sip some beer while viewing animals after hours in the new Wild Utah exhibit, which spans 3 acres on the zoo’s east side and features such Utah animals as cougars, bighorn sheep, bobcats and more. Individual tickets to Zoo Brew are $21.95, or you can skip the line for drink tickets and purchase admission plus two drink tickets for $37.95. Zoo Brew is a 21+ event.


Mumbai House, at 2731 E. Parleys Way in Salt Lake City, is planning to open its second and third locations this summer, according to KPCW. Harpal Singh, one of the partners at Mumbai House, plans to open on Main Street in Park City in June, and on Main Street in Tooele by August, KPCW reports.

Mountain Mike’s Pizza is celebrating the grand opening of its Herriman location (14728 S. Marketplace Drive) on Thursday from 3 to 7 p.m. with free pizza, raffles, bounce houses and more, a news release stated. Plus, 40% of the proceeds will go to the Girl Scouts of Utah.


O’Shucks, at 427 Main St. in Park City, is closing after 30 years in business, KPCW reports. Apparently, owners Bruce and Debra Corrigan are consolidating the bar with their O’Shucks The White House location at 628 Park Ave., at the corner of Heber and Park avenues, according to KPCW.

Booze (and Drink!) News

Sara Sergent, master botanical distiller for Park City-based Alpine Distilling, was inducted into the prestigious Gin Guild in London earlier this month, according to a news release. The Gin Guild “brings together gin distillers and industry leaders all involved in the production, promotion, distribution and consumption of gin, in order to promote and encourage commitment to excellence in gin distillation and industry custodianship of the spirit category,” the release said. A selection of Sergent’s gins (including Alpine’s Elevated Gin) are now featured in the top secret Gin Archive, which can be accessed only by invitation and includes more than 5,000 gins, including ones that are hundreds of years old.

High West Distillery, at 27649 Old Lincoln Highway in Wanship, is holding a special Distiller’s Dinner on Saturday, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., for the release of its newest cask-strength bourbon and rye blend whiskey. The night will begin with a tour of the distillery, diving into how this new spirit was made. Dinner and dessert will be held for the group at communal tables, followed by a guided tasting of the cask-strength whiskey. Tickets are $295 each, and can be purchased online.

(Kolbie Peterson | The Salt Lake Tribune) The farm asparagus and hollandaise from Hell's Backbone Grill in Boulder, Utah, photographed on Saturday, April 27, 2024.

(Double) Dish of the Week

This week, I’m designating two dishes as Dish of the Week, since these dinner specials at Hell’s Backbone Grill were both so good.

First up is the farm asparagus and hollandaise ($16, pictured above), featuring asparagus that was picked from the Hell’s Backbone farm literally that morning, and eggs from the owners’ own flock of chickens.

If you’ve only ever had store-bought asparagus, do yourself a favor and try some freshly harvested asparagus. Instead of being woody and tasteless, this asparagus had plenty of snap and tasted like the color green. And the hollandaise on top was velvety and light, zingy from the red pepper flakes.

(Kolbie Peterson | The Salt Lake Tribune) The local beef dinner pie from Hell's Backbone Grill in Boulder, Utah, photographed on Saturday, April 27, 2024.

I liked my local beef dinner pie ($38, pictured above) so much that I forgot to snap a photo before I took a bite. But it was made with a handmade butter crust, local grass-fed beef, tomatillo verde sauce, Yukon potatoes and jack cheese.

I loved cutting through that buttery crust and unearthing chunks of tender beef and potatoes. It was pure comfort food.