Lamb’s Grill — which has been vacant for nearly three years — has been leased to a new Utah restaurant owner.
Selveraj Sellamuthu said his new “Indian grill” does not yet have an official name, but it is expected to open in March for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The Salt Lake City software engineer said he signed a lease in December and, this week, received the necessary building permits from Salt Lake City. Remodeling should start soon on the street-level spot at 169 S. Main St.
Sellamuthu said he currently owns businesses, including a restaurant, in South India, where he was born and raised. While he is relatively new to Utah — he moved to Salt Lake City in 2016 — he is aware of the Lamb’s Grill history and its place as one of Utah’s oldest and best-known restaurants.
Originally opened by George P. Lamb in 1919 in Logan, Lamb’s Grill moved in 1939 to Salt Lake City’s Main Street and became known for its old-school booths, white-linen tablecloths and ornate wooden counter. It also was a favorite spot for Utah power players to have a bowl of lentil soup or a cup of coffee.
New owners took over the operation in 2011 but struggled both financially and personally.
After divorcing in 2014, they failed to submit the proper papers to the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control and lost a state license that allowed alcohol to be served. It was the final straw, and the restaurant ultimately closed in May 2017.
John Speros — who along with a sister still own the building — sold all the antique furniture to another restaurateur. The antiques, including the booths and bar, have since been restored and are now part of the Tru Religion Pancake and Steakhouse in Orem.
Sellamuthu said the gutted Main Street space will allow for the creation of a brand-new kitchen and decor. He plans to lighten up the once-dark interior with new paint and furniture, and make the necessary updates to meet safety and Americans with Disabilities Act standards.
He also plans to apply for a full-service restaurant liquor license from the DABC so wine, beer and cocktails can be served with meals.
While his menu is in the works, Sellamuthu hopes to set himself apart from other Indian restaurants in Salt Lake City by serving some items on banana leaves — a common culinary practice in South India. While the leaves are not consumed, purists say serving food on the large green pads adds flavor and fragrance to a dish.