Jose Davila IV: Here to tell the west-side stories that wouldn’t otherwise be told

I want to tell stories about what matters to you and your neighbors. Send me your questions and the topics you want to see covered. And, of course, your west-side food recommendations.

(Chris Samuels | The Salt Lake Tribune) Jose Davila IV joined The Salt Lake Tribune as the news outlet's west-side communities reporter last month.

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On Friday night, tired from a long week that included a Salt Lake County Council meeting about horse manure and an 8 a.m. DMV appointment to get Utah license plates, I decided to skirt my cooking responsibilities and meander over to the industrial half of Glendale.

There, in a dark, unassuming strip mall nestled between a flooring company and a water equipment supplier, I found Horn of Africa Restaurant, thanks to a recommendation from west-side Salt Lake City Council member Alejandro Puy. Late in the evening, the restaurant was empty, other than a woman in a hijab working in the back of the kitchen. I ordered at the front and grabbed a seat to admire the vivid interior murals of the Somali coast.

I could not have been more impressed by my first taste of Somali cuisine. My dish of choice was chicken kati kati: bite-size pieces of chicken dusted in red spices and tossed on a bed of chewy chapati flatbread soaked in a yellow curry.

The flatbread, originally an import from India, evokes the rich seafaring trading history of Somalia.

You can find it, and many other international delicacies, amid the rumbling tanker trucks and twisting railroad lines of the west side. As the new west-side communities reporter for The Salt Lake Tribune, I want to tell stories about those contrasting realities of living on the west side of the Salt Lake Valley.

I’m here to report what’s happening on the west side as residents and local governments look to remedy long-standing quality-of-life issues, prepare for projected population growth and wrestle with rising costs of living. I also want to connect west-siders to their neighbors through stories about unique local businesses like Horn of Africa and profiles of people doing interesting work. There’s no shortage of stories like those.

I come to Salt Lake City after a stint at KUNR Public Radio in Reno, Nevada. While there, I covered K-12 education, reporting on topics ranging from English language education in classes to a middle school robotics team that helps kids with their reading skills. I speak Spanish and bring audio production skills with me, so I aim to deliver stories in those formats, too.

While I’m a tad sad to be leaving education, I’m incredibly excited to be on such a diverse beat where I can write about a range of topics that affect the lives of west-siders. I’ve already contributed stories about water quality in the Jordan River watershed, transportation and parks.

I came here to grow as a reporter, learn from community members like you and tell stories that otherwise wouldn’t be told.

Let’s connect.

Please reach out to me at jdavila4@sltrib.com, on X, formerly known as Twitter, at @joserdavila4 or on Instagram at @josedavila4.news with any questions, story ideas and, especially, tips on the west side’s best food.