Western Gourmet: Savor Salt Lake
TV star Guy Fieri uncovers hidden gems in a surprising foodie town.
Photography: Michael Friberg
Every week, the dirt-bike-riding chef with spiky, bleach-blond hair takes viewers on a rollicking ride throughout the United States to find “classic greasy spoons” on his popular Food Network show, Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. He’s traveled thousands of miles, from Alabama to Wisconsin, Connecticut to Oregon, finding mom and pop joints that are preserving American culture one funky eatery at a time. But the California-based culinary adventurer has found a somewhat surprising promised land in terms of daring dining: Salt Lake City, Utah.
The town better known for its twin peaks, tabernacle, and namesake lake also turns out to be a good bet for good dining. Which may not be that astounding, considering Guy Fieri’s theory that better food can often be found in really hot or really cold climates — anywhere people have to spend a fair amount of time indoors cooking and eating. Salt Lake City experiences both extremes, from hot, salt-flat summers to sub-zero, snowy winters. And the residents know a thing or two about food on the fringe.
“I enjoy Western dives because the owners can be outrageous and very individual,” Fieri says. “They really appreciate good food and go all out to prepare it.” As for Salt Lake City, which he has declared one of his favorite food destinations, he’s found that the diners and drive-ins offer a surprising level of diversity, with hundreds of inventive fast-food offerings. We asked Fieri to share some of his most mouthwatering finds. From fish tacos and mole negro to barbecue and cheese steaks, there’s a little something to make everyone feel welcome at the table, whether or not you call this mountain town home.
Lone Star Taqueria
What caught Guy’s eye: In front of the lime-green building — which is encircled by a fence topped with upturned cowboy boots — is a stickered station wagon sporting a shark’s fin that unironically proclaims, “Fresh Fish Tacos.”
What makes his mouth water: Carne adovada tacos. Thinly sliced pork butt is marinated with California and New Mexico chile powders, garlic powder, whole cloves, cumin, cayenne pepper, bay leaves, salt, and a whole lot of vegetable oil, then slow roasted until the meat is perfectly tender.
Come back for: The salmon tacos, which are topped with shredded cabbage, fresh cilantro, and diced onion and tomato, then served with a healthy dollop of the house jalapeño mayonnaise.
Biggest challenge: Parking and seating can be tight, so go early, carpool, or plan on taking your time and making some friends in line.
Where to find it: 2265 E. Fort Union Blvd., 801.944.2300, www.lonestartaqueria.com