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Stir

2330 N. Wahsatch Ave., 418-6188

If the phrase "fresh, vintage-industrial atmosphere" leaves you bereft of a good visual, picture concrete floors, metal bouncy chairs, a classic cash register, reclaimed wood counters, old windows as menus, and sun-soaked auto-garage bay doors as walls.

The Bon Shopping Center's new caffeine shop lacks nothing in design, mood or just plain cool. Black Forest's R&R Coffee Café; provides the beans; Sweet Daphne Confections, much of the sugar; Jackie Conway, the pies; and owner Sabrena Soong makes her own quiches. My slice ($3.75) of sun-dried tomato-Swiss-artichoke quiche was a touch briny, but moist and nicely doughy. A cookie ($2) came absurdly packed with white chocolate chips and dried cranberries, and a gluten-free granola bar ($2.50) was super-peanut-buttery, with oats, pecans and almonds. A custom 16-ounce espresso drink ($3.55) with cinnamon-steamed milk and honey played nicely coffee-forward, not too sweet. — Matthew Schniper

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Cheddar's Casual Café

11136 Rampart Hills View, 262-7100, cheddars.com

The fact that Cheddar's is owned by two private equity firms is evident everywhere you look; the whole place comes together like a mismatched "greatest hits" album. Start with its generic name, which features the "casual café" tag even though the servers wear ties.

Inside, the interior's built like a beach house on the bones of an old factory — pastel colors, a fish tank and palm-frond ceiling fans mixed with the urbanity of dim lighting and exposed brick. And while the service varies between fine and completely absent, the food's even more scattered — find me another menu that includes baked spaghetti, baby-back ribs and New Orleans-style pasta (with "homemade" hung on every third item).

From what we tried, the Key West chicken and shrimp ($10.49), and chicken pot pie ($7.69) were both OK: the former lukewarm and a little rubbery, and the latter over-salted and kind of bland, but with nice, big peas. — Bryce Crawford

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Slice Pizzeria

2301/2 Pueblo Ave., 377-7786

Slice is the kind of place that, whether its food is good or not, you wish all the best. When we visited, co-owner Kay Poll was running around by herself, but found enough time to 1) tell us she ran a similar restaurant in Michigan for 10 years; 2) note that Slice is cash-only, and that she hopes to change that in the next few months, but that there was an ATM at Zodiac next door and she was sorry; and 3) peel back the covering on a battered pot full of rising dough to show us where it comes from.

Once the 16-inch Deluxe ($16) arrived in medium square pieces, that dough, rolled thin, made for a pretty good crust. The pizza itself was a little one-note — the mix of pepperoni, Italian sausage, bacon, green peppers and mushrooms ached for any individual flavor to stand out — but did the job. For their part, the hot wings ($6), messily served on a paper plate, by turns tasted too much of butter and vinegar and were on the small side. — Bryce Crawford


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