Friday, July 27, 2012

Johnny Rockets and BRIO Tuscan Grill Coming to City Creek

So what new restaurants can we expect to join City Creek Center? Some of Salt Lake's foodies are commenting on Facebook their disappointment that the upcoming eateries are, once again, chains.
I like Johnny Rocket's, and I like BRIO Tuscan Grill, both slated to open. And yes, I even like Cheesecake Factory, probably the best-known restaurant when City Creek debuted in downtown Salt Lake a few months ago.  But I'd also like to see a few independent restaurants open up shop so that visitors can enjoy some local flavors as well. 

While I was the food editor at the Deseret News, I would chat with food writers and cookbook authors passing through town on book tours, writing assignments or vacations.  When they asked about places to eat, they were all interested in trying some of the "uniquely Utah" places they had heard about — The Lion House as Brigham Young's historic home, Pago, the Red Iguana, the New Yorker, even Hires Big H. None of them asked for directions to the nearest Cheesecake Factory or Olive Garden.  

But then again, a lot of people like the familiarity of a chain restaurant — that's why there are so many of them. You know what to expect. 
Still, it would be nice to see more local restaurants at City Creek, with menus beyond sandwiches. I like Blue Lemon's upscale vibe and its butternut squash soup, but it's still a fast-casual, order-at-the-counter place. 
Maybe the dearth of local hot spots is an advantage to established restaurateurs, as people looking for a change from chains will venture across the street and find places like Martine and Cafe Molise. 

Anyway, Johnny Rockets is coming in November.  An international restaurant chain offering the food, fun and friendliness of feel-good Americana since 1986, Johnny Rockets offers classic burgers and sandwiches, hand-spun shakes and American fries served with the trademarked “ketchup smiley face.” The juke box plays oldies and the staff will break out in a dance routine every so often. 
BRIO Tuscan Grille serves northern Italian cuisine in a Tuscan villa atmosphere. It's more upscale than Olive Garden but still reasonably priced.  The menu features wood-grilled and oven-roasted steaks, chops and seafood as well as made-to-order pastas, inspired appetizers, pizza, and salads. 


Clark said...

Ate at the Johnny Rocket's at Station Park in Farmington and was very unimpressed.

Clark said...

I ate at the Johnny Rocket's at Station Park in Farmington and was very unimpressed. I'll stick to 5 Guys!