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Looking for Dives in Salt Lake City

Hey everyone,
I'm taking a vacation soon to Salt Lake City and would love some suggestions on where to eat. I'm definately not going to Olive Garden or Burger King so if you could direct me towards more of a non-chain, one of a kind, home-made kind of place that would be great. I'm feeling Diners, Drive-ins and Dives style; any recommendations?

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  1. For a cheap, but really good burger, we love B & D Burgers
    222 S 1300 E
    Salt Lake City, UT 84102
    Phone: (801) 582-7200
    Try the bacon bleu cheese burger. Fries are good, too.

    For a good gyro, especially their pork souvlaki gyro along with fries, we love Mad Greek--
    4504 S 900 E
    Salt Lake City, UT 84117
    Phone: (801) 266-4501

    There are other Mad Greek restaurants around the valley, but I can't vouch for their quality. We like this one, though.

    Cancun Cafe serves yummy carnitas for about 8 bucks that we love, along with good fajitas, and pretty good chimichangas. Make sure and ask them for their hot salsa. It is smoky and spicy and great on the gratis chips.
    Cancun Cafe
    1891 Fort Union Blvd
    Salt Lake City, UT 84121
    (801) 942-1333

    We love love love Nielsen's Frozen Custard
    3918 Highland Dr, Holladay - (801) 277-7479
    The frozen custard is like eating velvet. I like the vanilla, but the chocolate is great, too.

    Those top our list of cheap eats here in beautiful SLC!

    1. For the best garlic burger in town go to the Cotton Bottom (2820 E 6200 S) or the Busy Bee (2100 S State St), the recipes are very similar (used to have same owner).
      For a killer cheese steak go to Moochie's (232 East 800 South), and maybe check out some of their pottery.
      For tasty Tibetan try Cafe Shambala ( 382 4TH Ave).
      The Himalayan Kitchen (73 E. 400 South) has a tasty lunch buffet.
      Good wings can be found at the Wing Coop (3971 Wasatch Boulevard or 4095 S Redwood Road) or Trolley Wing Company (500 Trolley Sq).
      Rusted Sun (2010 S. State) and Wasatch Pizza (multiple locations) make a good pie or calzone.
      For a great bar try X Wife's Place (465 S 700 E) or the Republican (917 South State Street).
      For breakfast you gotta try the Left Fork Grill (65 W. 3900 South); fresh, homemade everything, including the best pie in town made first thing that morning, plus decent coffee.
      There's also great mexican, indian and greek all over the place.
      Go to any of the greek diners and get a pastrami burger, you won't regret it (maybe).

      1 Reply
      1. re: funklight

        I second Cotton Bottom, the Garlic Burger is YUMMY!!! ( 21 and up only keep in mind)

        I love Moochies cheese steak but I always ask for light onions. (I love onions, but love steak more and as is, they are a little overkill)

        A MUST is RED IGUANA, but go early, like RIGHT when they open it is always busy. The best mexican hands down. (my fave is the Shrimp Sonora or something like that)

        Down in Utah County is a place called Marlys - Gourmet Sliders. I was a little skeptical, but they have not let me down. I love the signature slider with their homemade buffalo sauce, blue cheese, and bacon.. all on a homemade honey burger bun. They serve shoestring potatoes. (getting hungry thinking about it!) It is located inside the Harley Davidson in Lindon.

        There is a great mediterranean place called Cafe Med in south SLC or maybe that is taylorsville? But just south of SLC. Really good food, and definitely a dive. lol.

      2. Molca Salsa by REI for a great greasy 24-hour burrito joint. And Lone Star Taqueria at the base of Little Cottonwood Canyon for fish tacos. They're not 24-hour but so good.

        1. Este Pizza in Sugarhouse. You've got to try Nobrow Coffee at 315 E 300 S. Not really food but certainly within your parameters :)

          1. If you're in the downtown area, you should definitely stop by Crown Burger at some point and get the signature Crown Burger, which is a huge pastrami cheeseburger. There are two locations downtown, so one of them should be within walking distance. You might also want to check out the Rio Grande Cafe. It's an old style American Mexican cafe in a historic train depot in a fairly sketchy part of downtown (not really dangerous, but not at all glamorous). Somebody is likely going to recommend the Red Iguana, and I'll go along with that as well, but it can be extremely busy on some nights. If you're on Main Street, you could stop by Lamb's. It's Utah's oldest restaurant. It's not a dive, but it has an aged quality to it, and Main Street is one huge construction zone now, so it might feel more like a dive than it ever has in the past.

            1. For breakfast, try the Over the Counter cafe. It has that diner feel to it. Nothing spectacular, but hearty fare. It's just north of the intersection of 3300 South and 2300 East, on 2300 East.
              For a non-garlic burger, you can try Hires Big H, at 300 south and 400 East. It's a classic drive-in. Good burger buns. And, if you want, it has a pretty good veggie burger. Hires Root beer, yum.

              2 Replies
              1. re: scabbardgirl

                How seredipitous...I'm going to SLC this weekend and it's just the kind of stuff I'm looking for. But I have to add one more criteria: we will have a dog with us...any places where we can sit outside with our pooch?

                1. re: pastoralia

                  I absolutely LOVE The Avenues Bakery on 500 East and South Temple. They do an amazing breakfast AND lunch and they have a small patio. It's definitely not a "dive" but it is reasonably priced for both breakfast and lunch and you should definitely be able to bring your pooch.

              2. I wish I had seen this board before I went to SLC. There are some places here I would have loved to try!

                1. I realize this is an old post, but the Red Iguana has actually been on Diners, Drive Ins and Dives!

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: LurkerDan

                    What would you consider the definition of a dive? The term always intrigues me, in my mind I wouldn't want to eat in a dive, it has fairly negative connotation for me.

                    I like Red Iguana, but not sure I'd call it a dive?


                    1. re: gringo_stu

                      I think a reasonable definition of a "dive" would be an establishment that looks pretty seedy from the outside. The food might be terrific (see, Red Iguana), but one wouldn't be able to discern that from the exterior appearance. Other charms like graffiti on the walls (the Pie) or antiquated furniture (Blue Plate Diner) might also help classify a place as a dive.