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Zion National Park - any suggestions?

I am planning a trip to southern Utah this April and plan to stay in Springdale. Are there any food options? I heard there are slim pickins. Plus, is there anywhere I can get a drink?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.


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  1. Bit and Spur is a worthy option as long as you resist the temptation to apply "big city standards" to it. After a long day of hiking or rockclimbing, a good margarita and some hearty southwest food really hits the spot.

    The Mean Bean is a great coffee and breakfast option.

    Zion is one of the most amazing places I've been. The majesty of the park easily makes up for the paucity of culinary options.

    Have fun!

    1. Springdale has its share of places that serve good, solid food. As climberdoc says, don't apply "big city" standards. We were there last year at the same time as you plan to go, in April.

      We had a good breakfast at the Pioneer Lodge.

      Zion Pizza & Noodle has very good pizza with a variety of tasty toppings. As a bonus, there are several beers on tap. Unlike most parts of Utah, you can get brewskis. It gets pretty crowded here, so be forewarned.

      We also came upon a very good Thai restaurant (Thai Sipa) in the shopping area near the park entrance, but a search on the internet didn't turn anything up. It's possible that they closed its doors.

      As far as the famed bumbleberry pie at the Bumbleberry Restaurant, we were given a tip that a slice of pie can be purchased as the gift store across from the restaurant for half the price you'd pay for it in the restaurant itself. We did that and bought some ice cream at the grocery store. Delicious pie!

      Zion is indeed a breathtaking place. We took the majestic Angels Landing hike that will absolutely astound you. Unfortunately, our nerves failed us when we tried to get past Scouts Lookout, the final portion of the hike that climbs a narrow hogsback to the top.

      1 Reply
      1. re: chazuke

        I made a wrong statement. The name of the Thai restaurant is Thai Sapa and it appears to be alive and well.

        Thai Sapa
        145 Zion Park Blvd, Springdale, UT 84767

      2. Thanks for the info! I know this is not food-related, but do you recommend a good hotel? I was planning to stay at the Best Western, but they are already booked for one of the nights of the three I am planning to be there.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ecwashere7

          We spent the first night at the Bumbleberry Inn. The rest of the time, we spent at the Quality Inn, which was a great place to stay at. Not only was the staff very friendly and accommodating, but the establishment also serves a hot breakfast (gratis), not just the more traditional continental breakfast. I wouldn't hesitate to go back there again.

        2. Springdale is a wonderful place. For lodging, try the Desert Pearl, although it's probably booked. Ideal is a room on the river side. Also, the Red Rock Inn is great. Getting a drink is not a problem. In addition to other suggestions, the restaurant at Flannigan's Inn can be good (chef turnover has been a problem in the past) Oscar's is great for casual fare (can't remember if they have a liquor license) and although the food is nothing to write home about (but also, not bad) the view from the restaurant at Mt. Majestic is spectacular. The dining room at the Switchback is very pretty (part of the Best Western ) but avoid at breakfast, as it is served in an adjunct space and is crowded and noisy. The Pioneer is a good down home choice. Stop in at the Worthington gallery while you're there; the pottery is humdrum but they have some great Utah artists paintings, original and prints, on display. And be sure to check out Red Rock jewelry. Carla is a true artisan.

          1 Reply
          1. re: rooney

            I remember Oscar's fondly, but the food was seasoned by a strong hunger because of days of long hikes!

          2. I second Zion Pizza & Noodle, pizza's & brews hit the spot after a long hike. For breakfast we like Oscar's. I also recommend the Desert Pearl Inn...riverside rooms are awesome.

            1. I'm so excited to go now. Thanks for the input. I was hoping to do one day at Zion and one day at Bryce. I wish I had more time, but I'm trying to do too much. Is Bryce an easy drive from Springdale?

              4 Replies
              1. re: ecwashere7

                In terms of miles, yes it is an easy drive. The problem is that there are so many spectacular views along the way that you're bound to stop. The drive along Hwy 9 eastbound out of the park is breathtaking as you climb to higher elevations. Also, once you get into Bryce (entrance at the north end), there is a single road that goes north-south, and there are many overlooks along the way. Bryce almost gets to almost 9,000 ft, so it'll be decidedly cooler, and there is always a chance of snow on the ground in April. When we went last April, there were still visible areas of snowpack in the upper areas, though none on the ground. Good luck on your trip. You'll love every minute of it.

                1. re: chazuke

                  Oh, one more thing. If you're into hiking at all, then the single most enthralling hike to take in Bryce is the one into Wall Street from the Sunset Point overlook. It's a relatively short distance to Wall Street, though the trail descends quite a bit. Try to walk this trail at high noon when the sun overhead (on a clear day, of course) shines directly into the narrow passageway and literally creates an iridescent glow along the high walls. When you reach the towering Douglas fir trees at the end of Wall Street, you can choose to go on for a longer hike or return to Sunset Point.

                  Eating at Bryce is spotty. We had a nice dinner at the lodge itself, which features a salad bar. Ruby's Inn will be a madhouse since almost all the tourists stay or congregate there. Breakfast there is fine, but it is overrun with diners.

                  1. re: chazuke

                    Thanks again for the advice. I can't wait to go!

                    1. re: ecwashere7

                      Try planning your trip to go on to Bryce Canyon, and/or the Grand Canyon. Bryce is not far from Zion, under 50 miles. If you think Zion is worth looking at...Go the extra distance and see Bryce. Both parks are different, and well worth seeing. Go to Zion first,..then Bryce. We stayed in Kanab, UT last fall (I won't go anywhere in the "high country" until me can do it in my Drop Top (convertible)....to tour the whole area. Yes, it may be cold in April. We thought the Rocking V Cafe in Kanab was worthy of going back to. A bit pretentious, and the decor is shabby, but the food was good. They had a wine selection (didn't look for the hard liquor selection).

              2. Just in case anyone found this thread recently.

                Just came back from Zion and Bryce. Stayed in a cabin in Glendale (~halfway between Zion and Bryce).

                While we were in Zion we had a good burger at the Burger Shack. Just opened about a month ago. The prices were modest, especially for the area.

                We also did takeout from Buffalo Bistro in Glendale. Good Wild Boar ribs.

                1. For future reference (since you've already made your trip): Bit and Spur was one of the most disappointing meals of our life. We were so hungry and it was SO not even close to being Mexican, TexMex, or even Taco Bell quality.

                  The guacamole was yellow and had standing water in it. Here's an idea. DON"T SERVE IT if it looks like that.

                  Perhaps there's a different definition of "Mexican" food in Utah because that really bland Cafe Rio chain's food was really similar.

                  Zion Lodge was actually pretty good and the view is outstanding.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: LaserGecko

                    If you want good Mexican with big portions at a great price hit Alberto's Mexican Grill in Hurricane. 2.5 pound master burrito with a drink for $5.89 I get the adobada filled master for lunch.

                    Lupita's is also a good choice in Hurricane. Monster sized fried ice cream YUM!

                    Whatever you do DO NOT eat at Barrista's Total tourist trap $$$$ read urbanspoon.com reviews to see what I am talking about.

                  2. Has anybody tried Parallel Eighty Eight in the Driftwood Lodge? Opened back in March, looks interesting. Thanks.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: vegasjlt

                      Just wanted to weigh in - we were in Zion in May 2009 and ate at Parallel 88 one night. I thought it was very good - close to being great - but all the dishes seemed to miss the mark just a tad. It has a lot of potential and is worth visiting. The restaurant space and design is more unique for Zion. It was probably one of the better meals on our trip, but also the most expensive. They do have a great wine list, and the appetizers were better than the entrees. I would probably skip dessert.

                      We also ate at Bit and Spur. It gets very mixed reviews on the board here, but we were decently pleased. No watery guacamole. The margaritas were terrible, but they have a good beer selection. We ordered fish tacos that were decent. It was definitely better than Taco Bell. It's not Mexican, although it's a little closer to TexMex.

                      Finally, we had a filling breakfast at Oscar's - best value of our trip. Humongous portions.

                      I can highly recommend the Desert Pearl Inn - the rooms were fabulous and the location is perfect.

                      For Bryce - the Bryce Canyon Lodge was the best national park lodge dining experience we had on the trip. The servers are really pushy though - always trying to increase your bill with all kinds of add ons. Also, the dining experience at national park lodges can vary from year-to-year depending on the staff and which concessionaire is running it.

                      Again, just level set your expectations when you travel to these places. The experience and natural beauty definitely outweighs some of the mediocre food.

                      1. re: thbunny

                        Ditto on Parallel 88 (and Desert Pearl - get a riverside room!).

                        We dined there at the tail end of a Utah roadtrip, and it was one of the better meals we had along the way (best were the Red Iguana in SLC, the Center Cafe and the Desert Bistro in Moab, and Cafe Diablo in Torrey). Food, service, and ambience were fine, wine selection was good. I wouldn't skip desert, btw, if they have the creme brule sampler; it was unusual and tasty (never thought I'd go for a curry creme brule, but it was surprisingly good).

                    2. Zion is absolutely breathtaking and the town of springdale (just outside the park) is very quaint, but, for the most part the food is disappointing.

                      The one exception is The Whiptail Grill, in the former gas station directly opposite flannigans inn. very tasty authentic mexican with integrity. the fare is light, the ingredients are fresh, the menu is thoughtful, the flavors are bold and vibrant, and the menu is refreshingly restrained. the chef clearly knows what he is doing, and I say this as an LA native who loves to sample east los angeles's finest mexican restaurants and taco trucks. the couple "higher end" restaurants in springdale- parallel eighty eight is a good example - are muddled "fusion" joints with way too many ingredients and bizarre flavor pairings.

                      1. When I lived in LA, I spent 4 years in a row going to Zion between Christmas and New Year's. A great time to be there, because because the place is basically deserted and we had it all to ourselves.

                        I loved eating at Oscar's (Mexican), and the Spotted Dog Cafe, at Flanigan's Inn, was very nice. I was not impressed with the Bit and Spur. Again, don't apply big city values to this small town.

                        By the way, an awesome place to stay is at Flanigan's Villa's, across from the Flanigan Inn. The one bedroom place is luxuriously appointed, with a gourmet kitchen, oversized spa tub, and it is walking distance to the park entrance.

                        1. Better late than never... We went in early Feb 2009 and had fun hiking in the ice and muck at Zion. We stayed at Flanigan's (and gave the spa big thumbs-ups). Not much was open for meals, but we had dinner at - oh, I can't remember the name of the place, it was a few miles away from Flanagan's on the same side of the street, big rustic-looking place, huge bowl of French onion soup, otherwise fine but not memorable cuisine. Breakfast at Oscar's was really good, huge portions and really tasty.

                          1. We are just back from a week in Zion/Springdale (with a night at Bryce). I culled the boards (plus Yelp) before we left. Here's the synopsis:
                            Mean Bean: We had our breakfast here every day, and it was by far our favorite place. First of all, a fantastic cup of coffee (Caffe Ibis). Plus a friendly staff (not mean at all), healthy, tasty food (breakfast burrito, yogurt + fruit + granola), Wifi, comfortable surroundings. The coffee house you wish you could find on every vacation.
                            Whiptail Grill: One of us liked this more than the other. Tasty fish tacos with grape salsa. But we were in and out in 20 minutes--we would have liked a more leisurely evening.
                            Bit and Spur (we went here twice): Nice Mexican food, nice atmosphere. Nothing too special. But overall a nice evening.
                            Oscar's: Very disappointing. The atmosphere is quite nice, but the food was sub-par.
                            Zion Pizza and Noodle: Above average pie (but not quite the New York pie we were promised). Fun, lively.
                            Spotted Dog: Definitely our fanciest meal, and the most expensive, but worth it as an end-of-vacation splurge. Lovely flatbreads to start, carefully prepared entrees (the game meatloaf was the best thing we had the whole week), terrific chocolate dessert, very pretty room.
                            Zion Lodge/Bryce Lodge: About what you would expect from the National Park concessions. Average food but way-above-average ambience.
                            In general...
                            We found the Mexican food on the mild side. Hot sauce helps!
                            We loved the Cutthroat Pale Ale served in many local establishments.

                            Whiptail Grill
                            445 Zion Park Blvd, Springdale, UT 84767

                            Spotted Dog
                            428 Zion Park Blvd, Springdale, UT 84767

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: hungrydrivers

                              Just returned from Springdale, and having extensively researched dining options (and tried them) I agree with those who recommended Whiptail Grill (just tried to replicate spaghetti squash enchiladas at home because they were so delicious) for lunch, and Bit and Spur for dinner (the only place I was able to find a Margarita NOT made with a corn-syrup mix). We were disappointed by the Spotted Dog; it seemed as if they were trying to be a fancy restaurant but the food seemed out of place among more authentic Southwestern options. Oscars offered delicious salad and fish tacos (again, atmosphere better for lunch than dinner). Zion Pizza and Noodle was just OK, we were told that the Flying Monkey had better pizza. Skip dining at the Zion Lodge (although you should definitely tap the free spring water dispensers!)Enjoy!

                              Whiptail Grill
                              445 Zion Park Blvd, Springdale, UT 84767

                              Spotted Dog
                              428 Zion Park Blvd, Springdale, UT 84767

                              1. re: dsaw80

                                Thought I"d bring this thread a bit more up to date. Just got back from one night in Torrey and two in Springdale. Had a forgettable dinner in Torrey (don't remember the name either) and had a light breakfast at the Kiva Koffeehaus on the way to Zion. The Kiva was well worth the stop. I had the eggs with asparagus and I don't usually care for eggs. My wife (who doesn't care for cornbread) had a piece of the blue cornbread and it was pretty fine.

                                Ate a very nice, and reasonable priced dinner at The Spotted Dog. Wife had the ham and potato soup and I had the ham and peas with (I've forgotten the past?) with a light cream sauce. It was as good as I've ever had. Both the soup and the pasta had 3/4" to 1" CUBES of REAL HAM. We didn't have any alcohol with our dinner and IIRC we got out for less than $50 including tip. BTW I usually tip 20% for outstanding service and that's exactly what we had.

                                Had lunch at the Flying Monkey, pizza and pasta. I ordered a salad (pretty big) and we ordered a hummus with garlic bread appetizer. The waiter seemed to be monitoring our progress so as not to preempt the hummus with our pizza. We scarfed on the garlic (foccacia) bread but had a lot of hummus left over. We ate about 1/2 of our 10" pizza and asked for a to go box for it and asked for a second loaf of the garlic bread to go. We finished the pizza and hummus for dinner that night and then had the last of the garlic bread with some sliced pepper that my wife had pulled from her garden before we left home. With 2 iced teas and tax our total (prior to tip) was $33. and change. Very reasonable we thought.

                                A very enjoyable time and we're planning a return trip when the weather cools off a bit.

                                Spotted Dog
                                428 Zion Park Blvd, Springdale, UT 84767

                                1. re: notfatfrank

                                  We also were just in Zion and had a great lunch at Flying Monkey. The pizza and apricot hefeweissen really hit the spot, and we also found it friendly and reasonably priced. (I tend to get a little snobby about my pizza - NYC has spoiled me, but this passed the test.) Definitely the best meal of he trip (which was mainly uninspiring southwestern food around the Grand Canyon and Zion).

                                  We had a decent breakfast at Oscars, but nothing to write home about. Mean Bean was our first choice but was closed.

                            2. Thai Sapa was good--try the Banh Xeo--it was really good and I've never seen it offered anywhere else.

                              Across the street is Cafe Soleil--a great place to get a beer and sit in their Adirondack chairs outside and enjoy the views.

                              I just realized this was from 2009--oh well, I'll leave this reply for others...

                              And yes, Angel's Landing is incredible--do it if you can!

                              Thai Sapa
                              145 Zion Park Blvd, Springdale, UT 84767

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: dieric

                                Went to Lupitas in Hurricane on recommendation of this thread. We did go to Thai sipa and decided to pass. A little pricey we thought. We ate really well at Lupitas. Fresh food! Large portions after a hike at the Narrows and reasonably priced. Oh and the fried icecream. YES!!

                              2. New place in La Verkin, Ut Best Mexican Food! Breakfast lunch and dinner, open 7am til 10pm, I think.
                                Gala Tapatia just opened replaced Koritas
                                279 N State St, La Verkin, UT 84745

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: mrmarria

                                  I work down the street. Hopefully it is better priced than Koritas, which is why my coworkers didn't go there.