Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Mountain States >
Sep 11, 2012 10:43 AM

National Parks Trip Zion, Bryce and, Arches

This Montreal foodie is doing a trip of (National) Parks that is starting in a couple of days. These are the places we're staying:

Zion (Springdale, UT)
Bryce (Tropic, UT)
Arches (Moab, UT)

I know it's the wrong board but we will also stay in Death Valley, Las Vegas, Kayenta (Monument Valley), Williams (Grand Canyon) Joshua Tree, Palm Spring and LA.

I am looking for good fresh food, local micro-brews a couple of nice bars, quaint spots. I am not familiar with South-Western cuisine but thinking BBQ and Tex-Mex? Typically all our trips have included real foodie destinations, so I have different expectations for this trip. But I hope to find some charming local places. I typically like casual laid-back places, but don't mind splurging either.

Searches on these board mostly provided reviews from a couple of years back so I am hoping someone can give me an update on the state of things.

So far my searches have brought up:
Beatty (Ensendada Grill - CLOSED?, Rita's Cafe or Furnace Creek Inn/Ranch in DV )
Springdale (Bit and Spur, Zion Pizza & Noodles, Whiptail Grill, Spotted Dog Cafe, Oscar's for breakkie)
Tropic (Clarke's Restaurant)
Moab (We have a kitchen there so probably cooking. Any good supermarkets/liqor store otherwise found Center Cafe - CLOSED?), Moab Brewery Eddie Mc Stiffs, Desert Bistro)
Kayenta (Hampton Inn Restaurant Reuben Heflin, Amigo Cafe)
Williams (Dara Thai Cafe, Red Raven Restaurant, El Tovar Lodge GC)

Any updates on these selections.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. When I've traveled in that area, I was camping, so was paying more attention to grocery options that dinning out. I also think more in terms of routes and sights. So here are some thoughts:

    UT12 is a very scenic route from Bryce to points east. Tropic is in the valley just to the east, with a decent small town grocery. Next town to speak of is Escalante, which advertised a bakery last time I passed through. Next Boulder (stop to take photos at Calf Creek and the Hogback), Boulder Mtn (good fall colors), and Capitol Reef. In this area it will be easier to find a scenic spot to picnic than to have a sit down lunch.

    Moab is oriented to the mtn bike and jeep crowd. There is a grocery or two, Mexican take out and I'm sure a pizza place or two.

    I didn't make it to Monument Valley, but stopped for some lunch stuff at Mexican Hat, specifically fry bread (also found at powwows across USA and Canada) and 'dry bread' (same thing, but cooked on the grill). Mexican Hat also has some sort of steak place that uses a swinging grate (as seen on food tv, Feasting on Asphalt?).

    I suspect that the closest thing to fancy dinning in this '4 corners' area is in Durango.

    3 Replies
    1. re: paulj

      Check out Hell's Backbone Grill in Bouler, Utah. It has gotten tons of good press for good food and a decent beer and wine selection.

      I've never eaten there but will in November when we travel down scenic route 12. In fact after reading about the restaurant, seeing a program on TV about route 12, I altered my trip a bit to fit both in.

      1. re: KathyH

        Thanks paulj and KathyH. Hell's Backbone Grill looks like a great breakfast spot on the way from Tropic to Moab. I've added the Swingin Grill to the list as well.
        And a quick visit to Moab brewery and the state liqor store will be on the list as well.

        1. re: estilker

          I just want to say that I returned from a recent 10 day trip (SLC to Arches/Bryce/Zion) and so luckily happened upon Hell's Backbone Grill!! It was like reaching heaven on earth. We had ok food until then and were driving along route 12 in what felt like the middle of nowhere - beautiful but nowhere to eat. This restaurant is amazing - food worthy of any major US city, and to find it in this corner of the world is simply incredible. The owner, Blake Spalding, greeted us so warmly, and everything was perfect. Had delicious butter lettuce with strawberries and pepitos, roasted garlic, steak quesadilla, homemade pasta, red trout, short ribs, and the jenchiladas. I even bought their book, I was so enthralled. I highly recommend this restaurant - it was one highlight of an amazing trip!!!

    2. Moab on liquor:

      According to this, low alcohol beer is available in groceries, but for anything else you have to visit the state store. Utah is not much of drinking state.

      1. In Moab, Singha Thai was good for lunch, and for coffee, try Moab Coffee Roasters.

        If you happen to pass through Hanksville, at the junction of Hwy 24 and 95, Blondie's Eatery is good for a break.

        Although I haven't eaten there myself, I have heard that a good place for Mexican is Casa de Amigos in Springdale near the south entrance to Zion National Park.

        In general, I found that while the scenery is absolutely spectacular in southern Utah, restaurant food wasn't too great, especially outside of tourist areas.

        1. We were just in the Springdale/Zion area and ended up at Cafe Soleil a whole bunch. Very nice soups, sandwich, salad and small pizzas place that seemed to do a lot of their own baking in house. Given that we were stomping around the park in 100+ degree temperatures, we wanted something that was substantial but not too heavy, and it fit the bill well for us.