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Each year, Utah Business asks our readers about the best restaurants for doing business—where they take clients to impress them, where they go for a casual lunch meeting or where to start the day off with a power breakfast. After all, a great meal can make or break a business deal, and a mid-morning coffee can change an entire day from blah to wah-lah. If at the end of the day, neither of those scenarios worked for you, our readers know about a great place for after-work cocktails. Here are the results of the 2011 Corporate Cuisine Awards presented by Sysco Intermountain and selected by you.
Best Hotel Restaurant
A clear reason Bambara Restaurant is on our list this year is because of its consistency. One of our readers voted for Bambara because of its “inventive food and consistently good service.” Another says it is “always consistently good and I love the environment.” Chef Nathan Powers sources from local farms and ranches to create his breakfast, lunch and dinner dishes. One reader’s favorite: “Blue Cheese Potato Chips.”
Best Business Lunch
The New Yorker
The New Yorker, which opened in 1978, is Gastronomy’s flagship restaurant. It has managed to keep the crowds coming by offering professional customer service and dishes ranging from its New Yorker Burger to prime beef steaks, lamb and pheasant dishes. Will Pliler, executive chef and partner at The New Yorker, says, “People keep coming back because we still offer the core menu items that our guests have enjoyed for over 33 years, combined with fresh, new menu options.” He travels around the country looking for new trends and uses local ingredients whenever possible.
Since 2009, Gracie’s has been serving up cocktails and fresh, locally grown food in its relaxing atmosphere. Decorated with art and offering live music on a sun-filled patio, Gracie’s owners say it’s the only gastropub around. If you’ve had a bad day at work, co-owner Shawn Frehner recommends joining the rest of the Monday–Friday, 4–7 p.m. crowd, most of whom order something from the tapas menu and get Gracie’s Manly Mojito, made fresh to order in a tall frosty glass. “We offer every flavor of mojito imaginable, including using fresh blackberries, blueberries and raspberries.”
Best Business Catering
Cuisine Unlimited Catering & Special Events
“Hiring Cuisine Unlimited is like taking out an insurance policy on your event. It will always be perfect and the food and service will be of the highest quality,” one of our readers says. Owner Maxine Turner leads Cuisine Unlimited and its gourmet-quality and inventive catering options. The company has been serving clients for about 30 years in Utah and across the globe, including catering for four Olympic games.
Best Coffee Break
Beans & Brews Coffee House
The locally owned Beans & Brews Coffee House has about 20 locations across the state, and most offer free WiFi and a drive-through option—and, of course, a wide variety of drinks made from high-altitude roasted coffee beans and fresh baked goods. Carrie Mongold, vice president of marketing for Beans & Brews, says the most popular drink is probably Mr. B’s, a white chocolate frozen mocha with Irish cream. But you may also want to try one of their other frozen drinks this summer, like the Ladybug Frappe, a strawberry frappe with Ghirardelli chocolate chips.
Best Power Breakfast
Lamb’s Grill Café
A long-time favorite of our readers, Lamb’s Grill Café is a landmark in Salt Lake City and the oldest operating restaurant in Utah. Its menu, which is almost identical to the original from 1919, offers American classics all day long, but for breakfast, eggs Benedict is a customer favorite. With dishes like “Old Fashioned Buttermilk Hot Cakes” and “Grilled Corned Beef Hash,” some clients even come back for a second meal later in the day. John Speros, owner, says people continue eating at Lamb’s because they know what to expect—on the menu, portion sizes and cost. “It’s a matter of being as consistent as we possibly can over a period of time,” he says.
Best Business Casual
“When we opened up, there really wasn’t any place you could get a ‘real’ cheese steak [sandwich],” says Moochie’s co-owner, Joanna Rendi. “Since we’ve been so successful, there have been a number of other places serving them, but I think we’re the best still—that’s just my humble opinion.” Rendi, who serves her clients from inside a pottery store, brought her meatball and cheese steak recipes straight from Philadelphia. She prepares Moochie’s meatballs, sandwiches, pastas and salads how she likes to eat food—fresh but filling. Why do our readers love Moochie’s? “Have you tried their atomic meatball sub? That’s why!”