Breakfast and Brunch — From Classic to Trendy, and Hearty to Healthy
By Christine Balaz
Salt Lake City Local Expert
Breakfast and brunch are some of the most fun meals to enjoy in Salt Lake City. As a restaurant goer in the early hours, you enjoy a huge selection of restaurants and food choices, extra low prices and - in the warm half of the year - gorgeously sunny outdoor dining conditions.
Those hoping for vitamin D-rich patio meal should consider trying Café Trio’s legendary Sunday brunch. Too hot? Not to worry! Trio sprays their patio with an ultra-fine mist when the temps are too high. Ruth’s Diner, a few miles up Emigration Canyon, offers an extremely pleasant outdoor dining environment in their back yard. Enjoy a late brunch there and linger to enjoy live music on select summer days.
Those staying in town for business or pleasure should consider making a slight trip south from Downtown to check out Park Café. Situated inside of Liberty Park, this restaurant enjoys remarkably green surroundings for its urban location.
If you don’t feel like walking that far, consider staying in Downtown proper. There you’ll find Salt Lake classics such as Lamb’s Grill Café - nearly 100 years old - and Judge Café, a reliably excellent spot for classic American breakfasts. On weekends, you can walk to one of Salt Lake’s favorite brewpubs and enjoy an incredible brunch at Squatters until 3:00pm.
10 Bruges Waffles & Frites
Born in the restaurant's namesake city, Bruges, Belgium, owner Pierre Vandamme brought with him Belgium's famous yeast-raised Liege waffles. Endowed with the traditional sugar pearls in the dough, these waffles are served hot and eaten with the toppings of your choice: creme fraiche, Belgian chocolate sauce, various berries, crunchy speculoos spread or vanilla bean ice cream. Not enough? Try any of the special combinations which feature waffles and various decadent stuffings. Similarly, their frites (or fries) are served with an impressive choice of aioli sauces, or in combination with a sandwich - or IN a sandwich. This is no health food store, but instead a delicious European treat in the heart of Salt Lake City. (801-363-4444)
9 Judge Café & Grill
This extremely popular eatery is a great place to stop for a tasty breakfast and a hot cup of coffee. Located on the lobby level of the Judge Building, the cafe has a relaxed, old-school ambiance and a bustling dining room. Go for one of the three-egg omelets, or enjoy oatmeal with brown sugar and raisins or a stack of pancakes smothered in pure maple syrup and warm butter. All breads and muffins are homemade, and several blends of gourmet coffee are available. Many of the menu items present creative takes on classic dishes, keeping the dining experience as interesting as it is satisfying. (801-531-0917, 801-518-6721)
8 Eggs in the City
Located a north of central Sugarhouse, yet southeast of 9th and 9th, Eggs in the City offers a primo location with less crowding than restaurants in the heart of either of those trendy, busy neighborhoods. Eggs in the City is a perfect choice for those seeking diner-style food with well above-average quality. While there, you can enjoy classics like omelets and different combinations of eggs and pancakes. Or you can sample house specialties like French toast with blueberries and walnuts. If you're fueling up for a big ski day, go for a huevos rancheros protein bomb or an enormous breakfast burrito. (801-581-0809)
7 Park Café
Boasting a wonderful view of the Liberty Park pond, this casual eatery offers up diverse lunch and dinner menus that feature everything from quesadillas and Thai chicken to Greek salads and an always-reliable "Quiche of the Day." However excellent the lunch and dinner, it is Park Caf�'s breakfast that has won native hearts and tummies. With such specialties as Southwest Eggs (served with green chili, Monterey jack cheese, salsa, and sour cream) and Mexican Hash served in a flour tortilla, it's easy to see why Park Caf� is as popular as it is good. Stop by for some open air in the middle of the city. (801-487-1670)
6 Millcreek Cafe & Eggworks
Millcreek Cafe & Eggworks sits quite near the mouth of Millcreek Canyon - a location central to both those staying in Downtown for business, and those visiting Big and Little Cottonwood canyons on a ski vacation. This restaurant has created a bright, open, contemporary dining space filled with local art and serviced by expert staff. The food served here is certainly based in the classic American breakfast and lunch tradition but, as you'll immediately notice, offers a fresh, colorful, and healthy twist on all of the typical dishes. Waffles are homemade and adorned with fresh fruit, and wraps are stuffed with lean meats and crisp vegetables. (801-485-1134)
5 Lamb's Grill Cafe
Built in 1919 and reputed to be Salt Lake City's oldest restaurant, Lamb's is reminiscent of a 1930s-era diner. On any given day, it's where city residents gather for satisfying portions of eggs Benedict, pan-sauteed Utah mountain trout, waffles, fresh fruit, omelets, and French toast. If you have a particularly strenuous day planned, fortify yourself with baby beef liver with a side rasher of bacon! Morning meetings can be accommodated if you're eager to engage the team in an early brainstorming session. Those enjoying breakfast or brunch at Lamb's will get the feeling they've stepped back in time nearly a century. (801-364-7166)
4 Café Trio
Cafe Trio, located on the northern periphery of Salt Lake's 9th & 9th neighborhood, is one of Salt Lake City's most consistently busy restaurants. Serving a contemporary and fresh version of Italian cuisine in a bright and stylish dining room, Trio offers simply elegant foods crafted with wholesome ingredients. All food is offered a la carte, and is categorized as starters, sides, pizzas, pasta, and entrees. During lunch or dinner, guests have the flexibility to order exactly the size of meal they desire. If you're feeling hungry, take a side, pasta, and entree. If not, order a salad, and follow it with a soup or pizza. Not only does Trio's simplistic, item-by-item menu allow you to adjust your meal size to your appetite, but it also allows you to respect your budget. (801-533-8746)
3 Squatters Pub Brewery
Squatters is one of Salt Lake City's most flexible and accommodating restaurants - appropriately rendering it one of the city's most popular eateries and watering holes. Offering a lengthy brewpub menu that contains burgers, sandwiches, and pizza alongside green curry, salads, pasta, edamame, and carnitas, Squatters kitchen doles out one of the most diverse cuisines in town. Given this range of grub, its west-Downtown location, and modern, brewpub atmosphere, Squatters provides a perfect setting for lunch. Whether you're grabbing a quick, solo bite, or want to sit down for an hour with coworkers, you'll find that Squatters can accommodate your needs. (801-363-2739)
2 Ruth's Diner
Located in a renovated 1930s trolley car parked right in the heart of Emigration Canyon, Ruth's Diner serves all your favorite American and southwest breakfast dishes, from sausage and pancakes to huevos rancheros. The popular eatery has gained quite a substantial reputation for its morning fare over the years, and even better, breakfast is served all day, every day. Although its salty founder, Ruth, died at the ripe old age of 94 in 1989, the business she built lives on, buoyed by her independent spirit. If you visit during the summer months, you can enjoy your meal outside on the patio, occasionally accompanied by live music. (801-582-5807)
1 Blue Plate Diner
The Blue Plate Diner is easily one of the most popular breakfast eateries in the entire Wasatch Front - if not THE most. This locally owned establishment serves enormous portions of high-quality, satisfying "greasy spoon" fare. Homemade plates offered include delicious eggs Benedict - "normal" and vegetarian - all sorts of skillets and omelets, and a daily special. Though it seems impossible, The Blue Plate has somehow managed to dress itself in a retro theme, and still maintain a very hip ambiance. A winner of countless awards, Blue Plate has been showered in praise by all the local and state publications for more than a decade. (801-463-1151)
About Christine Balaz
Christine Balaz began her unexpected writing career in Salt Lake City with her first book on Wasatch Skiing and Travel in 2006. On the subject of Utah, Christine has written numerous travel books, iPhone apps, and never-ending web content. As a rock climber, outdoors enthusiast and insatiable explorer, Christine has journeyed through nearly every corner of Utah, and has spent aggregate years overseas, from Turkey to Jordan, Sweden to Spain.
Read more about Christine Balaz here.