restaurant industry

Salt Lake County

Many refugees who come to live in Salt Lake County would like to make a living using the skills they brought with them from their home countries. Salt Lake County has partnered with the  International Rescue Committee to open a new incubator kitchen, that  gives many of those entrepreneurs a place to start.

Andrea Smardon / KUER

This weekend, one of the original restaurants at The Gateway shopping center in Salt Lake City will serve its last meal. Z’Tejas Southwestern Grill is closing Saturday. While there is a growing list of closures at The Gateway, one restaurant is opening this month that promises a new experience.

A restaurant in Ogden is trying to help first generation immigrant students finish college. On Thursday, the Sonora Grill will raise funds for a scholarship program. One hundred percent of all sales and contributions throughout the day will go directly to pay the tuition for immigrant students attending Weber State University. Sonora Grill owner Steven Ballard says he’s met a lot of immigrants working in the restaurant business.

A restaurant near the University of Utah has closed, and a liquor license may be opening up. The Market Street Broiler shut its doors Monday, though it had only recently opened an oyster bar upstairs with a newly granted club license.

Brian Grimmett

The Zion Curtain  - the barrier shielding restaurant customers form the preparation of alcoholic beverages - will stand this year, despite attempts by state House members to tear it down.  But some changes to alcohol laws did pass, including the ability for restaurant chains to get a single master liquor license. 

The Utah House of Representatives voted Monday to allow restaurant patrons to order drinks before ordering food.  House Bill 218 would also make more liquor permits available for certain types of dining establishments. 

Under current statute, restaurant customers are required to order food if they want to order an alcoholic drink.  If they don’t, the restaurant may be fined 500 dollars, which happened to several Utah establishments recently.  Republican Gage Froerer of Huntsville says his bill will clarify the state’s policy and prevent future fines.

Andrea Smardon

State lawmakers have given the green light to 90 new liquor licenses for restaurants in Utah.  It was one of the issues decided in a special session Wednesday called by Governor Gary Herbert. 

President of the Utah Restaurant Association Melva Sine says these new licenses will be snapped up fast, and were needed for the industry to continue to grow in Utah.

“We have a critical issue here, and they’ve addressed it in the best way possible in the shortest amount of time possible, so we’re happy with that,” said Sine.