The Wasatch Back abounds with tasty surprises
This time of year, many “snow birds” fly south, but the rest of us flock to the mountains for a peak experience. Utah might be known for world-class skiing and powder snow, but its reputation for first-rate dining is on the rise, too. Throw on a puffy coat and warm boots and get your road trip on for some mountain feasting. The Wasatch Back, or the Heber Valley, is just 40 miles east of Salt Lake City. Utah Highway 40 offers an easy drive to enjoy the small-town enchantment of Heber and Midway, along with cross-country skiing, tubing and snow shoeing in several settings including the 2002 Olympic venue Soldier Hollow, the Homestead Resort and Wasatch Mountain State Park. Diners who come for the snow now have surprisingly sophisticated options to choose from for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Portobello Truffle Melt
Lola’s Street Kitchen hit the scene in 2015 as a food truck and, earlier this year, they opened a brick-and-mortar store on Midway’s Main Street. Chef and owner David Medina is no stranger to the food business, having grown up with restaurateur parents. His approach uses the freshest ingredients–organic and local when possible and no GMO. Cold days call for warm, hearty meals and the portobello truffle melt ($10) hits the spot. Think grilled cheese (Muenster and goat cheese), roasted veggies and arugula drizzled with truffle oil on Lola’s housemade nine-grain bread, grilled to gooey perfection.
Lola’s Street Kitchen | 24 E. Main, Midway | 435-671-3970 | LolasStreetKitchen.com
Lavender Shortbread Cookies
Le Cordon Bleu-educated pastry chef Kayleigh Morton opened Belle’s Bakery two years ago, bringing classic pastries, breads and sweets to the Heber Valley following stints at the Goldener Hirsch Inn and Eva. Lavender shortbread cookies ($2.75 each) are a bakery staple—perfect for breakfast or a mid-afternoon pick-me-up with a cup of tea, hot cocoa or coffee from Park City Roasters. The cookies are buttery, baked with bits of lavender—sourced from a local grower in Heber—and pecan in the dough, then topped with a lemony glaze. All Belle’s menu items are made from scratch daily.
Belle’s Bakery | 734 W. 100 South, Heber | 435-300-0393 | BellesBakeryHeber.com
Campfire Idaho Trout
Chef/owners John and Sandra Platt and partner Paul Butler recently relocated from Seattle to the Heber Valley, bringing years of restaurant experience and the gumption to renovate a historic building in Midway. This gem of an eatery opened in 2017 as the Midway Mercantile. The popular campfire Idaho trout ($19) arrives tableside with a beautiful fillet of trout smothered in a lemon caper sauce atop potato, bacon and kale hash. This is exactly the dish you yearn for at your campsite after a day of fishing.
Midway Mercantile | 99 E. Main, Midway | 435-315-4151 | MidwayMercantile.com
The Corner Restaurant, a welcome addition to Midway, opened in November. Long ago, Gene and Darlene Probst founded a now-shuttered restaurant called the Burgermeister. Their grandson, Burkley Probst, was inspired to open The Corner Restaurant with the goal of creating a community gathering spot, like that which was fostered by the Burgermeister. The Corner Restaurant’s menu has a few nods to the 1990s-era establishment, but the Southwest salad ($13) isn’t a throwback. It’s a hearty base of refried black beans topped with dressed mixed greens with cherry tomatoes and corn scattered on top that add a touch of sweetness. Creamy avocado slices, salty cotija cheese, and crispy tortilla strips add richness and texture to this tasty plate.
The Corner Restaurant | 195 W. Main, Midway | 435-657-5494 | MidwayCorner.com