Running for Pastries

One group of athletes weighs in on the ultimate recovery food

Once upon a time, long ago, I fancied myself a serious runner, complete with a carefully planned training schedule, 80-plus mile weeks, a strict race calendar, and ever-more ambitious goals. These days, I am still up super-early most mornings to grind out miles on roads and trails, though the intensity is decidedly less intense. One thing that keeps me rolling out of bed to run at an ungodly hour is having crazy friends with the same plan—and pastries.

I am fortunate to have running buddies who also trained like mad for years but have now more or less reached their competitive dotage. Since we all live in different parts of the city, coffee shops have turned out to be a natural meet-up spot. After the run, we slip into the café for coffee, conversation, and, on weekend runs … the baked goods.

While our go-to spots seem to change with the seasons, here are some favorites:

3 Cups (4670 S. 2300 East, Holladay, 385-237-3091, 3Cups.coffee): This place has it all. The location affords access to ample miles along tree-lined estates, not to mention amazing housemade treats. The Meyer lemon cake and the savory brioche always stand out. Specialty scones, both sweet and savory, are crowd-pleasers. Plus, the latte (with coffee sourced from local roasters) comes with a little cookie on the side.

Beaumont Bakery & Cafe (3979 S. Wasatch Blvd., Millcreek, 801-676-9340): Not only is Beaumont ideal for meeting up for trail runs in Millcreek Canyon, its European-inspired pastries are some of the best in town. The cruffins, crullers and kouign amann are visually stunning and equally tasty. The peanut-butter chocolate-chip cookie alone prompts post-post-run visits.

Cucina (1026 E. Second Ave., SLC, 801-322-3055, CucinaSLC.com): We run a hilly 10 ½ mile loop on the Bonneville Shoreline Trail that begins and ends at Cucina, where the outdoor patio is an oasis on summer mornings. While Cucina offers an array of baked goods, the only pastry I can recall any of us ordering is their classic scone. Cinnamon and brown sugar is a favorite, with blueberry and lemon glaze a close second.

Coffee Garden (878 E. 900 South, SLC, 801-355-3425): We used to do a long run from Coffee Garden’s 900 South location, where a few of us would “go dark” pushing our limits on 11th Avenue’s deceptive ascent between E Street and the fire station. We don’t “go dark” much anymore. But we still eat the sticky bun at Coffee Garden, which is the best of their baked goods and pairs beautifully with the foam-art latte.

In the category of less-frequented, but no less awesome, here are some other favorites: Tulie’s 15th & 15th location (1510 S. 1500 East, SLC, 801-410-4217, TulieBakery.com) is among Salt Lake’s best bakeries. It’s impossible not to want to try literally everything, but the morning bun and almond croissant are particular stand-outs. Amour Café (1329 S. 500 East, SLC, 801-467-2947, AmourSLC.com) is cozy and delicious with a great neighborhood vibe. Finally, Sugar House Coffee (2011 S. 1100 East, SLC, 801-883-8867, SugarhouseCoffee.com) and Beans & Brews Coffeehouse (mulitple locations, BeanAndBrews.com) are consistently great spots for post-run coffee served by friendly faces.

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