A Foodie's Guide to Utah Valley

Many of the restaurants source their ingredients from nearby farms and dairies.
Many of the restaurants source their ingredients from nearby farms and dairies. Marcus Bernales
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The Utah Valley food scene has blossomed in the last few years, thanks to the openings of a variety of innovative restaurants. In fact, Provo features more than 50 locally owned restaurants, many of which are known for their international cuisine. There’s lots of local flavor here—literally. Many of the restaurants on this list source their ingredients from nearby farms and dairies. At the Provo Farmers Market, you can pick up local produce to try your own recipes. From authentic southwestern flavors to down-home country cooking to Zagat Guide top-rated eateries, you’ll find something in Utah Valley to please every palate.

Foundry Grill at Sundance Resort

With 5,000 acres on the slopes of Mount Timpanogos and countless opportunities for skiing, hiking, and relaxing, Robert Redford’s Sundance Mountain Resort is among the best-known Utah Valley attractions. It’s just a few miles up the road from Provo, and in addition to the resort’s outdoor activities, it’s got a vibrant cultural scene. Among the highlights is the Foundry Grill, whose back-to-basics attitude and fresh provisions make for a unique dining experience. The restaurant’s water glasses, for example, are hand-blown at Sundance and made with recycled glass, and dishes are cooked in an applewood rotisserie oven. Head there for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or (on Sundays only) brunch. Next door to the Foundry Grill, you can also check out the Owl Bar, a restored 1890s bar that was transported from Thermopolis, Wyo., to the resort. The original bar was frequented by Butch Cassidy’s Hole in the Wall Gang, but today you can enjoy creative cocktails as well as beer, wine, and a seasonal menu.

Communal Restaurant

The foundation of this farm-to-table restaurant in downtown Provo is on building relationships with local farmers, artisans, and purveyors, and that attention to detail shows up in its menu. As the name implies, Communal features a casual atmosphere with meals served family-style at, well, communal tables. There’s also an open kitchen. (There are counter seats and individual tables available, too.) Communal boasts an extensive wine selection, a rarity in Utah County, and the dessert menu, full of unusual flavors, promises to provide the highlight of your meal. In case you’re curious where your food is coming from, the restaurant also keeps a list of its local partners.

Food Trucks

Food trucks have become quite popular in Utah Valley, and you can see all the choices available at four different roundups held throughout the area. You’ll get a wide variety of food choices and often live music and other activities to make it more of a party. In Provo, the Thursday Night Roundup is held at the Startup Building from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. The Orem Food Truck Underground (699 South State Street in Orem) is held on Monday and Friday nights from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., while the Eagle Mountain Food Truck Underground (3688 E. Campus Drive, Eagle Mountain) is held on Tuesday’s from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Finally, you’ll find the Lehi Roundup at Margaret Wines Park on Wednesdays from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Rockwell Ice Cream Company

Situated in the heart of downtown Provo, Rockwell Ice Cream Company has all your favorite flavors, plus a few unique ones, like Muddy Buddy (milk chocolate, peanut butter swirl, and Chex, just like the beloved childhood staple), Prickly Pear, and Sweet Corn. Quality ingredients are owner Justin Williams’ top priority. Rockwell uses a custom ice cream mix from nearby dairies and is careful to avoid artificial dairy additives like hormones; flavors incorporate locally sourced ingredients whenever possible. (Williams also makes a point of personally visiting local dairies to ensure their cows are treated humanely.) Delicious flavors and generous portions mean you’ll often find a line at Rockwell, but it’s worth the wait.

Provo Farmers Market

The Provo Farmers Market is set in beautiful Pioneer Park and runs every Saturday from June to October (9:00 am to 2:00 pm until Labor Day; begins at 10:00 am after Labor Day). Of course, local farmers and gardeners set up booths, but vendors also include arts and crafts, prepared foods, and live music. Thanks to the longer season, local vendors have a chance to sell their cooler weather crops, too. Pioneer Park features a playground, a summertime splash pad, a pavilion, and public restrooms, so it’s a great place to bring the whole family.

The Harvest at Thanksgiving Point

Thanksgiving Point is known for its beautiful gardens to explore, but it’s also home to one of the best dining options in the area. The Harvest at Thanksgiving Point serves both lunch and dinner with a focus on fresh and locally sourced ingredients. The dining room recalls a country estate with its hand-painted artwork, but what you’ll really remember is the food, which includes seafood, steaks, and other American fare done right.

Black Sheep Cafe

For a southwestern experience in Provo, head to Black Sheep Cafe, where entrees are made from scratch. The restaurant opens at 11, but staff is there for hours beforehand creating unique sauces and adjusting recipes as the flavors of local produce change (they also shut their doors at 2:30 each afternoon to prep the dinner menu). Black Sheep fuses Native American, Mexican, and Southwestern heritage foods, and it’s the only restaurant of its kind; the restaurant even occasionally holds one-night-only events, which they call Pop-Ups, to showcase a few particularly excellent courses. Pro tip: don’t miss out on the Cactus Pear Lemonade.

Dalton’s Steak House

This rustic steakhouse in Payson is the ideal place to stop for a weekend meal after a drive over the Mount Nebo Scenic Loop. Dalton’s weekly specials include scrumptious smoked salmon on Friday and Saturday nights; if you prefer four-legged food, there’s also a weekly prime rib special. With daily lunch specials, a few standby favorites (think chicken-fried steak and St. Louis-style ribs), and reasonable prices, a visit to Dalton’s will be a crowd-pleaser for a variety of appetites.

Strap Tank Brewing Company

Utah County’s first craft brewery has also become a local favorite. Named for a super-rare early 20th century Harley Davidson model, motorcycle-themed Strap Tank Brewing Company has a rugged, vintage feel. Strap Tank is owned by Rick Salisbury, a home builder, developer, and Springville resident for more than 50 years. The building is right across the street from Legends Motorcycles Emporium, where visitors can check out dozens of vintage bikes, including an unrestored Strap Tank. You can find the brewery’s beers at a few bars in Salt Lake City and Park City, but the best selection is on-site in Springville. And despite being a beer merchant in historically dry Utah, Strap Tank is popular with locals, thanks in part to its extensive (and delicious) menu.

Originally written for Utah Office of Tourism.

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