Back in College, a friend recommended that we go to Rocky Mountain Grill in the Sugarhouse neighborhood of Salt Lake. Other than the location, I don’t remember a thing about it. Last week, a friend called at 11:45am about where to meet for lunch at Noon. Being in the Sugarhouse area, I replied that we should go to Rocky Mountain Grill. It had been 10 years.

The place is tucked into a quiet building on busy street. You wouldn’t even know it was there unless you were looking for it. As you walk in, it has the feel of a bowling alley diner. Everything is old, dated, and worn. The owner, Margie, has her desk in a side corner of the dining area; crowded, cluttered but unpretentious. As I entered, the fabulous three: Margie, the cook, and Betty the waitress, were all chatting at a table. It was that awkward moment when you don’t know if you are to seat yourself or wait for them. Finally one of them shouted, “Welcome, sit anywhere you like.”

“Sit anywhere you like”

Betty brought me a menu and was very nice in welcoming me to their restaurant. The menu has a large selection of breakfasts. They looked wonderful but unfortunately were only available until 11:00am. The lunch menu it was; it was noon however so that made sense. The lunch menu is an assortment of Hot Sandwiches, Cold Sandwiches, and Homemade Burgers. All of these are served with one of the following sides: cup of soup, tossed salad, fries, cottage cheese, potato salad, potato chips or fritos.

For my lunch, the Ortega Burger sounded like a great option. It’s 1/3 pound ground beef served with grilled mild chilis and melted pepper jack cheese. For my side I chose the fries. How can you order a burger and not have fries as a side? That is what defines us as Americans and also has something to do with our high obesity rate.

Ortega Burger with Fries. Notice the amount of cheese?

The verdict: it was pretty bland! They say that the Ortega Burger is serviced with grilled mild chilis. It’s definitely mild because you could barely taste it. The pepper jack made it onto one side of the patty. I continually made fry sauce by mixing mayonnaise and ketchup (you have to be from Utah to understand this) and slathered it on the burger just to taste something. The fries were nicely cut and cooked perfectly but without seasoning, fries do not have much taste; these had zero.

I returned four days later to try something else on the menu; not wanting to write this place off yet. It was lunchtime again so I ordered the Grilled Club: ham, turkey, bacon, cheddar, Swiss, tomato, lettuce & mayonnaise with Creamy Tomato Soup as my side.

Creamy Tomato Soup aka Generic Tomato Sauce

The tomato soup came out first. I love a good soup and was very excited to dig in. Yikes! Truly this was nothing more than a generic can of grocery store tomato sauce warmed up with some chopped celery. Honestly I could not taste anything other than plain tomato sauce. Here is a good tomato soup recipe. They could use it.

Toasted Club Sandwich

As for the grilled club, it was mediocre at best. Hard to taste anything more than bread. For a good club, go to Anna’s. It will take you 10 minutes to drive there from Sugarhouse but well worth it. If you need to stay close to the Sugarhouse area, try Fiddler’s Elbow or Caputo’s Deli.

Maybe their breakfast is what the reason they are in business. Is it worth going back for breakfast or should I wait another decade?

Happy Eating

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