FEED ME: SLC airport eats beat out Denver’s

By on November 25, 2014
Following a recent remodel, the Salt Lake City International Airport now boasts several new dining establishments. The sandwich and cinamon roll shown above came from UFood Grill. GERALDINE MISHEV

Following a recent remodel, the Salt Lake City International Airport now boasts several new dining establishments. The sandwich and cinamon roll shown above came from UFood Grill. GERALDINE MISHEV

Jackson Hole, Wyoming – Having recently reviewed the fine eating establishments at the Denver International Airport, it’s only fair to do the same for Salt Lake City’s airport. Since I’m practically married to United Airlines, I didn’t think I’d soon have the chance, and I’ll spare you the details of the debacle that gave me the opportunity. All that matters is that I flew through Salt Lake City last Friday.

And was shocked.

Denver International Airport might have free (mostly) working Wi-Fi, but Salt Lake City International has an outpost of Park City’s High West Distillery. Seriously. The airport in the capital of the state with what might be the country’s strictest liquor laws has a distillery? And I’m just now finding out?

In the year since I had last flown through Salt Lake City International Airport, it has finished a very nice remodel of its concourses. There are new dining establishments everywhere.

Had High West been open at 7:45 a.m., one of its cocktails and several of its sliders would have been enough to assuage my anger at not being able to send a single email while connected to SLC’s free Wi-Fi. For two hours. (Do gerbils power their router?)

Crestfallen that I was discovering High West’s location in Concourse E at such an unseemly hour, I only had to turn 180 degrees to recover. UFood Grill doesn’t win points for its name, but it has every other restaurant in the Denver airport’s B Concourse beat in terms of prices and good-for-you food, including a barbecue steak tip wrapped sandwich using grass-fed beef that costs only $7.69.

Starving because I left my Palm Desert hotel hours before it started serving breakfast and not in the mood for the Kind energy bar I never travel without, I couldn’t resist UFood’s breakfast sandwich.

It is advertised as being made with egg whites, but the fine print reveals that you can get a whole egg rather than just the whites. (Fine print also tells you the calories in every menu item.) I added turkey bacon. Its 50 calories cost a penny each. The sandwich comes standard with cheese and on a whole wheat English muffin. The bill came to less than $5.

I was feeling fairly satisfied as I don’t know that I’ve ever before gotten a hot breakfast at an airport for such a reasonable price.

At the last minute, I added a cinnamon roll. Placed right in front of the register, they’re huge, hard to miss and “really, really good,” said the cashier. “Really.” That was another $4 and some change.

Five minutes later, settling in at a table by the wall of windows between concourses, it dawned on me that I pretty much just paid $5 for an Egg McMuffin … and had thought it a good value. But it’s not fair to compare the prices of airport food to food in the outside world. Ingredients must be infused with gold when they go through TSA. Anyway, my $5 pseudo McMuffin with turkey bacon was great.

Cutting into the cinnamon roll, which was topped with a nice layer of frosting, I fell into a deep depression over the plight of the cheery cashier. How empty and unfulfilling must her life be if the dry dough ball I just bit into counts as “really, really good?”

I should have held out for Krispy Kreme (Concourse D).

The next time I fly through SLC and High West Saloon isn’t open, I’ll certainly get a sandwich at UFood. Or maybe I’ll try French Meadow Bakery (Concourse B) or Greek Souvlaki (Terminal Two, between Concourses C and D). While sitting in the boarding area for the flight back to Jackson, a couple behind me was talking about how great Souvlaki’s gyros are.

There’s a UFood Grill located in Concourse C as well as Concourse E.

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