Grab your grub

Alternatives are available to U students with an empty stomach. If for some unknown reason you can just no longer endure the thought of another dorm or Union meal, fear not, for just beyond the campus borders are plenty of options to appease your palette. Hop on down to 1300 East for fare close to home, skip over to Trax and hit up 400 South for some corporate, although tasty, cuisine and-if you’re really intrepid-jump off campus altogether and seek out something a little more swank.

A Hop Away

The Pie Pizzeria

Every self-respecting college town has one, and the Pie is ours-a seedy, underground pizza joint with late hours and graffiti completely covering every single one of its walls. Renowned statewide as some of, if not the best pizza in town, The Pie has been a standard in the lives of U students for decades. Aside from the beer selection (which includes the fan-favorite “Rikshaw”), the insidious cheese-bread and the infamous pizza, The Pie offers an added bonus for students interested in all things genealogical: The graffiti on the walls of The Pie is so old in some places that it is possible to see the signatures of patrons dating three decades. Hey pa! I see your scrawl!

Sono Express

Japanese food isn’t exactly easy to find near campus, and unless you are down with the processed sushi available in the Union, Sono Express is your best/only choice-which isn’t so bad. Sono is quaint and the Mom and Pop that run the place will take you under their wing as if you were their own. Not really, but if you find your way into Sono late on a snowy January day, there is a good chance you could walk out with a free medium drink, depending on the owner’s disposition. The Sono chicken is always good here, as are the teriyaki bowls. Prices aren’t bad, either, maxing out at around $8 for a combination dinner. Oh yeah, and they have a cool little perpetual-water-plant thing by the cash register that is so zen.

Chop Suey Luey

If Japanese is hard to find near campus, then Chinese food is damn near impossible. Chop Suey Luey is pretty much it, located just east of Sono, right before the The Pie. The cuisine isn’t bad, but it’s not exceptional. Favorites like sweet and sour pork and General Tao’s Chicken are on the menu for about $6. Smart students will avoid the lunch and dinner rushes and eat at off-hours, like between reruns of Seinfeld.

B&D Burgers

The holy grail of burgers. B&D is a staple of so many U students’ diets, it’s not even funny. Recognized around the world for the thickness of their milkshakes and the flavor of their avocado burgers, B&D represents the best burgers near the U, and potentially anywhere else in town. Compound the quality of B&D’s fare with their ber-Tuesday $1 hamburger deal and you’ve got a recipe for success. Or heartburn. Either way, if you are interested in meeting similarly thrifty students while not venturing too far away from your dormitory home, look no further, for you have found what you’re after.

Einstein Bagels

Story goes, some time near the middle of the 20th century, the father of modern physics grew tired of solving for ‘x’ and discovering the elegant behavioral patterns of the known universe. Einstein, in yet another fit of brilliance, decided to start making bagels, and with a scientist’s eye for detail and a patent clerk’s passion for whatever patent clerks have a passion for, Einstein Bagels was born. The place is good for worm-chasers, as it opens at the ungodly hour of 5:30 a.m. Large groups of pre-med students are known to congregate at its interior tables, discussing biochemistry or the new Will Smith movie-you know, the usual.

Aristo’s

If it’s Greek food you want, it’s Greek food you’re going to get! Housed in the building just south of B&D (that, coincidentally, used to house a respectable breakfast nook), Aristos isn’t exactly a student-oriented establishment, though some college kids are known to grab kabob here. Not prohibitively expensive, but not extravagantly good, either.

Market Street Broiler

Speaking of extravagance, Market Street Broiler is the place to find it near campus. With fresh (and I mean clear-eyed, sparkling-scales fresh) seafood flown in daily from varying coasts and a bowl of clam chowder with a reputation similar to that which Billy the Kid used to carry around, Market Street Grill is no slouchy fish joint. Little brother to downtown’s larger Market Street Broiler, the eastern broiler does have its own amenities to be proud of, including outdoor patio seating (popular with the business major lunch crowd) and a newly renovated upstairs. Those interested in cooking at home can also drop by the broiler-nearly every type of fish available on the menu is also available for purchase, too.

Big Ed’s

In theory, Big Ed’s ought to be the competition for best burger place near campus, vying with B&D every chance it gets. But, it’s not. Big Ed’s is very much dissimilar to B&D Burgers. Its darker, cozy interior is more akin to a pub than a straight-up burger joint. For this reason, it is often the destination of choice for midday drinkers and those looking to rendezvous with friends. Just one thing: Don’t go into Ed’s expecting the namesake owner to be a large, burly man with a beard, or perhaps a pit bull. No, Ed himself is actually herself, a small, friendly woman who took over the business some years ago.

A Skip Away

Hire’s Big-H

The real contender for the burger crown worn proudly by B&D, Hire’s is located on 400 South and 700 East. Hires can be reached by TRAX-as can almost every restaurant listed in this section-but a car will get you there faster. Hires is much like other diner-esque burger places, though this one has a unique local history and flavor all its own (read the back of the menu). Slightly more sit-down and a little more like what you might expect in a Mormon-friendly establishment, the bonus at Hires is that you don’t have to leave your car if you don’t want to. Although the restaurant offers no drive through, it is one of the very few true drive-in burger places left in town. Make sure to tip the waiters and order one of the many syrup additions offered for your soda.

Rumbi Island Grill

A chain restaurant, yes, but a fine chain restaurant indeed. Rumbi is sweet, savory and predictable. The island flare of its salads are popular among dance students looking to watch their figures, but the steak and chicken combination bowls offered are large enough to satisfy the football players dance students like to date.

Experiment with the sauce variations to find your particular pleasure.

Rubio’s Mexican

Also a chain, and also located in the same strip-mall-thing as Rumbi, Rubio’s isn’t bad as far as cheap, fast, Mexican food is concerned. The fish tacos here are reportedly of a Baja origin, though the validity of that statement is suspect. Pretty typical stuff, carne asada tacos, shrimp burritos, etc., but Rubio’s serves beer, too-undoubtedly a plus, because as everyone knows, riding TRAX sober is no fun.

Wild Oats

A grocery store before a restaurant, really, Wild Oats still has some of the more inventive and tasty meal options for students. Aside from shopping for environmentally-friendly soy hot dogs and naturally salted chips, lunch consisting of anything from a sandwich, a salad, a bowl of soup or any number of other health-conscious options can be had at Wild Oats. Plus, you can choose to get your change back in the form of wooden nickels, which are, like, far, far more valuable than regular nickels.

Beto’s

Beto’s is like a drug, inasmuch as its name elicits similar responses from people. Utter the word in public and you are likely to be looked at as a late-night deviant weirdo for openly voicing the fact that you enjoy the low-quality, 24-hour Mexican food Beto’s serves. However, mention the possibility of going to Beto’s after the midnight hour and watch as the faithful gather. Beto’s is a place both loved and hated for its convenience, never-closing hours and greasy appeal. Still the satisfaction of defeating hunger at 4 in the morning is a feeling hard to beat in Salt Lake City.

A Jump Away

Chances are if you’re headed this far off-campus for food, you’re looking for something a little higher-class than Taco Bell. Perhaps you even have the pleasure of some young co-ed companion and you’re looking to impress. If this is the case, borrow your roommate’s friend’s parent’s Honda and roll on down to any of the five swankest restaurants Salt Lake City has to offer, in no particular order:

Trio

The closest of the swank to the U, Trio sits pretty on 900 East and about 800 South. The space it occupies formerly housed other quality establishments fondly remembered by locals, such as Caf Eclipse. Trio is the best incarnation yet, though, and while you will undoubtedly have to deal with a wait list on weekends and a snooty upwardly-mobile crowd on any given night, Trio’s mature menu always has something for everyone. The wait staff is topnotch, too, so you’ll be well-taken care of, and the atmosphere is wonderfully domestic, nestled amongst warm suburbs.

Bambara

Located on the bottom level of the Hotel Monaco (200 South, 15 West), Bambara has long been a well-appreciated but lesser-known culinary hot spot by Salt Lake foodies. However, in the past two years, propelled by word of mouth and singing critical reviews, Bambara has become more of a destination than it ever was before. Luckily, the little boutique-restaurant-that-could hasn’t let it go to its head. The food is still a gourmet fusion of Eastern sensibility and Western flare, and while the menu changes often, it’s almost impossible to go wrong. Be warned, this confidence comes at a high price-expect to pay upward of $50 for a proper meal for two.

Cocina Toscana

Best Italian food in Salt Lake City, hands down, can be found at Cocina Toscana (300 West Pierpont Ave.) So good is the pasta and so delicate are the entres that Toscana has carved a nice little niche for itself on word of mouth almost exclusively. Housed partially in an old tire store, the outdoor look of Toscana is deceiving: Inside is one of the sharpest interiors in Salt Lake City and some of the best fare.

Caf Martine

Tucked away and candlelit on 22 E. and 100 South, Martine is still relatively unknown amongst college students. This is unfortunate, because since its inception, our parents have been enjoying its comfortable bank-vault atmosphere alone. Boasting intricate appetizers and savory deserts, Martin is a perfect choice for a romantic evening or a light meal in good company.

Metropolitan

If Yale is the benchmark of Ivy League law schools, so too is Metropolitan (173 W. Broadway) of Utah restaurants. The long-standing best-of-the-best (and most expensive), Metropolitan survives quite well by serving overpriced martinis and slick entres. If you don’t mind swimming with the sharks, a meal at Metropolitan can be one surefire way to feel like you’re actually in a big city while dining in Salt Lake City. You know, if that’s the type of thing you’re into.

And as a bonus

Takashi

Just recently opened by the head sushi chef of Shogun (the old hotness), Takashi (the new hotness) is quickly amassing a reputation for having the best sushi around. Located centrally on Broadway, just west of Main, Takashi boasts a swankiness all its own, complete with a giant incandescent fish hanging above its bar. In addition to the expertly crafted specialty rolls, Takashi goes one step beyond traditional sushi restaurants by offering innovative Tokyo-fusion appetizers and entres…all at a price that won’t totally break the piggy bank.

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