Raised in the kitchen helping his grandparents and his mom with their cooking and canning, Justin Soelberg, proprietor of the much-beloved Nomad Eatery, seemed destined for the culinary world, even from a young age. What skills he developed through home cooking, he then refined at the renowned French Culinary Institute in Manhattan and later put to work in some of the state’s finest institutions including Pago, Sundance Resort, Avenues Proper, and Pizza Nono, to name a few. Understandably, the next logical step for Justin was to take the prowess gained from his past restaurant experiences and apply them to a more personal project.
In Nomad, that’s exactly what he’s done.
In an effort to keep things accessible, the restaurant’s menu consists primarily of pizzas, sandwiches, and salads—all of which are whipped up with the utmost precision. As such, even with Justin’s preference for few ingredients and bold flavors that hit “like a punch in the face,” every dish at Nomad comes across as smartly balanced and undeniably delicious. While the entire menu is worth trying, a couple of items are particularly noteworthy. The spicy chicken sandwich is quintessentially stellar as is the Knuckle Sandwich (an equally delightful concoction of roast beef, crispy onions, and house-made cheese whiz on an onion bun). The smoked salmon salad is a standout lighter option and the “Children of the Corn” pizza is truly one of the best slices in the state. Plus, the desserts—developed in conjunction with Normal Ice Cream—are worth saving room for, as well.
In short, Plates here are boldly concocted and fastidiously executed.
As good as the food at Nomad is, the restaurant’s design is also worth applauding. Inspired by its close proximity to the airport as well as the long and varied path that lead Justin to open his own spot, Nomad’s furnishings and fixtures appeal to an eclectic, peripatetic ethos: gestures to aviation—such as the riveted metal wings above the open kitchen—are paired with engaging touches like the Navajo rug that adorns one of the walls, both of which are highlighted by the space’s otherwise clean, mid-mod furnishings.
And, with a bar, lounge, communal table, and no shortage of private nooks, Nomad is intelligently set up to accommodate any type of gathering.
Also admirable is the culture that Justin has constructed at the core of Nomad. Truly a collective endeavor, the restaurant’s menu undergoes a great deal of evolution simply because each member of the Nomad crew is empowered and encouraged to voice their feedback and opinions. What’s more, this sense of collective ownership has proven so successful that Nomad is slated to open a second restaurant—Nomad East—on 13th South and 17th East. The menu will be slightly different (more focused on pizzas and side plates) but still certainly stellar. As such, we suggest you keep up to date with this new endeavor, and, in the meantime, pay a visit to the current location...your tastebuds will thank you for it.
Nomad Eatery | 2110 W North Temple