Restaurants + Cocktails

Wasatch Brew Pub | SL Brewing

1/31/2015 | Amy Tibbals
Kerri Fukui

COLLECTIVELY, we have a few solid beliefs that are unwavering in this world: 1) Your space is of the utmost importance in your life, 2) We can help you make it yours, and 3) There's little that beats meeting up with your homies for a core-warming cocktail and tasty food on a cold night. Since we happen to be good pals with our client Mr. Doug Hofeling, CEO of Salt Lake Brewing Co., we had the recent pleasure of one of those aforementioned core-warmers and some food at the new Wasatch Brew Pub location in Sugar House. 

Mmm. Core waaarrrming

The Wasatch Brewing Co. is the deliciously-refreshing umbrella under which you'll find Squatters, Wasatch, and the Utah Brewer's Cooperative. These goodly folks are keeping a boatload of salty citizens very happy, but the beer they're making isn't relegated to our state, can find their Utah-born beers in 19 states now [those in attendance at our 2nd Annual Brew + 'Q can attest to the fact that SL Brewing Co. is bottling highly-drinkable suds]. The new Wasatch Brew Pub location is actually the 5th brick-and-mortar for the gang, adding another good spot to favorites Squatters [on Main] and the original Wasatch Brew Pub in Park City. Clean lines, massive windows, intimate lighting, and beer are the order of the day in the new space. Their take on the traditional bar food is a mighty good one--try the Whiskey Salt Tator Tots, Blackened Salmon Salad, or the Wasatch Burger. Then wise up and make sure you pair that delicious food with some Full Suspension or Evolution. Or one of the signature, beer-infused cocktails [this author suggests the High Plains Drifter, for your pleasure]. This is a good night out. We chatted with Doug a bit about the start, the state, and the secret to it all...

Wasatch Brewery | 2110 South Highland Drive [Sugar House Brewpub] | 801.783.1127

Give us a brief rundown on the company history, would ya? In 1986, Greg Schirf opened Wasatch Brew Pub in Park City, Utah’s first brew pub. Greg was instrumental in getting many of Utah’s most onerous laws regarding the production and distribution of beer changed and blazed the path for all Utah brewers that came after. Three years later, Peter Cole and Jeff Polychronis opened Squatters Pub, Salt Lake’s first brew pub. Squatters Pub was one of the first major businesses west of State Street; it was the anchor to the redevelopment of Salt Lake’s West side for the next 25 years. In 2000, Greg, Peter and Jeff joined forces and opened the Utah Brewer’s Cooperative on 300 West and 1700 South. Their combined resources enabled them to purchase a bottling line and large-scale production facility and start distributing their incredible beers to the local markets, as well as out of state. Utah beers were on the map! In 2012, the three separate companies [Squatters, Wasatch and the UBC] merged into one company, Salt Lake Brewing Co. LC, and secured private equity investment from Fireman Capital Partners out of Boston, Mass. This new capital enabled us to ramp up our beer production and we are now in 19 states, soon to be more. This also enabled us to open the first Wasatch in Salt Lake City, right on the corner of 2100 South and Highland Drive. We have also gone through a massive rebranding process to update and prepare our brands for the big time.

Break down each location for us: We have the original Wasatch Brew Pub at the top of historic Main Street in Park City, Squatters Pub on 147 West Broadway in downtown Salt Lake, Squatters Roadhouse Grill on the corner of Park Avenue and Kearns Boulevard in Park City, another Squatters Pub in the Salt Lake International Airport, and our newest addition, Wasatch Brew Pub on the Sugar Hole on 2100 South Highland Drive in Sugar House.

What is it about sweet little Sugarhouse that made you want to move in? The city approached us several years ago about opening a restaurant in Sugar House. They wanted as many local businesses as they could get going in there, and our history of environmentalism and community involvement made us the perfect choice. We looked at several properties in the area before finding our current location. I grew up in Sugar House, and so that particular corner has been in my life and consciousness since I was a boy.  I can clearly remember the various shops and businesses that occupied that corner, up to and including the infamous tenure of the Blue Boutique. That area used to be a bit dangerous and run down, and when we would hang out there as kids, there was always an exciting sense of that. Then came the Sugar Hole. For years that corner was nothing but a dirt pile and a reminder of the atrophy that sometimes plagues city government and the stagnation of the Sugar House area at the time. Little did I know, we would get the chance to actually take that corner and do something with it. This storied and rambunctious history informed our design and layout.

We're committed to our triple bottom line philosophy of People, Planet, Profit.

Ooo. Tell more. Given that we occupy such an important corner, both historically and for the revitalization project of Sugar House, we very consciously decided to emphasize the visibility element of our space. Floor-to-ceiling windows run the entire east and north sides of the restaurant, so we decided to keep the windows as uninterrupted as possible, giving our guests the sense of being open to the outside, and passersby an open view of our space. We positioned the bar facing Highland Drive and kept the windows free of shelving and clutter so that sitting at the bar enjoying a beer is literally sitting on Highland Drive, enjoying a beer. The one exception to the uninterrupted windows is the large keg display overhanging the bar. The blank kegs and steel structure are reminders of our origins and a nod to our more modern look. We designed a large, comfortable and warm lounge area where guests can kick back, watch TV and enjoy our menu if they’re looking for a more relaxed experience. My favorite element are the taps at the main bar. A 210 foot beer run drops down from the ceiling 18 feet overhead into an enormous, inverted steel cross. We tried to create a space where long time Sugar House residents can mingle with hipsters from Westminster, and they can all feel a connection to the history of that corner, Sugar House, and the Wasatch brand.

Any customer or company favorites on the menu we should know about? Burgers, wings, and fish and chips will always be favorites of our guests, but we have some great new and interesting items, such as the Guy Sandwich [braised pork with Evolution Amber Ale hoisin sauce, mac salad spread and kale cole slaw]. Other favorites are the Braised Chicken Thighs, Grilled Salmon, the Bird Pizza, and our Kale and Asiago Dip. We use local ingredients and ingredients from within in our bio-region whenever possible.

And which of the brews are most popular? Polygamy Porter on nitro, Snap Down Header, Ghost Rider, and Hop Rising.

How does Wasatch play a part in supporting local and giving back to community? As a company, we have taken our involvement with the community very seriously.  We work with Local First, the Downtown Alliance, Salt Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau, Momentum Recycling, The Alliance House, Salt Lake Community Gardens, Wasatch Community Gardens, Recycle Utah, the Downtown Farmers Market and Green Bikes just to name a few. We're committed to our triple bottom line philosophy of People, Planet, Profit.


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