This week's nod from the NY Times Travel section could be a tipping point for the elusive Rest bar/restaurant concept underneath Bodega on Main Street in Salt Lake City. Some friends and I got on famously there this past Friday, out on a mission to try new cocktails by beverage director Caleb Cannon. The contrast of coming from Beer Bar's populist World Cup fever to the more private, darkly lit, rustic funk of The Rest was an interesting contrast, and just one example of the adventures to be had discovering SLC's increasingly thirsty bar scene.
While I have admired The Rest from the get-go, it was a bit formal for my liking when they first opened, partly due to a strict reservation system. Thankfully, The Rest has loosened things up with a 'walk in's welcome' policy aided by more aggressive beer and shot specials in the street level tavern called El Borracho, ($2 whiskey & tequila shots. $4 draft beer. $5 high point bottles, check them out on Instagram.com/bodegaslc). People come for the tacos, craft brew beer and cheesy balls upstairs and then hit The Rest for bolder cocktails, mountain man inspired cuisine and rustic tongue-in-cheek atmosphere. I also appreciate owner Sara Lund's drive, vision and genuine personality. She and her employees have always been nothing short of accommodating and fun-loving, which is the real lynch pin of success for a service industry joint. Sadly, I'm not a huge fan of the food menu, but when you want to try something totally different vs. the same old expected watering holes, The Rest is truly a welcome diversion. I think with a little more experimentation, the whole place will continue to hit it's stride.