Hog Wallow’s quesadilla makes it interesting by including steaming smoked brisket and black-bean-and-corn salsa in the cheese. Photo: Talyn Sherer

3200 E. Big Cottonwood Canyon Rd.
P: 801.733.5567
thehogwallow.com

Mon–Thur: 2 P.M.–1 A.M.
Fri–Sun: 12 P.M.–1A.M.

The unmistakable roar of a motorcycle surfing the highways and byways is every rider’s rite of passage as spring and summertime shine its rays upon Utah. The open road calls, as does the innate desire to meet up for a bite or beer. Our Bike Issue pays homage to the local watering hole, Hog Wallow, located at the base of Big Cottonwood Canyon. Hog Wallow is the perfect locale for not only libations but incredible food options.

Smoked in-house, their meats, hands down, should top best-of lists in Utah. It could possibly rival the country’s best in a smoke-off. Meat that is upfront with bold hints of smoke, mouth-watering in flavor and a finish that leaves you begging for more is a perfect pairing for an afternoon ride all summer long. Now, let’s be real: I don’t ride, myself, but I can relate to the desire of open-air roads, whether as a back warmer (aka passenger) or with the top down.

Starters & Sides

Photo: Talyn Sherer
To tap into your inner-meat-eating self, start with the Smoked Wings ($12). Photo: Talyn Sherer

Thirst for this kind of experience lives in all of us, and why great rides and the best watering holes are highly sought after across the nation. To tap into your inner-meat-eating self, start with the Smoked Wings ($12). They are the must-try order to share or keep for yourself at Hog Wallow. Smoky, moist perfection is the only way to describe such a wing. Yes, celery and carrots come on the side, as does your choice of ranch or blue cheese. However, these wings do not require the accompaniment.

The next menu destination is sweet potato fries. These are done right—not too soft or mushy, and just enough flavor to keep your fingers reaching for more. Pair with a local beer, or PBR if you must, but keep it real. I was so into the smoked theme that I had to try the Cheese Quesadilla ($10) with Smoked Brisket ($4). A blend of cheddar cheese, black-bean-and-corn salsa, sour cream and melt-in-your-mouth smoked brisket wrapped up with a buttery, just-enough-crunch-of-goodness tortilla. The brisket adds something special to the quesadilla, although on its own, the quesadilla is satisfying.

Before you think it is all about the meat, they offer a more delicate side. House Salad, Southwest Salad and Blueberry Lemon Salad with feta, fresh veggies and several hard ciders also adorn the menu.

Drinks

On tap, you will find local craft beers a such as Moab, Uinta and Wasatch. If this doesn’t suit you, you won’t be disappointed by the large selection of premium bottled beers and domestic. To add to their libations, Hog Wallow offers a great variety of patio sippers (cocktails) and seasonal mules, not to mention wine and prosecco options. There is something for everyone—beer, spirits, wine, cider, hard seltzer, craft shots, craft cocktails and nonalcoholic options.

Burgers

We’ve talked about everything except burgers! Hog Wallow doesn’t disappoint with its burger selection. If you are a burger junkie, you will not be disappointed in The Hog ($12) and The Johnny Cash ($13). The Hog combines the burger, BBQ sauce, pepper jack cheese, onion straws, chipotle ranch and bacon. Bacon is the cherry on top of this classic, all-American, burger. Now the Johnny Cash walks the line of heat with sriracha, jalapeño peppers, cherry peppers and onion rings, topped on top of meat and, of course, bacon. If “Ring of Fire” would be a food, this is it.

Overview

The vibe of the place is local watering-hole-meets-sophisticated-patio wine-drinking. Take a shot at pool, watch a sporting event on TV, belly up to the bar, enjoy the outdoor space, or come out late to get into the groove of the guitar strings. It’s unique, rustic and everything you would want in a ride meet up. It’s close to the canyon, in the middle of the city yet tucked away like you are in your own little world, away from it all. To get there, turn north off of 7200 South onto Big Cottonwood Canyon Road, just west of Wasatch Boulevard. (It’s a small road that twists and turns downhill off the main road.)

If you are on a scooter or bicycle, walk in owning your uniqueness—the hotspot embraces all. It’s a bar, restaurant and live-music venue. Genres range from Americana, reggae, blues, funk, soul to jazz. Music begins between 9:30 and 10 p.m. I know I’ll be there this summer, rain or shine. It’s a low-key great time, afternoon or night.


Read more on SLUGMag.com:

Mike Brown: Beer, Barons and Bike Culture
FFMoto: The Flying Frenchwoman

 

Pretty Bird synergize vibrant spices and luscious toppings in their signature Nashville-style hot chicken sandwich. Photo: Talyn Sherer

146 S. Regent St.

Salt Lake City, Utah

Mon–Sat: 11 a.m.–9 p.m. closed 3:30 p.m.–5 p.m.

Bringing a little Southern hospitality and charm to Salt Lake City is fried chicken sensation Pretty Bird. The menu has two options: a quarter breast of fried chicken on a plate or a fried-chicken sandwich. My obvious choice was the Fried Chicken Sandwich Combo—a pretty bird protected by a buttered bun, topped with purple coleslaw, pickles and PB (special Pretty Bird sauce) then accompanied with old-school crinkle french fries. One bite in, I begged the question, “Where has this been my whole life?”

The eatery is simple. The small space is suited well for its walk-up counter order and row of bar stools overlooking the food-prep area, with a view of Regent Street. Gorgeous-weathered days offer a nice outdoor-patio dine-in option, though it is suited well for takeout and/or catering an office lunch. With my meal served on a silver lunch tray, I can’t help feeling like I am back in junior high watching the white outfitted lunch crew at work. The setting is stark with crisp white lines, with a large neon sign expressing, “Pretty Bird, hot chicken,” which adds that nostalgic, hot-lunch-style feeling. It’s quaint, which means the space is small, though outside, there are picnic style tables and benches that allow for dining up close to the potted plants.

Let’s talk about the chicken. I don’t know Pretty Bird’s particular process in creating this  scrumptious fried chicken, but it just as well could be a family secret straight outta Nashville. Freshly crisped chicken-breast quarters await to be picked and dusted with your level of heat—mild, medium, hot and “hot behind.” Spice sprinkled by shakers add the robust flavors and ginger tint to the protein. Top it off with pickles and cabbage, and a melt-in-your-mouth buttered bun, and you might have just defined delicious in the dictionary. The sandwich is a little messy, but not the kind of fall-apart-everywhere messy—and is 100 percent worth licking your fingers for. The ingredients complement by expressing the notes of moist, juicy chicken, with just enough sweet, salty and heated crunch.  Pretty Bird swooned both my friend and me at first bite. This meal is definitely worth the calories. The melt-in-your-mouth chicken will have you licking your lips for one more taste of that special, heated flavor. The sandwich is extremely Instagram-able—just look for yourself on @prettybirdslc. Could this by why the establishment was named Pretty Bird, or is it solely a 1990s reference to the movie Dumb and Dumber? … “Pretty bird. Yeah, can you say pretty bird? Pretty bird. Yes, pretty bird …”

The simplicity of the menu pays homage to great Southern fried chicken, which is a staple in the Southeastern part of the United States. The eatery has surpassed the mark of greatness. The gentle spice of the mild and medium blends can be easily quenched by PBR or wine in a can. The all-American vibe complements the branding and style. It’s fast, easy, on-the-go dining, all while enjoying simple pleasures. It’s a stroke of genius, really. I wanted to try the rosé in a can, a house rosé with bubbles, however they were out.

Opting instead for the PBR, my friend and me are still overwhelmingly in cluck heaven and are easily convinced that Pretty Bird should be a weekly staple. I’m looking forward to returning soon and sorting out which wine in a can will be available this fall. Oh, and one more thing, their website suggests that they occasionally sell out, so if you have a late-night craving, you might be out of luck—oh, cluck!