It’s no secret that Utah’s and Salt Lake City’s reputations have been growing nationwide. There has also been a reciprocated effect within our festival community all the way to the furthest spectrum of the arts. Dignitaries in the state have even managed to secure first-place national attention in what we do best: throwing diverse parties all year long. Entering their fifth year, it’s also no surprise that on July 10, Eat Drink SLC will be bringing the best of all food and spirits back to Tracy Aviary for a night in “Such a beautiful, verdant setting that really provides the garden-party-like vibe,” says Tracey Thompson, President of Vine Lore Wine and Spirits.
Accurately describing what the anomaly of Eat Drink SLC encapsulates is entirely in its own realm for Utah festivals, as they have doubled ticket sales since 2015 and already sold out of a 600-person capacity for 2019. “It is a bit of a family affair,” says Thompson. It is indeed an extremely rare occasion that a sprouting family tree is fortunate enough to have so many talented branches evolving together into a completely different entity. The event runs entirely under the nonprofit umbrellas of Tim Brown, the Executive Director of the Tracy Aviary; his brother Stephen Brown, the Creative Director of SB Dance; and Stephen’s wife, Tracey Thompson; all of who work closely together. In addition, Eat Drink SLC has partnered up for a second year with Neighborhood House, who has offered a nationally accredited preschool and afterschool and summer activities to families in need for the past 125 years. “We foster appreciation of the synergy between food and drink, raise the visibility of local businesses in the food and drink industry and donate proceeds to nonprofits that strengthen places, people and art in our community,” says Thompson.
“We have incredible community support. This event could not happen without the generosity of our sponsors and vendors.”
In this case specifically, the birds are doing something uniquely big for the Beehive. As Eat Drink SLC veritably feeds the community donating profits from this event, they also create a destination where the best food-and-beverage artisans of Utah are able to demonstrate their stride side by side. We’ll consider Beehive Distillery partnering up with Takashi and Post Office Place—both locally owned—this year, pairing a synergistic cocktail menu as to par with the fare delivered beside it. While that harmony has already been established, guests should already be anticipating dishes from Stoneground, Eva’s, Pallet, White Horse and more.
Inarguably, the best pairings of an Eat Drink SLC event will be, without question, wine and cuts from local Beehive Cheese and Beltex Meats. “Wine is the natural anchor for this event,” says Thompson. Eat Drink SLC will be hosting an exorbitant quantity of wine ranging anywhere from temperate Argentina, South Africa, Italy, California and Oregon. In years past, the event has also prided themselves with a specialty rosé tent.
Another key part to making Eat Drink SLC a highlight event for food people throughout the Salt Lake Valley is, well, the people. “We have incredible community support. This event could not happen without the generosity of our sponsors and vendors. The restaurants donate their time, talents and all the delicious noshes. The distilleries, mixologists and breweries donate their time and talent. Our sponsor list grows each year. Nicholas & Company has been a key sponsor since day one. The aviary hosts a variety of events, from weddings to fundraisers. The birds are used to having daily visitors, and they’re a lovely part of the scene,” says Thompson. This nonetheless includes a staff of volunteers working around the clock in order to make it happen.
“Not that we haven’t dreamt of incorporating Liberty Park into a broader vision of Eat Drink SLC. Maybe one day.”
Coming back full circle, Tracy Aviary, Eat Drink SLC, SB Dance and Neighborhood House all work within the confinements of a non-profit tax bracket. This means that a majority of the Salt Lake City folk making this event happen are doing it out of the love in their hearts and their passion for solidifying a substantial food and beverage culture for our community. As of now Eat Drink SLC is happily nestled within Tracy Aviary. “Currently, the event doesn’t expand beyond the boundaries of the Aviary,” says Thompson. “Not that we haven’t dreamt of incorporating Liberty Park into a broader vision of Eat Drink SLC. Maybe one day.”
Tickets for this year’s event, Wednesday, July 10 from 6:30–9:30 p.m., will range from around $90 and it is always a 21+ event, with all you can eat, drink or indulge in. All inquiries can be made through eatdrinkslc.com. See you there!