Gabor Brothers: Tempting Italian in Davis County

The Pulp Fiction-inspired Royale with Cheese burger goes beyond the trappings of a standard fast food grease bomb. Photo: Katie Panzer

Gabor Brothers Main Street Grill
197 N. Main Street, Layton
Mon. & Sat. noon - 9:30 p.m.
Tues. – Fri.1:00 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.
Closed Sun.

It takes a lot to get me out of Salt Lake City. I only end up in Davis County on the rare occasion that I miss my freeway exit. Recently, though, what started off as a late season trip to a pumpkin patch near Farmington ended up with me cruising Main Street in Layton around lunch time. What I found at Gabor Brothers was nothing short of mouth-watering, and has left me trying to find other reasons to end up in Layton for lunch.

On the recommendation of our server, we ordered a pizza. Though not exclusively a pizza place, it seemed that almost everyone around us was also ordering a pie. We went with the Chicken Alfredo Garlic Pizza. Gabor’s pizzas come in three sizes and the kitchen is happy to make it with a thinner or thicker crust, depending on your preference. Our standard crust pizza came topped with freshly grilled chicken, a thick and creamy alfredo sauce, green and white onions, tomatoes and garlic. After one bite, it was pretty clear why the pizza is so popular. The crust was delicate, yet robust, and the house-made alfredo sauce was as sharp and flavorful as I’ve ever had. The bits of chicken were large enough to stay moist in the oven and small enough to blend well with the other toppings. The smallest size was more than enough to share between two adults and a kid, and I’m sure the larger sizes could feed an entire army. The pizzas range in price from $15.99 to $19.99, with a stuffed crust available for an additional $3.99. While waiting for the pizza to cook, we also ordered some homemade breadsticks. The breadsticks were baked fresh to order and smothered with garlic butter, seasonings and parmesan cheese. They came with both marinara and alfredo dipping sauces for $6.99 (or a half order for $4.99).

Later visits gave me the chance to check some of Gabor Brothers’ other offerings. On another server recommendation, and sticking with the Italian theme, we ordered the Pasta Rosa ($14.99). This dish blended the kitchen’s two scratch-made sauces, the super tangy marinara and the buttery alfredo. The two sauces are combined with grilled chicken that has been sautéed with tomatoes, mushrooms, onions and garlic. The hearty sauce is then served over penne noodles. We had the kitchen add some spinach to the mix, a request that personalized the dish a bit more and showed how willing the restaurant was to cater to its clientele. The Pasta Rosa was expertly prepared and had a deep and vigorous flavor that could only have come from painstakingly preparing sauces, finely chopping aromatic vegetables and skillfully building individual and collective flavors. It’s the kind of dish you would prepare at home if you had the extra time, a fridge full of fresh herbs and an Italian grandmother.

Another section of the menu is devoted to burgers and sub sandwiches. I wanted to go for an Italian Meatball Sub, but when I saw one being delivered to the table across from mine, I knew it was large enough that I wouldn’t be able to finish it on my own. Knowing that it uses the house-made marinara sauce as its base, I don’t even need to try it to know that it is a steal at only $9.99. I went instead for the deluxe house burger, a 1/3 pound meat creation known affectionately as the Royale with Cheese ($9.49). The Pulp Fiction-inspired burger goes beyond the trappings of a standard fast food grease bomb. Gabor’s Royale is topped with sautéed mushrooms, grilled onions, cheese and crisp bacon. It is served with lettuce, tomato, onions and a pickle on the side and your choice of batter-dipped seasoned fries, a house salad or a cup of soup. I almost cannot tell you how great this burger is. The large patty allows the flavor of the beef to compete with the grilled toppings and the bacon. You get a little of each flavor with every bite, and every bite seems better than the last. It is the kind of burger eating experience that only ends when nothing is left on the plate and no room is left in your stomach. Even then, you may be tempted to order another one. It’s that good.

I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface at Gabor Brothers. There are several seafood pasta dishes I still want to try like the Linguine with Clams and the Shrimp Scampi. Both are meticulously prepared in-house and are available for $14.99. There are also more Americanized pasta dishes like lasagna, spaghetti and meatballs, and cheese ravioli. I’ve also heard good things about their mussels appetizer—a pound of mussels steamed in the shell and served with a creamy wine butter sauce with sautéed onions and tomatoes, served with breadsticks ($12.99). They also have a large selection of wine, beer and soft drinks. Truth be told, I wish I lived a lot closer to this place. That being said, I think I’ve found a pretty tempting reason to spend more time in Layton.

The Pulp Fiction-inspired Royale with Cheese burger goes beyond the trappings of a standard fast food grease bomb. Photo: Katie Panzer