You say you’re old school? Then Lamb’s Grill Café was the place for you. Originally opened by Greek immigrant George Lamb in 1939, Lamb’s was one of Salt Lake City’s most durable and endearing downtown institutions.
Lamb’s opened in 1919 in Logan and moved in 1939 to its location in Salt Lake City. For decades, it was run by Ted Speros and then his son, John Speros. In its heyday, the restaurant, with its old-school booths, white-linen tablecloths and ornate wooden counter, was a favorite spot for Salt Lake City’s power brokers to have lunch or a cup of coffee, decaf of course.
Then a few things changed when the restaurant changed hands. There was live music, there was local art featured monthly, and these days, you’ll find fresh Pacific Coast red snapper on the menu. There’s even a respectable wine, beer, and liquor selection at Lamb’s. But in general, Lamb’s was still dishing up the same comforting grub that it has for decades.
The seafood platter of shrimp, bay scallops, calamari, asparagus, panko, lemon wheels, house cocktail sauce was a good sized appetiser even for two
The “cup” of clam chowder was so generous that one would describe as a “bowl”. Not quite the New England style, but it was good for a cold evening in SLC.
Grilled lamb chops were the classic cuts of mutton grilled to a beautiful doneness with charred fats and grill marks.
Unfortunately they could not escape the shifting taste buds of consumers and finally closed shop in 2018, after they were slapped with a few penalties for breaking the extremely strict liquor rules of Utah. When the estranged ex-spouse of the previous owner bought over the shareholdings, they forgot to get a proper liquor license. Hence they were slapped with the “Zion’s Curtain” rule, i.e. you cannot pour the drinks in the public. When they finally got over this mistake, the damage has been done. The crowd had left for new eateries along Main Street and left this place for good.
Second Life (for the Furniture)
Diners who mourned the closing of Lamb’s Grill 18 months ago have a new reason to feel nostalgic: The owners have sold most of the antique furniture and kitchen equipment to a BYU graduate who opened a breakfast restaurant called Tru Religion in Orem 40 miles to the south. The dishes and silverware were donated to the Catholic Community Center.
Diners can even walk through the swinging double doors that once led into the Lamb’s kitchen. At Tru Religion, the doors now serve as the entrances to the men’s and women’s bathrooms.
Or they can sit in one of the refurbished art deco booths — still sporting the metal coat racks — and enjoy a plate of steak and eggs.
In any case, it gave Lamb’s a new lease of life.
(Rewrote this blog because many friends in the F&B business are facing a difficult time during this Covid-19 pandemic. Remember if you stop going to these restaurants, they will not be able to survive. Please support your local small eateries if you can.)