Aug 30, 2023 - News

A smorgasbord of international delights at new Spice on 9th, Salt Lake's latest shared eatery

A plate of chicken in a to-go box.

Chicken kebsa from Halab's Jasmine Kitchen, operating this week at Spice on 9th in Salt Lake City. Photo: Erin Alberty/Axios

A new cafe featuring a rotation of up-and-coming chefs is the latest addition to Salt Lake's fast-expanding lineup of shared eateries and kitchens.

Driving the news: Spice on 9th is in its first week of business, serving up an array of international cuisines prepared mostly by refugee chefs.

Why it matters: Space-sharing has been crucial to the recovery of small culinary businesses, which were gutted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • It's particularly important for entrepreneurs from vulnerable communities to be able to share the risks of opening a brick-and-mortar location, said Emily Park, director of the nonprofit Spice Kitchen Incubator, which operates the new cafe.

What's happening: Spice Kitchen's chefs, many of whom run catering and food truck businesses, rotate into the cafe on a weekly basis and can use the restaurant, at 422 W. 900 South, for pop-up events.

  • There's also a market with handicrafts, gifts and prepared food made by the group's dozens of businesses, largely founded by immigrant cooks.

Details: The chefs are preparing cuisines representing 26 different countries, from American fried chicken to Nepali momos.

  • This week, Spice is home to Halab's Jasmine Kitchen, with chicken kebsa, falafel and other Middle Eastern dishes by Syrian chefs Ibrahim and Rawija Bakar.
  • 👋 Erin here! Be sure to try Rawija's baklava, which has a surprising tang and lovely presentation.

Pro tip: Next week is Jadim Lahpai's Shwe Letyar Sushi.

  • Her fermented tea salad took Spice on 9th's grand opening by storm last Friday.

The big picture: More and more food halls, ghost kitchens and commissaries are popping up around town to give both new businesses and diners a chance to try new things.

  • Porteña's gourmet empanadas, Verona Pizzeria and Pokeologist poke and Asian snacks this month joined the lineup at the Local Market + Bar, which opened in March.
  • Fairpark's Salt Lake City Eats, new this spring, is becoming a westside takeout hub with dishes from Mexico to Bhutan.
  • Woodbine Food Hall in the Granary District and Granato's Block Party in Holladay opened last year, joining the Gateway's HallPass, which launched in 2019.
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