‘Ghost kitchen’ to open instead of distillery and restaurant on 900 West

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A beta-test for upscale food and beverage on the west side won’t be coming to 900 West between the Folsom Trail and North Temple.

As we reported in June 2019, Congregation Spirits Distillery and Standard Candle Bar & Grill were putting their last financing pieces together, which included an $850,000 loan from the Redevelopment Agency.

The estimated $3.6 million project would have rehabbed the 12,000 square foot Utah Quality Service building with its noteworthy wrought iron entrance and include a patio fronting the street, a bottle shop for sale to the public, and a fruit orchard, according to a 2019 RDA staff report.

In June 2019 a local team from Lotus Development and Water Witch bar won the RDA loan, and in September 2021 sold the property to a foreign LLC with an address in Los Angeles. 

A representative from the RDA said their involvement in the project likely ended when the property was sold.

The new project, a commissary kitchen with no access to the public, started receiving permit applications from the city in October 2021. That construction work is only weeks away from completion, a on-site manager told us. 

Photos by Luke Garrott.

The “restaurant hub” is called Salt Lake City Bites. Several of the kitchens have already fired up, we were informed. Owners have hung a Grubhub, DoorDash, and Uber Eats banner outside the building. 

With the abandoned distillery, restaurant and bar project, the neighborhood will lose the prospect of a gathering-place and a partially-activated street front. 

900 West will likely gain more car traffic than retail food and beverage would generate, as delivery drivers will come and go frequently to the multiple kitchens at the location. 

The Euclid – Fairpark neighborhood loses a potential asset. And the walkable future of the North Temple and Folsom corridor suffers a setback with the addition of another auto-oriented business. 

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Posted by Luke Garrott

Luke Garrott, PhD, has published in The Salt Lake Tribune and the Deseret News, and written features for the Salt Lake City Weekly City Guide and The West View. A former two-term councilman in Salt Lake City's District 4, he lives in Downtown Salt Lake City and grew up in the Chicago area.