La Barba to open new bar at The Gateway

Several food trucks served food outside of the first winter flea market at The Gateway. Photo by Isaac Riddle.

The co-founders of the local coffee roaster, La Barba Coffee, Josh Rosenthal and Joe Evens announced this week that they are ready to expand beyond coffee and into the cocktail business.  The duo plans to open the Seabird Bar and Vinyl Room, a proposed bar that will occupy the space next door to the recently-opened La Barba cafe at The Gateway.

“Seabird is exactly the kind of concept we’re excited to bring to downtown,” said Jenny Cushing, Vice President of Leasing at Vestar in a statement. “What they can do with coffee is second-to-none, and now, they’re going to bring that same level of quality and uniqueness into the cocktail scene. We’re so excited for it to come to life here at The Gateway.”

The Gateway’s La Barba cafe opened in June in the spot below the clock tower that Starbucks formerly occupied.  La Barba is the lifestyle and entertainment center’s third cafe or eatery to open in past few months.  Also opening in June was MidiCi Neapolitan Pizza, at The Gateway’s south end. Utah’s first Dave & Busters also opened during the spring, replacing the former food courtyard.

The cafe’s owners expect to open Seabird,  which will feature seasonal renditions of craft cocktails, while music is played from a classic turntable,  by the fall.  Also slated to open in the fall is the Las Vegas-based-chain, SkinnyFats food hall.  SkinnyFats’ Gateway location will be its first outside of Nevada.  The 11,000-square-foot, food hall will feature a diverse menu offerings everything from bowls, tacos, burgers and sandwiches and a shifting roster of weekend specials in a communal setting.  The food hall will also have beer and wine stations and replaces the area previously occupied by the Urban Arts Gallery, Happy Sumo and Sunglass Hut.

The establishments are part of The Gateway’s strategic rebranding from a mall to a mixed-use entertainment district that features a Megaplex Theatres, The Depot by Live Nation, Clark Planetarium, Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum and Wiseguys Comedy Club.

In addition to more entertainment and dining options, The Gateway’s owner, Vestar, is working to attract technology companies to replace former retail spaces.  Recursion Pharmaceuticals, a biotechnology company, is relocating from Research Park at the University of Utah, to over 100,000 square feet of new office space in the former Dick’s Sporting Goods location.

Another new tenant, Kiln, a tech-oriented coworking and startup community, will move into 25,000 square feet of space directly west of the Olympic Fountain Plaza.  Both Kiln and Recursion will move into their new spaces at The Gateway by the end of 2018.

“We’ve just started construction on a Seabird location in Draper,” said Josh Rosenthal, co-founder of La Barba and Seabird in a statement. “Once we signed the deal to come to The Gateway, we knew it would be another perfect location for us.”

Rendering of the SkinnyFats food hall. Image courtesy of Vestar.

Posted by Isaac Riddle

Isaac Riddle grew up just outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. He has a BA in English literature from the University of Utah and a Masters of Journalism from Temple University. Isaac has written for Next City, The Philadelphia Public School Notebook and Salt Lake City Weekly. Before embarking on a career in journalism, Isaac taught High School English in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia. Isaac is the founder of Building Salt Lake and can be reached at