Diaspora

Shaved ice, barbecue, buttermilk pie and ramen: Utah's Black-owned food businesses offer lots of delicious options to try – Salt Lake Tribune

(Rachel Rydalch | The Salt Lake Tribune) Cathy Tshilombo-Lokemba, aka Mama Africa holding her Pili-Pili sauce at Harmons Emigration Market in Salt Lake City on Friday, Jan. 14, 2022.
In the year since The Salt Lake Tribune first published a list of Black-owned restaurants, food trucks, bakeries, markets, caterers and food products — to give readers a chance to show their support during Black History month, and year-round — a few things have changed.
Some food trucks have permanent locations. Labor shortages have affected hours of operation. And caterers have switched up their pick-up points.
Some business owners we listed last year have started new businesses. For example, Alexi Fisher, who has been running her mobile bartending business, The Hammered Copper, since 2018 — and in December, she launched Cocktail Collective, a brick-and-mortar school for mixology, the only educational facility of its kind in Utah.
“One of the hardest things I have to deal with in this business is being recognized as not only a female business owner, but a Black female business owner,” Fisher said. “There have been several times during the month of February where I’ve had to be like, ‘Hey! I’m a Black female business owner, can I get some recognition for this month?’ And it’s been tough and a little disconcerting to have to use my voice to be like, ‘Hey, I’m here.’ At the same time, when people find me, it means the world to me, because it means people are genuinely interested in what I’m doing.”
Read our profile of Fisher to see what Cocktail Collective has on tap this month, including Black History Month mixology classes, and use the following list to explore Black-owned food businesses, including ramen, fancy shaved ice, Southern cuisine and food from the African diaspora.
Diversion: A Social Eatery • Located in Salt Lake City’s Marmalade neighborhood, owners Ryan Peterson and Jennifer Stone serve healthy all-American fare. Steak and egg poutine and breakfast pizzas are two of the specialties for brunch, served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. 535 N. 300 West, Salt Lake City; (801) 657-7326 or diversioneatery.com.
11 Hauz • This family-owned and operated Jamaican restaurant serves recipes handed down from chef/owner Sheron Grant’s grandmother, 1241 Center Drive, Park City; 435-200-8972, 11hauz.com.
Horn of Africa • Somali and East African food in a west Salt Lake City strip mall,1320 S. Swaner Road, Salt Lake City; 801-908-5498, somali-restaurant-slc.business.site.
Joe’s Cafe • Chef Joe Hicks offers breakfasts, including biscuits, gravy and grits, as well as sandwiches and burgers for lunch. 1126 S. State, Orem, 801-607-5377, joescafeorem.com.
Mahider Ethiopian • The combination platter is an ideal way to sample Ethiopian stews, vegetables and flatbread, 1465 S. State St., Suite 7, Salt Lake City; 801-975-1111, mahiderethiopian.com.
Murphy’s Cafe 126 • Owner Daniel Murphy and wife Stacey opened this family-friendly cafe in 2019. They are known for their fries and their Philly cheesesteaks — they offer 10 different kinds, including a vegetarian version and a cheesesteak bowl. 12575 Rhetski Lane, Ste 103, Riverton; 385-237-3903, https://www.murphyscafe126.com.
Sauce Boss Southern Kitchen • Chef Julius Thompson serves catfish, blackened pork chops, shrimp, grits and other soul-food favorites with collard greens, mac ‘n’ cheese and other popular sides. 877 E. 12300 South, Draper, 385-434-2433, saucebosssouthernkitchen.com.
Yoko Ramen • This small noodle shop was purchased by Jameel Gaskins (formerly of Pago). It serves several varieties of ramen, sandwiches, wings and gyoza, 473 E. 300 South, Salt Lake City; 801-876-5267, www.yokoslc.com.
(Photo courtesy of Sauce Boss Southern Kitchen) Chef and owner Julius Thompson serves soul food favorites at his restaurant, Sauce Boss Southern Kitchen, in Draper.
Fatso Crema • Alia Marrero began selling homemade ice cream through her Instagram, @slcfatso, during the pandemic. She rotates flavors monthly — February’s include Funky Jubilee (Almond), Lovey Dovey (strawberry with chocolate shavings) and Blacker the Berry (vanilla cream with brown sugar syrup and fruit compote) — and will mix custom flavors on request. DM your order, and she’ll send directions for payment and pickup.
Icy Mountain Shaved Ice • Visit them year round at their shop for basic shaved ices (flavored with syrup) and their signature “bougie” ices (topped with ice cream, fruit, candy, or condensed milk). The food truck is still out and about, with locations posted on Instagram at @icy.mountain. 2272 E. 3300 South, Millcreek, 801-707-5763, https://icymountainshavedice.wixsite.com.
James’ Gourmet Pies • Pineapple is the not-so-secret ingredient in James Edwards’ popular sweet potato pies. They are sold in full and mini sizes at farmers markets, events and online at jamesgourmet.com.
Lovee’s Cakes • Cakes, cookies and desserts for birthdays, weddings and other special occasions, 1706 E. 5600 South, South Ogden; 801-390-6114 or loveescakes.com.
Pies the Limit • Dominique Wilson’s pie-baking hobby turned into a full-fledged bakery in 2020, when the Louisiana native opened this pickup-only shop in Salt Lake City. The menu for the 9-inch fruit and cream pies changes monthly, but the specialty — blueberry sour cream — never leaves the rotation. Savory dinner pies include chicken, roast beef, macaroni and cheese, and vegetable. Order at instagram.com/pies_the_limitut or 801-856-7511.
Sheer Ambrosia • While growing up in North Carolina, owner Sherrita “Rita” Magalde worked in a Greek restaurant, babysat the owner’s children and learned to make gourmet baklava from their “yiayia” or grandmother. Orders by phone or online at 801-891-6242 or sheerambrosiabakery.com.

Balabe • This orange truck takes Utah diners on a trip to Senegal, a country in West Africa, where one of the most popular dishes is mafe, a rich tomato and peanut butter stew with chicken, fish or lamb. The truck serves it two ways: over rice or on french fries, the latter is a twist on Canadian poutine. Visit facebook.com/balabeslc.
Jamaica’s Kitchen • From spicy-sweet jerk chicken to tender goat curry with rice and beans, this truck delivers Caribbean flavors and vibes. Visit facebook.com/jamaicaskitchenslc.
Makaya Catering • Owner Roody Salvator sells Haitian street food from this food truck, including marinated chicken, pulled pork, plantains and pikliz, a spicy cabbage, carrot and vinegar slaw. Call or text 801-493-5873 for pickup at 56 E. 3335 S. Delivery available through Chefpanzee. Details at https://www.instagram.com/Makaya.Caters.
Taste of Louisiana • Menu includes Southern favorites like seafood gumbo, toasted po’ boy sandwiches and peach cobbler. Pickup and delivery available at 801-864-6203 or tasteoflouisianautah.com.
African Discount Market • Located in a Salt Lake City area strip mall, this market sells ingredients for favorite African and Caribbean meals, from fresh yam tubers and bitter leaves to dehydrated cod and smoked shrimp. There also are dried goods like noodles and peeled black-eyed peas for steamed moi-moi cakes. Utahns also visit this store for its beauty supplies, 3232 S. 400 East, 801-467-3100 or facebook.com/Africandiscountmarket.
Corner Stop • The drinks and snacks at the Corner Stop in Salt Lake City have names and flavors you won’t find in large grocery and convenience stores — sodas like Faygo, usually found in the Midwest, and munchies like hot chili squid potato chips popular in Asia, said Cordero Curtis, who owns the convenience store specializing in “exotics” and “smokes” at 203 E. Hampton Ave. Details 385-528-0781.
Local Food Walking Tours • Founder and owner Maurice “Moe” Egan guides guests on a tasting tour of either downtown Salt Lake City or Main Street in Park City. The two-hour trips are generously seasoned with historical facts and samples from four restaurants. Call 801-597-1157 or localfoodwalkingtours.com.
Mama Africa Pili-Pili Hot Sauce • Cathy Tshilombo-Lokemba — better known as “Mama Africa” — was a fashion and interior designer turned restaurant owner. There, she began bottles of her spicy, African hot sauce. It is available at Caputo’s Market and Deli, in Salt Lake City.
Miss Essie’s Barbecue Sauce • In addition to the original sweet-smoky barbecue sauce, the company makes three other flavors — honey, honey mustard and apple cider vinegar. They are sold in Harmons, Whole Foods and Associated Food Stores. Miss Essie’s Catering has smoked meats and sides that can be ordered online for pickup at its commercial kitchen, 6064 S. 300 West, Murray. Details at 801-262-3616 or missessiesbbq.com.
Rob Sauce • This bottled glaze is “better than barbecue sauce,” according to owner Rob Clark, who says it gives that umami taste to wings, beef, vegetables and even tofu. Available online and select grocery stores. Details at: https://www.therobsauce.com.
Van Kwartel Flavor Science • Caribbean drink mixes, sauces, marinades and spice blends are made using chiles grown in Utah. Products can be purchased online or in person at The Store in Salt Lake City and Holladay. From June through October, they are available at the Downtown Farmers Market at Pioneer Park and at the Winter Farmer’s Market at the Gateway on Saturdays. The owners also recently opened Van Kwartel’s Cecret Mercantile, a winter pop-up at Alta Ski Area with breakfast burritos, pastries and drinks. More at https://van-kwartel-flavor-science.square.site.
The Hammered Copper • Master mixologist Alexi Johnson Fisher launched her mobile bartending service in 2018 at age 28. Since then, she has taught cocktail and mocktail classes at the Park City Culinary Institute and made Utah Business Magazine’s list of “20 in their 20s,” as a young entrepreneur to watch. In December, she launched Cocktail Collective, a brick and mortar “culinary school for cocktails.” Visit thehammeredcopper.com and cocktailcollective.com.
Melange Liquid Catering • From nonalcoholic dirty sodas to custom cocktails, owner Oz Hutton brings mobile bartending services to wedding receptions, backyard parties and corporate events. Visit melangeliquidcatering.com.
Policy Kings Brewery • This nano-brewery/bar makes small-batch beers and is named for the historic Chicago gambling empire that provided financial support for Black businesses in the 1930s and ‘40s, 223 N. 100 West, Cedar City; policykingsbrewery.com.
(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) The double pepperoni pizza at Diversion Social Eatery in Salt Lake City, Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2022.
Benji’s Bar-B-Que Shack • Owner Benji Stalling went from sitting behind a desk to standing over a hot smoker. And the former banker-turned-pit master couldn’t be happier about the switch. He opened a 24-hour barbecue restaurant in 2019, but the location has closed. Now Stalling — who spent much of his youth in Georgia — is in the catering business. His menu includes smoked meats (tri tip, brisket, pulled pork, ribs and prime rib), side dishes and desserts. Benjisbbqshack.com.
Betty’s Ethiopian Food • Serving authentic Ethiopian food, Betty’s takes orders between Saturday and Wednesday, with pickups in Fruit Heights on Thursday and Friday between 2 and 7 pm. They deliver to Salt Lake on Saturdays, with a $10 fee. For more information on the food and pop-up events, follow them on Instagram at @bettyethiocuisine. 571-331-1880, https://linktr.ee/Bettyethio
Casual Cuisine • After a 32-year career as a flight attendant, Melinda Anderson turned her passion for cooking into a business. She graduated from culinary school and spent time working in the industry before launching Casual Cuisine Caterers in 2006. While Anderson knows barbecue and Southern food, her family-run business, which operates out of a commercial kitchen in Taylorsville, has created menus for all types of family and corporate events from Jewish bar mitzvahs to Indian weddings. 801-554-6581 or casualcuisinecaterers.com.
Dawgz-N-Leenks • Owner Pete Richards sells beef hot dogs, sausages and traditional Southern hot links, including his Da Bay, wrapped in bacon, topped with grilled onions and peppers and his housemade barbecue sauce. Order online at dawgsnleenks.com.
Eddy’s Magic Spoon • Owner Eddy Aklasso says her specialty is “Afro-fusion,” which combines French and West African cuisines. Her menu is available for private parties and business events and includes marinated and grilled meats — such as beef and chicken kabobs, whole fish and roasts — as well as flavorful fried rices. 801-938-9949 or facebook.com/eddysmagicspoon.
Spice Kitchen Incubator • This Salt Lake City refugee program has several food entrepreneurs who provide international cuisines for events and parties. Options include Halab’s Jasmine Kitchen, Hayat’s Grill, Jamaica’s Kitchen, Kafe Mamai, and Namash Swahili Cuisine. 751 W. 800 South. Call 385-229-4484 or visit spicekitchenincubator.org.
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