6 Sweet and Savory Snacks Concocted in Utah: 50 States of Wonder – Gastro Obscura – Atlas Obscura


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Doughnut Shop

1. Johnny O's Spudnuts

The first doughnut chain in the United States was not Krispy Kreme or Dunkin Donuts, but a Utah-based franchise named Spudnuts. In the 1940s and 50s, the owners took potato-based doughnuts mainstream, opening hundreds of stores. Mr. Spudnut, their mascot, made it all the way to outposts in Japan. In 1968, three years into acquisition by a Canadian company, a bad investment destroyed the future of the franchise. Store owners were forced back into independent operation. In 1964, Spudnuts sold an estimated 400,000 doughnuts per day. Today, scattered across the United States, only a few outposts remain. (Read more.)

630 Main St, Logan, UT 84321


2. Tradition

Funeral potatoes hit all the marks of stick-to-your-ribs comfort food: shredded or cubed potatoes, cream of chicken (or mushroom) soup, sour cream, butter, and grated cheddar cheese, all topped with a crunchy layer of corn flakes. The dish is particularly popular in the United States’ “Mormon corridor" of Utah, western Wyoming, eastern Idaho, and southern California. Its long-lasting ingredients are almost always inside a Mormon’s pantry—a holdover from the Church’s post-Depression push for maintaining a three-month food supply at all times. Most sources attribute its spread to the Relief Society, a women’s organization within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 
But funeral potatoes aren’t just for those in mourning. Mormons also serve the dish at church potlucks and alongside ham for Christmas and Easter. When Salt Lake City hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics, it not only honored the world’s greatest athletes, it also honored this treasured dish. Funeral potatoes feature prominently on commemorative pins from the Games. Try a hearty helping alongside your fried chicken or meatloaf at Tradition in Salt Lake City. (Read more.)

501 E 900 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84105

Farm Market

3. Rowley's Red Barn

More than 100 years ago, a Bavarian chemist concocted the first batch of “apple beer” as a nonalcoholic alternative to boozy brews. Originally dubbed fassbrause, the refreshing beverage was treated like a beer. Brewed in barrels and distributed by horse-drawn carriage, it soon became popular on draught. When Larry Stillman, an American living abroad, got a taste of fassbrause, he wanted more. He secured the rights to the recipe and started selling it, rebranded as Apple Beer, in his home state of Utah in the 1960s. Caffeine- and alcohol-free, the soft drink took off among teetotalers, kids, and those seeking a decent mixer.
To appreciate the full spectrum of apple beer’s refreshing majesty, we recommend sipping one while surrounded by Utah’s finest apples and apple goodies. Rowley’s Red Barn, a family-owned fruit farm and cider mill with an outpost 70 miles south of Salt Lake City, provides exactly that. (Read more.)

901 S 300 W St, Santaquin, UT 84655

Restaurant and Motel 

4. Sunglow

Along State Route 24 in south-central Utah, the Sunglow Restaurant and Motel sells the same unconventional pies they’ve been known for since the 1960s. Located in the tiny town of Bicknell (population 321, as of 2017), this eatery is situated 13 miles west of Capitol Reef National Park. A full assessment of flavor choices might leave you wondering if you’re looking at the right menu. Apart from classics such as apple or blueberry, you’ll find oatmeal, sour cream, buttermilk, avocado lime, pinto bean, and pickle pies. 
Pickle pie is no gimmick; it’s a menu staple. Tasters say the initial impression reads like a mince pie. As you continue chewing, however, the spiced overtones fade into a distinct tanginess. The pie starts with a base of ground, sweet pickles, which get turned into filling by adding eggs, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon extract, cream, and margarine. It’s then baked in a classic pie crust and served with a side of whipped cream. (Read more.)

91 E Main St, Bicknell, UT 84715

Candy Shop

5. Sweet's

Chocolate-covered cinnamon bears are so popular that the bookstore at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, regularly runs out of its supply of one-pound bags. Salt Lake City’s Sweet Candy Company began selling the cinnamon-flavored red gummy—spicier, waxier, and significantly bigger than the average gummy bear—in the 1920s, but the chocolate-covered edition wasn’t born until the 1990s. Sweet’s president says the creation was inspired by one of their guiding principles: to cover things in chocolate. Utahns can’t get enough of the flavor pairing, and the gummies have recently become something of a state signature. (Read more.)

3780 W Directors Row, Salt Lake City, UT 84104

Fast Food

6. Arctic Circle

Mayonnaise and ketchup. Put them together and you have a condiment that is known by a number of names across the globe, including Russian dressing, hamburger sauce, and salsa golf. But all of those sauces are just imposters, if you ask someone from Utah. They'll tell you that the combination goes by one name: fry sauce. 
According to local history, fry sauce was created in the late 1940s by Don Carlos Edwards, founder of the Utah-based fast-food chain Arctic Circle. Originally called “pink sauce,” the recipe included ketchup, mayo, garlic, and a mix of other spices to create an instant hit condiment that was perfect for french fries. The sauce quickly became a cultural institution that continues to be a source of fierce local pride. (Read more.)

1680 Red Cliffs Dr, St. George, Utah 84790

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