Sage's Cafe

  (Salt Lake City, Utah)
Salt Lake City's Awarded Vegetarian Organic Restaurant
[ Member listing ]

Sage's Cafe and Vertical Diner reviewed on Stumptown Vegans!

Stumptown Vegans Travels!

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Though very different restaurants, the sisterly relationship between Salt Lake City’s vegan restaraunts, Sage’s Cafe and Vertical Diner are, in this reviewer’s eyes, similar to Vita and Paradox in menu items. Both restaurants have full vegan menus created by the same chef, Ian Brandt. Sage’s was the first restaurant, opening in 2000. Vertical Diner followed, opening in 2006.

Sage’s is a cute, comfortable cafe in an old house in downtown Salt Lake with many fresh, organic dishes, and prices to match. The dining space is on the smaller side with many wood details including the floor, two-person tables, and chairs. Meals range from raw Pad Thai to the Pesto Sub, Soba Salad, and Philly Cheezesteak, all generally around $13. One of my favorite elements of Sage’s menu is the creativity. For example, the creation of Mushroom Escargot or the Basil Pesto Crepe.

Vertical Diner isn’t really across town from Sage’s, but the huge SLC blocks make it feel like it is. The Diner is located in a light industrial area, unsuspecting of vegan food. The building’s exterior, as well as the interior, has a 50’s diner feel, complete with a neon arrow pointing at the exterior sign. Inside, aluminum edged laminate tables, in additional to a bar, add to this retro feel. The all-vegan menu contains all the comfort food that can rot your gut – wonderful options like theFried Setain, Nachos, and an extensive breakfast served all day like Pancakes, Tofu Scramble, and Sausage. If you’ve eaten at Sage’s you’ll recognize some of the dishes and enjoy them for a bit less, probably because of the location. Typical dishes run about $7-9.

My favorite meals included the Philly Cheeze Steak (available at both restaurants), the Tender Tigers, the Blueberry Pancakes, and all the desserts. For Utah, they have an amazing beer and wine selection at both restaurants with many organic options, and presumbably vegan.

The Philly Cheeze Steak sandwhich includes a homemade setain and nutritional cheesy sauce served on a multi-grain bread. The multi grain bread is thick and chewy, adding a nice nutty texture to the sandwich. I’ve enjoyed leftovers of this dish for breakfast thinking it tastes similar to Vita’s Tofu Florentine dish only with a mild, not sour, sauce.

The Nut Burger, offered only at Sage’s, is just what is says it is – a burger filled with nuts, lots of them. The chickpea bound almond and cashew patty isn’t the only nutty texture, the addition of the multi grain bread here will fill you up quickly. Tahini sauce tops of this burger, giving it a unique flavor. I felt healthy after my first bite. 

The Tender Tigers at the Vertical Diner is a housemade setain on a stick, battered and fried, with an end result of a wonderful crispy and tender appetizer. It is served with a thick ranch dipping sauce.

If you’re a pancake fanatic like me, you can’t go wrong with the Blueberry Pancakes. They are huge, fluffy and moist cakes served all day with real maple syrup. At $2.25 each, it’s hard to order only one to save room for a side of sausage.

The housemade desserts at both locations are to die for and I’ve yet to have anything sweet from either kitchen that I was simply middle-of-the-road-good. The shakes and floats are everything you would want them to be, made with Soy Delicious soy cream. The Tiramisu is tender with a mild coffee and cocoa flavor without being too sweet. The Brownie is dense and chewy, almost gooey, easily one of the best vegan brownies I’ve ever had, since I am not a fan of the cake brownie. And the presentation of their dessert dishes shows they must love sweets as much as I do.

The wait staff has always been friendly, but sometimes a bit slow, depending on the night. If you have allergies, ask for their allergy menu, they’ve been very accommodating to me. Sage’s has an All-You-Can-Eat Pizza Night Tuesdays and Raw Food Fridays. Weekend Brunch is another fun event, served on Saturday and Sunday.

While this reviewer rarely admits to spending 9 years in Salt Lake, one thing she regrets is that neither Sage’s or Verticle had yet to open during her imprisonment. Vertical Diner and Sage’s Cafe, and those beautiful mountains, are the only things that take her back. These two resultants are enough to recommend the 12 hour road trip just for a few meals. And be sure to check out Vertical’s free jukebox, the music selection has something for everyone.

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