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RECIPE of the MONTH - September 2007

Slide on Down to the Slickrock Café
By Annabelle Numaguchi

Jeanine Cassano
Co-Owner Jeanine Cassano

Every town worth visiting has a Slickrock Café. I don’t mean to imply that the Slickrock Café is a franchise. In fact, quite the opposite. As someone who tries to avoid the cookie cutter nature of that type of industry that renders so many towns identical to one another, I really appreciate that most places I’ve been to have had a local restaurant that has reminded me of the Slickrock Café.

This is the kind of eatery that usually has “café” or “diner” in the name. I’m talking about the type of restaurant where half way down the menu you can pretty much predict the rest because the options are so comfortingly recognizable, despite the catchy names that remind you of where you’re traveling.

The great thing about the ubiquitousness of places like the Slickrock Café throughout the United States is that you get the familiarity, knowing what to expect from the food and the ambiance, while still getting to experience something unique and local.

The restaurant is owned by Moab residents, Jeanine Cassano and Amy McFetridge, who recently bought it and have made subtle improvements, such as switching from an Island theme to a more apt desert theme. They have also added breakfast on the weekends, which is a welcome addition since there often doesn’t seem to be enough restaurants in town to keep up with that particular demand.

The decor of the Slickrock Café features enlarged photos of red rock landscapes alongside iron art with the name of the establishment emblazoned on it. The space retains its airiness thanks to the foyer atrium, featuring a full-service bar, and the second-story loft overlooking the main dining area. Bold, cheerful colors enliven the ambiance, imbuing the restaurant with an overall lively and hip feel.

The menu also reflects the aim to remind customers that they are nestled in the middle of some extremely beautiful and rugged landscape, by giving items names like “Fiery Furnace Fried Chicken”, “Hungry Hiker Old Time Pot Roast” and, my favorite, “Take the Other Road Turkey Burger”, which is named after an actual street sign in this area. The catchy names are in smaller print than the actual item, making it easy to quickly scan the good-sized menu, which offers enough variety to satisfy everyone in your group without being overwhelming.

Based on my recent lunch at Slickrock, I can attest that the portions are generous and my expectations of the “Oowah Reuben” I ordered were met with definite satisfaction. Cassano asserts with pride that the food is prepared on-site, including sauces and their balsamic salad dressing. This is one of the most compelling reasons to opt for a local café to a franchise one, since you have a far better chance of eating food that’s never known the tin sides of a can.

The beverage selection offers plenty of choices, including local beer and wine. The Moab Brewery makes some well-respected micro-brews, most of which are available on tap at the Slickrock Café. They also offer a home-made draught rootbeer, which, if you enjoy the taste of sasparilla, is a real treat.

Although the Castle Creek Winery has been a rocky label (how can you resist a pun like that), they have much improved recently and are worth a try even if you’ve been less than impressed in the past. For oenophiles who enjoy talking about the up and coming wines of unexpected locations such as Chile and South Africa, imagine the cache, or at least the curiosity, that mentioning a Utah vintage will spark. The Slickrock Café offers these along with a few other wines by either the glass or bottle.

Their specialty is a kicking House Margarita. For those who are fond of that type of cocktail, there are six variations on this classic. From noon to 5:00p.m. on Monday through Thursday, you can enjoy one for a mere $6.99. A second incentive to come by and enjoy their fabulous airy atrium is a variety of appetizers at half price with every pint of beer during the daily Happy Hours.

Many pleasant hours can be spent at the Slickrock Café. Whether you’re looking for a burly breakfast to begin your day with or a breezy bar to unwind in, this restaurant offers up good comfort fare in a hip ambiance. Every town should have a place that’s fun for locals and relaxing for visitors, and fortunately for Moab, we have the Slickrock Café.

The Slickrock Café is located at 5 North Main Street and online at www.slickrockcafe.com. They can also be contacted at (435) 259-8004. They are open M-Th 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., F and Sat. 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sun 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Happy Hours is from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., daily. Prices for entrees range from $7 (burger) to $16 (Steak).

Recipe of the Month
From The Slickrock Café


Salsa

3 jalapenos, diced
½ cup oregano
4 tbsp salt
6 stewed whole peeled tomatoes
1/4 bunch cilantro
small can of tomato juice

mix together and chill.

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