Most overrated restaurants in SLC?

Huh. I will say Red Rock’s downtown location lost some appeal when they opened the Fashion Place location. It’s like their better cooks moved there.

Squatters beer was never the same to me after brewmaster Jenny quit.

Philistine! :wink:

Seriously, it is probably something I ought to be finding the recipe and trying out once.

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Regarding Banbury Cross, I thought the problem was that people are being paid to stay home. In any Smith’s store in SLC we see signs all over the store practically begging people to come work for them–offering tuition benefits and lots of others. Same with all the fast food places. We are building a house in the central part of the state and it took a long time to find workers willing to come do the framing. According to our contractor, this was at standard wages for such work. It’s been kind of a problem.

Ok, but that shortage has nothing to do with “people aren’t willing to work because they’re getting government handouts” as Banbury Cross (and many others) are claiming.

States that ended unemployment benefits saw an increase in the labor pool, but not an increase in hiring (at least as of July…couldn’t fine more recent data). Seems more like people have become fed up with working for garbage wages in garbage conditions and employers have been slow to adjust.


The extra $300 federal unemployment benefit was suspended by Gov Cox in June 2021 and that reportedly only affected about 24,000 of the unemployed. Utah has an unemployment rate of 2.6% anyway. When Gov Cox eliminated the $300 benefit they saw basically no decrease in unemployment or conversely not an increase of people reentering the workforce.

Truthfully, I think a lot of people just don’t want to work for minimum wage and a lot of companies may not be able to afford or may not want to pay more than that and so the problem. And with Utah’s low unemployment the lowest paying jobs are seeing the biggest hit.

Anecdotally, I’ve heard from a few different people that the older population at their work places are opting not to return to the workforce for a variety of reasons… basically just deciding to retire.

Regarding construction - you are facing insane market forces there - the housing market is white hot, big labor shortages there because there are so many houses being built etc. I would think it would be hard to get competent people down into central Utah when a framer can have his pick of endless premium work on the Wasatch Front.

We have a few projects that need to be done around the house - I’m opting because of material prices and the labor shortage to not even bother right now.

I’m no economist, but I’d guess that historic low unemployment has resulted in a vacuum at the bottom of the labor force and that is why a lot of service like businesses are seeing the crunch - at least here in Utah. I doubt it is still about the $300 that was withdrawn months ago (if it ever actually was).

One more anecdote - but I’ve also spoken to a few higher level executive type people who are looking for different jobs and saying THAT market is very competitive, and hard to find mid to upper level positions.


Utah is near historically low unemployment. When the supply for labor is low and the demand is high, what are wages supposed to do? Banbury’s issue is that they are too cheap to pay market wages for labor. The owner would rather blame others rather than pay more. image


In defense of Banbury, I know that food service industry margins are usually razor thin and so higher wages may be a problem for them without raising prices.

For me, I more question the decision to bring politics into it - when they could have just said, “We’re having a hard time finding people to work for us, please be patient…” Which is generally the message I’ve seen elsewhere.

Of course, I live nearby a mechanic who has a ‘F*** Biden’ flag in front of his business. So he’s chosen his customers.

Back to overrated restaurants - can I add just about every restaurant in Park City?


Years ago on a trip to Idaho we stopped at a restaurant in Jerome that my mom liked. When we went in there I saw that they were serving “freedom fries” and “freedom toast”. At that point they had chosen their customers, and I wasn’t going to be one of them.


Here is the “Greg’s Take” on the employment crunch.

First, we had an economy prior to 2020 that had A LOT of Boomers and public sector employees who were at, or already past retirement, or had vested retirements, who were still actively employed in their jobs. COVID created a hard mental reset on personal desires and priorities. In short, those who could retire simply did it. Those who had vested and wanted to spend their remaining work years doing something they REALLY WANTED TO DO, started resigning and chasing their next chapter once the local economies started reopening.

Second, the pandemic generated a perception change of how we define “sufficiency,” meaning folks started realizing they were worth much more than what their job was paying them. If you want to blame the CARES ACT and ARPA unemployment subsidies…ok. It isn’t true, but whatever. The reality is Americans have been chronically underpaid for decades. The service sector for food and leisure has been the worst of the worst in this regarding pay. As these people got idled, companies like Amazon upped their pay (and continues to do so) and pulled a number of these people into a career change. In short, some folks simply followed the money.

Finally, some folks based on their jobs, and the stresses associated with those jobs, simply quit to find different opportunities that paid ok to break the stress cycle. Operating governmental agencies in an emergency event is as high stress as it gets. Government, disrupted businesses, it really doesn’t matter. The pandemic burned a lot of these folks out. This is why the mid to executive level openings have opened up. The reality people will be walking into with those jobs are going to still be working through pandemic issues. Realistically these jobs have burnout rates. The pandemic made the rate accelerate.

The short answer is worker shortages in a number of sectors are going to be an issue for a while.


Why is every grocery store in Utah begging people to come work for them? Why are so many minimum wage employers unable to attract employees? Why is there a shortage of construction workers–who choose not to accept offered employment even when unemployed? (My information on the latter is admittedly anecdotal.). I can’t believe that it’s simply because they’re unwilling to pay higher wages.

Looks like it is a complex picture. Here’s one non-ideological report:

4.3 Million Workers Are Missing. Where Did They Go?

Many economists expect the shortage to last years, and some think it could be permanent

By Josh Mitchell , Lauren Weber and Sarah Chaney Cambon

Oct. 14, 2021 11:57 am ET

Scarce labor is becoming a fixture of the U.S. economy, reshaping the workforce and prodding firms to adapt by raising wages, reinventing services and investing in automation.

More than a year and a half into the pandemic, the U.S. is still missing around 4.3 million workers. That’s how much bigger the labor force would be if the participation rate—the share of the population 16 or older either working or looking for work—returned to its February 2020 level of 63.3%. In September, it stood at 61.6%.

The absence comes as U.S. employers are struggling to fill more than 10 million job openings and meet soaring consumer demand. In another sign of just how tight the labor market is, jobless claims—a proxy for layoffs across the U.S.—fell to 293,000 last week, the first time since the pandemic began that they fell below 300,000, the Labor Department said Thursday.

Workers are quitting at or near the highest rates on record in sectors such as manufacturing, retail, and trade, transportation and utilities, as well as professional and business services.

Participation has fallen broadly across demographic groups and career fields, but has dropped particularly fast among women, workers without a college degree and those in low-paying service industries such as hotels, restaurants and child care.

The participation rate experienced its biggest drop since at least World War II in the early months of the pandemic. It partly rebounded last summer and since then has hovered near the lowest level since the 1970s, despite sturdy economic growth and the strongest wage gains in years.

Many economists expected school reopenings, expiring unemployment benefits and the fading Delta variant to help boost labor-force participation this fall. But evidence suggests labor shortages might be deepening: Labor supply declined in September and workers quit at record rates in August.

Some economists are concerned that worsening worker shortages reflect longer-term shifts, such as the pandemic-driven acceleration of retirements, that won’t reverse.

Many expect the labor shortage to last at least several more years, and some say it’s permanent. Of 52 economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal, 22 predicted that participation would never return to its pre-pandemic level.

“Our problem is not an economy that doesn’t want to get started—it’s already started,” said Ron Hetrick, an economist at labor analytics firm Emsi Burning Glass. “It just doesn’t have people to make the engine run. We don’t know how to reignite this thing right now.”

Percentage change in labor force since Feb. 2020

June 2020









Total labor force

Note: Seasonally adjusted. Data includes people 16 and older.

Source: Labor Department

After partially rebounding last year, labor-force participation has remained below February 2020 levels…

recently dropping further among women…particularly those aged 55 and older.

Workers without a college degree are also far more likely to be out of the labor force.

Normally after recessions, consumers are reluctant to spend and businesses to hire, and laid-off workers are eager to find a job. This time, consumer spending is robust and employers are anxious to hire, but workers aren’t willing or able to come back. Companies are adjusting in ways that accept the worker shortage as the status quo, making changes that promise to have a lasting impact.

The prospect of a smaller labor force could make it especially hard for large employers to meet ambitious hiring targets for the holiday season. Amazon. com Inc. and Walmart Inc. have announced plans to recruit more than 300,000 workers between them in the coming months, while UPS and FedEx Corp. are hoping to hire nearly 200,000 package handlers and other workers.

Employees are reaping the benefits of large pay raises. At the same time, many businesses are responding to higher wage costs by boosting the output of the workers they have, with productivity up 5% from the first quarter of 2020 through the second quarter of 2021.

The reasons for the labor shortages are myriad, and often interrelated. Day-care centers, short of workers, are turning away families. The number of people employed in child care was down by 108,700, or 10.4%, in September 2021 compared with February 2020, Labor Department data show. Wages for such workers were up 10% in August of this year from February 2020. More expensive, harder-to-find daycare ripples through the economy, giving some parents added reason to stay home with young children rather than return to work.

Pandemic border closures have reduced the availability of immigrant workers. Many baby boomers, fearful of the virus and their portfolios fattened by the bull market, are retiring early. Other workers have become self-employed. Trillions of federal relief dollars have made many less eager to return to strenuous, modestly paid jobs.

“Work—for me, at least—just wasn’t working for our family anymore,” said Stephanie Schaefer, a 36-year-old mother of two in Riverside, Calif.

At the pandemic’s start, Mrs. Schaefer worked part time as a public-relations representative for her church, earning roughly $31,000 a year. She loved the job and planned to stay even after having her second child in 2020, with her mother watching the children. On Christmas Eve, her mother died of Covid.

Meanwhile, her husband got a new sales job for a flooring manufacturer, with a raise. The couple considered the high cost of child care and decided that she would stay home with their 3-year-old daughter and 1-year-old son, at least until they reach kindergarten.

Economists say many workers in low-paying fields are being lured by higher-paying industries, or holding out for higher pay or for the job that will best suit their needs. In August nearly 4.3 million people quit their jobs, a record for Labor Department data back to December 2000.

Many big corporations have raised wages for service workers in recent years as the labor market tightened, a trend that accelerated during the pandemic. “If Amazon is paying $15 an hour to work in a warehouse, that might be a more rewarding job than to be a child-care worker,” said Betsey Stevenson, a University of Michigan economist who previously advised President Barack Obama in the White House. “Child-care workers just have more options right now.”

Goldman Sachs said in a note this month that enhanced unemployment benefits—which at one point provided up to $600 a week to jobless workers, on top of normal benefits—have likely contributed to the shortage. Other economists dispute that. Those extra benefits expired in about half of states earlier this summer and the remaining states in early September. Household savings collectively stood at $1.7 trillion in August, up 21% from the February 2020 level of $1.4 trillion, according to research by investment bank Natixis.

When the pandemic began, Jesse Stromwick was a senior engineering manager at a small software firm in Portland, Ore., supervising a couple dozen employees.

“In the pandemic there were a lot of challenges in our business that I was called upon to deal with,” said Mr. Stromwick, 34. “Just tapping that button all the time is really tiring: ‘Go deal with this crappy situation that’s imploded, OK, here’s another one that’s imploded, go deal with that one.’ ”

The birth of his son last November added to his doubts about whether the job’s rewards were worth the sacrifices. He initially looked for other opportunities. When a friend suggested that he take time off entirely, Mr. Stromwick was intrigued. “Is that even a thing you can do in capitalism?” he recalls thinking.

Mr. Stromwick, with his wife and son, had initially looked for other job opportunities before deciding to take time off entirely.

His wife, a nurse-midwife, supported the move. The federal government, under a combination of policies from the Trump and Biden administrations, has allowed borrowers like his wife to suspend student-loan payments through January 2022. The couple also refinanced their mortgage at a lower interest rate. Those adjustments have saved around $2,000 a month. His wife picked up more hours at work.

Mr. Stromwick’s planned three months off has stretched to five months and might last until the end of the year, he said. He spends time with 11-month-old Amos, cooks and is working with a friend to design a fitness app, which he hopes will eventually make enough money to become a full-time job.

“Two years ago I was thinking, I want to get as high as I can on the corporate ladder,” he said. “It just interests me less now if it comes with a sacrifice to my mental health and my connection with my family.”

The pandemic remains a barrier to higher participation. Between mid-June and mid-September, the number of people who said they couldn’t work because they were sick with Covid or were caring for someone who had the virus rose by 2.5 million, according to a Moody’s analysis of Commerce Department data. While reported Covid cases spiked in early September nationwide, the numbers have fallen in the past few weeks.

Employers are overhauling their business models to adjust for the labor shortage. Some, such as restaurants, are cutting the hours or days that they’re open. Others are cutting services.

An influx of New Yorkers moved to the small town of Washington, Conn., during the pandemic, helping spur business at the Po Cafe, said owner Maggie Colangelo. Her 10 employees are logging long hours and juggling multiple roles.

The cafe cut back hours and is closed Sundays and Mondays because Ms. Colangelo can’t find workers. She has raised pay for the average worker by about $1.50 in the past year to $14.50 an hour, but said she can’t afford to go much higher. The pay increases have contributed to higher menu prices.

Nationwide, employment at restaurants and bars was down by 930,500 jobs, or 7.6%, in September from February 2020; hourly pay was up 12.7% between February 2020 and August 2021. Inflation data show some of that is being passed on to customers: Restaurant meals were 7.3% more expensive in September than in February 2020.

“We just constantly have to remind the customers that although it feels normal, on our end it’s anything but,” said Ms. Colangelo, who expects that many workers who left the industry won’t return. “I think in the restaurant business, this is the new normal.”

‘The barista might be making your coffee. But he might also be running back and helping me bread chicken because we don’t have all the people we need to have,’ says Po Cafe owner Maggie Colangelo.

Scarce labor is similarly changing how hotels operate. Host Hotels & Resorts Inc., a large owner of Hyatt and Marriott-branded hotels, has discussed eliminating hot breakfast buffets and other changes to its food and beverage services, and is asking guests to request daily room cleaning rather than automatically providing it.

Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. says it will fully clean rooms before guests check in and then on every fifth day of their stays, with daily housekeeping available for guests who request it.

“Our industry needs more housekeepers. We need more guest service agents. We need more culinary team members,” Geoff Ballotti, the chief executive of Wyndham Hotels & Resorts Inc., told analysts in July. On the demise of daily housekeeping, he said, “I think that’s where the industry is heading.”

Hotels employed about 290,000 fewer people in August than in the month before the pandemic, a drop of 17%, and were paying the employees they had an average of $20.83 an hour in August, up 13.3% since before the pandemic.

Amid the shortages, more businesses are looking to labor-saving technology such as self-checkout stations at retailers and tablets for ordering food at restaurants. Business investment in information processing equipment rose 16% in the year through June, after growing 4% annually on average over the past 10 years, according to a Moody’s Analytics analysis of Commerce Department data.

In Reno, Nev., where there is an acute shortage of nurses, the large nonprofit hospital system Renown Health is investing in technology to allow each nurse to serve more patients. In a pilot program, an electronic device roughly the size of a quarter attached to a patient’s chest allows Renown’s nurses to check vital signs remotely. The nurses work from a cavernous room resembling an airport’s air-traffic control center, but instead of planes, they monitor heartbeats, blood pressure and other vital signs.

CEO Tony Slonim said that the pandemic-induced labor shortage led him to pursue the new technology, and that he hopes it will allow Renown to serve patients across the region in rural hospitals, at skilled nursing facilities and in their homes. “We’ve got to break through with these innovations if we’re going to be successful in managing the workforce challenges and shortages,” he said.

Another response to scarce labor is to ask and sometimes require existing employees to work overtime. Manufacturing employees worked an average of 4.2 overtime hours a week last month, up from 2.8 hours in April 2020, according to Labor Department data. While many workers like the extra money, others feel frustrated and overworked.

For now, the new normal of labor scarcity is mostly good for workers, but some may be left worse off in the long run. Hotels, by adjusting their operations to require less labor, will end up eliminating jobs that traditionally have gone to tens of thousands of predominantly Black and Hispanic women, according to Unite Here, a union that represents hotel and other workers.

Many who have left the workforce aren’t coming back. Some of the decline in participation reflects aging trends that predate the pandemic. Even so, the population of retirees rose by 3.6 million in the U.S. between February 2020 and June 2021, more than double the 1.5 million increase that would have occurred if the pre-pandemic pace of retirements had continued, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.

Diane Sealey, 63, was furloughed from her job as a senior housekeeper at the Boston Marriott Copley Place, a Host property, in March 2020 after working there for 35 years. Six months later, she was laid off from the $25-an-hour job.

Ms. Sealey, who has lupus, said she decided to retire rather than start over somewhere new. She claimed Social Security earlier than she’d planned, cutting her monthly benefit by a few hundred dollars. The experience left her feeling betrayed, and reluctant to join another company, she said. “We were always told that we were family, that we stuck together, but when times got hard, they tossed us out the door like we was nothing,” she said.

Host representatives didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Siomara Wilson, 62, was permanently let go from her account executive job at Marriott International Inc., her employer of about 25 years. Job opportunities appeared slim, and she and her husband had built up a financial cushion from years of savings, stock-market investments and homeownership. She decided to retire several years earlier than she had previously planned.

Ms. Wilson said she now enjoys going on walks with her golden retriever, volunteering at a food bank and reading John Grisham novels. When Marriott recently contacted her to gauge her interest in a job opening, she didn’t pursue it. “The timing wasn’t right,” Ms. Wilson said. “I just can’t see myself jumping into that go, go, go, go, go right now.”


One thing I’ve noticed anecdotally is that a lot of low wage jobs used to be very geographically centered as far as wage competition goes. So retailers and food services were competing with other like business in the local area for workers. The pandemic showed that a lot of jobs could be done from home by anyone with a decent internet connection. So people who previously had to choose between a few local entry level jobs now had the choice of many remote jobs that they could do from home for higher or even the same wage without having to commute or buy a uniform or sometimes even deal with childcare. So now you have local business having to compete with companies from anywhere in the country and many can offer benefits that local retail and food service can’t. Who would choose to work in a grocery store or restaurant and deal with bad customers in person when you could make the same or more working from home?


There’s just not enough people who are willing to work for minimum wage at present. Companies need to pay more to attract labor. I don’t think it’s more complicated. The WSJ article describes a lot of the ways the labor market changed and tightened during the pandemic. That’s just the new reality — if a business can’t operate and pay enough to attract sufficient labor then they’ve got problems. But the data doesn’t support the tired boomer trope the labor pool is staying home watching Netflix and taking bong rips while cashing government checks.


This is the problem we experienced as well in Wasatch County. Between labor shortages, inflationary pressures & goods and supplies locked up in ports we eventually decided to kill the build and bought an existing home. The “why’s??” Might belong in one of the politics threads.

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The fact of the matter is some of these jobs are just terrible jobs that only got worse during the pandemic. Even before the pandemic, retail workers were often treated terribly by customers and management. Many of these workers were deemed “essential” and forced to work while others were presumably staying home and staying safe. What does it say about our society when our “essential” workers are the most poorly paid and often living on the edge of poverty? For years we have seen the income gap in this country grow seemingly unabated. Productivity has improved, and top levels of management and stakeholders have enjoyed huge improvements in wealth with very little allocated to workers. And we are surprised when no one wants to work these jobs anymore? We are reaping what we sew.


I think the “people aren’t working because of expanded unemployment benefits” is a tired crutch. As mentioned in the articles above, employment didn’t suddenly go up when those benefits expired. It was just a convenient excuse to advance tired political beliefs.


So anyway - Let’s talk about the BBQ Joints here. I have opinions about a few of them and I think the name ones have strengths and weaknesses.

I’ll start, R&R great brisket and meh on everything else

Pats, great ribs meh on everything else.

Carolina BBQ - seriously the worst bbq I’ve ever had. Why does this place get good reviews and remain in business?

Sugar house - good pulled pork sandwiches, brisket is hit and miss, meh everything else.


I always thought the labor shortage had in some part to do with undocumented workers staying behind the southern border. That definitely would hamper the restaurant and construction industries.

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I saw above Red Rock mentioned. It isn’t on menu but ask for their Kobe Burger, it is crazy good. I took my son for that once about 5 years ago and he still thinks it is the best burger he’s ever had.

It’s in Provostan, but I really love Bam Bams. The chopped beef and sausage speak to my soul. :yum:

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The thing some forget is the differences in products. I buy most of my bakery stuff local because they are generally better products. Yes, it costs me about $15 a dozen for specialty donuts that makes my family happy, and I could go to the grocery and pay a lot less, but the cost-benefit says pay more.

Sometimes as an owner you have to realize clientele will pay more for better. If you don’t value your own product so much that you have to gouge employees to hit your margins, why should your customers?