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2005 in Review

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Looking back on 2005 in gastronomical terms, I’d say that overall the year was one of mostly small culinary pleasures and surprises. Significant milestones were reached in 2005 by consistent, award-winning restaurants like Grappa, Log Haven, and the Metropolitan, which celebrated their 10th anniversaries this past year. Meanwhile, the Market Street Grill downtown kicked off its 25th year of serving fresh seafood in Salt Lake City. Mazza and Lugano restaurants both celebrated their fifth year of doing business.

Some of my favorite new eateries to open this year were small, independently owned restaurants like Este Pizzeria, Greg Neville’s Pine restaurant, JazZee Cajun Café, Frody Volgger’s Vienna Bistro, Thai Garden, MacCool’s, Braza Grill, Aloha Sushi, the OJAM Grill in Ogden, and my favorite restaurant discovery of the year: The Painted Table in Logan.

Unfortunately, probably the most significant event to take place in the domestic dining world this year was the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina. According to Jim Funk, executive vice president of the Louisiana Restaurant Association, “Prior to Katrina 54,000 people worked directly for the restaurant industry in New Orleans.” He estimates right now there are probably only seven to eight thousand people at most back in the city working in restaurants. Overall, 3400 restaurants were destroyed or damaged and closed by Katrina. And while I’m thankful for those small gastronomic gifts and tasty treasures here at home, my heart goes out to everyone affected by Katrina.

So good riddance to ’05 and let’s hope that 2006 is a little bit kinder.

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