5 best fast-casual lunch spots in Utah Valley

5 best fast-casual lunch spots in Utah Valley

(Amber Linebaugh)

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UTAH VALLEY — Who says you need to sit down for an extended time and pay a tip in order to eat a great meal? These Utah Valley restaurants will satisfy your craving for yummy food, just in time for your short lunch break.

What these restaurants all have in common are that they have been open just a few years or less and are somewhere between a fast-food and sit-down restaurant. All include fresh ingredients and delicious flavor in their dishes.

1. Cubby’s in Provo — This restaurant is located in a strip mall near a hospital and two busy streets. However, walk inside and you’ll be impressed by the stylish masculine décor and flat screen TVs. The sweet potato fries here are crispy and delicious. I could eat them everyday. My other menu favorites: The tri-tip salad, the grilled cheese sandwich (unlike any you’ve had), the beet salad and the tri-tip sandwich. The burger and other fry options are tasty as well.

2. The Wild Zucchini Grill in American Fork — This restaurant opened only months ago, and is already packed at lunch and dinnertime. Here they serve pizzas, pastas, salads and Piadinas (a wrap with angel hair pasta inside). There are so many meats, gourmet sauces and fresh veggie toppings to choose from, you will never be bored with the same meal twice. I like to order the steak salad with balsamic dressing and lots of veggies on top. Their version of bruschetta (Burrata) is the best I’ve had. It's now serving gluten-free wraps and pizzas.

3. Malawis in Provo Riverwoods — This place is the oldest on the list; it’s been open for three and a half years. Not only can you grab a great lunch here, but for every meal you buy, the restaurant owners donate a meal to a child in Malawi, Africa. Now you can feel good about every dollar you spend here. I like the Pesto Chicken Pizza — topped with asparagus and spinach. Yum. The large booths and tables in this spot makes it a perfect place to hold a lunch meeting.

Wild Zucchini Grill entree selection. 
Credit: Amber Linebaugh, globecandy.com
Wild Zucchini Grill entree selection. Credit: Amber Linebaugh, globecandy.com

4. Five Star BBQ Company in Orem — This restaurant is located just off Geneva Road in Orem. If you like real hole-in-the-wall authentic barbecue, this is your place. The restaurant was packed with businessmen at lunch, but the line moved quickly and the employees were friendly. This is home style dining — grab your own barbecue sauce and salad dressings in a mini fridge, and sit at a checkered cloth table. I enjoyed the beef brisket, yummy baked beans and a side salad.

5. Mountain West Burrito and Waffle Love — This restaurant has a combined location in north Provo with other MWB locations in South Provo and Lehi. The meats, beans and cooked veggies that are included in the menu options are delicious. With the exception of a one-time watery salad, I’ve enjoyed this place a lot. The nachos and burritos are my favorites. The vegetarian options are delicious.

Waffle Love is now located adjoining the north Provo Mountain West Burrito. You can also find their waffle trucks in Utah County and Salt Lake. I like my waffles crispy, and I think these are cooked perfectly — buttery and crisp on the outside, tender inside. Choose from fruit toppings, and enjoy the scoop of whipped cream so thick it looks like ice cream. All right, so this may not be a healthy lunch, but it would complement previously eaten salad well. Amber Linebaugh is co-founder of the travel blog Globecandy. She currently resides in Cedar Hills, Utah, with her husband and three boys. Email: amber@sldestinations.com


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