The 25 best cheap eats in and around Salt Lake County

Published: Monday, June 24 2013 10:14 p.m. MDT

#24 - Cotton Bottom Inn Next » 3 of 26 « Prev
Cotton Bottom Inn
Location :
2820 E 6200 S
Cottonwood Heights, UT 84121

Food type: Burgers

Popular dish: Garlic Cheese Burger
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Salt Lake City, UT

While the list includes some personal favorites (Left Fork Grill, El Chubasco), the headline is somewhat misleading because the list has restaurants from along the entire Wasatch Front (and back)-- Davis, Weber, and Summit counties are represented as well as the farther SLC suburbs (Sandy, West Jordan).

The list is a good idea, but it could benefit from some explicit criteria for its key terms: "cheap" and "best." Is it dinner entrees under $10? Is it dinner for two with shared appetizer and dessert and two entrees for under $30? Does "best" mean overall positive ratings from the online review sites cited or is it the personal taste of the writer? Are franchises/chains included or excluded? (Cafe Rio and Crown Burger made the cut, but why not the equally affordable Barbacoa?) What is the acceptable tradeoff between cost and quality? More quantitative information is needed.

I'd add the Koko Kitchen. Also the Over the Counter Cafe, the Park Cafe, and Mahider.

Salt Lake City, UT

Warning about #24 Tea Rose Diner:

They are VERY spicy. When you go to Tea Rose Diner, they will ask you how spicy you want it, from a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the most spicy.) I urge you to not overestimate the spiciness of their food. I love spicy food, and always get the spiciest items on any menu. But when I went to Tea Rose Diner the first time, I ordered a 5 on the spicy scale, and it about killed me. The next time I went, I ordered a 2, which was a little too much spicy for even me, who loves food "hot and spicy". If you don't like food hot and spicy, get a 0 or 1.

Their food is great. I love it - but don't ruin it by underestimating their spicy scale.

Salt Lake City, UT

A great addition to this great article would be to have a printable list of all the restaurants. I've been to several of these, already, and it would be nice to have a list handy, if I were ever in the area!


Salt Lake City, UT

Of the "25 best cheap eats in Salt Lake City," exactly two are located in Salt Lake City. Why not add a St. George restaurant and label it "26 best cheap eats in Utah?"

heber, utah

The burger Bar is Insane! If you have never been there do yourself a favor and head up to Roy on a saturday afternoon. That Elk Burger is excellent. The fries are good, and the shakes stand their ground.

Murray, UT

I am a cheap-eats connoisseur and these are not the 25 cheapest places to eat in Salt Lake City. I have eaten in 11 of these 25 places and enjoyed them (Adobos and Enjoy top that list). But they are not all cheap, you will spend $9-15 per person to get a meal. Here is my top cheap-eats list:

1. Taco stands at 800 South and State Street (2 tacos for $1.50 or a huge burrito for $3.00).
2. Any Betos (Albertos, Guadalbertos, Betos, etc). A huge burrito for $4.50
3. Sweet Ginger in Midvale. Any entree for $4.99 after 9 pm. and it will feed 2 people.
4. Most hamburger chains have a dollar menu.
5. KFC offers a daily lunch special for less than $5.
6. La Autentica in WVC - you can get pretty full for under $7.
7. Cafe Zupas - sandwich and soup for under $8.
8. Cafe Guanaco in WVC. Great pupusas, dinner plate for $5.99.
9. Any sushi place with 50% off rolls.
10. Any Groupon, City Weekly, KSL deal - I mean, why pay more than you have to?

JJ Feinauer
Salt Lake CIty , UT

@Lagomorph, That's a great point. The list isn't based on my personal tastes, but the customer review aggregator on Urbanspoon.com. Franchises are certainly included in the running. As far as price goes, that's a good point. It gets tricky because the label of "cheap" is also something that is up to the discretion of the reviewers. These restaurants are classified as cheap because most of their customers consider them to be so. I agree though, it's worth looking into.

@UtahDemocrat, the idea was to identify the best affordable restaurants in the greater Salt Lake area, but I can see your point. If we had included all of Utah, the list would have been quite different. This was meant to be a reference for anyone visiting/living in or around SLC.

@Poqui, the purpose of the list isn't just point our readers to cheap food, but cheap food that gets strong reviews from customers.

Lake Forest, CA

3 fast food joints identified as restaurants.
Don't know what the criteria was to make the list but if you want cheap eats why not include In-N-Out Burger to the list.
Also, Five Guys is not cheap, Ten bucks minimum for an average burger, NO WAY

Salt Lake City, UT

I'm surprised that Red Iguana didn't make the cut. They must have reasonable prices or else the one on North Temple wouldn't be packed every night. There is always a long line of people waiting to get in.

Salt Lake City, UT

re: Poqui

"7. Cafe Zupas - sandwich and soup for under $8."

Zupas is horrible. You can get a similar quality Turkey sandwich at Subway for less.

The Final Word
Alpine, UT

You have to be joking. Five Guys and Cafe Rio?

Five guys is perhaps the most over-priced burger place their is. They taste decent but if anything at all they are expensive. Next time $8 plus for burger and fries will be cheap is about 20 years from now.

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