When the Brumby's outlets in Utah closed, some observers were not surprised. Operations like TGI Friday's, Tony Roma's and the General Mills-owned Olive Garden continue to grow; however, their corporate headquarters are not in Australia, where Brumby's originated.
While perhaps hindered by geography and a bland menu, Brumby's did have some good points, in particular its baked goods. A few of us still miss their aromatic loaves of garlic spinach bread.It was the bread that was the most disappointing at Ginzey's, Brumby's replacement on Salt Lake City's Main Street. (The Brumby's location by the university has yet to reopen.) This chain from Arizona might fare better than its predecessor overall, though, because the food is both pleasantly palatable as well as reasonably priced.
Nine soups, a dozen salads and twice as many different sandwiches dominate the menu. While the locally baked bread lacked any substantial texture (it could barely hold the fresh ingredients piled onto the five we sampled on our recent lunchtime visit), the rest of the food was satisfying.
We sampled five of the soups ($1.25 for a cup; $2 for a bowl) and found that each had a distinctive flavor. Our favorite was the spicy seafood gumbo, a rich tomato base with chunks of pasta and shrimp. The New England clam and cream of potato were also good, though somewhat pasty. The potato was also just a bit spicy. The chili and beans had a nice chunky texture; the vegetable barley had just too much tomato base for our taste, though it was good nonetheless.
The soups are served with either a bread stick, crackers, muffin or slice of bread and butter; they are also served in a large French roll for $3.
The custom-made sandwiches come with a wide variety of choices, from the seven choices for bread (from raisin to pita) to garnishes like sprouts and pickle spear, cheeses, as well as amenities like onion and horseradish. Ingredients range from roast beef and turkey breast to albacore tuna and surimi crab (the authentic name for the often misrepresented ersatz crab, occasionally spelled "krab" on local menus). Prices average $4 for a good-size whole sandwich; half sandwiches are also available.
We enjoyed the turkey avocado, BLT, egg salad, and tuna avocado choices. We also sampled the spinach salad served with the pasta base. This consisted of the raw spinach with mushrooms, bits of bacon and grated cheese atop rottini pasta, other fresh vegetables and deviled eggs. Despite all the trimmings, as well as the ranch dressing, it was surprisingly bland. Nonetheless, it was colorful and nicely presented.
Other salads, served with other bases like veggie or fresh fruit, include a melon plate, variety of sprouts, stuffed tomato or avocado, chef's salad or regular green salad. A good variety of dressings is available.
Hot entrees are also served, one specialty per day of the week. These include veggie lasagna, chicken parmigiana, sole in lemon butter, sirloin beef tips and chicken a l'Orange. Each costs $3.95 and is served with choice of soup or salad and a potato roll.
Several desserts, made by Schmidt's, such as cookies, muffins and carrot cake, are available, as well as frozen yogurt, ice cream and some combination shakes and floats. Again, a multitude of choices and variations are available. Drink selections range from the usual soda fountain choices to freshly squeezed carrot juice.
As we read the menu we experienced more than a twinge of over-selection anxiety. The seemingly endless array of choices almost led to decision paralysis as we stood at the counter placing our order. It helps to have previewed the menu before entering; we were also lucky to have come just after the lunch time rush. With the assistance and patience of the help, we overcame our initial detail overload to finally relax and enjoy our lunch.
Ginzey's offers a multitude of luncheon choices that should please just about anyone's tastes as well as pocketbook. It is as "all-American" as an eatery can be.
Rating: * * *
Ginzey's, 132 S. Main (Kearns Building), 355-7070. Open Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. till 10 a.m. for continental breakfast; from 10:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. for lunch. Check with guarantee card. Fax ordering and free delivery available.