Once again, my birthday has come and gone and once again, we tried a new place for combination date night/birthday dinner. I picked the Hub and Spoke Diner (1291 South 1100 East, SLC) for this year's attempt, knowing nothing about it except what I found on their website after driving by it while running errands earlier this fall. We went early, after a day spent skiing, figuring that eating early meant (a) not waiting for a table and (b) getting home and into our jammies early afterwards. Because we had spent the day skiing.
The diner is in a newer building and is fairly spacious, clean, with slightly bizarre, minimalist decor: there's a taxidermied raccoon for some reason, and a photo-mural of mule deer, plus simply glass globes on the light fixtures and random mirrors from old furniture. There are several booths and then many tables in the center, with funky metal/wooden chairs; there is also seating at the small counter - this is a "diner," after all - and a small patio for warm weather dining. They serve breakfast all day, plus burgers, soups and sandwiches, and dinner fare after 4 p.m. They have a small beer and wine list (all beer in bottles/cans only and it's a fairly lame beer selection), plus some specialty cocktails. The place was staffed by hipsters - our very nice waitress had gauges in her ears, a septum nose ring and one arm fully-sleeved with tattoos - but the clientele is more varied.
We had Ranier Lagers ($3.00 in cans) and I had a chicken pot pie with a lovely, fresh arugula side salad (the pot pie was a little bland but its herb crust was very good), while H had a patty melt (served on marble rye with Swiss cheese), fantastic hand-cut fries and a half a Caesar side salad. The food was okay. It's clearly comfort food, diner food - although we thought it was slightly overpriced for diner food. But the real reason why I wanted to go to the Hub and Spoke was for the dessert: a boozy milkshake. I went with their Hazelnut variety, which had: tequila, Frangelico, Nutella, vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce. It was blended very smooth and served with a big (bubble tea diameter) straw; it was extremely delicious and I sucked it down fast. I never would have thought to pair tequila with chocolate/hazelnut but it totally worked. They have three other options as well: mint, Irish coffee and salted caramel.
Because of the price/quality issue, we didn't love the Hub and Spoke (except for the milkshake - I loved that milkshake). But it definitely ranks up there in the top three of my Salt Lake City birthday dinners, right there behind Aristo's and Taqueria 27.