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New seafood restaurant making a splash in Downtown SLC.

Salt Lake City - A Salt Lake City building that once housed the first Ford Model T dealership west of the Mississippi River is now the home of a new seafood restaurant, CURRENT FISH & OYSTER, which serves up everything from fresh oysters to smoked salmon.

Mikel Trapp, owner of Utah's TRIO restaurants, FRESCO ITALIAN CAFE and LUNA BLANCA TAQUERIA, and Joel LaSalle of the LASALLE RESTAURANT GROUP-which operates FAUSTINA, CAFFE NICHE, OASIS CAFE and KYOTO--are the masterminds behind Current.

"We thought Salt Lake was ready for a different type of seafood restaurant," says Trapp. "We wanted to focus on offering memorable and contemporary dining, and focus on sustainable seafood and the oyster bar and do something a little bit different."

Besides the fact that Current Fish & Oyster is one of the few restaurants along the Wasatch Front serving up fresh seafood, Hillary Merrill, service manager at Current, says the restaurant's architecture and ambiance itself is also unique.

"The building was built In 1906, and the facade is the original facade," she says. "The big doors opening to the patio are actually where the garage doors from that original business were. When you take that and what they've done with the arched windows, skylights and the industrial feel, it's made this perfect blend of modern and historic."

The building, which was most recently the home of an antique shop, underwent a $1 million renovation and includes a mezzanine, which will be available for private dining events, and a state-of-the-art patio.

Merrill says the cuisine ranges from traditional favorites to a "different twist on seafood dishes." That's why the menu features popular dishes such as fish and chips or crab cakes, she says, as well as more distinctive dishes like ricotta cavatelli or smoked clam dip with house-made potato chips, all created by Executive Chefs Logen Crew and Jennifer West.

"Food-wise, we're doing a direct-from-fisherman concept," Merrill says. "All of our seafood is being sourced very thoughtfully. We're going for small vendors and trying to get as sustainable of sources as we can. All of the seafood is coming from the Northwest U.S. Other seafood places in town get their seafood frozen in bulk, but we get all of ours fresh. You can really taste the difference in that."

The menu also offers food for non-seafood lovers, such as salads, flat iron steak and a grass-fed beef burger. Current also boasts a full-service liquor license, which allows customers to order beer, wine and cocktails.

Current is the first of three businesses to open in the development, which Is located along Salt Lake City's 300 South corridor. Within the next few months, an oyster bar, dubbed The Under Current Bar, will open next door. It will mirror Current In design and concept, and will showcase a limited version of the restaurant's menu, along with oysters and a full bar menu, Merrill says.

The third business planned for the development is a market, which will be opening on the north end of the building.

"That's a project of [local restaurateur] Eric DeBonis, and it will be a market similar to Pike Place [in Seattle]," Merrill says. "It'll be a tightly-packed market with a fish monger, butcher, taqueria--a bunch of smaller venders within one space. It'll be unlike anything we've had here."

Current Fish & Oyster is located at 279 E. 300 South in Salt Lake City. For more information, visit
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Title Annotation:Around Utah
Comment:New seafood restaurant making a splash in Downtown SLC.(Around Utah)
Author:Madison, Rachel
Publication:Utah Business
Geographic Code:1U8UT
Date:Apr 1, 2015
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