15 Bytes | Alternative Venues | Visual Arts

Urban Bistro

Need an excuse to take a trip to the new Salt Lake Library? How about combining that trip with lunch and art?

Another great alternate venue for viewing Utah artists is the Urban Bistro. Located across Fifth South from the old library, this friendly little spot offers a diverse fare. Order Italian, Latin, salads, stir-fry, other vegetarian dishes, fresh-baked bread or delicious desserts.

The Urban Bistro is one of those places “where everybody knows your name”. It’s obvious that husband and wife owners Ricc Esparza and Susannah Seare have a good relationship with their “regulars.” You’ll also find a wide variety of clientele – from business people to a young crowd, and dress – from formal to completely casual. All in all, it’s a great atmosphere for a meal and some conversation.

urban bistro
Now let’s get to the good stuff… they show Utah artists! In fact, they have been hanging (primarily Utah artists’) artwork ever since they opened the doors six and a half years ago.

The owners like to support local artists and take no commission, but do respect relationships artists may have with galleries. Artists are invited to call Ricc for an appointment to show him their work. The popular venue often has artists booked six months in advance. Ricc has a hard time defining exactly what he looks for, but wants to ensure that the pieces hung will complement the other work and his restaurant’s image.

Showing work through September are three artists who also happen to be represented by Phillips Gallery, John Erickson (acrylics), Ruth Gier (B/W photography) and Michael Hall (oils, pastels). Generally, the restaurant shows two or three artists’ work at a time, with the works staying up about three months. Artists are welcome to hold openings for their exhibitions. 

Besides serving up lunch and dinner, the Urban Bistro also do a lot of private parties and catering. You can find them at 216 East 500 South in SLC and contact them at 322-4101. They are open for lunch Mon-Fri from 11:00am to 3:00pm, and dinner Wed-Thur from 5:30pm to 9:30pm and Fri-Sat from 5:30pm to 10:00 pm.

This article appeared in the August 2003 edition of 15 Bytes.

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