Utah Valley

So what’s Utah like? There’s no place quite like Utah. People tend to know it as either a world-class winter sports and national parks destination, or as the birthplace of Mormonism, as the 15-million-member-strong religion was headquartered here in 1847 following the great Brigham Young-led migration west (now known as the Mormon Trail). Indeed, a huge part of Utah revolves around that natural beauty and that religion, of which 62 percent of the population belong. Forest-covered, ice-capped peaks dominate the landscape; the big open sky of the valleys between are pierced by the imposing steeples of temples of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS).

When you talk to the locals, the Mormons and the mountain-loving transplants, the ones who moved away and the ones who stayed, you get a fuller picture of Utah: of good-hearted folks with an inborn love for food; of a taste for alcohol swapped out for an obsession with sugar; of a more progressive capital city with a growing brewery scene; of increasing international diversity in the restaurant landscape; of a burgeoning “Silicon slopes” scene that's transformed Utah Valley farmland into a hotbed of hotels, restaurants, shops, and entertainment. Manmade or natural, there’s something for everyone here, including good food, and even a handful of quirky, highly regional dishes and drinks for those of us who are interested.

For this quick guide, we’re focusing mostly on the Utah Valley (Provo, Lehi, Sundance), dipping a little into the Salt Lake City area, where there’s much more to explore. It's a part of the state that shouldn't be overlooked when you're planning a trip to the stunning national parks in the south. Get ready to get a taste of Utah.

Disclosure: We visited this area as guests of Explore Utah Valley, but rented our own car to visit the eateries of our choice. All opinions are our own.

Find local foods in Utah Valley.