Porcupine Pub and Grille – My Review!

Porcupine pub
Porcupine front

Porcupine Pub and Grill is a special place.

I have absolutely no idea how I had never heard about a restaurant that has been a part of the skiing community in Utah since 1998. I feel ashamed about this but it’s definitely better late than never to give you guys a review of Porcupine Pub and Grill!

Porcupine Pub and Grill has been at the base of Big Cottonwood Canyon for almost 20 years. Since then, they have made a name for themselves as a premier stop for locals and visitors on their way to the slopes.

With massive portions, one cannot deny the allure of Porcupine Pub to arguably some of the most athletic people in the area. After grueling hours of rock climbing in Big Cottonwood Canyon, hiking through the Wasatch National Forest, or skiing in Alta, a wide variety of good food are exactly what you are craving.

In fact, the first time I came across this restaurant was also my first time summiting a popular local mountain called Mt. Olympus. Mt. Olympus is part of the much larger Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest and if you are a beginner, it can easily take you 8-10 hours to finish this hike. This hike quickly became a favorite of mine once I reached the saddle and the summit. I highly recommend it.

Anyway, this is not a hiking review.

Porcupine Pub
Front Entrance to Porcupine Pub

If you do feel like you are up for the challenge of this mountain, make it a point to go to Porcupine Pub after.

While Porcupine Pub does not boast the absolute best tasting food in the Salt Lake Valley, it has been incredibly successful at creating an environment that is not pretentious. Porcupine Pub also offers a massive list of 24 locally brewed Utahn beers and many liquors from the top Utah distilleries. After a big hike, there is nothing better than pumping your system with a big boost of carbs from a beer and a pile of nachos almost bigger than your head.

Not everything about this restaurant is perfect, however. Their menus are expansive and it felt like they were trying to please every single person. That can create havoc for a chef, especially since they have daily specials on top of a lunch, dinner, brunch, desserts/coffee, kids menu, a separate menu for their beers/wines, and an entire menu for the month long celebration known as “Oktoberfest”.

All of that is awesome on it’s own. But instead of advertising every single meal that has sold well, create a seasonal menu and focus on that. Though my time spent at Porcupine Pub was great, I noticed little things. These little things were due to the increased size of their menu.

For instance, I ordered their massive nachos. Their jalapeños on the nachos were the canned jalapeños you get at carnivals.

Also, you can order the nachos with chicken and black beans for an additional charge of $1.99. EACH. I understand chicken being that expensive. I do not understand the black beans. They do not cost $1.99 and if they do, they better be freshly cooked instead of canned.

It was recommended to me by a friend and I am not complaining. I cannot say enough good things about this plate of delicious cheese and fried tortillas. I am just pointing out what could be improved.

What Porcupine Pub did do well definitely made up for these little things.

The food was good. Not great. Just good. And from what every other person at the table was saying about their food, they were happy. This exact formula has been the bread and butter of hundreds of restaurants across the world. Make good food consistently and your restaurant will make money.

There was also a lot of them. Like a heaping pile of them. The only thing stopping the chips from falling apart was melted cheese. The price seemed to match the amount of nachos you get (besides the black beans). An overwhelming amount of nachos is exactly what I was hoping for after burning an insane amount of calories.

The dinner menu seemed just as unfocused as the lunch menu but every plate that went out looked delicious.

The waitress was extremely responsive to our needs. Almost everyone had to get a box for the leftovers. Leaving Porcupine Pub and Grill that afternoon, we were all fat and happy.

Since the owners just bought out the infamous location of the old Market Street Grill in downtown Salt Lake City, I suspect we will be hearing a lot more from this company in the following years. It will quickly become a favorite for every college student in the area.

Visiting Utah for skiing or hiking through any of the numerous trails in the Salt Lake Valley is a blast. While you are there, make Porcupine Pub and Grill a pit stop on the way home.

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