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A new restaurant aims to convey New Orleans meals and entertaining to Salt Lake Town

Aside from an NBA franchise, Salt Lake City and New Orleans do not look to have a large amount in typical — significantly when it comes to taking in and ingesting. Usually it is the big difference among beignets, jazz and Hurricane cocktails and fasting, the Tabernacle Choir and Postum.

Salt Lake Metropolis is turning into more culinarily adventurous than it made use of to be — and John Belvin, co-founder and chef of Neutral Ground Lounge, aims to loosen the metropolis up a little bit far more with his new NOLA-influenced cafe and lounge.

In New Orleans, the time period “neutral ground” refers to any metropolis median. The use was initially documented, by The Day by day Picayune in 1837, in reference to a median on Canal Avenue — the demarcation line amongst the city’s Anglo and French Creole districts.

Today, these minor strips have turn out to be a commons for barbecuing, seeing parades and hanging out. It is that open, joyful vibe that Belvin hopes to bring to his new establishment.

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Chef John Belvin Jr. poses for a portrait amid design of his restaurant Neutral Floor Lounge, Mar. 10, 2022. Belvin is opening the New Orleans-themed cafe in April 2022.

Belvin landed in Utah previous November by means of one particular of his personal sporting activities customers, who needed to open a cafe in this article. Prior to moving to Utah, he lived in San Antonio and New Orleans, performing as a cafe guide and traveling personal chef, including cooking for vacationing family members and for bachelorette functions. “You name it, I’ve almost certainly completed it,” he reported.

Even though in faculty, wherever he was finding out laptop or computer science, Belvin commenced cooking for himself. He located he savored it so a lot, “[I] produced it my aspect hustle,” he said.

“I became acknowledged as the man by the grill,” Belvin explained. “I would cost men and women 10 or 15 bucks, deliver me a meal or whichever you want. And then I went from there to providing food out of my condominium, and I speedily realized that I preferred to go to culinary faculty. At 20 yrs old, I dropped out, and a mate and I started off a foods truck. And I never looked back again.”

Belvin has been in the kitchen due to the fact landing in Salt Lake City, with his menu readily available for online buying and takeout, construction allowing. The actual physical restaurant and lounge — at 2110 W. North Temple, in an place surrounded by airport-adjacent resorts — will open all around April 20, he reported.

“When you wander in, there will be a cafe, and then there is likely to be a bar, where by we’ll have couches and customized booths,” Belvin explained. “Everyone will nonetheless be equipped to buy meals on both sides. But persons who just want to appear in in this article and have a drink can do that.”

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Chef John Belvin Jr. dices bell pepper and onions in the kitchen of his restaurant Neutral Floor Lounge, Mar. 10, 2022. Belvin is opening a New Orleans themed-restaurant in April 2022.

With the food, he stated, “I needed to carry a diverse flavor — a Southern flavor” that would provide New Orleans to Salt Lake in a way that Utahns could join with.

NOLA delicacies, he said, is “very butter-heavy. We use a whole lot of butter, a large amount of hefty cream. A great deal of persons really do not know this, but your Creole and Cajun both equally use East African and Italian spices. It is just complete of taste. A whole lot of our stuff normally takes time to cook, and there is just a good deal of adore that goes into our food.”

The menu options this kind of standard New Orleans dishes as pink beans and rice, gumbo and jambalaya, as nicely as Belvin’s get on conventional meals like fried green tomatoes — his edition is served with tomato jam and smoked remoulade sauce. His most significant seller, he claimed, is the Cajun pasta, which features blackened shrimp, lump blue crab, Cajun chicken and smoked sausage.

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Chef John Belvin Jr.’s Cajun Pasta dish with sausage, crab, shrimp in a creamy cajun sauce served with penne pasta, Mar. 10, 2022. Belvin’s New Orleans themed-restaurant Neutral Floor Lounge will be open for dining April 2022 and is serving foods curb-aspect and delivery now.

“Everyone loves pasta,” Belvin stated, “but they’re acquiring a flavor they’ve under no circumstances experienced in Utah, and I think that is why I just can’t preserve it in inventory right now.”

The menu will shift a contact at the time Neutral Ground’s sit-down locale opens to the public, Belvin said. And when it opens, he aims to build an practical experience that, like the meals, people today simply cannot get any where else in Salt Lake Metropolis.

As soon as totally open, he reported, “we’ll be executing just strictly Sunday brunches. But it is going to be really various. It is heading to be New Orleans model. We may perhaps have a DJ there, just some great music.”

The style of the setting up, he mentioned, also will be unique to Utah. “When you stroll in, it is going to glimpse like New Orleans — a whole lot of coloration, a great deal of art. It is going to be like you are strolling into New Orleans in Salt Lake.”

(John Belvin Jr.) An artist’s rendering of the inside of of Neutral Ground Lounge, a New Orleans themed retaurant from chef John Belvin opening in April 2022.

The objective of Neutral Floor Lounge, he stated, is “to make a area wherever men and women can have enjoyment at any time, and eat some fantastic food.”

On-line ordering for Neutral Floor Lounge is offered Tuesday by way of Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., via Uber Eats, DoorDash or ToastTab. Go to the restaurant’s Instagram account, @neutralgroundslc, to enjoy the restaurant’s progress towards its physical opening.

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