Sage’s Cafe and The Vertical Diner

Stumptown Vegans Travel!

Sage’s Cafe
Overall Service Food Quality Atmosphere Vegan Options
9.25 8 10 9 10
Location: 473 E Broadway / Salt Lake City, UT 84111 / (801) 322-3790
Hours: M-F 11:30am-2:30pm, 5pm-9:30pm,
S-S 10am-9:30pm
Times Visited: 4
The Vertical Diner
Overall Service Food Quality Atmosphere Vegan Options
9.0 8 9 9 10
Location: 2280 S West Temple / Salt Lake City, UT 84115 /
(801) 484-8378
Hours: Saturday – Sunday 11am-7pm
Monday-Friday 10am-8pm
Times Visited: 1

Though very different restaurants, the sisterly relationship between Salt Lake City’s vegan restaraunts, Sage’s Cafe and Vertical Diner are, in this reviewer’s eyes, similar to Vita and Paradox in menu items. Both restaurants have full vegan menus created by the same chef, Ian Brandt. Sage’s was the first restaurant, opening in 2000. Vertical Diner followed, opening in 2006.

Sage’s is a cute, comfortable cafe in an old house in downtown Salt Lake with many fresh, organic dishes, and prices to match. The dining space is on the smaller side with many wood details including the floor, two-person tables, and chairs. Meals range from raw Pad Thai to the Pesto Sub, Soba Salad, and Philly Cheezesteak, all generally around $13. One of my favorite elements of Sage’s menu is the creativity. For example, the creation of Mushroom Escargot or the Basil Pesto Crepe.

Vertical Diner isn’t really across town from Sage’s, but the huge SLC blocks make it feel like it is. The Diner is located in a light industrial area, unsuspecting of vegan food. The building’s exterior, as well as the interior, has a 50’s diner feel, complete with a neon arrow pointing at the exterior sign. Inside, aluminum edged laminate tables, in additional to a bar, add to this retro feel. The all-vegan menu contains all the comfort food that can rot your gut – wonderful options like theFried Setain, Nachos, and an extensive breakfast served all day like Pancakes, Tofu Scramble, and Sausage. If you’ve eaten at Sage’s you’ll recognize some of the dishes and enjoy them for a bit less, probably because of the location. Typical dishes run about $7-9.

My favorite meals included the Philly Cheeze Steak (available at both restaurants), the Tender Tigers, the Blueberry Pancakes, and all the desserts. For Utah, they have an amazing beer and wine selection at both restaurants with many organic options, and presumbably vegan.

The Philly Cheeze Steak sandwhich includes a homemade setain and nutritional cheesy sauce served on a multi-grain bread. The multi grain bread is thick and chewy, adding a nice nutty texture to the sandwich. I’ve enjoyed leftovers of this dish for breakfast thinking it tastes similar to Vita’s Tofu Florentine dish only with a mild, not sour, sauce. 

The Nut Burger, offered only at Sage’s, is just what is says it is – a burger filled with nuts, lots of them. The chickpea bound almond and cashew patty isn’t the only nutty texture, the addition of the multi grain bread here will fill you up quickly. Tahini sauce tops of this burger, giving it a unique flavor. I felt healthy after my first bite.  

The Tender Tigers at the Vertical Diner is a housemade setain on a stick, battered and fried, with an end result of a wonderful crispy and tender appetizer. It is served with a thick ranch dipping sauce. 

If you’re a pancake fanatic like me, you can’t go wrong with the Blueberry Pancakes. They are huge, fluffy and moist cakes served all day with real maple syrup. At $2.25 each, it’s hard to order only one to save room for a side of sausage.

The housemade desserts at both locations are to die for and I’ve yet to have anything sweet from either kitchen that I was simply middle-of-the-road-good. The shakes and floats are everything you would want them to be, made with Soy Delicious soy cream. The Tiramisu is tender with a mild coffee and cocoa flavor without being too sweet. The Brownie is dense and chewy, almost gooey, easily one of the best vegan brownies I’ve ever had, since I am not a fan of the cake brownie. And the presentation of their dessert dishes shows they must love sweets as much as I do.

The wait staff has always been friendly, but sometimes a bit slow, depending on the night. If you have allergies, ask for their allergy menu, they’ve been very accommodating to me. Sage’s has an All-You-Can-Eat Pizza Night Tuesdays and Raw Food Fridays. Weekend Brunch is another fun event, served on Saturday and Sunday.

While this reviewer rarely admits to spending 9 years in Salt Lake, one thing she regrets is that neither Sage’s or Verticle had yet to open during her imprisonment. Vertical Diner and Sage’s Cafe, and those beautiful mountains, are the only things that take her back. These two resultants are enough to recommend the 12 hour road trip just for a few meals. And be sure to check out Vertical’s free jukebox, the music selection has something for everyone.

Sage’s Nut Burger:

Sage’s Philly Cheeze Steak:

Sage’s Wilted Spinach Salad:

Sage’s Taramisu:

Sage’s Brownie Sundae:

Vertical Diner Tender Tiger:

Vertical Diner Sandwhich:

Vertical Diner Rubben Sandwich:

Vertical Diner Blueberry Pancakes:

Vertical Diner Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich:


Vertical Diner Dessert:


9 responses to “Sage’s Cafe and The Vertical Diner

  1. I grew up in Salt Lake and only moved to Portland last August, but miss Sage’s and Vertical immensely. It’s strange that for a “city” that, comparably, has so little going on and far fewer restaurants, Salt Lake has some of the best vegan food I’ve eaten anywhere. Another amazing place is Este Pizzeria in Sugarhouse, which isn’t vegan, but offers vegan versions of almost everything, including housemade vegan meatballs and Teese.
    I can’t wait to visit in April – if only for the food and my family. Ha ha.
    Great site!

  2. OHMYGOD. sages. how i love, no LOVE sages. when i lived in eastern nevada it was my refuge. it’s in my top 5 vegan joints in the country. AMAZING. just seeing the philly makes my mouth water. that bread! incredible. it’s almost worth buying a plane ticket to slc….

  3. I love Vertical and Sage’s!! Next time you’re in SLC, make sure to stop by Evergreen House Cafe for some all vegan Chinese food. Those 3 restaurants have eased the transition to veganism for sooooo many locals.

  4. I am a Portlander currently living is Salt Lake, and I work at Sage’s. I am so happy to hear some fellow Portland vegans have stopped in! It makes me feel less homesick. Sage’s and Vertical’s food is delish, and I can still say that after having worked there for over a year. The employees all care very much about the business and the ethic’s behind it, and ingredients are all high quality, mostly organic, and local when possible.

  5. Rachy – did enjoy Evergreen, but generally I prefer Long Life Veggie House. I think one’s first vegetarian restaurant always holds on strong to one’s heart.

    Carolyn – I see Sage’s love in the food similarly to Blossoming Lotus. It’s such a hippie thing to say but when the staff believes in the restaurant they work at, it does seem to taste better.

  6. Wow, these photos truly impress me. Every single one of those items looks so delicious.

    And that Rubben sandwich looks excellent.

    It is so true that food is always better tasting and better for you when the cooks/staff put love into the food.

  7. I was in SLC a few years ago for training but it was before I started my blog so I can’t for the life of me remember if I have been to those restaurants! Sage’s looks amazing and Vertical looks extremely familiar! I need to find out what North’s is…I am searching for it now on your blog!

  8. My favorite Vertical Diner dish is the biscuit and gravy combo. The tempe bacon is amazing as well. Thanks for a terrific post!

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