The Wasatch Front is as expansive as it is diverse when it comes to restaurants open for business. Lately, I’ve been setting my sights on destinations North of Salt Lake City out of curiosity; I’ve had a few spots come across my radar, only to find that they’re up in Bountiful, Ogden or, in this week’s case, Layton.
Yes, the planets have aligned and placed Weller’s Bistro and its emphasis on high-end German classics in my crosshairs. I decided to roll the dice and mount a northward campaign into the heart of Layton—and I’m oh so glad I did.
I had seen coverage of Weller’s Bistro back when it opened in 2019, and mentally filed it away for the right moment. Recently, I was making plans to meet a buddy who lives in Northern Utah, and that’s when Weller’s Bistro became a sound option. When I pulled up and smelled the intoxicating aroma of grilled bratwursts, and saw that most of the Layton population was waiting for a table, I knew this was a good place to be.
Owner Jan Weller’s pedigree includes a stint at Savoy in London before moving to Utah and working his way through the Park City hotel circuit; prior to opening his own restaurant, he was managing restaurants at The Promontory Club. A German native, Weller shows an affection for Bavarian cuisine that fuels the creative energy of his popular local bistro.
Anyone with a passing familiarity of German food will know that bratwurst is a staple, so the bratwurst plate ($21) is an excellent place to start. It consists of a brat duo—one made from pork, and one made from veal. Our visit saw the latter swapped with a smoky beef and buffalo mixture, since they happened to sell out of veal. The brats are accompanied by some lovely bratkartoffeln, which are roasted potatoes with a bit of onion and salty speck bacon, along with a spectacular sauerkraut from the cookbook of Weller’s grandmother.
Now, I love brats served up hot dog-style in buns, but this meal has made me think that such infantilization of a centuries-old craft might need to be phased out. Bring us more plates piled high with sizzling bratwurst hot off the grill, dammit! The brats at Wellers can easily go toe-to-toe with your favorite steak dinner—and if you’re hungry enough for a side of spaetzle ($7) served with a mushroom sauce, you will never look back.
Another German entree that holds a special place in my heart is schnitzel, and Das Schnitzel ($23) is a near-perfect interpretation. The tricky thing about schnitzel is that it’s easy to fry the pork loin into shoe-leather oblivion, but that’s not the case at Weller’s. Your schnitzel stays nice and tender on the inside, while enjoying a crispy parmesan crust on the outside. Diners can choose from a tangy lemon and caper sauce or an earthy mushroom and cream sauce, though getting both on the side for two dollars extra is a great way to keep your options open. After my experience, I think the creamy mushroom sauce is my preferred schnitzel companion, but the lemon caper sauce is equally impressive.
If you like your German dining experiences served up with some spectacle, then you’ll want to check out the Beef Rouladen ($27.50), which is one of Weller’s dinner specialties. This is a classic German dish that takes roast beef slices and rolls them up into a speck-and-cornichon-filled dreamscape. Fans of traditional cuisine served by way of showstopping presentation will be all over this one.
If you’re in the neighborhood around lunchtime, Weller’s has a Reuben sandwich ($14.50) that will ring your bell. It’s got a traditional kit—pastrami, Russian dressing, marble rye—but Weller’s sauerkraut is so fantastic that it’s tough to decide whether the peppery pastrami or the acidic kraut is the star of this sandwich. Regardless of where you land on that particular battle, this toasty Reuben hits all the right notes for fans of old-school deli action.
You get to pick your side dish when you order sandwiches at Weller’s, and I went with the Brussels sprouts which was the correct choice. They’re roasted to perfection and then tossed in a honey-soy glaze before getting a sprinkle of thin almond slivers.
Despite the fact that I was not hungry at all after my entrees had come and gone, the promise of homemade bienenstich was too tempting to pass up. If you’ve never had the so-called “bee sting” cake, and you happen to be in the vicinity of Weller’s, you’ve got to get in to try this. It’s a layer cake filled with vanilla pudding and topped with a honey almond crust. Had I just eaten nearly two entrees? Of course. Did I still finish my bienenstich? Of course. It’s light, creamy and perfectly balanced.
I think it’s safe to say that if you find yourself in the Northern part of the Wasatch Front and are craving some delectable comfort food, Weller’s needs to be on your list. Pairing some German favorites with a lengthy beer and wine list and a few craft cocktails is a great excuse to take a brief sojourn up to Main Street Layton.