If you get to know Utah’s culinary culture well enough, it’s easy to build a context for what I would call “Mormon cuisine.” Sunday pot roast, buttery dinner rolls and—the crown jewel of the LDS kitchen—the cheesy, crunchy goodness of funeral potatoes are all included at this particular church dinner party. It’s almost a variation on Southern comfort food, with all its heavy cream, melted cheese and any type of grilled or roasted protein, but Mormon cuisine is quintessentially Utahn.
In keeping with this observation, it would make sense that a restaurant whose concept was to take all the buttery, fatty, creamy things we love about Mormon cooking and elevate them to restaurant-level fare would do so in Utah County. I’m talking about Edna’s Market & Grille, and it’s the first place I’m ever taking an out-of-towner to experience Mormon cuisine first-hand.
Though it’s hard to unravel the connection between Mormon cuisine and that of the traditional American suburb, piling mashed potatoes bejeweled with canned peas onto a gobbet of meatloaf just hits different for those who grew up Mormon. That said, when you roll up to Edna’s and see an appetizer section whose vegetables function primarily as a cheese delivery system, you know you’ve entered a Mormon food bastion. Edna’s overall cuteness as a market that sells local goodies doesn’t hurt the image either; I bet this place absolutely kills during the Priesthood Session of General Conference.
Those new to the world of Mormon cuisine will want to tread lightly, because Edna’s ain’t about small plates, even when it comes to appetizers. The Irish Nachos ($9.50) with their melted mozzarella, chopped bacon and buttermilk ranch, and stuffed mushrooms ($10.50) filled with cream cheese, sausage and parmesan, are rich meals unto themselves. Of course, don’t let me stop you if you’re looking for something more extreme; there’s no harm in kicking off a large entree with an equally large appetizer.
As far as main courses go at Edna’s, you’ve got three main avenues to pursue: pizzas, burgers and plated entrees. Their pizza menu is decent, and each offering is large enough for one starving diner or two moderately peckish diners. If you wanted to stick to the culinary theme of Edna’s, I’d suggest the Lucille ($17) and its creamy sauce, shredded chicken, basil pesto and cherry tomatoes. The Mama Umami is also delightful with its emphasis on mushrooms, garlic and caramelized onions.
If you’re venturing into burger and sandwich territory, I found the No. 42 ($17.50) to be absolutely bangin’. Whether it’s the summer barbecue vibes or an iron deficiency, I’ve really been craving big-ass stacked burgers at restaurants, and this one will obliterate any burger cravings that cross its path. It’s a perfectly serviceable 7-oz. patty topped with bacon, white cheddar, fried onions and garlicky sauteed mushrooms. This is a burger that goes hard with the fat-laden umami flavor profile, and it’s revelatory in its excess. My one gripe—and this could be applied to the whole menu at Edna’s—refers the lack of sharp acidity from a pickle or a citrusy aioli. I had a tasty roasted peach lemonade with my burger, and the sharp hit of lemon helped temper the onslaught of delicious savory flavors, so some pickled onions or other vinegary contrast would do a lot of good work here.
The highlights of the entree menu include meatloaf ($21.50)—mashed potatoes and buttered peas included—creamy beef and mushroom stroganoff ($21), and a pork chop ($25.50) to dwarf all pork chops. It’s truly Flintstone-ian in its dimensions, or as Succession‘s Tom Wambsgans would put it, “ludicrously capacious.” Though the pork chop itself nearly dominates the plate it occupies, the dish also comes with the classic funeral potato side dish and some roasted carrots.
When I see a cut of meat of these proportions enter play, I get a tad bit skeptical, because it usually means someone is trying to pass quantity for quality. That’s not the case here, however. It’s truly an excellent pork chop, and the honey glaze is a nice counterpoint to the protein. The funeral potatoes taste note-for-note exactly the same as my mother-in-law’s, right down to the crispy corn flakes on top. I enjoyed their nostalgic flavor, though I could see some craving a bit more innovation for this classic dish.
When all was said and done, I was quite charmed with Edna’s. It’s done a great job of taking some of the staples of Mormondom and unapologetically presenting them as they were meant to be shared. At first glance, one might think they’re banking on large portions and a spectrum of savory combinations to impress the eye, but the flavor combinations are spot on. It brings all the nostalgic Sunday dinner vibes to the table, and makes them taste excellent as well.