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Monday, September 07, 2015

The Annex Temporarily Closes

Some of you may have noticed that the Annex by Epic Brewing has not been open for business this past weekend. I don't have all of the info, but here are some of the reasons behind it. There were apparently some issues concerning the Annex's management - including the chef. Though the menu was highly regarded many found it pricey and not too approachable. Look for a new, more complementary menu when the brewpub reopens.

It's no secret that Epic is all about the beer. There were concerns that the previous management wasn't treating the beer end of the business with the attention that it deserved - Epic is correcting this by getting more knowledgeable "beer people" in place to meet customers needs. The Annex's brewery is still in operation and will not stop making beer. The suds will continue to go out to the Annex's accounts.

Epic didn't want service to suffer during this transition, so they opted to close rather than experiment on the customers. With this down time they are also going to take the opportunity to spruce-up the place - polish floors etc.  

So that's basically it. Epic didn't feel things were up to their standards, now they're fixing it. The brewpub shouldn't be closed for long. We'll of course let you know when they're open again.



Matthew said...

Thanks for the update!

Rob said...

I respect their tanacity, but isn't this reboot number 5 or something? I love the space, the location, and the beer, but they need to get it together.

Kenneth M said...

I'll still go back
Food is secondary.

Unknown said...

I've always had a good experience there, and the food has always been good. However, I understand what they mean about lack of beer knowledge. That's not good when you are essentially a brewery serving food. It's esp. not good since there's so little information about the beer on the menu; the only recourse for someone not familiar with a beer on the menu is to ask. The wait person had better be able to answer.

GastronomicSLC.com said...

This is a real shame, at least in regards the food. I don't think a brewpub should mean we have to suffer through the normal menu of burgers, fries, pizza and *snore*, sorry I fell asleep there.

I thought the recent menu at Annex was one of the best in the city, up against some of the very best of fine dining, at very affordable prices for what was being offered. Sure that wasn't what all people wanted - but hey go next door to Wasatch or Fiddlers if you want the basics. And you know what, Epic was packed every night, so someone was enjoying the creative approach.

After all, the whole point of Epic, if their brewers are to be believed is to treat some of the concoctions like a wine, not a beer to glug by the gallon, so why wouldn't you want something special to pair with that?

Lunacy. It's a crying shame the owners don't seem to want to do anything other than the bog standard. Well, I'll take that back, let's see what they re-open with.

Stuart - www.gastronomicslc.com

thaddeusmt said...

Thanks for the heads up. We loved the Annex when it first opened. They had what I, personally, still consider to be the best pastrami burger in Salt Lake. And the poutine was out of this world. But then it seemed like the menu got boring and more expensive. And the poutine got worse (tater tots for a while?), and much smaller! We haven't been back in quite a while, due to this. I don't want them to fall back to boring, standard brew-pub fare with burgers, chicken fingers and a "taco salad" either though. I guess we'll see what they come up with.

Shane in SLC said...

I've been really frustrated with Annex. With the first "reboot," they took all the vegetarian entrees off the menu, except for a 100-calorie fried chickpea thing that cost like $14. As a vegetarian, it's hard not to be insulted by a menu like that, and there's surely a middle ground between your cliché pub menu and a menu that's all fru-fru pig-based dishes. Once they got a bar license, my wife and I started dropping in for a nightcap after having dinner at one of the other local establishments that wants our money enough to offer us food we can eat. But I haven't ordered food from there in over a year. It's nice, though, to be able to sample all of Epic's specialty beers--the lambics, the coffee stouts--without having to drink 22 ounces of the stuff.

Shaun said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shaun said...

I really wish some of these Utah Gastro-pub entrepreneurs could spend a couple weekends in Seattle or Portland- Just seems like they are trying to hard here and miss the mark. I don't really need a $16 burger with kale and quinoa but could use a $12 nicely crafted cheeseburger with quality fixings- some decently priced apps and nothing too out of this world. Last time we were at the Annex the large flatscreen at the bar had on that gold rush show from the discovery channel- very odd. I look forward to the new menu and folks more concentrated on knowing and selling the beer.

GastronomicSLC.com said...

It's sad the Annex' last iteration wasn't properly understood - maybe that's why they ditched it in the end; an inability to really explain the product. What it evolved to in the end days was a farm-table fine dining restaurant, the menu was being printed daily based on local providers in the last few months. That's amazing, the food was exceptional and on par with Pago and others in that strata.

Sadly, I expect the replacement will be another brewpub/gastropub, and I have to ask, what is the point? Again, let's wait and see, I've asked the Annex to give me more info, still waiting.

Ed said...

Was there any point when you couldn't just get a cheeseburger and fries at The Annex?

GastronomicSLC.com said...

I think you could always get that, indeed they'd probably make you something from scratch if you asked, as that was the kitchen mentality - lets just make awesome things with the best freshest items we can get a hold of.

If I we're Epic and they aren't food folks, I'd just go ahead and make it a bar. A bar that serves Epic beers. Maybe you can have bar snacks, but make the beer front and center if you're not interested in food.

I believe they do now have a club license.

Shaun said...

Can I suggest this menu from Latona pub as exhibit A ? A great PNW brew pub- nothing overly complicated just good local ingredients done with a nice flair that hit the mark



Ed said...

Oh, boy... Mac n' cheese!

Maybe quality has been an issue, as I've heard they've had a lot of turnover in the kitchen recently - But I honestly have a hard time believing that the majority of their customer base is rejecting anything that doesn't look like the Applebee's kids menu as " froo-froo" and "faggy".

GastronomicSLC.com said...

Agreed Ed. The idea that Salt Lakers are a bunch of culinary uneducated plebs is at best uniformed and at worst offensive. It also flies in the face of the fact that places like Copper Onion can't keep enough bone marrow in stock, or the fact that places like Rye and Provisions are continuing to open and delight packed houses.

Bernie said...

Interesting to learn of the latest annex reboot. Also interesting to read these posts. I tend to agree with Shaun's summary. I lived in Seattle for 6 years and then in Sonoma County, CA. The Annex seems to miss the mark here. I stopped going to the annex last year following the fourth price increase in a row. A Salt Lake city brewpub can't charge more for a burger than Seattle, or Sonoma County, CA. Just can't do it. And the Annex did. And it was their cheapest real meal! (It was good, not taking from that). But go to Seattle, get a Latona burger (organic beef, local bun, huge side salad) and tell me you can't do that in UTAH for the same $12. Seattle has a$15 minimum wage! I appreciate the annex providing food diversity that others aren't. But they need to get there pricing in check. The latona hits the sweet spot of good food, good price, good beer. They probably haven't rebooted ever and in a trendy food city like Seattle, that says it all. By the way, you can get a $10 burger at copper common early in the week. Damn good $10 burger. See you there!