An Evening at the Bit & Spur Restaurant & Saloon
Disclaimer: reading this blog post may cause severe hunger. Be advised.
Welcome to another dining edition of the ZionNationalPark.com blog where we personally visit restaurants in Springdale and give you scoop. This week we are featuring an evening at the Bit & Spur Restaurant & Saloon. Trish Jennings, the GM, recently invited my wife and I to come have dinner at the long-time Springdale favorite. Based on hearsay and reputation alone, I wasn’t expecting to be disappointed in the least. That expectation was met from the moment we walked in to the moment we left, and then some.
Little Bit of History
I love knowing what I’m getting into beforehand by doing a little bit of digging into the history of establishments I visit. I’ve always felt like it adds to the guest’s experience to know where the place is coming from – you know, a some of their story, so to speak. Kudos to Bit & Spur for including a detailed history on their website. They began as a roadside bar in 1970 and opened officially for business with their current name in 1981, always striving to maintain a gathering-place vibe.
The Jennings have been owners since 1992 and have consistently added to and improved their menu and have succeeded in cultivating that social, meet-up feel. All of this was very apparent from the moment we walked in. (Note: I should mention that their website is impressive. It’s very interactive and includes virtual tours, click-through testimonials, and a cool, unique photographic feel integrating blur and lens flares).
Arrival and Appetizers
The ambience is a skillful and creative blend of classic Western and Mexican trappings resulting in something wholly original. Because I knew they feature live musicians on a regular basis, I felt like at any given moment Hank Williams, Jr. and/or a mariachi band could have appeared and started playing and I wouldn’t have been surprised by either. Super fun environment and very unique. For an appetizer we ordered chips and salsa with a side of guacamole, all of which were made in house (everything is made in house at the Bit & Spur, fyi). Trish insisted that we try the guacamole, and we were glad for the recommendation. It was infused with lime and was just delicious. We had two bowls of chips because we didn’t want any of it to go to waste.
For our main dishes, my wife ordered the Bit & Spur Ribeye and I ordered the Shrimp Tacos. The ribeye was “chili-rubbed and grilled with port-wine bleu cheese demiglace, shoestring onions, poblano mashed potatoes, and black beans.” I don’t know what specific ingredients they’re using for their chili-rub, but it is incredible. The steak would have been delicious on it’s own since it was cooked perfectly, but the additional unique flavor elevated it to superb status. I loved the inclusion of black beans which gave the dish a Mexican zing.
The shrimp tacos were “sautéed and place in a flour tortilla with avocado-lime sauce, cabbage, pico de gallo, black beans, and rice.” Shrimp tacos are one of my go-to meals when I eat out, so when I saw them on the menu I knew I had to try them. Oh my gosh they were good. The avocado-lime sauce was reminiscent of the guacamole we had earlier and the cabbage and pico were so fresh. The shrimp were plump and crisp, and again with the rice and beans…a great addition that I realized is a Bit & Spur signature after looking again at the menu; all the seasonal entrees come with black beans. Love it.
For dessert we ordered lemon pie as well as crème brûlée. I was pleasantly surprised at how good the desserts were at an place like this. In my experience, Mexican or steakhouse restaurants don’t specialize in desserts. Usually the menu includes a brownie with a scoop of store-bought ice cream (no disrespect to brownies and ice cream). But I should have learned my lesson by this point: this is not an ordinary Mexican or steakhouse restaurant; far from it.
I mean these desserts were fine-dining quality. Amazingly good. The top of the crème brûlée was caramelized with precision and the custard inside was rich, creamy, and exquisite. The lemon tart was crazy good. I love lemon tart and this was one of the best I’ve ever had, without a doubt. And the presentation was very particular, which was impressive. And finally, somehow in our conversations with Trish, it came up that my peppermint is my favorite ice cream flavor. Later she comes out with a scoop of peppermint ice cream made in-house. What!? I was in heaven. It was extraordinary.
Before I conclude, I need to back up and mention one more thing. When we started on our entrees, Trish came over to our table and asked if I was interested in trying their homemade hot sauce. Again, little did she know that I am a self-proclaimed hot sauce connoisseur. Of course I said yes. Guys, I kid you not, it was one of the best hot sauces I’ve ever tasted. It has a carrot and habanero base and it absolutely nailed the hot-ness-flavor ratio. I put it all over my shrimp tacos. They sell bottles of it in the restaurant and needless to say I walked out with one. It was so good that I’m considering buying a case or two of it next Christmas season and giving it as gifts to my neighbors.
Everyone needs to come eat here, especially if you are already in Springdale or live in any of the surrounding cities. Don’t let your Zion National Park trip go by without stopping here for a meal. If you want to come when there’s live music, check out their website for schedules or give them a call. And of course you don’t have to come for a sit-down meal. If you want to grab a drink and play some pool, this is your place. Thanks Trish! The restaurant is phenomenal.
This edition of “The View From Here” was written by our very own Gregory Knell. Want to know more about Greg? Click Here