April 15, 2019

Red Iguana: It's Worth the Wait

Mexican Food? In Salt Lake?

Nearing the end of a recent sold out show at The State Room Luther Dickinson, front man and lead guitar player for the North Mississippi Allstars, told the crowd that he always loves coming to Salt Lake because of the, “great Mexican food from Red Iguana.” Dickinson, as well as other touring musicians, have come to love this local Utah staple that has been packing people into their North Temple location since 1985.

Located in Rose Park just outside of Salt Lake’s downtown district, Red Iguana serves authentic Mexican food to visitors and locals alike. The restaurant’s simple, modest storefront is often found crowded with people on any given night. It isn’t unheard of to have to wait an hour or two to get in on the weekends with a line stretching all the way down through the parking lot; however, the flavors and experience inside Red Iguana’s sticker-covered doors are well worth the wait.

Red Iguana was started by Ramon and Maria Cardenas who together, “shared a passion for Mexican cuisine, and created recipes and dishes proudly served as delicious expressions of their cultural background.” In 1985 Red Iguana opened a store on 300 West, between 1st & 2nd South that originally only sat 18 diners. The store saw a lot of success but tragically, a fire destroyed the location and the restaurant was forced to move to its current North Temple spot. After settling in to their new location, Ramon and Maria created unique yet traditional Mexican recipes, now passed on to the Cardenas children who are proudly continuing the family tradition.

The Favorites

Any Salt Lakian (Salt Laker? Utahan?) that has been to Red Iguana has their own recommendations on their delicious Mexican/American cuisine, however, you can never go wrong with these icon plates:

Tacos Don Ramon (Three grilled corn tortillas filled wi/tender top sirloin tips, grilled w/pork chorizo, garnished w/shredded lettuce & queso cotija, served w/pico de gallo & a salsa de aguacate)

Chile Colorado (Diced top sirloin seasoned and simmered in a dried red chile powder & tomato blend sauce, served w/rice, refried beans & your choice of tortillas)

Mole Negro (The King of Moles! Dried chile mulato, negro pasilla, Mexican chocolate, raisins, peanuts, walnuts, walnuts, banana - tossed w/chicken or turkey)

Menu & Info

To view other Red Iguana classics, view the rest of menu here.

Crowd too big at their North Temple location? Grab your Mexican fix at Red Iguana 2 or Taste of Red Iguana to experience this gem of Salt Lake!

Too out of the way? Consider some other local favorites. Hire's Big H. Eggs in the City.

3 comments on “Red Iguana: It's Worth the Wait”

  1. […] other in Western Salt Lake City, Red Iguana is worth the drive, and worth the wait. Here are our menu recommendations, plus a few other tips and tricks to keep in mind before making your trip. Tables fill up fast, so […]

Seven Slopes

Seven Slopes in a local's guide to what to do in Salt Lake City and the Wasatch Mountains.  The articles on this site were written by students from the University of Utah as part of a digital marketing curriculum.
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