August 31, 2023
Eatery, Restaurant & Bar in the Heart Of Downtown Welcomes Verona, Portena and Pokeologist to its already wide ranging culinary offerings


Eatery, Restaurant & Bar in the Heart Of Downtown Welcomes Verona, Portena and Pokeologist to its already wide ranging culinary offerings

Salt Lake City, UT – The Local Market & Bar announced today three new culinary concepts that have opened this month at their downtown Salt Lake City location. Starting this week, diners can sample pizza from Verona, fresh baked gourmet empanadas from Portena, and an array of poke bowls and Asian snacks from Pokeologist.

The Local Market & Bar’s incubator approach to a curated eatery means that customers will be treated to new restaurant concepts on a regular basis.

The curated dining venue business model is quite unique and provides small business owners an excellent opportunity to try out new concepts on their journey to a brick & mortar location with relatively low investment costs. It has been especially helpful for those in the culinary field who were challenged during the pandemic and this has provided them with the opportunity to get back in the game much more easily than opening a new restaurant,” says Chef Akhtar Nawab, CEO of Hospitality HQ.

More on the new concepts opening at The Local this week:

  • Porteña offers fresh baked gourmet empanadas, sandwiches and salads that draw from the delicious flavors of Argentina. Chef Pablo Montes, from Buenos Aires, has been a Salt Lake City food truck favorite for many years. He is proud to offer a modern twist on classic Argentinian empanadas that are offered in both savory and dessert styles. His menu is rounded out by delicious sides and savory sandwiches, such as their “chori-pan”, which is made with Argentinian chorizo.
  • Verona – Verona Pizzeria offers a variety of creatively composed pizza dishes cooked in a state of the art Italian hearth oven. Verona Pizzeria draws its inspiration from the culinary flavors of Verona, Italy. Chef Gurpreet Singh trained in Europe as a pizzaiolo for over a decade and is excited  to showcase his pizza, salad and dessert offerings in Salt Lake City.
  • Pokeologist – Inspired by the passion of a University of Utah alumnus, Pokeologist is a culinary gem created with love for the community. They are offering unique signature poke bowls, and Asian snacks that blend exciting flavors into delicious artworks. Guests also have the freedom to create their own masterpiece by choosing from a variety of proteins and toppings. Each visit to Pokeologist is a taste exploration and journey. And that’s not all – their floating sodas bubble with excitement, and the Asian snacks and appetizers bring an exotic touch. When you step into Pokeologist, you’ll find vibrant dishes and a warm sense of camaraderie coming together to create an unforgettable and irresistible dining experience.

Located inside The ExchangeThe Local Market and Bar is an all-day dining venue focused on chef-driven dining concepts operated by hospitality consulting group, Hospitality HQ (HHQ) and developed by The Domain Companies and Giv Development. The rich assortment of offerings allow for convenient pick-up and delivery while the comfortable and contemporary design makes The Local an exciting downtown dining experience.

The culinary concepts are curated by Chef & Co-Chief Executive Officer at Hospitality HQ, Akhtar Nawab, and  provides exposure for both new and established chefs. These new concepts will be alongside Lamb and Feta, Hog and Tradition, Pop’s Burger and Good Bar.

Existing restaurateurs at The Local:

  • Lamb & Feta is one of Taylorsville Utah’s most popular Greek restaurants with authentic, fresh ingredients that showcase the wide range of Mediterranean flavors.
  • Hog and Tradition hails from pit master Geoff Patmides’ commitment to Southern BBQ. The award-winning chef has perfected the BBQ sandwich along with a myriad of other barbeque dishes.
  • Pop’s Burger is an elevated homage to the classic Americana burger joint serving up simply delicious smash burgers, hot dogs, fries and old fashioned ice box cakes that feature quality, locally sourced ingredients.
  • Good Bar is a full-service bar and local hangout with thoughtfully crafted cocktails, extensive local craft beer and spirit selections, and a diverse wine list.  Good Bar will also feature a series of low- and non-alcoholic cocktails.


About The LocalThe Local Market + Bar is a 7,500 square foot culinary collective and bar now open in downtown Salt Lake City. The Local is an innovative kitchen incubator that will also feature artisan concepts from across the globe curated by award winning chef Akhtar Nawab.  The Local is a destination focused around community, providing a stage for chef-driven concepts to showcase a curated experience enriched by diverse food and culture. The Local Market & Bar is nestled within The Exchange, a $110 million mixed-use development that hosts a diverse mix of residential and retail offerings. Featuring residences Avia and Mya, both at full occupancy within months of opening, The Shop Workspace, Rebel House Fitness, and more, The Exchange attracts thousands of individuals daily. The project is a joint venture between The Domain Companies and Salt Lake City-based developer, Giv Development.

About Hospitality HQ (HHQ): Hospitality HQ (HHQ) is a creative consulting and management group offering bespoke solutions for culinary-driven concepts across the United States. Led by award-winning chef, restaurateur, TV personality and cookbook author Akhtar Nawab, HHQ’s dynamic and comprehensive team prioritizes high quality service at all levels, producing systems for food and beverage concepts which consistently optimize guest experience. HHQ is the fastest-growing food hall management company in the country, with critically acclaimed restaurant and communal dining projects in more than 15 states.

About Chef Akhtar Nawab

Akhtar Nawab is chef and owner of Alta Calidad in New York, Otra Vez in New Orleans, Bar Chinoise in Washington, DC and founding partner and CO-CEO of Hospitality HQ (HHQ). Nawab’s ‘less-is-more’ style of cooking has earned him critical praise throughout the years, beginning with his experience in the kitchen at acclaimed restaurants like Gramercy Tavern, Craftbar and Craft, the latter of which received three stars from The New York Times and won the James Beard Foundation’s “Best New Restaurant” Award during his tenure. Nawab received StarChef’s “Rising Star Chef” award while serving as executive chef of East Village gastropub The E.U., before striking out on his own as chef/partner in Elettaria in 2008. Shortly thereafter, he found himself gravitating towards Mexican cuisine and took the helm at popular NYC hotspot La Esquina. In 2017, Nawab opened his innovative Mexican restaurant Alta Calidad in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, which earned a Michelin Bib Gourmand rating in 2018 and 2019 and continues to thrive as a neighborhood mainstay.

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