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The City Journals

Bandits Grill & Bar Celebrates One Year in Cottonwood Heights

Nov 05, 2015 03:45PM ● By Bryan Scott

By Rachel Hall

It was early November 2014 when Bandits Grill & Bar opened its doors to hungry customers eager to sample smoked ribs, chicken, steak and other delicious entrees and sides sure to appeal to any appetite.

“I bought the dirt. My family and I built the building and opened up this location,” Shane Barbor, the owner, said. “We’ve been received by the locals in the community well.”

The family-owned restaurant started in 1989 in Thousand Oaks, Cali. as a true smoke house and eventually three more locations opened, including a second in California, Park City and Cottonwood Heights. However, Bandits is not a chain restaurant – they are committed to each local community in which they operate.

“Over the years, we’ve evolved into more of an American grill. We buy local produce throughout the year. All of our meat vendors are local. We buy organic and free-range chicken and beef whenever we can,” Barbor said. “Our bread is delivered fresh every day.”

The menu is more than barbecue, although the ribs and tri tip steak are popular options for guests ordering. Fish, seafood, salad, burgers, vegetarian dishes and a kids’ menu help round out the choices.

A secret recipe barbecue sauce that perfectly complements a variety of meats, which start in the smoker before being cooked over a wood grill, is available at each table.

“It took us months of research and testing. We think it’s a great sauce. It’s gluten free and we can modify almost any menu item to be gluten free,”Barbor said. “The sauce is available for sale along with our T-shirts.”

Popular side items include ranch beans and grilled asparagus, which have a tendency to sell out every night. Tri tip steak and ribs are top picks on the barbecue menu, while chopped chicken salads are also ordered frequently. Hamburgers, cheeseburgers, chicken strips, salmon, mac-and-cheese and steak are popular kids’ menu picks.

Rustic décor, streaming music, a bar with televisions and patio seating appeal to the overall atmosphere of the restaurant where families are always welcome to eat together.

“We do s’mores by the fire-pit for the kids. It’s a lot of family fun,” Barbor said.

Knowing that families feel welcomed, especially on Monday nights when kids eat free, in the restaurant is just one way Barbor tries to give back to the community.

“Community is one of the most important ingredients in the restaurant,” he said. “We do everything that we can to give back. We believe that police officers, firefighters and teachers are the backbone and servants of our community and we offer [them] discounts.”

Catering is available through the restaurant for large groups or small groups at events such as birthday parties, family reunions and company parties.

Barbor knows that satisfying customers’ hunger with unique menu options is what helps to set them apart from the competition.

“We make everything in house. We know what is in everything. We try to go the extra mile to make it ours,” he said.

Janet Wagstaff, who has been working at Bandits for about six months, enjoys the vibe of the restaurant and the friendly customers.

“It’s modern and yet classic, not like your typical barbecue place,” she said.

For more information, visit Bandits Grill & Bar is located at 3176 East 6200 South in Cottonwood Heights.