Utah has the nation’s strictest liquor laws. If you want a beer stronger than a tickle (4% abv.), then you need to plan ahead. State-owned liquor stores may sell it, and restaurants may serve it if you order sufficient food. For those in Southern Utah who don’t want to play such games, a trip to Fredonia, Arizona, is a good option. Just beyond the state line (and time zone boundary) is the Juniper Ridge Restaurant and Saloon, where cold beer is served without blue-law anxiety.
Juniper Ridge is primarily a steakhouse with a white tablecloth dining area, but upstairs is the more casual saloon. It is a sports bar, offering many of the more simple dishes from the restaurant downstairs along with a full repertoire of drinks. State lines run stark around these parts, and the tap list is far more skewed towards Arizona beers than Utah brews, even though Utah is only 2 miles away.
The downstairs restaurant specializes in burgers and steaks. Up in the saloon, burgers seem more appropriate. The hand-formed signature burger comes with locally-smoked bacon, Swiss cheese, and field greens. The pulled pork slider is less memorable, but we like the sweet sauce on it. Its flavor reminds us of Chinese pork buns.
Tacos are a pleasant surprise. They come on corn tortillas made in-house. Predictably, the best filling is steak. It tastes of smoke from the grill and is very tender.
Juniper Ridge Restaurant and Saloon is conveniently located on the road between Grand Canyon and Zion National Parks, two of America’s most visited sites. If you’re spending the night in the nearest town — Kanab, Utah — you can order a shuttle from the Saloon to your hotel and back.