Local restauranteur opens new, first-of-its-kind experiential restaurant in Salt Lake City

The owner of Este Pizza in Salt Lake City wants to take your dining experience to a new level, which prompted him to open The Dispensary, a unique dining establishment you won’t find anywhere else. The new eatery utilizes 986 square feet of space at 54 West 1700 South (same building as Sweet Lake Biscuits & Limeade). This restaurant project brings a $140,000 investment and 15 new jobs initially to the City. 

Owner David Heiblim explains the concept behind the restaurant is like a pharmacy, where food is medicine. Diners will experience similarities to a pharmacy in how the restaurant is structured–order and pay at one window, pick up your food at the second window and return your dishes at the third (yes, treats will be provided for returned dishes).

In addition to the structural uniqueness is an idea, Heiblim calls “conscious entrepreneurism,” which parallels social entrepreneurism models of other restaurants like Even Stevens. “We’re trying to give people a place where they can expand themselves,” Heiblim says. “We want people to leave intrinsically happier than when they came in.”

Other unique aspects customers can expect include:

  • Design and aesthetics inspired by Utah and spiritual traditions of the land
    • Utilizes Ute imagery in color pallet
    • Hexagon imagery in design
    • Sourcing most ingredients from local farmers
  • Communal seating
  • Interactive art
  • Unique staff interaction

All of these restaurant elements are intended to give customers an opportunity to step outside their comfort zone and expand their confidence and self-esteem.

“Salt Lake City has such incredible potential to be a unique food destination in the country and a business like The Dispensary helps move the needle on this effort,” says Lara Fritts, Salt Lake City’s economic development director. “This restaurant is a perfect example of a business going outside the box in every way–creative, entrepreneurial, engaging and something you’ll find only in Salt Lake City.”

Heiblim received an Economic Development Loan Fund (EDLF) loan for $40,000. He says working with the team at the City felt much different than the typical experience trying to secure funding. “Instead of hitting road blocks, working with the Business Development and ELDF team felt like I had a support system,” he adds. “It’s refreshing that the City is willing to be more adventurous and get behind concepts that are not only smart investments but also add to the uniqueness of SLC.”  

About Salt Lake City Department of Economic Development: Formed in 2016, under the leadership of Mayor Jackie Biskupski, Salt Lake City’s Department of Economic Development is focused on building Salt Lake City as a vibrant, beautiful, prosperous, diverse, and authentic place – a place that is economically accessible to everyone. Known as the “Crossroads of the West,” Salt Lake City is strategically located for businesses to succeed. SLCDED works to streamline processes, provide excellent customer service, and offer an array of resources and services to recruit and retain businesses in the City, and ensure they have the tools to thrive.