Take a look at a Mexican restaurant set to open on the 15th and 15th

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Buena Vida is gearing up to open in December, offering affordable Mexican cuisine with a few twists.

(Chris Samuels | The Salt Lake Tribune) Workers prepare space for Buena Vida, a new restaurant at 1500 East in Salt Lake City, Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2022.

The person behind two Mexican restaurants in Park City is planning a third, in Salt Lake City’s 15th and 15th Wards, which is slated to open in early December.

Utah restaurateur Alan Galeano, who operates El Chubasco and Don Gallo (formerly Crystal Park Cantina) in Park City, is opening Buena Vida at 1500 S. 1500 East – in the space once occupied by longtime Italian restaurant La Trattoria di Francesco.

Galeano said he is looking forward to opening a restaurant in Salt Lake City because he can operate it as a year-round restaurant, compared to Park City’s seasonal rhythms.

Buena Vida, he said, would focus on affordable Mexican food, the same price as Caputo — a few doors down south on 1500 East — charges for sandwiches. A burrito, he said, would average around $16, though it “depends on what you order.”

(Chris Samuels | The Salt Lake Tribune) Workers prepare space for Buena Vida, a new restaurant at 1500 East in Salt Lake City, Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2022.

“It’s going to be super reasonable, because I’m not doing this in the short term. My restaurants are long-term,” Galeano said. “I have to work with the public and the people there – we asked around and my estate agent asked people what they wanted there, because I have Italian restaurants, Spanish restaurants, hamburger restaurants, Asian restaurants. I have a pho place, I have a thai place. So they wanted Mexican.

The expected prices for Buena Vida contrast with the exorbitant meals served at La Trattoria di Francesco. This restaurant has become famous, or infamous, for serving Utah’s most expensive and extravagant steak – a 48-ounce Fiorentina steak with shaved truffles and encrusted with 24-karat edible gold, for $260.

Galeano opened Buono Vita, an Italian restaurant, in Hermosa Beach, California 30 years ago. He sold it in 2015 and now operates eight restaurants in Utah, including Buono Vita locations in Park City and Lehi.

The new restaurant’s menu would include standard Mexican dishes, such as burritos, tortas, tacos and tostadas. Many items, he said, would have a twist — for example, they will serve octopus tacos and spicy salmon tostadas.

“We’ll have ceviches,” he says. “So it’s shrimp, it’s red onion, it’s pineapple, cilantro, yerba buena, a little white vinegar and a little olive oil, salt, pepper and avocado.”

A bar area at Buena Vida will have the only televisions on site. “We have a full liquor license, so we’ll have everything,” he said.

Galeano said he also wanted to do brunch on Sundays, “so everyone can just come hang out and enjoy. … I wanted to do it inexpensively, because I want everyone to be able to come over for a few times a week and not breaking the bank. I don’t want it to be a place where people come once a month, or for a birthday or when they are celebrating something.

(Chris Samuels | The Salt Lake Tribune) Workers prepare space for Buena Vida, a new restaurant at 1500 East in Salt Lake City, Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2022.

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