Local Legend Spotlight: Legends Bar & Grill

“Bye babe,” Lisa Forman calls to a departing patron as we sit down around a sports page plastered high-top table in the bar area of Legends Bar & Grill. Once upon a time, this location on 600 South & 200 West, next door to Brewvies, was home to the corporate chain restaurant Iggy’s, then, briefly an Asian/sports bar fusion named Jerzees. For the last ten years, it’s been home to Legends, a true labor of love of the part of the Forman family.

Abandoning careers in corporate sales, and excavation drilling,  jobs that kept Lisa and Dave Forman on the road often and away from their family, the couple decided to settle down into a lifestyle that would keep them close to home by pursuing their dream of opening a restaurant. Of course, running your own business, especially a bar and restaurant, is far from quiet and idyllic.

Keeping their family close, all five Forman children have worked at Legends, and Lisa’s sister just so happens to be our server during the time we spend together. It’s this genuine mom and pop leadership that makes Legends special. Often referred to as “momma bear” by her staff -- Legends employees up to 45 people during peak season -- every aspect of of the restaurant is inspired by Lisa’s genuine love of people.

“We’re not fancy,” Lisa says describing their menu, “but we take pride in what we do.”

“We’re not fancy,” Lisa says describing their menu, “but we take pride in what we do.”

This love is evident as we’re greeted with platters of mozzarella sticks, sliders, street tacos, jalapeno poppers, chicken wings, and parmesan dusted french fries.  Sure, these entrees are a fried food fiesta, but this food doesn’t come out the back of a Sysco truck, spend a year in a freezer, then take a bath in hot oil before hitting your plate. It’s all house made.

Yes, it is traditional sports pub fare, but -- that’s right -- it’s made with love. Lisa provides a unique reason for this choice, commenting that it does require more work from their kitchen staff to make these foods in house, but this choice also creates jobs.

“Anything that I can taste a preservative in, it’s not going to be on your plate.” Lisa says about their menu selection. Her taste buds serve as a worthy guide, as we’re were served “Lisa’s Dip,” a hybrid of queso and southern sausage gravy that has to be tasted to be believed.

With a comfort food menu, and an incredible spirit of hospitality, it makes sense that Legends regularly hosts large scale parties and events. A secret ninja skill from their corporate careers is understanding the exact needs of business gatherings, and sales meetings of all kinds. With a capacity large enough for a wedding (they’ve hosted three) and no room charge for events (yeah, no room charge, that’s right) it’s a pretty great place to host a party. In fact, Local First Utah will be hosting our Summer Soiree at Legends on Thursday, June 27th.

“We consider ourselves to be common folk.” Lisa said. But, in the world of sport bars, with their commitment to highlighting local beer & spirits, providing high quality food while creating jobs, and building the sort of “third place” where people feel welcome and valued, Legends is anything but common.  You might even say, it’s legendary.

Kristen Lavelett