SUNSET — Your first goal is to even find the tiny cafe.
The address is 289 W. 1300 North, but all to be seen near the street is a cracked, gravel-strewn parking lot.
Not until you squint across the lot and see a small orange and green sign on the west end of a battered strip mall do you realize you have arrived at the Orange Blossom Cafe.
Keith Kippen and his family opened the takeout cafe July 8, in an expansion of their 5-year-old food truck business.
The menu is powered by a Scandinavian-inspired cold-smoking process that flavors meats before cooking.
Steak burgers, sirloin cheesesteak and chicken salad sandwiches — plus pulled-pork burgers — are the products of 12 to 18 hours of cold smoking, Kippen said.
“Even our veggie burgers are smoked,” he said.
The cafe also offers salads featuring smoked chicken, pulled pork and steak.
Sides include bacon bleu cheese fries, which are topped with a homemade cream cheese sauce with bleu cheese crumbles, bacon and fresh red onions.
The smoking process is patterned after an old Scandinavian technique in which cooks dug down into the permafrost to make rooms for hanging meat carcasses, according to Kippen.
A tunnel linking a smoke generator to the meat room “fogged the room and smoked the food without cooking,” Kippen said.
He said it results in unique flavors that he hopes will position his cafe to draw a growing clientele.
“We’re starting small,” Kippen said. “It’s basically our food truck turned into a building.”
He is working with the landlord to add a patio so the cafe will have some seating by next year.
In the neighborhood, he said, “The locals seem to be very supportive. Many of them have become repeat customers.”
He is also encouraged by the city’s plans to facilitate conversion of an old grocery store nearby into apartments.
“That is going to be a major boon for us,” he said.
“Everything we do is high-quality food,” Kippen said, adding that the cafe makes all of its own sauces.
“Everything is made when you order,” he said. “We don’t use a microwave, ever.”
He’s especially proud of the cafe’s sirloin cheesesteak sandwich, featuring imported jarlsberg and mozzarella cheeses.
“We call it the Wasatch cheesesteak because we joke that it’s too good to be a Philly,” Kippen said.
The cafe was named in homage to the Orange Blossom Confectionery, an eatery Kippen’s grandparents operated in Park City in the 1930s and ‘40s.
The grandparents emigrated from Germany “after the Nazis came in and they saw the writing on the wall,” Kippen said.
The couple started a small dairy in Salt Lake City and then opened the cafe. Two generations later, the grandson is following a similar path.