OGDEN — The cluster of dining spots in the burgeoning Riverbend area west of Slackwater pub and pizzeria will be growing.
Thirty new townhomes are also taking shape adjacent to that, in the lot on the northeast corner of Grant Avenue and Park Boulevard.
Ogden River Brewing opened last October in the area off the west side of Washington Boulevard where the street meets the Ogden River. A new structure is now taking shape next door that will house a taco restaurant, Wimpy and Fritz, as well as another locale featuring fried chicken sandwiches, Dirty Bird. The new building will also have space for a third locale and more, according to renderings submitted to city officials.
“Extremely excited. It’s going to be fun,” said Lane Montoya, co-owner of Wimpy and Fritz, which currently operates out of The Yes Hell bar in Ogden’s city center. The new location will have a “family friendly feel.”
Dirty Bird now has a location in Provo and is part of The McHenry Group, operated by Salt Lake City-area restaurateur Michael McHenry. “Super excited to be coming to Ogden. Lot of great opportunity there in a community that has just embraced us over the years with various brands. Excited to be opening there,” said McHenry.
The new building at 350 Park Blvd. is quickly taking shape southwest of the Ogden River Brewing location, in the area dubbed Riverbend by city planners. Montoya hopes to open the new Wimpy and Fritz by late May or early June while McHenry is hoping to launch the new Dirty Bird early in the summer.
Signage on the perimeter of the construction site suggests a third locale may be coming, Sweet Talk, offering “soft serve and goodies.”
The addition of the locales gives rise to a new dining cluster for Ogden. “I think it’s going to be a fun new addition to Ogden,” Montoya said.
Wimpy and Fritz, which also operates a food truck, offers tacos, burritos and more. Dirty Bird, according to its Facebook page, “is Nashville inspired, hip, connective and pushing the culinary boundaries through southern hospitality, hot chicken and cold beer.”
Brandon Cooper, deputy director of community and economic development for the City of Ogden, didn’t delve into specifics of the new locales but said the building will feature “fast casual” type dining. With the 30 new townhomes to be built west of the new building, he said the Riverbend area is taking a step forward. The first few townhomes in the new development should become available by the summer sometime while the new development should be complete by the end of 2021 or early 2022.
“I think we have really good momentum behind us,” Cooper said.
Riverbend roughly encompasses the area between 18th and 20th streets on the north and south and Washington Boulevard and Wall Avenue on the east and west. Numerous townhomes and the View on 20th apartment complex sit in the area south of Park Boulevard inside Riverbend. Existing locales Slackwater, Bingham Cyclery, Gear:30 and Kneaders Bakery and Cafe are also part of Riverbend.
Undeveloped portions of the Riverbend area remain, notably west of Grant Avenue and north of the Ogden River. Mountain America Credit Union is to build a new location in Riverbend at 1825 Washington Blvd., north of Slackwater, where the Ogden River Inn used to sit.
City efforts to develop Riverbend date to 2002, when Ogden officials formally created the development area and strategy, according to Cooper. “We’ve just been slowly working at it,” he said.
The Lotus Co. of Salt Lake City is a key motor behind the current Riverbend development taking place. Reps from the firm, also involved in the UTOG Brewing Co. brew pub in downtown Ogden, didn’t immediately return queries seeking comment.