Temple Square’s Nauvoo Cafe Gets a Facelift

Largely ignored by the press, the Temple Square eatery received a substantial facelift. It also doles out caffeinated soda like it's no one's business.

The Nauvoo Cafe on Temple Square in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building is the street-level money maker featuring Coke-soaked pork sandwiches, omelettes and turkey pot pies, among other breakfast and lunch eats. And it’s long been a decent place to get a tasty little meal on the cheap. 

Now it’s been totally overhauled. Well, not now, but nearly a year ago. And with only a brief mention in the Deseret News the attractive update has had little press, fanfare or celebration. And since TWiM often brings you Mormon news of the obscure (or Mormonia Obscura, if you will), you’re welcome.

New design, post update
Old, previous layout

Nauvoo Cafe Was A Caffeine Pioneer

Long the vanguard of church-owned eateries and establishments in terms of caffeine availability, the cafe featured pork tenderloin sandwiches marinated in Coca Cola, and showcased front and center a soda bar that looked more like Maverick than the Cougareat, with diet and regular sodas all of the caffeinated variety, challenged only by their ability to keep up with the constant flow of church employees lining behind the spigot to fill up their enormous insulated mugs before heading back to the Church Office Building in their hosiery and ties.

And even though marinated and not dry-spiced, here’s the rub: that pork sandwich is absolutely delicious. And the price for breakfast or lunch is surprisingly—but I suspect some subsidization—low.

Still, most of the diners on any given day are typically those who spend their day at Temple Square, even though the cafe is at the street level where a lot of foot traffic passes by.

A Cafe, A Cafe, We Have A Cafe

And the remodel is impressive. It’s completely redesigned the flow of traffic, and made a sort of Iron-Chef-kitchen-stadium-work-station right in the middle of everything. With Dark wood accents, and updated menus, it takes the look and efficiency of other restaurants Mormons are known to love, like Pei Wei, Cafe Rio and others, only with a decidedly more cafe feel not at all unlike Paradise Bakery. 

For all the non-fuss the Nauvoo Cafe is really that, a cafe, perhaps in every sense of the word except one: you can’t get a latte or a cup of morning joe. And why not? While most of its patrons are indeed “of the faith,” the business is a simple hop across the street from the Babylonians over at City Creek.

Perhaps as more people catch on, the demand will rise for brewed beans of sin, and, like BYU, the Nauvoo Cafe will rise to meet the demand. Might the Nauvoo Cafe continue its vanguard ways and pave the way for a diversity of caffeine sources, even if those bold enough to order one in line with other church employees are the homeless walk-ins from the street?

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