Have a look at this unique & charming destination eatery in Utah. The historic diner is housed inside an old trolley car and dates back to 1930!
House Crazy Sarah loves to come across such unusual places.
Ruth’s Diner is located in a scenic canyon, only a few minutes drive from downtown Salt Lake City.
It is now the second oldest Restaurant in Utah.
The diner’s namesake – Ruth – passed away in November of 1989 at the age of 94. She was a legendary figure in the area; a feisty woman who didn’t hold back. She was known for her colorful stories, her sailor’s mouth, and her ever-present Lucky Strikes cigarettes.
As a young woman, Ruth was apparently a little easier on the eyes. She performed in some of the bars around Salt Lake City as a cabaret singer from about 1912 to 1916.
In 1930 she started the diner as “Ruth’s Hamburgers” in downtown Salt Lake City. The location was across the street from a house of ill repute and Ruth was said to have fed the girls and listened to their stories about various police, politicians, judges, and other clients.
After many years of flipping burgers downtown, Ruth’s original location was sold and demolished. The enterprising businesswoman bought a Salt Lake Trolley car and moved it up to Emigration Canyon where she reopened the diner in 1949.
Ruth built an apartment for herself on the backside of her trolley car (it’s now the lower dining area and kitchen) and lived on the property with her little Chihuahua dogs for almost forty years.
The notorious Chihuahuas apparently tried to bite any customers they didn’t know!
Ruth lived out her last years in her apartment behind the diner.
She sold the Diner in 1977 to a customer, Curtis Oberhansly, who owned the place for the next 25 years. The diner is currently owned by Tracy and Erik Nelson who have been associated with it for many years.
The food and hospitality at Ruth’s diner have also received accolades from far and wide, having been featured in travel magazines and television shows.
Not only is it a tourist destination, but locals also frequent the place.
Outside, there is a patio dining area:
Ruth’s legacy and spirit live on in this special place!