Soda is everywhere, you may think; how’s it a Utah thing? Soda in Utah reaches new heights: The majority Mormon population does not drink alcohol, so soda is often the drink of choice for a night out. (Never mind the fact that drinking soda frequently is very detrimental to one’s health, and a leading contributor to type 2 diabetes and obesity—as one local who quit soda told me, “We trade one drug for another.”)
Restaurants and groceries like Harmons stock up on specialty sodas, and in recent years a handful of newfangled soda shop chains in Utah have exploded onto the scene, at which you can customize your soda with all sorts of add-ins. (Want it with a shot of coconut flavoring? Order it “dirty.”) Soda is big business in this state.
Where: At Swig n’ Sweets (multiple locations including 1325 E. Main St., Lehi, map), one of several popular soda shop chains, sodas and cookies are the name of the game. Here you can order your oversize soda dirty (i.e., with coconut), or as a cocktail of sorts, with various fruity, colorful add-ins.
When: Mon-Thurs, 7:30am-9:30pm; Fri, 7:30am-10:30pm; Sat, 8am-10:30pm
Order: Whatever appeals to you on the colorful menu, from 16 oz ($1.25) to a whopping 44 oz ($1.99). Pictured are a Dirty Dr Pepper (the original soda plus coconut flavoring, which didn’t make it taste all that different, actually) and a hot-pink Hula Girl, pairing Sprite with light lemonade, mango, pineapple, strawberry, and coconut cream. That last one proved to be a bit too saccharine for us, but we’re not soda drinkers period, so perhaps not the best judges. I did appreciate the small balls of ice, however.
You can pay a few cents extra for more flavorings and more fruits, or add a puree, cream, or “popping pearl.” Diet sodas are available too, but let’s be real—if you’re really dieting, you probably shouldn’t come near this place. The traditional accompaniment to your soda? A cookie. People love their sugar cookies around here (here it’s made with a cream cheese icing), but we tried the chocolate chip, and though we were put off by its cold temperature, it tasted pretty good.
Alternatively: The other big-name soda-shop chains in the area include Sodalicious, Fiiz Drinks, and Sip-N Spot, where the tagline is “Get it spiked!” (with a puree, cream or flavoring, that is). Beyond that, there are more grownup soda options on offer at hip restaurants like Station 22 (22 W. Center St., map) in downtown Provo, where you can get tasty root beer on draught and spicy ginger beer (among a whole “Soda Wall” that highlights specialty brands) in a bottle.