The Sandstone Café is everything that a good restaurant should be. The food is excellent, the service is great, the prices are extremely reasonable, and the setting is comfortable. The menu covers breakfast, lunch, and dinner; they are open from 6:30 am until 1am. It is cafeteria style, where you select your food a la carte; pay for it and carry it to your table. It’s not fine dining, but the Sandstone is a seriously fine place to eat. It does have one other thing that makes it a bit unusual – the location.
The Sandstone Café is a hospital cafeteria.
Before you recoil in horror and disgust, bear with me. I admit that hospital food tends to have a terrible reputation – some of the worst food imaginable has been served in hospitals. It’s also not the kind of place that you would normally consider going to eat – I mean a hospital is not a social gathering place.
The difference here is that the food at the Sandstone is far better than any hospital food I have ever had (there is considerable experience in that area – much to compare it to). To say that the food is not bad for a hospital would be an insult - the food is extremely good. This café rivals most of the well-known restaurants that you might choose for a casual meal – the food is better than most.
We had been up all night, (my Dad was seriously ill) and by the time the café opened at 6:30 am, I was exhausted and so hungry that it wouldn’t have mattered what or where I ate. I had briefly considered driving to find a good place to eat, but we didn’t want to be too far away, so we elected to try the cafeteria. When I saw that the eggs, potatoes, pancakes and other items were being cooked fresh – no microwaving frozen packages – I had my first clue that this place was going to be better than expected. As I stood there, taking in the familiar aromas of various breakfast foods cooking, I tried to decide what to order. Everything looked and smelled perfect.
When I realized that the chef had real potato hash browns cooking – not a bag of frozen spuds - I knew I had to have some. They had fresh scrambled eggs with ham and onions, and my plate was quickly piled high with what I knew was going to be great food. The blueberry pancakes looked so good that I considered ordering them too, but I knew it would be too much.
Such a breakfast at most restaurants would easily run $20 or more for two people. At the Sandstone Café, our combined bill for two full breakfast plates (including biscuits, sausage, and coffee) came to $8. 72. Where can two people eat a full, hearty, well-cooked, fresh breakfast for that kind of money? Nowhere else that I know of.
Lunch at the Sandstone Café was just as good. The menu offered a variety of sandwiches and other items, but the pizza caught my eye. Just as with everything else at the café, the pizza had been cooked fresh – perfectly seasoned, a perfect blend of cheeses, with pepperoni and sausage. By then, I shouldn’t have been surprised at the quality of the food, but I kept reminding myself that I was eating in a hospital cafeteria – not a pizzeria or a gourmet restaurant, and the food was consistently great.
As I mentioned – prior visits to hospital cafeterias had ended predictably: terrible food and heartburn. Not so at the surprisingly excellent Sandstone Café at Dixie Regional Medical Center. I don’t wish a hospital stay on anyone, but who says you have to be visiting a patient to eat there? The hospital and restaurant staff likely don’t care one way or the other. For a low-priced meal of excellent quality food, this was one unexpected find. It might seem a little strange to go to a hospital to eat, but you won’t be disappointed in the food or the prices.
The Sandstone Café
Dixie Regional Medical Center
1380 S. Medical Center Dr.
St George, UT