When it comes to vegan options in Ogden, the options are limited, however, on my quest to find a great place to take a vegan friend I found the most amazing food in one of the most unlikely places…a bar. The Funk n Dive Bar is somewhat of a hidden gem. Yes, the colorful sign shines brightly from the street, but as I asked around not many people knew just how incredible it is. As you enter the bar you are first met with a florescent-lit hallway that may lead you to belive that you went in the wrong door, you didn’t-keep going! You’ll soon find a sign directing you to the basement. You’ll wind down a curving flight of 1970’s stairs, just like ones from the Brady Bunch, through a small entryway where you walk into what feels like a secret clubhouse. There’s fabulous music, pinball machines, rad artwork, cool bartenders and the smell of some life changing bar food cooking. If you see an empty seat, grab it, they will fill up fast.
The bar food menu is double sided, meat on one and vegan on the other. Yes, the $5 steak night is supreme, and when you ask for rare, the cook will serve you the most tender melt in your mouth rare steak you’ve ever eaten. It’s worth every penny and more, but this spotlight is about the vegan food. The tender tiger wings are vegan chicken wings that are apparently made through advanced wizardry with house made buffalo sauce and served with vegan ranch. The vegan cheese fries are made with melted chao cheese and served with vegan fry sauce which tastes every bit as addictingly rich as its nonvegan counterpart. Appetizers are just the tip of the iceberg! Funk n Dive also serves up vegan burgers that are not frozen, not soy and definitely not a flattened premade patty. These kale, quinoa, and almond patties are enormous and must be eaten with two hands and plenty of napkins.
After I had eaten every last crumb off of my plates, I flagged the owner down and demanded he tells me all of his secrets. He did not oblige, but he did agree to chat with me about how it all began and some exciting things they have in store. Check it out, Ogden!
1- Hey Dave! Tell our readers a bit about yourself.I have been with Shelli, my wife of over 20 years; we have three young boys together. I opened my first bar in Texas when I was only 23. I served in the US Army as a combat medic during Desert Storm. I went to Weber State for a couple of semesters after I got out of the ARMY. Now I own Piper Down in SLC, Ice Haus in Murray, the Funk n Dive and now we are working on the Harp and Hound with my partner Bridget who owns the Green Pig in SLC. I have been an avid Motorcyclist riding everything from 90cc dirt bikes to Harley Baggers over the years. Right now I love to get on my BMW
2- When did you decide to open Funk N Dive Bar? It is a pretty unique place in Ogden, and I think it is a still a bit of a hidden gem. What was your inspiration behind all that you have going on inside the bar? My friend Mitch owned the Wine Cellar for years. Every time I would come up to see my Dad, I’d stop by for a beer because I loved this spot. One day Mitch reached out to me to see if I knew anyone who wanted to buy his liquor license because he wanted to close the bar. I thought it would be a shame to let that space sit without a liquor license. With the scarcity of licenses I worried, it may never open again. So, I enlisted the help of my longtime friend Bridget to show in with me; Mitch retired, and we got to work. I wanted to clean the place up, give it a new look without losing any of its charms or its speakeasy history. It was originally built in the basement of the Old Courthouse, and there is still evidence of the old tunnels leading to the Ben Lomond (we think).
3- You are the ONLY bar in Ogden that has a full vegan menu, genius! How did you come up with these incredible and unique recipes? I tried the Royale and oh mama; it was relish! I am on my 6th-year meat free. My wife and I became Vegan for health reasons initially but now the environmental and ethical impacts of a meat-free diet keep us dedicated to the lifestyle. I try to show people that being a Vegan isn’t all about Kale and Quinoa. We can eat yummy bar food just like everyone else. All my bars have their own unique items using vegetable based substitutes for things which would normally use dead animals or fluids extracted from animals (Vegan Condescension).
4-A little bird told me you are expanding and opening up another bar upstairs, do tell, do tell! The Fish Shop that was above us decided to relocate, so we decided to take over that space. We now have a HUGE pizza oven and triple the kitchen. I have never operated a kitchen this big, so I am very excited t start working on an expanded menu. I have a friend who just moved here from a 13-year stint at a pizzeria in New York City, so we also plan on bringing a new style of Pizza to Ogden with tons of Vegan options.
5- What are some must try items on the bar and food menu at Funk n dive? The Meatball Calzone is my favorite. The burgers are solid, but the Western with Onion rings, Chao Cheese, BBQ and Bac’n Pieces is over the top. Tacos are fun: nachos built on Tater Tots. The Spicy Tiger Wrap has to be my go to. Coming soon, Vegan Chile Verde. Oh just you wait, Ogden.
Any last words, Dave? We have built one of the BEST bar crews I’ve ever had. There is a true sense of family, and it makes all the hard work worth it.
Funk N Dive Bar, 2550 Washington Blvd.