Jen Castle and Blake Spalding

Jen Castle and Blake Spalding

Chefs and Owners, Hell's Backbone Grill & Farm

Over two decades ago, Jen Castle and Blake Spalding had a wild idea: to open up a deeply rooted, ethical, locally based destination restaurant in one of the most remote towns in America. After years of surprises, struggles, and metric tons of sweetness, our highly acclaimed and award-winning restaurant, Hell’s Backbone Grill & Farm, is still happily located in Boulder, Utah, population just 226. Read the whole story of our start in Boulder in our first cookbook, With a Measure of Grace.

Our restaurant operates following Buddhist principles, with a commitment to sustainability, environmental ethics, and community responsibility. We serve organic, locally produced, regionally and seasonally appropriate cuisine, growing much of our produce on our six-acre farm. Our fruit largely comes from Boulder’s heirloom orchards, and our meat comes from local ranchers. It’s not easy, but it’s worth the effort.

Now entering our 24rd season, we are proud to enjoy one of the highest Zagat ratings in Utah and proud to have been selected as a James Beard Award semifinalist in 2017, 2018 and 2019, a finalist in 2020, and a semi-finalist in the “Outstanding Restaurant” category in 2022 and in 2023. The restaurant was also voted ‘Best Restaurant of the Rockies’ by Elevation Outdoor Magazine, and was awarded “Best Restaurant in Southern Utah” by Salt Lake Magazine from 2007-2019 (and we now reside in Salt Lake Magazine’s Hall of Fame). Hell’s Backbone Grill & Farm was presented the prestigious Utah Governor’s Mansion Award for Culinary Artistry in 2006 by Governor Jon Huntsman and was a Fodor’s Choice 2006 recipient.

Additionally, Hell’s Backbone Grill & Farm was chosen as one of four restaurants representing Utah’s Slow Food movement in an exhibit in the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C. The restaurant has been featured in The New Yorker, O: the Oprah Magazine, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Sunset Magazine, Bon Appetit, Gourmet, Organic Gardening, Outside Traveler, Outside, Travel and Leisure, Washington Post, Men’s Journal, More, SLUG Magazine and National Geographic Traveler.