Moochie’s got its start in the back of the Circle Pottery Gift Shop, where Don MacDonald had been creating beautiful handmade pottery for over 30 years.

The evolution of how Moochie’s got its start begins with owners Joanna Rendi and Don MacDonald.

A well-respected Master Potter, Don was creating beautiful art work from childhood. He started his pottery career in a small garage in Magna, then became affiliated with “Stone Age Pottery” and taught and managed their pottery classes for them. He opened the Circle Pottery and Gift shop at 232 East 800 South in Salt Lake City in 1987, where he made and sold his unique handmade pottery and received numerous awards in local and national competitions. Don’s pottery work is collected all over the world.

In October 2000, Don & Joanna purchased a warehouse and turned it into the Circle Pottery School of Clay Arts and moved Don’s clay production studio there. The Gift Shop continued to operate as a retail business.
Joanna, who is originally from Philadelphia, had a long standing dream of owning a little sandwich shop like the ones she grew up with in Philadelphia. Specifically, she really wanted to introduce AUTHENTIC Philly Cheesesteaks into the Salt Lake area, as there was just nothing like it at the time.

When the Winter Olympics came to Salt Lake City in 2002, they took the opportunity to close the gift shop for some remodeling and decided to put in a little kitchen in the back. In the meantime, Don and Joanna sold Joanna’s handmade meatballs to the students coming to classes at the pottery school to see if people liked them. They knew they had a winner when one of the students, a confirmed vegetarian, would break his diet once a week to eat one of those meatball sandwiches.

“We had absolutely no money to work with when we started,” says Joanna. “We bought used equipment little by little until we had enough to put the kitchen together. We had two tables that we bought at a thrift store and used folding chairs that we painted in the back yard. One review we received in the early days raved about our food but knocked us for having mismatched tables and chairs. Later, people came to love the homey feel as part of our charm.”

MOOCHIE’s Meatballs and More officially opened in September 2003, serving fresh handmade Italian food and the best Philly Cheesesteaks and meatball sandwiches in Utah. Where did the name “Moochie’s” come from? (It’s a nickname Joanna got from her dad that comes from an Italian word we can’t figure out how to spell.)

Within a few months of opening, Moochie’s began winning both local and national awards for fresh, handmade food and it wasn’t long before the sandwich shop took over the pottery shop completely. In 2008, Moochie’s was selected to be one of seven Salt Lake City restaurants to be featured on the Food Network’s, “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” program hosted by Guy Fieri. Of the seven Salt Lake restaurants, Moochie’s was the only one selected by Guy to be on the “BEST OF Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.”

In 2018, Moochie’s was again selected to be on the follow up show to Diners Drive-Ins and Dives, called “Triple D Nation”. Guy Fieri once again visited the little pottery shop and was very impressed by how much it had changed, and that Moochie’s had now grown to four locations in Salt Lake City, Midvale and Lehi.

So that’s how we ended up with a sandwich shop inside a pottery shop!