Nomads Global Lounge is bringing a taste of the world to Flagstaff one plate at a time.
The cozy restaurant, bar and patio is tucked into the Motel Du Beau on West Phoenix Avenue and provides a perfect place to grab a nosh and people-watch close to downtown Flagstaff.
Motel Du Beau and Lounge owners John and Lisa McCulloch said the couple decided to add the restaurant because they wanted to create a place motel guests and residents could mingle and have a conversation without the background noise of TVs or loud music.
The lounge, which serves small plates for dinner, includes a small bar that offers beer and wine from around the world, a cozy indoor seating area with a fireplace and a larger outdoor patio with a fire pit that snugs up to the sidewalk. The idea for the name of the lounge came from the globe-shaped fire pit, which they first saw online. The name comes from a combined the idea of the nomadic world traveler and the image of a world globe. The globe theme can be seen in the porch lights, door and even the wrought iron railing enclosing the patio of the lounge.
The couple wanted to keep the vintage feel of the building while making it warm and cozy with a world theme, Lisa said.
“It’s just kind of slowly evolved and continues to evolve,” she said.
The original idea was to create a bar area where people could congregate and talk and serve some small dishes that weren’t traditional bar food, John said.
“We didn’t want a fryer. We didn’t want French fries or traditional bar food,” he said.
Lisa worked as a server in the restaurant business for several years and John played music in a band at various locations throughout northern Arizona; they knew what they didn’t want on the menu, but deciding on what they did want and keeping the menu a reasonable size and price was bit tricky.
“The food kind of took over the idea,” John said with a smile.
Everything on the menu is served a la carte in servings just large enough to finish in one sitting with prices to match. John said they purposely designed the plates that way in order to make it easier for guests at the motel, who are often from overseas and not used to American-sized meals, and residents who are looking for a place to meet friends for a small meal and a drink.
The short menu include things like John’s famous Yucatan chicken, lamb kafta, African peanut stew, mandarin almond salad, mushrooms au poivre, pasta and apple strudel. There are several vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options listed.
The ideas for the dishes came from places the McCullochs have visited and people they’ve met, John said. All of the dishes and desserts are prepared on site in the tiny kitchen tucked into the back of the building. The dishes range in price from $4 for dessert to $18 for a sampler plate.
John said the best value is to buy the smorgasbord sampler plate, which allows you to choose two noshes, two sides and two chocolate bonbons for $18, he said. They have several regulars who have nearly gone through the entire menu that way.
Lisa and John purchased and started renovating the Du Beau in 2000. They also operate and own the Grand Canyon International Hostel on South San Francisco. They lease the building but own the business.
The Motel Du Beau was one of the first motor courts established on the original Route 66 in Flagstaff. It opened in 1929 and was the brainchild of Albert Eugene Du Beau, a Canadian hotelier, John said. Du Beau realized that the automobile was quickly becoming a favorite mode of transportation for tourists and decided to capitalize on it in Flagstaff by building the motel.
The original motel had a steam-heated garage where guests could park their Model Ts and was built in a U-shape to make it easy to load and unload a car. The garage burned in the 1970s. In the 1970s the motel was purchased by a Flagstaff native who turned it into a hostel that hosted visitors from around the world.
The McCullochs are working to transition the location into more of a boutique motel that caters to international and national tourists. The McCulloch’s are still in touch with the Du Beau family, some of whom live in California.