Cecily Maniaci is the owner of three different Flagstaff favorites, Hoot Mart on North San Francisco Street, the Toasted Owl on Mike’s Pike and its sister across town on North Cortland Boulevard and Grand Canyon Spirits.
The Toasted Owl is one of Flagstaff’s favorite breakfast, brunch and lunch spots. Maniaci originally opened the shop on Birch Avenue and moved it to Mike’s Pike, across from Mother Road Brewery, a couple of years ago. The restaurant is full of funky chairs, mismatched tables and kooky lamps.
It’s also covered in owls of every size, shape and type. There are owl plates, salt and pepper shakers, paintings, figurines, napkin holders and more. The owls that decorate nearly every nook and cranny of the tiny restaurant are from Maniaci’s collection. The collection started as gifts from students, family and friends and has grown so much that it out grew her home.
“I’ve always liked owls,” she said. “They’re so wise and knowledgeable. They’re also good parents and they’re raptors, so they’re a little ferocious too.”
The breakfast and lunch nook specializes in an assortment of fresh-baked bakery items, breakfast burritos, breakfast sandwiches and plates, and hot and cold sandwiches for lunch. Many of the items are vegetarian, vegan or gluten free. It also has full bar for mimosas in the morning or a martini lunch.
Maniaci, whose family has been in the food and drink business for decades, is constantly changing the menu. She likes to change things up every few weeks.
“I like things to be fun and fresh,” she said. “It’s a small restaurant; it’s not a part of a chain, so I can do that.”
The corner store at the corner of Birch Avenue and North San Francisco Street is just down the street from the original location of the Toasted Owl. The shop carries a little bit of everything including snacks, drinks, toiletries, etc. It is the quintessential corner store for Flagstaff visitors who may have forgotten to pack their toothbrush or for the downtown employee who just wants to grab a soft drink and a sandwich on a warm day.
Maniaci newest venture, Grand Canyon Spirits, recently moved to the corner of Humphreys Street and Fort Valley Road from Tusayan. She opened the store in Tusayan in 2008 as a gift shop.
However, the gift shop idea didn’t do so well with the down turn in the economy, she said. So she switched the store to a liquor and convenience store where locals and tourists could find the goods they needed before moving everything down to Flagstaff.
“I was traveling back and forth to Tusayan two or three times a week and with my other businesses it just got to be too much,” she says.
She loves the new location of the store because it’s in a small neighborhood where she gets to see and greet regular customers. It was great meeting so many people from different areas of the world as they passed through Tusayan on their way to the Grand Canyon but there’s something special about getting to know the regulars she said, especially the local high school students. Flagstaff High School is about a block away and the students often stop in on the way before and after school, and for lunch.
“I was a high school English teacher,” she said. “It’s nice to be able to see and talk with the high school kids again.”
The shop consists of one size of entirely non-alcoholic drinks and snacks and a spot for Wheelys Café to sell their coffee. The other side has a growing stock of wines, liquors and spirits.
The store carries a number of local brews and Arizona beers, wines and liquors, as well as Matador Coffee and Huppy Bars, she said. But she is more than willing to try and order anything a customer requests. She’s been able to fill a number of requests already and is nearly always surprised by what people ask for.
For example, rye whiskeys are a popular request, so she ordered in a number of different kinds. Cream sherry was another unusual request.
She says the stock at the store will continue to grow as more requests get made. She also wants to bring in some of sandwiches from the Toasted Owl into the shop, bringing everything full circle.