After an arduous stay-at-home spring of cooking in and taking out, Flagstaffians are eager to patronize their favorite local eateries, albeit safely socially distanced. With the balmy days and cool nights of mountain town summer ahead Flag Live! took a peek at some of the finest patios and al fresco dining options available us all at 7,000 feet.
THE TOASTED OWL (12 S. Mike’s Pike St. & 5200 E. Cortland Blvd.)
Some of the most palatial patios of eastside and downtown Flagstaff belong to the locally-famous and delightfully kooky brunch mavens at the Toasted Owl. Chock full of owl-inspired tchotchkes and vintage light fixtures, the Owl serves up some of the best breakfast burritos and vegetarian scrambles in town, not to mention some seriously satisfying bloody marys. The hometown Tortilla Lady green chili and sweet corn breakfast tamales with pork green chili, cheddar cheese, black beans, eggs and mixed greens are also a total home run.
Flag Live! Recommends: The Green Chili Tamales and House Bloody Mary
DARK SKY BREWERY (117 N. Beaver St.)
Can you imagine anything better than a summer evening spent out on the secluded alley-view patio of Dark Sky Brewery with a cold pint of suds and a hot slice of Pizzicletta ‘za? We can’t either. The tap selection of house-made brews is adventurously curated and continuously rotating and this summer Dark Sky has a killer lineup of India Pale Ales including the All Outta Angst triple, Mountains Mozaic west coast, as well as the Quiet Life and Hop Chowda hazy IPAs. With Pizzicletta’s Dark Sky kitchen soon to reopen, this Beaver Street favorite has all the makings of another summer classic.
FL! Recommends: All Outta Angst triple and Hop Chowda hazy
JOSEPHINE’S MODERN AMERICAN BISTRO (503 N. Humphreys St.)
Perched just north of downtown on a shady, bucolic corner of Humphreys is Josephine’s Modern American Bistro with its spacious outdoor dining area. How tasty does their triple grilled cheese sandwich with butternut squash and roasted poblano pepper soup sound? Chimichurri, manchego and grilled onion and pepper lamb meatball sandwich? Yes please. Another modern take on an Italian favorite are Josephine’s zeppoles: ricotta-based Italian donuts topped with vanilla pastry cream and house-made wild berry coulis. We rave about Josephine’s not only for the restaurant’s top-notch, Italian-inspired fusion cuisine but for an encyclopedic wine list that is second to none.
FL! Recommends: Lamb Meatball Sandwich and Butternut Poblano Soup
ALTITUDES BAR & GRILL (2 S. Beaver St.)
Is there anything more Flagstaff than enjoying a cold pint of Wanderlust beer, trains rumbling by as you people watch from the patio of the landmark après-ski joint Altitudes? Local brews and local friends abound at this longstanding downtown bastion for good times and comfort bar fare, where “train shots” (drink specials while the trains are passing) and post-hike burgers are the standard. Be sure to try the French dip sandwich or the golden battered walleye fish fry with French fries and crisp coleslaw upon your next visit.
FL! Recommends: Walleye Fish Fry and French Dip Sandwich
GRIMALDI’S (601 E. Piccadilly Dr.)
Nothing brings homesick New Yorker back quite like the red-checkered tablecloths and Louis Prima playing from the patio at Grimaldi’s of Aspen Place at the Sawmill. From the original calzones and coal-fired brick-oven pies served at their flagship pizzeria tucked under the Brooklyn Bridge, to this Southwestern cousin, the folks at Grimaldi’s truly haven’t missed a beat. Want to know our recipe for a true “Buono Sera?” A good friend, a cold Peroni and a hot anchovy pie on the Grimaldi’s patio this weekend.
FL! Recommends: Anchovy Pizza and Lemon Arugula Salad
THE WEATHERFORD (23 N. Leroux St.)
The historic Weatherford Hotel in the heart of downtown is home to a triumvirate of delightful bars (The Gopher Hole, Zane Gray Ballroom) as well as the famed Charly’s Pub & Grill. Charly’s is now featuring sidewalk café-style dining while still serving up tasty pub fare with their signature Southwestern twist. We here at Flag Live! especially adore the French onion soup, generously portioned fish tacos and signature Navajo tacos served atop pillowy fry bread. If you are of age and inclined to imbibe, ask for one of their Old Fashioneds, it is sure to hit the spot.
FL! Recommends: Navajo Taco and Fish Tacos
FRATELLI PIZZA (119 W. Phoenix Ave. & 1850 N. Fort Valley Rd.)
Flagstaff is the proud home to so many great pizzerias, and few serve a better New York-style slice than Fratelli Pizza. For folks interested in dining in, Fratelli is featuring outdoor dining options at their downtown locale as well as their Fort Valley pizzeria. Start with basil pesto, add mozzarella, grilled chicken, roasted cashews, red onion, sautéed mushroom and top it with a delectable gorgonzola crumble and you’ve got one of our all-time favorites from Fratelli. Word on the street is that the pesto cashew pizza tastes even better while enjoyed out on one of Fratelli’s lovely patios.
FL! Recommends: Pesto Cashew Pizza and Raspberry Chipotle Wings
LUMBERYARD BREWING COMPANY (5 S. San Francisco St.)
Lumberyard does not only make some of our most beloved brewskis and fry some of this mountain town’s finest chicken wings, they also feature a vast outdoor seating area right in the heart of Southside. While the wings are always a win, we also tend to gravitate toward other sleeper hits like the Irish egg rolls (corned beef, sauerkraut, carrots, Swiss cheese with Russian dressing and mustard sauce) and the absolutely decadent jar of banana pudding jar (a mason jar parfait layered with whipped cream, vanilla wafers and creamy house-made banana pudding). No outdoor dining experience under the peaks is quite complete however without a frosty pint of Lumberyard’s Hazy Angel IPA.
RL! Recommends: Irish Egg Rolls and Banana Pudding Jar
SOSOBA (12 W. Historic Rt. 66)
Downtown’s late night ramen mecca, Sosoba is also home to one of our favorite outdoor dining spaces. Most folks are well acquainted with their beloved noodle bowls, like the pork loaded Mic Drop (pork broth, pork belly, udon noodles, chicharon, carnitas, ham fries, egg, bacon, scallions and house-made kimchi) as well as the vegan-friendly Mothra (vegan green curry, broccoli, bok choy, marinated fried tofu, topped with mint, Thai basil and fried garlic) but we suggest trying some of their appetizers and small plates while sipping cocktails al fresco. The blistered shishito peppers with ponzu and miso aioli as well as the sweet chili chicken are two classic go-tos.
RL! Recommends: Shishito Peppers and Sweet Chili Chicken
CORNISH PASTY CO. (26 S. San Francisco St.)
Southside’s Cornish Pasty Co. boasts a spacious and secluded patio out back. The menu is replete with a plethora of hand pie options, but our favorites include The Pilgrim (roast turkey, sweet potato, grilled onion and house made stuffing), Guinness Stew (beef steak simmered in Guinness beer gravy, red potato, mushroom, carrot, celery, cheddar, leeks and cabbage) and the old standard Bangers and Mash (house-made pork and sage sausage, onion, mashed potato and red wine gravy). If you find yourself still hungry after a hearty helping of miner’s fare, go for the scotch egg, a deep-fried, sausage encrusted hardboiled egg served with sweet mustard which is guaranteed to hit the spot.
FL! Recommends: The Pilgrim and Scotch Egg
THE TOURIST HOME & ANNEX COCKTAIL LOUNGE (52 S. San Francisco St.)
With a charming shared patio and building side dining, Tourist Home and Annex Cocktail Lounge offers some of the best outdoor breakfast and cocktail options in town. Tourist home’s newly unveiled take-out window offers yet another way to conveniently socially as well. If you arrive early enough (they usually sell out) order a French cruller (or two) and enjoy one of their many cold brewed and iced coffee offerings. Their dog friendly patio is yet another reason to patronize these cherished Southside institutions.
FL! Recommends: French Cruller Glazed Donut and the Fire Creek Coffee Roaster’s Tourist Home Blend
WHISK + WHISKY (601 E. Piccadilly Dr.)
Another wonderful outdoor dining option is the relatively new Aspen Place bar and bistro Whisk and Whisky. Featuring a chic and modern slant on some old bar food favorites, you really cannot go wrong with any choice on the menu. A few star-studded mentions include the El Diablo chicken sandwich with house pickle and Fresno chili slaw, the Buffaflower (crispy fried cauliflower tossed in buffalo wing sauce and served with fresh gremolata) and the tempura dipped asparagus fries with sorrel crema and urfa pepper aioli. Being a whisky bar, it would be a shame not to sip a dram of Utah distilled High West double rye under the stars.
FL! Recommends: Buffaflower and High West double rye
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