The Historic Grand Canyon Cafe quietly reopened this week after an interior restoration and kitchen renovation changing hands to Michael and Alissa Marquess of Mother Road Brewing Company, restaurateurs Paul and Laura Moir of SLO Restaurant Concepts (Brix, Proper Meats + Provisions, and Criollo), and Paul Thomas, entrepreneur. The previous owners, Fred and Tina Wong owned and operated this Flagstaff icon since the 1980s with their family holding the ownership for over 74 years. The Wongs were ready to retire to their farm and spend more time with the grand-kids and now the new owners are looking forward to continuing the tradition of hospitality for the ever-expanding Flagstaff community.
“We’re excited to be the new stewards of this iconic landmark.” say Michael Marquess, “We intend to honor the history by preserving a selection of menu favorites and maintaining the integrity of the dining room with much of the 1940’s booths, counter and neon intact.” Not only have they done so, but it ended up being a challenging restoration. They wound up completely rebuilding the kitchen floor after discovering the floor joists had been burned half way through during a fire in the late 40’s. They also found a model T hood in the rafters!
Some of the classic menu items have returned including the famous Chicken Fried Steak with new items to compliment the original menu. Fred and Tina will be coming in to share their restaurant experience and show the team some of their signature Chinese dishes. New items not to be missed on the breakfast menu are the skillets, the Hiway 66 is particularly delicious! Locally sourced coffee is from Matador Coffee Roasting Co. and they are now serving beer, wine, a signature Kimchi Bloody Maria and mimosas. The cafe’s resident baker, Chris will be making pies as well as a special Grand Canyon Cafe Sour Dough bread. Not to be missed, of course, are the handmade milkshakes made with Blue Bunny ice cream.
Fred and Tina plan to stay involved with the cafe as they will provide local produce from their farm. “The Wongs have been serving their farm produce at the cafe for many years, they were farm to table before we called it farm to table,” says Paul Moir.
The cafe is currently in a soft opening as the team works through the menus and recipes. The Grand Opening is expected in mid-July and the cafe will be open daily from 7am to 9pm serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.
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