Grand Canyon Cafe, Flagstaff, Arizona

If you’re heading for the Grand Canyon or just passing through on Route 66, Flagstaff is worth an overnight stop. There are plenty of motels along the old highway passing through town, some with great neon, but for my money I’m staying at the historic Monte Vista Hotel one block north of Route 66 downtown.

 

photo by The Jab, 2008

photo by The Jab, 2008

 

The hotel opened in 1927 by the City of Flagstaff and was community owned until the 1960s, when it became privately owned.

 

lobby - photo by The Jab, 2008

lobby – photo by The Jab, 2008

 

The Monte Vista Lounge opened with the hotel, reportedly as a speakeasy until Prohibition ended. Both entrances to the bar, from the hotel and from the street, are fabulous!

 

photo by The Jab, 2008

photo by The Jab, 2008

photo by The Jab, 2008

photo by The Jab, 2008

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Being a historic hotel, some of the less expensive rooms have baths down the hall, but many rooms are larger with baths and they also have suites. I stayed in a small single with bath across the hall. The room was basic, but clean (as was the bathroom) and had a historic feel. Some rooms are named after famous guests from the past.

 

photo by The Jab, 2008

photo by The Jab, 2008

 

Besides the cocktail lounge, the hotel also has a cafe/bar called The Rendezvous, which serves as a coffee bar all day from 6:30 am (serving Intelligentsia coffee and tea) but also is a cocktail bar offering classic and craft cocktails until 2:00 am every night. Splendid! Two bars in one classic hotel; now you know why I like to stay here!

 

photo by The Jab, 2008

photo by The Jab, 2008

 

Within a short walk from the hotel there are several good restaurants (I particularly liked Swadee Thai restaurant) but a walk down Route 66 also takes you to the neon splendor of the Grand Canyon Cafe, which opened in 1942. In 1945 three brothers, Alfred, Edward, and Albert Wong bought the restaurant with a partner Bill Yee. Amazingly, it is still owned by the Wong family almost 70 years later. Albert’s son Freddy Wong now runs the restaurant with his wife Tina. The menu is a combination of classic American cafe fare (Freddy’s specialty) and Chinese food (Tina’s expertise). So it’s a great place to come both for breakfast or for some Chinese food for lunch or dinner. The chicken fried steak with green chili sauce comes highly recommended. And you can the see by my photo below that it hasn’t changed much in 70 years. I love the original vinyl booths and the lunch counter with jaunty red, white, and black stripes and a green Formica top to match the tables.

 

photo by The Jab

photo by The Jab

 

Of course if you’re going to the Grand Canyon, and can afford it, you should stay in one of the historic lodges for a few nights. But you may also enjoy saving a bit of money by staying a night or two in the charming, historic Monte Vista Hotel in happening downtown Flagstaff. And don’t miss the animated neon signs on Route 66 and around town!

 

 

 

Grand Canyon Cafe
110 E Santa Fe Ave, Flagstaff, AZ 86001
(928) 774-2252
Open Mon-Sat 7:00am-9:00pm

 

2 thoughts on “Grand Canyon Cafe, Flagstaff, Arizona

  1. The Sage Motel video almost made me cry. Everything about it is spectacular. The Sage script, the blue neon, and the abstract backboard.

    • I took a video of the sign also, but this video looked better than mine, ha. I agree, it’s spectacular!

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