“It is a much better location for us in terms of space,” said Flagstaff restaurateur Paul Moir. “We had outgrown the southside location quite a while ago and this is just over double the size. We have more kitchen space, storage space, retail and seating space. The location is a bit more iconic, being the former Grand Canyon Cafe.”
The increased kitchen and production area also means quicker service for sandwiches, which goes a long way during the noon rush, he says. And, meat-loving locals do not seem to be having any trouble finding the eatery since its Sept. 14 move.
“We definitely get a good lunch crowd at the new location. It’s closer for most folks who work downtown, the parking is easier with the free lot adjacent to the building and along Route 66, and unlike the former spot, people can be confident of having a place to sit. We also have quite a base of retail meat customers and the increased size gives us the ability to do more with that side of the business; for example, adding a new case just for seafood.”
Hungry guests may be too focused on the lean flavorful piles of protein packed into each sandwich to notice the character of the wooden tables, but each one is the creation of Moir and Gregg Schramm, a retired high school shop teacher and the uncle of Moir’s wife, Laura. It is a detail Paul has also enjoyed incorporating into his other two establishments, Brix Restaurant & Wine Bar and Criollo Latin Kitchen.
Moir had completely renovated the space a year ago with the intention of updating, yet maintaining the landmark Grand Canyon Café with signature dishes that had been served by the Wong family since the 1940s. For now, the neon signs remain out front as a nostalgic nod to the building’s historic past.
“After discussions with The Arizona Vintage Sign Coalition and our landlord, we have, at least at the moment, decided to leave them intact and in place. We feel they are a part of Flagstaff and Route 66 history and that is something that is important to us.”
Also important to the Moirs is their focus on using 100 percent of the animals they butcher. “That makes us unique,” said Paul. “People can purchase retail cuts of meat, but also rendered lard or tallow, stocks and broths, bones, prepared foods and even dog [or cat] food, all made from these animals. We really are trying to push the idea of food transparency as much as possible.”
“Customers love the idea that we’re able to bring in as local as possible, beef, pork and chicken, and that we are a sustainable butcher shop,” said manager and butcher Josh Meadows. “I love the community. We provide a great service.”
Moving Proper Meats into the Grand Canyon Café space was not the original concept, but Moir says plans sometimes need to change in business. “I have spoken to the Wong family about this and they were very gracious and appreciative of what we tried to do with the café. They were understanding of our decision and wished us the best with the move.”
He adds that the feedback he has received has been very positive from the community, as well. FBN
By Bonnie Stevens, FBN
Proper Meats + Provisions, located at 110 E. Route 66,is open daily from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.