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Flagstaff’s Dynamic Changing Restaurant Scene

Former Phoenix Suns player and coach Dan Majerle is renovating the historic building on the corner of Route 66 and San Francisco Street that previously housed the Painted Desert Gift Shop. The target date for the opening of the fifth Majerle’s Sports Grill (pronounced Marley’s) location is Sept. 1.

Managing partner A.J. Sulka started working with “Thunder Dan” Majerle 20 years ago when they opened their first location in an 1885 brick building in downtown Phoenix. “When we walked into Maury [Herman]’s building, we felt like we were walking into the downtown Phoenix location. To find a building in Flag that had that history and character – we were excited. We can’t wait to get up there,” said Sulka from his Phoenix office. “These old buildings are tricky – there are things we need to add that weren’t there when it was built. But we’ve opened a new Majerle’s every other year for the past six years.”

“There are multiple reasons for choosing Flagstaff,” explained Sulka. “Dan purchased a house up there a few years back. As he spent time in Flagstaff and grew to love it more, he checked out downtown. He found cool spots that he liked, but thought Flagstaff could use a Mom and Pop sports bar that would be more homey and Flagstaff-ish. He saw a need so we began a search for a building, met Maury Herman, and enjoyed working with him. If we were ever going to reach out in Arizona, what a better place to go than to Flag?”

Just up the street on San Francisco, Late for the Train leaves its downtown location to move into a new site adjacent to Vino Loco on Aspen Street. The local’s favorite coffee spot has been pulling shots at the current location for 20 years. “We are really excited about this move,” said Marketing Manager Caitlin Fader. “It is larger space with a kitchen. We’re going to offer some really fun breakfast, lunch and after-hours selections. We’re still hammering out the menu items but they all will be delicious,” said Fader. After the mid-May move, the restaurant will expand its hours to provide bites for the Vino Loco after-hours crowd. Look for the iconic Late for the Train overhanging sign. “We will be across from the courthouse clock tower – which will tie into another play on ‘time,’” said Fader.

Coppa Café on Milton Road just unveiled a 450-square-foot private patio. “With the expansion of our new patio we are able to do special events, such as Spanish Saturdays with paella, sangria and tapas, exclusively on the patio without congesting the dining room,” said Brian Konefal, co-owner of the European restaurant. The new patio opened last month. “The rent prices downtown are pushing San Francisco Bay prices,” said Konefal who opted to stay on Milton after running the numbers with partner Paola Fioravanti on a downtown location.

Kirk and Craig Hindman recently signed the contract on San Felipe’s Cantina in downtown. The new owners are bringing back past successful promotions such as crab buckets on Sunday night. “We closed down for three days over spring break for our renovation,” explained Kirk, former owner of Monsoons. Upgrades include new tables, chairs, new taps that dispense 16  beers, revamped lunch and kid’s menus. Only five months separated the sale of Monsoons and the purchase of San Felipe’s Cantina. “I was retired for a short while,” Kirk laughed. The duo also owns Sportsman’s Bar and Grill on North Humphreys.

More changes for the Flagstaff restaurant scene could be on the horizon. “At ICSC in Las Vegas, we’ll have 30-40 meetings with retail and restaurants people that are looking for space,” said Sean Ahern, economic development manager for the City of Flagstaff. He was talking about the International Council of Shopping Centers Marketplace Mall@RECon that takes place this month. “Of our [business] attraction efforts, we spend about 20 percent of our time with retail and restaurants,” said Ahern, whose team helped RED Development attract Someburros, an Arizona family-owned restaurant and Cultured Cafe, a frozen yogurt and coffee shop to Aspen Place. RED Development was just named 2012 Developer of the Year by Arizona Commercial Real Estate Magazine. Aspen Place on Butler Avenue and Lonetree is part of a 15-million-square-foot portfolio of 32 properties in 11 states. “REI will open at Aspen Place the first quarter of next year,” added Ahern. FBN


Coppa Café – 1300 South Milton Rd, #107, 928-637-6813, http://coppacafe.net


Cultured Cafe – Aspen Place, 319 W Regent Street, #209, 520-333-5514, http://culturedcafe.blogspot.com


Late for the Train – 107 N. San Francisco St., 928-779-5975, www.lateforthetrain.com


Majerle’s Sports Grill – www.majerles.com


San Felipe’s Cantina – 103 N Leroux St, 928-779-6000, http://sanfelipescantina.com


Someburros – Aspen Place, 320 S Regent St, 928-779-8226, http://someburros.com

Coppa Café owners Paola Fioravanti and Brian Konefal


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