Mystery Ranch

Written by Craig Outhier Category: History Issue: November 2014
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If PHOENIX magazine had been around in the late 1950s to do a statewide Best New Restaurants issue, would Flagstaff’s bygone Ranch House have been a candidate? Let’s peruse the menu to find out.

Well, that Chateaubriand looks nice. Steak cooked in another steak. Nothing wrong with that. The stuffed squab looks highly edible, too. But a Burgundy from New York? Blech. No thanks.

Vintage menus like this one always give us a kick at PM – as much for the generational inflation (for $2.50, maybe we would drink that New York red) as the obsolete culinary sensibilities (hello, liver and onions). And this menu has amused us more than most, for the simple fact that we can’t trace its origin.


Initially, we assumed it was from The Ranch House at Beaver Creek Golf Club, a recently shuttered landmark that once entertained the likes of Frank Sinatra, John Wayne and Clark Gable during Hollywood’s Golden Era. But that was clearly wrong, because Beaver Creek Golf Club is located south of Sedona, and this menu proudly indicates Flagstaff. Also, the Beaver Creek Ranch House was named the Quail’s Nest until the mid-1980s. So obviously, wrong provenance.

Later, we looked into the possibility that the menu was from the on-site restaurant of Grand Canyon Ranch, a swanky guesthouse near Arizona’s most visited tourism attraction, featured on page 62 of this month’s issue. The restaurant in question is also named The Ranch House... and is also not in Flagstaff. It’s in the town of Meadview near Lake Mead.
Strike two.


Lest we swing and miss a third time, we’ll put the question to you, the reader: What’s the story with The Ranch House? If you have any recollections or photos – or any vintage menus you want to see printed on our Last Look page – send a letter to the address below.

Regardless of how this turns out, we’ve learned one thing: “The Ranch House” may be the most common restaurant name in Arizona history.



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