Kirkland boasts a couple of houses, a set of railroad tracks, and a little place that serves great steaks and a healthy dose of history.
The Kirkland Bar & Steakhouse is located at 8995 S. Iron Springs Road in Kirkland. For more information, call 928-442-3408.
© Geoff Gourley
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By Kathy Montgomery
Kirkland Kirkland Valley is cattle country, so it makes sense that the restaurant that calls itself the "center of commercial and social activity" for the area is a steakhouse with a past. Since the late-1800s, the Kirkland Bar & Steakhouse has been, at various times, a mercantile, stage and rail stop, post office, Wells Fargo branch, hotel and bar.
Located about 25 miles southwest of Prescott in Kirkland, the restaurant is a quirky place with sawdust on the floor, red oilcloth on the tables and an odd assemblage of seating that includes black vinyl banquet chairs, office chairs on rollers and a sectional sofa. Historical photos, cow skulls and antlers decorate the walls, and 10 guest rooms line a hallway off the bar. The rooms — seven are for rent — are small, spare and share a single bathroom, but they are clean and "very reasonable," says owner Herb Carabeo, who declines to be more specific.
Herb and his wife, Barbara, moved to the area from Cochise County to buy the steakhouse 16 years ago. "We always liked the idea of a steakhouse with country music," says Herb, whose background includes construction and ranching.
The Carabeos do all the cooking. The big thing, of course, is steak: Filet, rib-eye and New York strip steaks come in three sizes. Herb cuts them to order and grills them on an open stone fire pit at the corner of the restaurant.
A compact bulldog of a man with dark, wavy hair, Herb is gregarious and emphatic. When he gets a break from the grill, he circulates among the tables. During the day, he's likely to pull up to the bar and pontificate about everything from the American work ethic to ranching over a Jim Beam and Sprite.
Locals from as far away as Prescott remember the steakhouse as a rollicking place, with roping and live country music on weekends. There hasn't been any roping in recent times, and the last band performed in January after recent DUI laws hurt the bar business, Herb says. These days a jukebox is all there is to get folks dancing. But they still do. An online reviewer commented that patrons "dance like they think no one's watching. But of course they are."
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