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BULLETDining Archive
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Featured Dining LocationCottage Place is located at 126 W. Cottage Avenue in Flagstaff. For more information, call 928-774-8431 or visit www.cottageplace.com.

© John Burcham

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A Place Up North
“Fine dining” and “Flagstaff” aren’t often used in the same sentence, but, with menu items such as chateaubriand, roasted rack of lamb and smoked-Gouda gratinéed potatoes, Cottage Place is one of the exceptions.

By Jacki Mieler

FLAGSTAFF In a town better known for flip-flops than for fine dining, Flagstaff’s Cottage Place restaurant proves that upscale cuisine is always in style, whether you’re coming from the hiking trail or the symphony.

When Frank and Nancy Branham became the restaurant’s third owners in its 32-year history, they inherited a loyal following of patrons who celebrate birthdays, anniversaries and other annual milestones at this cozy, historic house in Flagstaff’s Southside neighborhood.

Frank brings his “culinary school of hard knocks” expertise and love for classic French techniques to the kitchen, putting an emphasis on food and service instead of dress codes and special occasions. The 12 intimate tables are more living room than stuffy dining room, and Frank’s food makes guests feel right at home on a special birthday or an ordinary Wednesday.

“This works,” says Frank about this little house and his French-inspired menu, which is anything but ordinary. “This is what people like.”

After making a Gorgonzola-crusted filet for one of Cottage Place’s cooking classes, Frank heard a chorus of dreamy-eyed “wows” when the tender beef and tangy cheese collided in spectacular fashion, and he knew the dish needed a permanent home on the menu.

It’s a menu anchored by tried-and-true favorites, which Frank wouldn’t dare touch, and accented by seasonal dishes that take advantage of fresh ingredients. One of the off-limits items is the smoked-Gouda gratinéed potatoes, a side dish worthy of selecting as an entrée simply because it’s paired with rich layers of delicately sliced potatoes and oozing cheese.

Cottage Place’s renowned service grabs the spotlight when an order of chateaubriand or a roasted rack of lamb for two is paraded through the dining room, as all eyes turn to watch the server carefully carve the tenderloin roast tableside.

Almost as popular as Frank’s cooking classes are his monthly tasting menus. Guests have been known to make a standing first-of-the-month reservation at Cottage Place for these six-course feasts, offered with wine pairings.

No time to linger over an elaborate meal, but still want the Cottage Place experience? Try the Twilight Menu, which is available from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. and features approachable and affordable options for a perfect “taste” of this Flagstaff fine-dining institution.

Cottage Place provides the best of both culinary worlds — an unforgettable dining experience for life’s special occasions, and an everyday elegance that makes an ordinary Wednesday feel special.

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