Kelly Vaughn

It’s not often that we feature two destinations from the same town in this section of the magazine, but this month, Bright Side Bookshop (see Local Favorite, page 12) and Teatro Italian Food & Wine share an interesting history. Today, the establishments are neighbors on Flagstaff’s San Francisco Street, but in the 1930s, the wall between them didn’t exist. The space was Flagstaff’s first desegregated theater. 

When That Place Projects — the restaurant group that also owns Tinderbox Kitchen, Tourist Home Flagstaff Café and Annex Cocktail Lounge — took over the building in 2021, its principal, Nick Williams, knew the group wanted to build an Italian restaurant, so it seemed natural to name that restaurant Teatro, which means “theater” in Italian. 

“We opened our doors on October 28, 2022, after extensive renovations and a near-complete rebuild to the space,” Williams says. “The intriguing aspect of Italian cuisine, to us, was the idea of a shared experience at the table, much like a large Italian family coming together for a fantastic meal, with incredible wine, music and a beautiful, comfortable atmosphere. We built our menu to be enjoyed that way, with multiple shareable plates, handmade pastas and protein-driven entrees.”

Among the latter is the pork osso buco, which features a braised bone-in pork shank with rustic tomato sauce and Grana Padano cheese. Other favorites include beef tagliata, served with arugula, balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil; rigatoni alla Norcina, with Italian sausage, wild mushrooms and cream sauce; and pappardelle ragu, which includes a heavenly slow-cooked lamb shoulder ragu and Pecorino Romano cheese. 

And while the food menu is remarkable, the wine list matches it. “Our wine list is all Italian, arranged by region as a tour of the entire country,” Williams says. “We have over 120 offerings, varying from traditional Italian table wine to the highest-end Barolos and super Tuscans, like the world-renowned Sassicaia.”

Williams adds that cocktails include the classics, as well as seasonal signature cocktails that come from the hearts of the team’s bartenders. “It all comes from pulling on the familiarity of nostalgia and visceral memories from throughout our lives,” he says. That’s a perfect fit for the restaurant’s romantic, comfortable environment, with tiered chandeliers, pops of colorful flowers and an expansive bar as a centerpiece.

“Teatro’s atmosphere is strikingly beautiful and, at the same time, warmly comfortable,” Williams says. “It’s an energetic restaurant that bustles with Louis Armstrong and Louis Prima [music] to take the guests away from the mountains of Flagstaff, straight into the rolling hills of Tuscany.”

Business Information

Teatro Italian Food & Wine
16 N. San Francisco Street
Flagstaff, AZ
United States