Monday, December 11, 2017

Grand Canyon Cafe - Flagstaff

The Grand Canyon Cafe in Flagstaff, Arizona, is without doubt the oldest US 89/Rt. 66 diner remaining on the old highway in that mountain town. One source says the Grand Canyon Cafe was "born" December 18, 1942.  However, another source indicates the diner was well established in the early 1940's. (Click here to read the sad tale.)

The Wong Family bought the venerable cafe in 1945 and ran it for over 70 years before selling to local investors.  Luckily, those investors have restored Grand Canyon Cafe to its glory days as a quintessential US 89/Rt. 66 roadside diner.  Only Brigham City's Idle Isle Cafe and Parry Lodge in Kanab have longer tenure on US 89 than Grand Canyon Cafe.

The Grand Canyon Cafe represents perhaps the epitome of a highway diner food establishment.  Back from the late 1920's well into the 1950's, roadside diners served up the bread and butter of highway food.  Fast food chains were unknown in the many small cities and towns along US 89's winding route from Mexico to Canada. Travelers back then knew they had to make it to the next town on the road map to find food....and the food they found was pretty much the same as the last place they ate...good old fashioned, down home American comfort food.

The menus of countless roadside diners across America could probably have been swapped with any other diner and no one would have noticed the different.  Chicken fried steaks, biscuits and gravy, heaping stacks of pancakes, a greasy burger and fries, bottomless cups of coffee...the list goes on.

Luckily, you'll still find all of the above and more at Grand Canyon Cafe.  From 1926 until I-40 came along, US 89 and Rt. 66 shared the same pavement from Ashfork to Townsend, Arizona.  Flagstaff was the main stopping point between those two pinprick communities.  Although there were many, many other road food diners in Flagstaff back in the day, only Grand Canyon Cafe stands alone as a survivor today.
The Grand Canyon Cafe has long been a
Comfort Food Beacon on US89/Rt. 66

Fred and Tina Wong's names will remain
forever tied to Grand Canyon Cafe.

The new owners represents a cross section
of New Era Flagstaff business owners.

The photo above is circa 1942 and attached to a sad story of discrimination and death at the Grand Canyon Cafe. Note the cafe was smaller in the early 1940's.  The Wong Family expanded the iconic diner to its present size.  Click here to read the woeful tale associated with the photo.

Click either button above to go to the
Reviews for Grand Canyon Cafe.

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