Steaks and Seafood

Students Offer Up Food and a Great Musical Review in Flagstaff, Arizona

Black Bart's Steak House and Saloon

Thursday, August 28 2008 12:57   Steaks and Seafood


Off beat, and off the beaten path? Great steaks? Live entertainment? All of that and more, we were told by friends of OldWestNewWest.Com. If we wanted good food and a good story, we had to stop at Black Bart's Steak House and Saloon in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Since we were heading through northern Arizona, we did just that.

First off, our restaurant spies weren't wrong about Black Bart's being a little off the beaten path. Even though in their brochure the owners say that "even a tenderfoot could find it" we had to drive around the area a few times looking for it. (Does that make us tenderfoots, or just suffering from a case of tender feet?) You see, we were looking for a restaurant. Looking for a restaurant is not how you find it.

Black Bart's is actually part of a family-owned RV park-174 spaces with full hookups-that includes the restaurant and an antiques store. So when we spotted the entrance to Black Bart's RV park (off Butler Avenue and near Interstate 40) we knew the restaurant couldn't be far away. It's actually tucked away at the back of the property so you have to drive past a variety of parked trailers, campers and RVs to reach it.

A little background. In 1979, husband and wife RV park owners Lee and Ora Pedrick decided to convert the RV park's recreation hall into a restaurant, and named it after the famous stagecoach robber Black Bart.


Bart (real name Charles E. Boles) was a successful California road agent between 1875 and 1883 who usually left behind scribbled poetry after making off with the strongbox. Legend has it he always used an unloaded shotgun to stop the stage, and never took money from the ladies. After finally being arrested, tried and spending six years in prison, Bart (or Boles) disappeared in 1888 and was never seen again.

Sad to report, the Pedricks died in a car crash in 1992. The RV park, restaurant and antique shop continue today, owned and managed by some of their children.

Back to the restaurant. We found out that it's dinner only, and the doors don't open until 5 p.m. Fortunately for us, we got there a little before, parked and walked over to the entrance; there was a line of people waiting to get in. Black Bart's does take reservations, and after tasting the food and seeing the show, we recommend you make them-the place gets really busy.

We were quickly seated at a table, and noticed a small stage where a player piano was providing a little background music all by itself. (A larger stage is in the main dining area.) The live entertainment, we found out, would be provided by the restaurant's servers. Once the customers' orders were taken, the musical revue began, and continued throughout the evening.

The premise is pretty interesting. The servers mostly are students attending Flagstaff's Northern Arizona University. The majority are from the music department, while a few are from the theater arts program. There were even a couple of NAU teachers that night serving and singing.

Whether in the chorus or singing individually, sometimes using hats or simple props to help their performance, the students did remarkably well, in our opinion. Each has their own song book kept in a rack at the back of the stage, and a pianist accompanies them as they sing; mostly Broadway show tunes. At times they even walked out among the tables, belting away Broadway classics.

The food really was good. Steaks, chicken and anything else you would toss on the grill all get cooked over oak coals that start out as split logs taken from the woodpile out back. The restaurant serves Midwestern beef that they age and cut on site. We each enjoyed a N.Y. strip steak which came out of the kitchen with a nice char on the outside, medium rare, and tender and juicy inside.

Side dishes included a house or Caesar salad, and a choice of oven-baken potato, French fries or cowboy beans. A pan of sour dough biscuits (all you want), with honey-cinnamon butter is included. Our only food complaint was the vegetable dish; a pan-fried corn and pepper dish that was disappointing. The cowboy beans (pintos) weren't bad, but could have been punched up a bit.

Other main dish items include rack of lamb, baby-back pork ribs, broiled or barbequed chicken, grilled salmon, a catch of the day item,  and grilled shrimp.

But steaks are the name of the game at Black Bart's, and include filet mignon ( 6 and 9 oz), T-bone, porterhouse, ribeye, top sirloin and a ground sirloin. There's also prime rib.

Prices are not cheap. The porterhouse was $32.99, while our N.Y. strip was $22.99. A 12 oz. prime rib cut is $26.99. But since the entertainment was "free," we figured the menu prices were not all that out of line, and probably had a bit of "entertainment cost" built in.

Wine list? Sure, but even though there was a nice selection, the prices reflected the beef prices-a little high for our tastes.

Desserts included such items as a fruit cobbler, Oreo pie, Snicker pie, deep-fried ice cream or a fudge brownie topped with ice cream. We skipped the desserts, but we peaked at some of the goodies coming out of the kitchen and they looked really good.

Would we eat there again? Sure. Good food, good service and an entertaining musical revue made for a very pleasant evening.

Black Bart's Steak House and Saloon

2760 East Butler
Flagstaff, AZ 86004

Telephone: 928-779-3142 or 800-574-4718

Web site:


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