Best Western PLUS Inn of Sedona
“Good Eats” at the Schoolhouse Restaurant in Cottonwood, Arizona
By: Lisa Peters
At the beginning of March I started to hear a lot of buzz about a new restaurant called the Schoolhouse that was opening in Cottonwood, Arizona. It’s located in what was once “The Upper Verde Grade School” way back in the day. I was excited to hear about a new restaurant coming to Cottonwood, but I have to admit I had my doubts that this promise of culinary delights was going to meet the hype. I am happy to report, I shouldn’t have doubted!
My first experience at the Schoolhouse occurred on an unexpected trip to Old Town, I saw the restaurant on my way down Main and since my friend and I were ready for some lunch we decided to stop in and check it out. The first thing we noticed on our way in was the chalk board with today’s special posted outside; I thought that was a cool touch. When we entered we were greeted right away with a friendly welcome. The restaurant was pretty busy and we were seated at community table. The next thing you know the owner/chef was inviting us up to sit at the chefs table. He had a welcoming smile so we decided to take him up on his offer. I am glad we did.
We chatted with Chris and watched as he sent some really good looking plates out to his guests. The lunch menu was filled with a good variety of starters and entrées, which made it a little difficult to decide, but we settled for the baked Artichoke Hearts to start. They were delicious and the black garlic crème was perfect! I decided on the Roasted Chicken Panini and my friend Liz was sold on trying the scrumptious looking Corned Beef and Pastrami Ruben, until Chris mentioned that they made their own all beef hotdog. Well, that’s all he had to say, she’s a hotdog lover, so she went with the dog instead.
My Panini was awesome, with artichoke hearts, roasted tomatoes, cream cheese, baby spinach and roasted chicken on a baked herb focaccia that they make daily at the restaurant. Loved it. The flavors blended into a panini dream.
Liz’s hot dog arrived, and both of our eyes popped out at the size, I thought; no way would she be able to polish that off. I was wrong again! Lucky for me she shared a bite and let me tell you, I don’t usually eat hotdogs but that one may have me start eating them again. The dog was served with a cool condiment tray that included spicy ketchup, seeded deli mustard that they make in-house, and of course chopped sweet pickles. I also must add Liz drove everybody crazy for a week talking about this hotdog. I do mean everybody!
Lunch was so good, Chris so down to earth and the service so friendly that we made reservations for dinner at the chefs table the following Saturday night!
So, I’ve gone on about how wonderful lunch was, dinner was even better and the bonus was Liz finally stopped talking about the hotdog!
I ended up ordering Beef Tenderloin Medallions that were served with the daily special risotto, caramelized shallots, port demi, buffalo mozzarella and roasted tomatoes. In one word, DELICIOUS!
Liz indulged in Pan Seared Scallops Oscar for dinner. I have to tell you Liz is a big time foodie; she has spent the bulk of her earlier career working with some amazing chefs and running some top notch restaurants. For her to be blown away by a restaurant is a big deal and she was definitely blown away by the Schoolhouse’s concept, food, service and of course Chris. So was I.
I seriously could go on and on about the Schoolhouse, but I won’t, you need to experience it for yourself, I promise you will not be disappointed.
Tips and fun facts about the Schoolhouse
- Make reservations for lunch or dinner, this restaurant is big in flavor but small in size. There is plenty of seating for a good crowd, but don’t take a chance on having to wait.
- Try dining at the community table or the chefs table for something different. Both are fun and you may just make a new friend, even if it’s just for dinner!
- Make sure to try the Chocolate Cake with Hand Whipped Cream, and for those that like peach cobbler, theirs is the best either one of us has had!
- The Schoolhouse Restaurant also recently acquired a 10 acre Vineyard & Garden where they will be growing all of their own fresh ingredients. Their goal is to be earth friendly & local, and if you look behind the building you will see an old shed where they grow all of our own fresh herbs.
Directions from the Best Western PLUS Inn of Sedona to the Schoolhouse Restaurant