Prescott’s The Barley Hound is ‘like being at a friend’s house’

Northern Arizona’s Mountain Living Magazine, July 2020

Written by Gail G. Collins

Despite difficult circumstances, good things still thrive. Like many towns, Prescott has seen its share of hazards, since its founding as the territorial capital of Arizona in 1864. A fire devastated the city in 1900, ravaging the bulk of its wooden Victorian architecture. A dozen hotels and 20 shops were lost. This inspired decisions to replace them with brick, stone and concrete buildings and to pave the dusty streets. Time and time again, it’s been shown resilient people suffer loss and come back stronger. And so it has been for forward-minded businesses in the face of 2020’s havoc on health and economic vitality.

The Barley Hound, an American gastropub celebrating its fifth anniversary, has repositioned itself to bloom and grow.

“It goes without saying that these last few months have been beyond challenging, but it gave us the time we needed to reevaluate who we are and what we can do operationally to create a more functional and enjoyable experience for our guests,” owner Skyler Reeves said.

Located just a few minutes’ walk from historic Whiskey Row in Prescott, the restaurant resides in the rich character of a Victorian home. Its convivial atmosphere says:  Come on in and relax with friends. The dog-friendly front garden long beckoned passersby, but the 1,800-square-foot backyard expansion has doubled patio possibilities. Games, like cornhole and ping pong, provide a neighborly feel. A shaded area covers a reimagined living room with communal tables, chandeliers and draping. A bar housed in a shipping container completes the funky scene, suggesting any night is a happy party night. Guests are welcomed back.

“Everyone has had open arms,” Sarah Bauder, general manager, said. “People quizzed us about opening and gave positive feedback.”

Like most other eateries downtown, The Barley Hound is closed on Monday and Tuesday, but opens at 4 p.m. on weekdays, serves lunch and dinner on Saturdays with brunch on Sunday. Hours will expand and seating is currently only outside, but that is ample, and guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are in place to protect staff and customers.

The Barley Hound has been a place for adventurous eating and familiar favorites, like duck fat fries. Hand-cut russet potatoes are fried in duck fat to showcase the flavor before they are scattered with fresh parsley and Malden sea salt flakes for a super savory side, according to co-owner and chef Tony Burris.

There are also new items, such as cauliflower nachos.

“It’s got the nostalgia of nachos, and as a healthy-ish, gluten-free, vegetarian friendly option, it’s one of the most popular on the menu,” Burris said.

Try them loaded with chicken, Portobello mushroom or brisket.

Presently, the menu offers simple choices and will add items weekly. The brisket is slow-roasted and lightly seasoned. The chicken is marinated with heavy citrus with zingy zest and pairs well on a Caesar salad of romaine, Brussel sprouts, parmesan chips, lemon peel and croutons with classic dressing. Or keep it vegetarian-friendly with the portobello option. The cap is marinated in balsamic vinegar, Italian herbs with garlic and black pepper before it is grilled.

A customer favorite, the pub sold 200 burgers during a recent weekend. The ‘Merica burger features house-ground chuck and brisket with American cheese, butter lettuce, pickled red onion, heirloom tomato and bourbon aioli. The duck burger mixes the chuck with duck breast, adding cherry jam, arugula, IPA mustard and smoked provolone.  Both are served on brioche buns with The Barley Hound’s signature duck fat fries.

Slake your thirst with craft Arizona beers. The taps rotate seasonally, but there is always a Prescott Granite Mountain brew available. Reeves and Bauder coordinate to proffer handcrafted cocktails via talented bartenders. The short list focuses on outstanding ingredients of the highest quality and freshness, muddled on the spot. A fair choice of white, red and rose wines round out the adult beverages.

On Independence Day, the restaurant debuted walking tacos. Handholds of Doritos topped with ground beef, cheese sauce, onion and green chilies or a Ruffles variety with brisket kept the fun portable.

Save room for the bread pudding, an indulgent custard with salted caramel and fresh whip or the novel dirt cake, a throwback to childhood with chocolate pudding covered in Oreo crumbs, gummy worms and fresh flowers.

The Barley Hound benefits from a large, local following on weekdays and heavy tourist traffic on weekends.

“It’s an amazing business,” Bauder said.

The Prescott native greets familiar faces on date night and relishes the long term relationships among ownership and dedicated staff.

“It’s like being at a friend’s house—you want to stay there all day.” NAMLM

The Barley Hound is located at 234 S Cortez in Prescott. Call (928) 237-4506 or visit www. The restaurant is open for patio dining Wednesday & Thursday from 4–9 p.m., Friday 4-10 p.m., Sat 11-10 p.m., Sun 11 a.m.- 4 p.m.