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.

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Hallmarks of Goodwill and Resiliency: Locals help buoy the restaurant community

Northern Arizona’s Mountain Living Magazine, June 2020

Written by Gail G. Collins

Finding stories of goodwill during such tentative times has not been difficult as communities have been supporting each other in newfound ways during the COVID-19 pandemic. The people behind these good deeds, however, have proven a little more difficult to pin down.  They are busy, making positive strides in any way they can. When they sit down to share stories of comfort and compassion, they talk about others. Jamie Thousand, owner of Satchmo’s BBQ, is fond of saying, “No one loves Flagstaff more than Flagstaff.”   That’s a strong statement about the real character of our mountain community.

Like many of his fellow small business owners, he received endless encouragement from others in the midst of lockdown. Weekly customers, who had forgone logging into Yelp when business was thriving, wrote rave reviews and hopeful messages.

“There has been a challenge around every corner and curve balls thrown at us,” Thousand said, “and we adapt as quickly as possible.”

With owners nowhere near in the clear yet, and the hopeful summer boom ahead, the waters are uncharted. Planning is tenuous and preparation is dynamic. More processes, more space, but less confidence.

Along the way, Zoom conference calls and text strands buoyed and informed restauranteurs. State, city and chamber members exchanged ideas on how to interpret loose re-opening guidelines and implement safe practices, like face shields over face masks to counter asthma or a hearing deficit to continue lip reading. Scores of accepted human behaviors no one had previously second-guessed needed to be considered, such as the potential risks of a self-serve soda station.

John Conley, owner of Salsa Brava and Fats Olives, coordinated a multi-party Zoom call to share ideas and exchange information on new protocols. Tinderbox Kitchen’s Kevin Heinonen, Oregano’s David Kennedy and Thousand began a discussion of vital topics, among those the issue of liability.

“Never before in my 32 years of cooking in this amazing mountain town have I witnessed such unification, a fellowship of sorts,” Conley said, “where restaurants united and embraced one another, when a true sense of ‘no one is left behind’ prevailed.”

The crisis brought forth clear priorities.

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