Northern Arizona’s Mountain Living Magazine, July 24, 2021
Story and Photos by Gail G. Collins
Indian Gardens is an icon in Oak Creek. It is beloved for its garden setting, combination café and market ease, neighborly appeal and tourist trade. Passing on that heyday to a new owner is always the rub. But with earnest care and measured ambition, there is the happy possibility that it could be better than ever.
Nearly a decade ago, Daniel and Monica Garland embarked on a journey to revitalize the property as a gathering place to nourish neighbors and make Sedona a better place in their small way. And as they moved on to found FreeForm Coffee Roasters, they validated the next team, Caleb Schiff and James Worden, owners of Pizzicletta. The connection remains strong, and their coffee is served in the café.
“They had respect for how we’ve run our business,” said Schiff. “So many memories were made here. Unique experiences are always our goal, and we can deliver on that.”
Worden and Schiff are avid runners and cyclists and began their pizza venture as the Garlands relaunched Indian Gardens. It had been a deli, a gas station and more over the years — a constant in the community. The pizza duo loved the place, but never imagined they would go from regulars to operators.
Still, it was not an easy task. They expanded the gardens, built two water features, invested in a kitchen prep area to accommodate two trained pastry chefs, added merchandise and will rebrand the logo and expand the tight menu coming out of COVID.
Indian Gardens reopened in early February, producing the store standards guests had loved without any of the original kitchen team. And there were things beyond their control, such as a tree falling on a power line, which Worden said “typified the challenges,” snowstorms closing the road and fire danger barring access, all of which affected revenue.
They built a foundational team of competent, passionate people and celebrate those who can do things better than themselves.
“The key is stewardship, maintaining a strong sense of place and intentionality,” Worden said, “keeping the name and experience in the sense of the garden and menu offerings, but as elevated, healthy options. It’s not a choice between good and delicious.”Continue reading “Flagstaff’s Pizzicletta team revives Oak Creek’s iconic Indian Gardens”