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Payson Area Restaurants

Posted: Thu May 24, 2012 1:31 pm
by kmccauley
Any recommendations?

Re: Payson Area Restaurants

Posted: Thu May 24, 2012 2:04 pm
by Skillet Doux
Hello, kmccauley, and welcome to the board!

Thanks for the tomato tip over in the Tomatowatch 2012 thread. I appreciate it and will definitely check it out. But if I may make a suggestion, how about telling us a little about your upcoming trip, what you've heard about Payson, if you've read about any restaurants there already, the type of foods you might be looking for, etc.? Folks are always more likely to respond if they feel like they're engaged in a conversation rather than answering a terse question. It's a truism that with these boards, the more you bring to the table, the more you take from it.

My family is still new(ish) to the state, so I actually don't even have a sense of where Payson is or what it's about. What can you tell me about it?

Re: Payson Area Restaurants

Posted: Tue May 29, 2012 10:55 am
by The Cosmic Jester
Dom, Payson is one of several towns Phoenicians escape to when we're tired of the heat. It's very easy to get to thanks to somewhat recent expansion of the Beeline Highway. Just take the Country Club exit of the 202, and head north from the intersection. You'll fly by Fountain Hills in about 20 minutes, and an hour after that you'll hit Payson.

OP's terse request was about as extensive a request as I'd expect for Payson. It's a sleepy little town of about 15,000 people, a fourth the size of Flagstaff. I'm hard-pressed to name *any* restaurant up there, let alone a good one. About the only one I remember

There is a rather nice food destination about a half hour's drive from Payson, the Fossil Creek Creamery in Strawberry. They supply goat cheese to a pretty good number of nice restaurants down here in the Valley, and make some pretty damn good goat milk fudge, too. Definitely worth the drive if you happen to be in the area.

There is one restaurant I remember, Creekside Steakhouse, half an hour the other way from Payson in Cristopher Creek. It's been about 15 years since I've been, so I can't say whether it's still any good, but it's apparently still there, so I guess that's something.

Re: Payson Area Restaurants

Posted: Tue May 29, 2012 11:47 am
by olllllo
The Creekside has nice homemade Italian salad dressing. It's a pretty funky place that has seen better days but I still go. We usually get the Catfish. The "new" Landmark in CC has a better beer tap list. I haven't eaten there.

Payson... we usually drive though. I had a very interesting Schnitzel-style pork sandwich at the Buffalo Bar and Grill.
It has an OK beer list IIRC.

Haven't been to the new Makey's grill. The old one was OK.
The Beelilne Cafe is a serviceable diner, at least for breakfast.

Re: Payson Area Restaurants

Posted: Mon Feb 03, 2014 6:06 am
by fennec2009
If the Creekside Steakhouse is the place I am thinking of, it's OK. Had a pretty good breakfast burrito there, but we did see a cockroach crawling on the wall. We saw a few while camping the night before by the creek so I'm sure they make their way inside sometimes. The women's bathroom felt like it was sinking but it added to the charm of the old building I think :lol:

Had a good lunch at Fargo's in Payson. I didn't get to try the steak since that's dinner only but I ordered a prime rib dip. The prime rib was okay, good but nothing special. They have really good beer battered onion rings though and I love the chunky horseradish but OMG it will knock your socks off if you don't use it sparingly. I accidentally got a big bite of it and it is hot! My friend had a grilled salmon sandwich that was really yummy. Looks like they have a coconut crusted salmon sandwich now...Might need to make a trip back. The inside feels like a lodge and reminded me of a more casual Blue Canyon, if anyone has ever been. They have a nice bar with some decent (for Payson) specialty cocktails.

There's a fry bread truck in front of the casino on Fridays and Saturdays. Bright green bus you can't miss it.

Some other notable places:

Buffalo Bar & Grill- cheap drinks, feels like an authentic saloon, great outside patio, live's a fun place. Didn't try the food but it looked decent.

Maverick- best convenience store in the West, I don't know why they don't have them in Phoenix. They have a milkshake machine, hot dogs with a condiment bar, tons of drinks and flavor shots, cheap gas. Good pit stop on the way to Pine.

Jakes Corner Bar- a few miles down the 188 from the 87, on the way to Roosevelt Lake. Interesting place next to an RV park and convenience store with nothing else around. Cheap drinks, huge shots, horseshoes, total dive bar out of 1980. I don't know if I would eat there since they had a dog wandering around in back but it's a good watering hole. If you realize you need gas after leaving Payson there are two pumps next door at the store.

Pioneer Village- looks like a real trading post but it's mostly an antique store. The place is packed full of stuff: vintage furniture, guns/knives, old cast iron, cowboy boots, old artwork, etc. You could spend all day here and still not see everything.

Re: Payson Area Restaurants

Posted: Tue Jul 22, 2014 4:05 pm
by Mike Z
Mid-summer I start to get crazy from the heat, so went on a camping/hiking trip up in Payson. Ohhhh, it is sooooooooooooo nice and cool up there right now. I hit a few spots . . .
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Best of the bunch was The Buffalo Bar & Grill, right on the main drag as you enter town. Based on two stops, I think this will end up being a must stop for me in Payson. It’s a cool little place with I’d say above average bar food, and I bet it's a blast on Friday and Saturday nights. Has that western rusty gold theme, the staff is friendly, fun, a bit saucy, the service was great, and they’re pretty easy on the eyes too ;)

As for the food . . . their Fish Sandwich is seriously one of the best I’ve had anywhere. A massive whole Alaskan Pollock fillet that goes from meaty to just-before-the-tail thin. They batter them in house, and it came with a ton of tartar sauce. I’ll be back for it. They also make the coleslaw in house, and it was fine. It was too creamy for my taste, but in general I’m not a big fan of coleslaw

On another stop I had their Green Chili Cheeseburger. Quality juicy burger, could have been seasoned more, but was cooked a perfect medium rare. Don’t get the Cowboy Beans though. Basically canned chili beans that look like they maybe doctored them up a bit with unidentifiable bits, but they were pretty flavorless. On this stop I also got the Fried Chicken Gizzards, and they were . . . well, they were fried chicken gizzards. Nothing special, but hey, when I’m in a western/redneck bar, I have to give in to the roots of my mom’s side of the family and get the gizzards if they have them ;)
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Tried a couple breakfast places. At The Pinon Café, one of the first places on the main drag, I had the Huevos Benedictos, which was really really good, and one of the more unusual breakfast entrees I’ve come across. I never order benes because Hollandaise is tasteless and bores the hell out of me, but theirs was a different spin. Two poached eggs on a bed of chorizo and English muffin, topped with green chili sauce, along with a side of hash browns. The chorizo was nice and SPICY, with a lingering tingle and burn. Love it. The green chili sauce was a bit of a disappointment, but all in all it was a great combo that I’d never come across, and I’m thinking I’ll have to make a version of Huevos Benedictos at home using fire roasted green chili salsa instead
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Also had hit up the 260 Café, on the “other” main drag on the way to Show Low. Pre-8 mile hike, I wasn’t feeling eggs, so went with a meats and potatoes. The interesting thing here was their hash browns . . . they’re strange, but I really loved them. They look like a rectangle of them cut out of a pan, with a really crispy top and a creamy under layer, almost as if they made a pan of mashed potatoes with a top layer of hash browns? I would go back for them, and when I was at the Pinon Café I was thinking, damn, I wish these were the 260’s hash browns

One place I stopped at and didn’t get anything . . . just a heads up . . . Dimi Espresso. I did a map search on subs, and they pulled up. Wanted to get something to bring along on a hike. When I went in though at 10:40am, they only had two sad looking plastic wrapped sandwiches in a cooler case. I asked and they don’t do them fresh to order. Said “Thanks” and walked out

On a non-food note . . . drive about 8 miles NW of Payson and go see the Tonto Natural Bridge. Very cool. From the parking lot there’s a short easy way to get to it, and a hard way to get to it, so something for everybody

Go a bit farther through Strawberry and do the Fossil Springs Creek trail. Bring your swimsuit for the waterfall, but be forewarned, this is an easy hike down, but back up . . . it’s 4 miles each way, 1500ft of elevation . . . the way back up is a bit like the Bataan death march, but worth it. You are not bringing the kids or grandpa on this one

Re: Payson Area Restaurants

Posted: Wed Jul 23, 2014 5:38 am
by BarbaraToombs
Thanks for this thread, Mike! We go up there (or through there) often enough that this will come in handy!!

Re: Payson Area Restaurants

Posted: Wed Jul 23, 2014 2:31 pm
by The Cosmic Jester
When you're on your way out from the Fossil Springs Trail back down Fossil Creek Road, Fossil Creek Creamery is worth a stop. It's a small operation that makes their own goat cheese and goat fudge. It's good cheese, and doesn't get much fresher, considering the herd of goats lives right next to the shop.

If you want a terrific Sunday drive, get some cheese from Fossil Creek, then keep taking the 260 west to Camp Verde and stop by Hauser and Hauser Farms to pick up some of their wonderful sweet corn before you head home to feast.

Re: Payson Area Restaurants

Posted: Thu Jul 31, 2014 1:14 pm
by meleyna
My grandparents live out in St. Johns. (Where? Yeah, I'm still not really sure either.) We always stop at Alfonso's on the way. It's just quick Mexican, but it's along Payson's main drag, quick, and tasty. Not so much somewhere you'll hang out for the ambiance, but perfect mid-roadtrip place to stop and stretch and grab a bite without tacking on another hour to your travel time. Maybe take a burrito to go for a couple of hours later.

Re: Payson Area Restaurants

Posted: Sat Apr 25, 2015 7:37 am
by jaatman
We regularly commute to ABQ from Fountain Hills through Payson and I would second the comment on Alfonso's. We will NOT return to Creekside in Christopher Creek after giving them about six "second chance" tries. It was a favorite for many years. If you are northeast bound, hold out for Casa Ramos in Heber. Had a credible steak dinner at Fargo's in 2012. Have not stopped lately.

Re: Payson Area Restaurants

Posted: Mon Apr 27, 2015 9:24 am
by davej
I would recommend Macky's Grill. They have good burgers. Tasty fried onion strings as well. Right off main street and 87.

Re: Payson Area Restaurants

Posted: Sun Oct 18, 2015 3:34 pm
by BarbaraToombs
If you are in Pine (just north of Payson), I highly recommend The Randall House for breakfast or lunch. Delicious food in an old house with an interesting history. The owner really specializes in baked goods, and the pies/muffins/etc are amazing.

Re: Payson Area Restaurants

Posted: Sun Oct 25, 2015 3:11 pm
by Nac Mac Feegle
On the way North from Payson towards Flagstaff; the Long Valley Cafe at Clint's Well. Where you turn on to Lake Mary Road to go to Flag. On Friday, they have an all you can eat shrimp and fish special that is really quite good. Their cocktail sauce is excellent, and so is the Tartar sauce. The fish and shrimp are fried just right, the fries and slaw that accompany the meal are good, too.

The regular menu is quite nice too, but I try to go by on Fridays, just for the shrimp. I'm a sucker for a really good cocktail sauce. :)

Re: Payson Area Restaurants

Posted: Tue May 10, 2016 11:53 am
by Esteban
I would agree with Alfonso's in Payson, but I'm not a big fan of their breakfast burrito - they use french=fries for the potato and it just does not work for me. I would take Beeline Cafe over 260 Cafe any day of the week for breakfast.

I spend a lot of summertime in the White Mountains, and typically if I'm not in Payson for breakfast, I just pass on by and grab a burrito at Aliberto's in Heber. Try to keep it light as I almost always stop at Los Dos in Springerville... I've heard about a new BBQ place up there, but have yet to arrive when they were open.

Re: Payson Area Restaurants

Posted: Thu May 30, 2019 5:14 pm
by buzzardLuck
First post.
I want to recommend 2 places in Pine just up the road from Payson, Old Country Inn a pizza restaurant and Pinewood Tavern. Easily the best eating in Pine. Admittedly a low bar but there you have it. Just don't be in a hurry in either place.