The McMillan Bar and Kitchen

Northern
The McMillan Bar and Kitchen is located at 2 W. Historic Route 66 in Flagstaff. For more information, call 928-774-3840 or visit www.themcmillan.us.

By Jacki Lenners | Photograph by John Burcham

Inspiration to open a restaurant comes from many places. It usually starts with the food, but for Tucker Woodbury, the inspiration for the McMillan Bar and Kitchen in Flagstaff came from the building itself. The location was nice, too. “How cool is it to be at 2 W. Route 66?” Woodbury says.

But the McMillan is about more than prime real estate: Its imposing stone building encapsulates nearly 140 years of history. Sheep rancher Thomas McMillan originally opened it in the 1880s. The ground floor was a bank, and the upstairs served as a hotel.

The new owners took care in peeling away the layers that built up over years of different uses, practicing “addition by subtraction” in uncovering the building’s original stonework. While the wooden beam archways and intricate brickwork honor the past, the McMillan’s vintage arcade game room and craft cocktails signal a new era for a structure that has stood the test of time.

Diners can fuel up for a fast-paced game of Mortal Kombat or Super Mario Bros. with a next-level twist on tater tots. The McMillan version ditches shredded taters in favor of creamy mashed potatoes fried with bacon, jalapeños, green onions and cheese. The equally video-game-friendly Roadway Nachos are a meal unto themselves, piled high with tangy cheddar, pickled jalapeños, refried beans and a generous dollop of guacamole.

The McMillan’s comfort food menu is all about unique takes on classic favorites. The Forsythe Burger ups the ante on cheeseburgers, starting with a chewy pretzel bun and rounding it out with white cheddar, bacon, grilled onions, chipotle mayo and a perfectly runny sunny-side-up egg. The Black Sheep Caesar also bucks tradition, in a deliciously spicy way: It’s topped with blackened chicken, avocado and a jalapeño Caesar dressing.

The mixologists behind the McMillan’s sprawling bar give the kitchen stiff competition when it comes to reimagining the classics. The Old-Fashioned is not your grandfather’s drink: This version is served over one giant ice cube and punctuated with house-smoked orange bitters. And the Beeting may have an unusual tint, but the bright pink hue comes from beet purée muddled with gin, elderflower liqueur, cucumber, basil and ginger syrup. 

Sometimes, a building is merely a structure. Other times, it’s a story full of twists and turns. The McMillan’s chapter of this building’s tale is inspired by paying homage to the past — and creating a new future.

The McMillan Bar and Kitchen is located at 2 W. Historic Route 66 in Flagstaff. For more information, call 928-774-3840 or visit www.themcmillan.us.