Kingman - The Crown of I-40, west of Flagstaff
Most of us probably know Kingman as that place where you turn right to go to Vegas. Judging from the responses I've received when I have to go there for work--ranging from shock to disgust to sympathy--even more of you don't think highly of Kingman. Admittedly, from the interstate it doesn't look like much and the out-of-business Chinese Buffet at the Vegas exit doesn't put the city's best foot forward. But if you accidentally, fatefully even, make a left turn down Beale Street you might be pleasantly surprised by what you find.
Downtown Kingman along historic Beale Street is a charming little strip of Americana. Beale is populated with businesses ranging from antique stores, to delicious caffes and coffee shops, to even more surprising things like a Crossfit studio and a brewery.
As always, my first focus is on food and drink.
Sirens' Café and Catering is my standard destination for lunch in Kingman. The Pavase or La Rocco sandwiches are some of the best I've eaten in general and are served on incredibly soft fresh bread. Because they're priced so reasonably I go ahead and throw in a Portofino salad--their version of a Caesar salad with a dressing made with olives that is so good it's my newest craving. Use the little piece of toast to dip in the dressing and make sure you get every last dollop.
If I feel like a change, Redneck's Southern Pit BBQ is surprisingly southern and redneck (it's ok, I can say that...I have southern friends...). Oh, and it also has delicious BBQ. Since it's impossible to go wrong with BBQ I'll focus on the logistics rather than the food. First of all, it's cafeteria style so when you enter don't expect a hostess to seat you. Instead, head to the back corner of the restaurant and grab a tray. You don't have to commit to a BBQ sauce, well, ever really, because the sauces are on the table...that's right SAUCES ARE ON THE TABLE. Just get loaded up on meat and meat accessories, pay, and have a seat.
Having jitters from caffeine withdrawals? Head on over to Beale St. Coffee aka Beale St. Brews (not to be confused with the brewery...coffee get's brewed too. Don't feel bad, it took me a minute to figure out also). When ordering just keep in mind that there is a $3 minimum for cards. While you're waiting on your drink go ahead and peruse the variety of fliers on the counter that have information about more local activities than you'd imagine. [Update - July 2016 - Beale St. Brews has been in the process of relocating for months and until they open about a block east of their prior location they are closed]
Word is there's also a great burger place, but I can't stop going to Sirens' Café. And I literally just now realized the significance of that name and being consistently drawn there. Honestly I'm not dumb.
Kingman has a lot more hiking, biking, and horse riding than I'd ever expect; and the area has a considerable amount of historic sites. The Kingman tourism webpage can do a much better job of directing you to those than I can.
|Find the train station at sunset, especially on a stormy day.|
It's pretty much outdoors, history (sites and antiques), and eating. Now that I'm armed with a stack of informative fliers on Kingman activities and discovered their events calendar, I'm kind of looking forward to my next trip up. And that delicious Caesar dressing...