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Cartwright’s Sonoran Ranch House Earns “Best Tabletop” in U.S.


Foodservice Equipment and Supply magazine dubs Cave Creek restaurant first place in national contest.

PHOENIX, ARIZ. - Fantastic desert-to-table cuisine may be what Cartwright’s Sonoran Ranch House in Cave Creek, Arizona is famous for, but great food is not the only thing on the table that’s drawing national attention.

Food Service Equipment & Supplies magazine, a staple for any restaurateur, has tapped Cartwright’s for its top award, the coveted 2014 Performance in Tabletop Award. By using a combination of sustainable and local materials to their unique place settings and serving dishes, Cartwright’s not only impressed the judges, but the restaurant made the cover of the magazine, which is circulated to 41,000 restaurants and service and equipment providers worldwide.

The tabletop selection at Cartwright’s Sonoran Ranch House is part of a beautifully executed remodel completed at the restaurant in summer 2013. Among the features are repurposed railroad floor tables and reclaimed wooden chairs. Twisted branches of Arizona manzanita gently glow in evening light, evoking thoughts of campfire glow lighting the desert floor. Photographs of some of the historic ranch’s most notable family welcome guests with the hospitality of a familiar homestead, as do the friendly, plaid-clad staff. It’s the kind of place where fine suits and blue jeans are equally appropriate.

“The objective in choosing our tabletop arrangement is to consolidate the dining experience,” explains Cartwright’s Sonoran Ranch House co-owner Eric Flatt. “Not only do we serve a unique and scintillating variety of organic, locally sourced menu items, we also create a true Arizona experience for all who walk through our doors. From our décor to our desserts, every touch is carefully selected to reflect Cartwright’s heritage and distinction.”

Tabletop items include earthen colors that reflect the Cave Creek favorite’s natural Sonoran surroundings, unusual shapes that evoke a hand-made look, and a touch of eclectic whimsy throughout their compotes, farmhouse glassware and hammered silverware. Individual serving vessels made from stoneware, jars, honed wood and metals reminiscent of the ranch create a unique dining experience, but are also pragmatic, holding such delicious menu offerings as mason jar layered with warm canella-braised duck, mesquite wood-grilled pitas, Baja dorado fish tacos, freshly prepared condiments and salsas, and Cartwright’s signature breads. Miniature hot cast iron skillets hold proteins for salads, keeping greens from wilting and enhancing the flavor of the meats. Small galvanized buckets cradle crunchy hot fries fresh from the cauldron. No detail is overlooked.

FE&S described the winning tabletop as “warm and inviting, and it perfectly fits the restaurant’s theme and décor. The presentation and plate selection is good and it almost seems like the china was custom made for this restaurant. The food looks fantastic on this china and fits the plate perfectly. The colors fit in with the décor. It’s a rustic looking room and the tabletop supports that. Even the design of the chairs supports the theme.”

The prestigious award is not the first accolade Cartwright’s Sonoran Ranch House has received.  Experience AZ magazine ranked Cartwright’s Sonoran Ranch House a Top 5 Southwestern Restaurant. TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel site, ranked Cartwright’s as a Top 5 Restaurant in Cave Creek. Howard Seftel, the Arizona Republic’s restaurant critic, awarded a Gold designation to Cartwright’s at the Devoured Phoenix Culinary Classic, and it has received the top Distinguished Restaurants of North America (DiRoNA) Award. Another popular magazine, Wine Spectator, bestowed Cartwright’s with the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence.

About Cartwright’s Sonoran Ranch House

Cartwright’s Sonoran Ranch House, located at 6710 E. Cave Creek Road in Cave Creek, minutes from Phoenix, is owned and operated by Eric Flatt and John Malcolm. Named after one of the area’s most prominent and influential pioneer families, Cartwright’s honors the ranching traditions of the Arizona desert foothills through its unique organic, local and sustainable selections.

 Notable Chef Montez Crane instills the most important aspects of great-tasting food while paying tribute to the roots of the American West. Cartwright’s signature Modern Ranch Cuisine melds fresh meats and vegetables with heirloom spices, chili peppers, beans, molasses and delectable sauces, recreating the base flavors of the West. Hand-selected meats and seafood are organic and free of antibiotics, and many of the staples are picked from the surrounding desert.

 A large array of hard-to-find whiskeys, tequilas and elixirs of apothecary-infused jars, including a great line up of crafted beers, welcomes patrons to the bar. Favorite gin and vodka selections and vintage bourbons and rums leave nothing wanting in this distinctly modern ranch bar. The same commitment to fine products is found in Cartwright’s wine selection, selected from some of the finest vineyards from great wine-growing regions around the world.