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    Posted January 3, 2013 by
    Sedona, Arizona
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    100 places to eat like a local

    The Coffee Pot keeps on perking!

    Sedona is nestled in the heart of Northern Arizona red rock country and is the destination of over four million tourists per year. They come mainly for the beauty and outdoor recreation, but also for the spiritual nature of the area and the vortex energy centers, which are purported by a sizable minority of metaphysically minded residents. The association that many non-locals have with the area and its new age persona is so strong that they can be shocked to learn that all sorts of individuals do in fact call the Sedona area home. I found myself drawn there many years ago by the peace and tranquility, after living in the big city my whole life prior. It wasn’t long after I had moved that I heard about the spot that has become my casual breakfast and lunch standby ever since. At no other place in town can you engage in as much people watching, of the folks that have decided to call this quirky town home, than at the Coffeepot Restaurant.
    On any given morning or early afternoon, a broad cross section of the area’s inhabitants, from the spiritually progressive, to the holdovers from a traditional Western past, to affluent and mostly ex-Californian families dine from a six page newsprint menu. They actually have almost 300 menu items and the selections offered range from the longest inventory of omelette choices you will ever lay your eyes on, (101 to be exact), to surprisingly authentic Mexican fare. However my personal favorite when I am in the mood to indulge is the Belgian waffles. Tucked away inconspicuously under the waffle heading, is the buckwheat pecan version, a delightfully crispy yet moist, and somewhat more health conscious rendition of the classic. This one in particular is tops in my book for any sweet breakfast around and I always order it with real maple syrup. All of the food is prepared consistently as I understand they’ve maintained the same staff as least as long as I’ve been coming, and the service couldn’t be any faster. Every table that orders coffee gets a strong and freshly brewed pot left on their table, so that you are never lacking in sufficient caffeination when you’re on your way.
    Locals gather there for everything from family outings to pre-hiking sustenance to business lunches because of the friendlier price point in comparison with other dining options. The fact is that they truly offer something for everyone. It is located in the center of the more business oriented district of West Sedona, as opposed to the shop lined strip known as Uptown. Interestingly, the building has a long and storied history that begins with it functioning as a general store and gas station during the days when Sedona was mainly a site for old Western movies. It was then reinvented into a nightclub, which was owned by actress Jane Russell; the stage and stadium style booths that surround an open floor still exist and make it easy to picture the place in a much different light. There also was a period when it was open for dinner and guests enjoyed the first sports bar in town. Its present form as a casual dining hub dates back to the eighties I believe, with current ownership taking the helm shortly thereafter. It is clear that they have put their heart and soul into making it as warm, inviting and satisfying a destination as you will find in the area. The Coffeepot Restaurant is a rarity as one of the few truly local eateries in a town whose economy is almost solely based on tourism. Of course if you do get a sudden impulse to purchase a souvenir for someone back home, the Coffeepot has a unique little gift shop of its own. It is inside the restaurant, and features some departures from the standard Southwestern gift items.
    Most shockingly though, is the fact that the seemingly modest cuisine has actually received a number of culinary accolades. In the lobby area there is a letter from Gourmet Magazine requesting a recipe, a New York Times article and a feature that was done on them on the Food Network. I also saw a Travel Channel special on Sedona a few years ago where the Coffee Pot was not only a featured destination, but the first stop for the film crew. This establishment has been the recipient of countless local awards and articles, aside from the national attention. Also lining the walls, at the entrance, are the photos of dozens of celebs that have dined there during their travels. Some were even taken with Coffeepot employees that you’ll still see buzzing around the room. Although tourists do patronize the restaurant, it is almost always because they are referred by either a local or by someone back home. I’ve never seen or heard a single advertisement for them around town. To me, that is the epitome of a locals’ joint; in order to end up there, you just have to be in the know.
    Colin Maclachlan
    Sedona, AZ
    This iReport is part of an assignment that we created with Travel + Leisure:  100 places to eat like a local
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