College-town hiking aficionados usually know where to eat, so when the guys up the street at Babbitts Backcountry Outfitters told me this was one of the best places in town for weekend brunch, I went.
A lunch-and-dinner place during the week, Criollo Latin Kitchen opens up on weekend mornings with offerings from blue corn pancakes to pork belly tacos, with poblano cheddar grits, sweet ancho chili sausage gravy, and Haitian 'ti-malice'-inspired relish to go with eggs over easy. And along with the artists' paintings that change monthly, the food is "local" as well—the menu and the chalkboard on the wall will let you know the ranches and farms in Arizona and Colorado that are the sources for Criollo's organic ingredients.
On this particular morning, I had the "huevos motuleños," the Yucatán's version of "huevos rancheros." And get some bacon—it's hearty, comes from Black Mesa Ranch in the White Mountains, and will make you want to bring the word "toothsome" back into popular usage.
Even if you're just passing through Flagstaff on your way to the Grand Canyon, or driving from Albuquerque to Los Angeles, Criollo is worth a stop. It's just a block north of historic old Route 66 downtown.
(Criollo is owned by the same folks who opened the nationally-renown "Brix" just up the street—Flagstaff is becoming a restaurant mecca—and its newest sister restaurant is "Proper," way down the road in Tucson. "Taco Tuesday" evenings with inexpensive margaritas can be crowded.)