This hip joint is one of Flagstaff’s best restaurants for innovative local cuisine. It’s a small venue offering intimate, personalized service and is ideal for a special dinner out with friends or partners. The concept behind Shift is to bring local cuisine to a new level, emphasizing the potential of locally-sourced ingredients to create delicious but unpretentious food. Come here for a relaxed atmosphere and sumptuous dishes.
Shift Kitchen Ambiance
The décor is quaint and charming, with crisp white walls, bright blue paint accents, and warm wood furniture. You’ll find an open kitchen, which is always a fun experience for those who like to watch chefs work their magic. They boast a few tables and a bar, the latter of which can be a good place to dine if you’re looking for a more personal experience and some guidance from your friendly bartenders.
On the whole, while the menu may seem fancy and the cuisine certainly more elevated than your standard burger and fries, you’ll find the staff and servers friendly and genuinely excited that you’re choosing to be a part of their dining experience. It’s not at all intended to be a “high end” experience, so don’t be worried that you’ll feel out of place. It’s all about good food, done in creative ways. Plus, the restaurant is owned by a couple who are often there, cooking and baking, so be sure to say hi if you run into Dara or Joe.
Shift Kitchen Food
Shift Kitchen & Bar typically serves food in two “shifts.” Monday through Friday, they offer breakfast from 7:30 am – 11 am, after which point they close for several hours. The “dinner shift,” as they call it, runs Tuesday through Saturday, 5 pm to some time post-midnight. The food itself comes in creative small plates. You won’t find any traditionally massive American portions here, but if you come prepared to share and order multiple dishes, you’ll leave more than satisfied.
Some of the highlights from their often-changing menu include breakfast favorites like a quiche of the day, a selection of fresh pastries made in-house, fresh-made bread, and more. For later in the day, you’ll find something a bit heartier, such as brussels sprouts, salads, French fries, soup, sourdough spaghetti, and more. They even offer a multi-course tasting menu, although the entire table must participate to order this option.
Don’t forget about dessert! They have a curated selection of desserts all made in house, many with a play on traditional deserts like cookies, cheesecake, and ice cream floats. Because of their emphasis on seasonal and local ingredients, keep in mind that these items may not be on the menu when you visit.
They also offer a full bar complete with wine and locally-brewed beer (you may be familiar with some of the indies from downtown Flagstaff, like Lumberyard and Beaver Street). And for you night owls out there, Shift actually serves a late-night menu from 11pm – 1am, including items like smoked olives, French fries, mac n’ cheese, and more.
Shift Kitchen Details
While Shift Kitchen may be a bit more chic than some other restaurants in Flagstaff, it’s still intended to have a casual ambiance. There is no dress code, so don’t worry about trying to fit in with the trendy crowd. They do accept reservations, which you can book through their website or over the phone.
As an innovative small plates restaurant, prices are a bit higher than you’d find at a casual joint or chain restaurant, but they’re not prohibitively expensive for a traveler. Breakfast is very inexpensive, and the dinner menu doesn’t feature anything over $20 (with the exception of the multi-course tasting menu). If you want to check the place out but aren’t sure about budget, breakfast is a great low-cost way to sample their fare.
Shift Kitchen Neighborhood
Shift Kitchen is located in the downtown historic area of Flagstaff, so it’s right near a number of other attractions. You’ll be able to stroll through several art galleries, walk around the shopping district, pop into an indie bookstore or music store, and more. If you’re lucky, you’ll even get to see the train go by a few blocks away! There are also many other restaurants in the area if you’re in search of something to do the next day.
Hotels in the immediate area include the Residence Inn, the Rodeway Inn, Hotel Monte Vista, and others.