Sawmill Run Restaurant, Summerhaven: A Reviewby Jim Gressinger on Jul. 21, 2012, under Day/Weekend Adventures, Restaurant Reviews, Things To Do With The Kidz
To escape the oppressive June heat a few weeks ago, we drove up to Mt. Lemmon for the day. Traveling with Ms. Karen & me were her brother & our sister-in-law, Cliff & Lynne, visiting from Florida for the first time.
Another reason I wanted to go was that I had heard there is a new restaurant in Summerhaven named Sawmill Run. With four of us, I would be able to get a fairly well-rounded dining review if we all ordered something different.
On the way to the top of the mountain, we stopped at a few Forest Service campgrounds and picnic areas. To my surprise, there was hardly anyone using them. Not surprising was the many signs warning of “High Fire Danger” and “No Campfires Permitted”. All of the wood-burning stoves at the campsites had been securely wrapped to prevent their use.
In several campgrounds, many large piles of wood and other flammable forest debris had been accumulated and made ready for removal. All the live trees and brush were very dry, a clear sign that we are experiencing a drought. Had you been a camper here, you’d be pitching your tent on fine dirt, not pine needles.
Summerhaven is making a slow comeback from the devastating Aspen Fire of ’03 that destroyed 340 homes & business in the village along with 84,000 surrounding acres. The scars are clearly visible on the hillsides that form the canyon where Summerhaven is located. Not a pretty sight.
Summerhaven is a small village at 8200’elevation, and you can now see that much has been rebuilt. Among the new homes and shops, there’s the new general store, a new community & visitor center, and the Cookie Cabin that offers a weird combination of cookies and pizza.
While checking out the Cookie Cabin I asked several people who were voraciously consuming cookies and pizza if the food was good. To a person, each answered in the affirmative. There…that was an easy review. I should get more of you to do my reviews. Maybe then I could loose some weight.
Sawmill Run Restaurant
Sawmill Run is clearly a new establishment on the left just as you enter the village where the old Pie Shop used to be. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily from a menu that suggests fairly typical American comfort food.
We were seated on the patio per our request since it was a very pleasant day. Our waiter was a young man of college-age who tried his best to be professional, but never quit succeeded. Clearly the wait staff needs a bit more seasoning. Hint: make sure your waiter takes down all the orders for your table BEFORE he delivers the orders to the kitchen.
On our way to the patio, which overlooks the road, a parking lot, and a hillside of burnt pine trees, we had to pass through the dining room and past the full bar. The dining room is large, light, and roomy with bay windows on one side and framed historical photographs of Summerhaven’s past glory on the opposite wall.
Ms. Karen had their Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad which she declared “an unusual take on a classic Ceasar, but quite good”.
I had the Smoked Brisket Dip – smoked beef, topped with provolone and onions, with au jus on the side. The roll was fresh, and the beef was very flavorful…much to my liking. The au jus just made my sandwich even better.
Also, the fries that came with it were crisp and delicious. I for one do not consider McDonald’s fare real food, but their fries are still the best.
Lynne & Cliff shared the Corn Beef Rachael – A standard Rueben sandwich, but with creamy slaw instead of kraut. Both agreed that it was a delicious sandwich, but too much for one person. (I assume it is their lack of appetite that keeps them both on the skinny side. I, on the other hand, don’t have that problem … unfortunately.)
Being brand new, Sawmill Run does not have the rustic ambiance of the Iron Door Restaurant at Ski Valley 2 miles up the road. But it does have all the benefits of modernity…such as large, clean bathrooms with the latest plumbing and fixtures.
As to the Sawmill Run’s menu, it just appears to offer ordinary American comfort food: such as breakfast burritos or bacon or sausage & eggs for breakfast; sandwiches, hamburgers, salads, and soups for lunch, and steaks and fish of the day for dinner.
However, in our collective experience, their chef excels at making the ordinary exceptionally good.
Additionally, Sawmill Run has a variety of desserts, including several kinds of pies. Our lunch portions were generous and we were too full to indulge in dessert. This intention omission shall be rectified when we return because the pies we saw in the case as we left looked really good.
Sawmill Run: Definitely Recommended.
For more dining reviews, including our 2012 Best Southern Arizona Restaurants list, go to SouthernArizonaGuide.com