A Yummy Year at Tonto and Cartwright’s

What a juicy year it’s been for us. As we look back, we’d like to share what we think are our most appetizing occasions and tasty events of the year. Sink your teeth into the year’s biggest stories and awards from the kitchens and tables of Tonto Bar and Grill and Cartwright’s Sonoran Ranch House.


  • Chef Ryan at The BiltmoreThe year started with a bang and an invitation to showcase both Tonto & Cartwright’s “Taste of Arizona” at the National Restaurant Associations meeting at the Biltmore Hotel. All of the top people from around the nation were invited to sample some of Arizona’s finest offerings.
  • Also this month, the Arizona Republic listed Tonto as one of the top 5 restaurants for gluten-free dining in the Phoenix area.


  • Cartwright’s was featured on Arizona’s Centennial website, celebrating 100 years of statehood, as honoring the spirit of Arizona’s ranching days with rustic yet upscale dining.
  • Tonto and Cartwright’s were again featured as a taste of Arizona at the CNN Republican debate in Mesa and at a Sunset magazine photo shoot.
  • To celebrate National Margarita Day, ScoopFactory.com listed Tonto Bar and Grill’s “Tontorita” in its top 10 margaritas.


    March came in like a lion roaring with reasons to celebrate along with devouring competitions and awards.

  • Tonto was featured on Fox 10 News Phoenix “Taste of the Town” and holds the record for the longest segment they have every featured on any restaurant. Click here to watch the story for yourself.
  • For a major sugar rush, Tonto and Cartwright’s brought their creativity to the table at the 3rd Annual Caramelpalooza, where hundreds came out to lick, crunch, chew and otherwise gobble caramel confections.
  •  Phoenix New Times featured Tonto’s Pastry Chef Amanda Crick in its Chow Bella blog posts. It was mixologist mayhem as Cartwright’s Sommelier Anthony Mueller participated in Chow Bella’s 3rd Annual Devoured Cocktail Competition.
  • Then came the “Devoured Culinary Classic” at the Phoenix Art Museum, where both Tonto and Cartwright’s cooked up their favorite dishes.
  • The Arizona Republic’s Howard Seftel selected Cartwright’s as a Gold Medal winner at the Devoured Culinary Classic, Arizona’s premier food festival.
  • Arizona Republic’s Carey Sweet featured Cartwright’s Sommelier Anthony Mueller and his cocktails in an article on the Devoured Cocktail Competition.
  • In its article entitled, “More gems to be Devoured,” USA Today highlighted Cartwright’s pan-seared quail.


  • Tonto and Cartwright’s sponsored the Desert Foothills Community Association’s (DFCA) Cave Creek Fiesta Rodeo Days.
  • To honor the 100th Anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic and pay special homage to the unsinkable force of the human spirit, both of our restaurants featured specials with the same meals served on that fateful voyage.
  • We headed out to MTM Ranch to harvest crimson-orange-red ocotillo flowers, used fresh, sprinkled like a fiery delight on our salads or desserts.
  • Honoring top physicians and dentists in the area, Tonto and Cartwright’s participated in Phoenix magazine’s Top Doctors event in Scottsdale.


  • Tonto and Cartwright’s both participated in the Arizona’s Spring Restaurant Week.
  • In its Spring-Summer 2012 edition, Experience AZ magazine chose Tonto as “Top 5: Southwestern Restaurants.”



  • We started building a new water feature on Tonto’s lower patio (that as of December still isn’t quite finished… darn those local artists).
  • Independence Day brought us the talented AZ state historian, Marshall Trimble, to Cartwright’s Arizona History Dinner night to help us celebrate our Star-Spangled Fourth of July.
  • Cartwright’s was featured on the 10Best.com website that highlights trusted advice for travelers.


  • Cartwright’s ongoing Arizona History Dinners continued with rip-roarin’ presentations by Marshall Trimble and True West magazine’s Bob Boze Bell.
  • Tonto was featured in Images AZ magazine for their taste of native Arizona and the fruits of the dessert.
  • Cartwright’s is highlighted on Southwest Airlines website travel guide to Phoenix restaurants.
  • We set out to “wrangle tuna” at our annual harvest of the fruit of the prickly pear cactus, which is used in our special drinks and sauces.

Tonto Bar & Grill Prickly Pear 024


  • Marshall Trimble joined us at Cartwright’s Arizona History Dinners with a presentation on movie shootouts and showdowns plus another on Arizona’s collection of colorful characters.
  • Experience AZ magazine chose Tonto as one of its “Top 5: Southwestern Restaurants” in its Fall-Winter 2012 edition and ran a featured article on Cartwright’s History Dinners.
  • Six weeks of Oktoberfest celebrations started at Tonto, with traditional German dishes and imported beers.
  • The Arizona Republic’s website (azcentral.com) ran an article on Tonto’s Oktoberfest, where we served up the wonderful tastes of Germany.
  • Phoenix New Times Chow Bella blog featured our prickly pear harvest fruit harvest.


  • Cartwright’s Arizona History Dinners series came to a close with Marshall Trumbull’s presentation on gunslingers of the American Old West and Bob Boze Bell’s wonderful stories of the famous O.K. Corral gunfight.
  • Restauratour of Arizona featured an article on, “Wunderbar Oktoberfest Delights at Tonto Bar & Grill,” as Oktoberfest continued at Tonto.
  • Tonto and Cartwright’s were both featured at Taste of Cave Creek 2012 festival.
  • Tonto also was at the Arizona Taco Festival at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, the newly built spring training home of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies.
  • Phoenix magazine chose Cartwright’s to list in its Best Beer & Wine edition as one of the top wine lists in the valley,
  • The same edition of Phoenix magazine featured Cartwright’s Cowboy S’mores in its “Sweet Spot” section.
  • Our Pastry Chef, Amanda Crick was interviewed by sugarloco.com and featured in their article, “Sweet and Sour at Tonto’s Bar & Grill.”


  • We served up a cornucopia of Thanksgiving feasts for all tastes, with Tonto’s turkey to-go and table services at Cartwright’s special dinners.
  • Cartwright’s Sous Chef, Nicole DeKryuter, participated in the “Just Desserts” C-CAP (Careers through Culinary Arts Program) competition and won “best of fest.”
  • Phoenix magazine selected Tonto Bar & Grill for “Best Burger: Cave Creek” in its November 2012 “Best of the Valley” edition for our local organic grass-fed burger.
  • True West magazine featured an article on the history of Tonto and Rancho Mañana.
  • Plus, the same issue of True West carried an article on Cave Creek, the Cartwright’s Ranch & Cartwright’s restaurant.


  • The end of the year brought major milestones for both restaurants, with Cartwright’s 12-year anniversary and Tonto celebrating its 19th anniversary.
  • Catering VanWe also got our Catering Van wrapped.
  • And both Tonto and Cartwright’s celebrated the holidays with festive Christmas Eve and joyous New Year’s Eve meals.

What’s next for 2013?
We are just gearing up for a year full of appetizing events.

  • Watch for The Sanderson Lincoln Cave Creek Hot Air Balloon Festival that kicks off our season on January 12, 2013 right on the grounds near Tonto Bar and Grill.
  • Stay alert for our Cinco De Mayo Festival on Saturday, May 4th and our upcoming Harvest Festival.
  • Regularly check out the Events pages on the Tonto website and on the Cartwright’s website for the dates and times of our extraordinary holiday celebrations, history dinners and other special occasions at both of our restaurants.