Originally Published: March 28, 2013 7:16 p.m.
PRESCOTT - The Iron Springs Café occupies a train depot from Hillside dating to 1894.
The former depot moved to 1501 Iron Springs Road in 1974 and was converted into a restaurant.
The "historic, casual atmosphere" is part of the restaurant's charm, said Judy May, who opened the Iron Springs Café 12 years ago.
May, who has worked in the restaurant industry for more than 25 years, moved from Phoenix to Prescott for milder weather and a slower pace.
She had worked in restaurant management for 17 years, and had another motivation for being her own boss.
"I got tired of working for a large corporation," May said. She added the building had been vacant for about a month when she opened the restaurant.
The Iron Springs Café draws both local residents and travelers, she said.
"I have a wide range of customers of all ages," she said.
She said her restaurant specializes in Southwestern and Cajun cuisine.
"We do a lot of like chilies and spices," she explained. "It's really not (spicy). It just has a lot of flavor. People are really sensitive to heat."
May said the cooks prepare food to order.
If customers so request, "we can leave a lot of the spices off," she said.
She said she likes what she does for a living.
"I really enjoy my customers. I have customers that have been coming here for 12 years. I have (13) great employees," May said.
The Iron Springs Café serves a variety of dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Breakfast is served from 8 to 10:30 a.m., and it is the same menu that is served during Sunday brunch from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The breakfast menu consists of 16 items starting in price with gumbo with andouille sausage and chicken for $5.75/$8.50. It peaks at $13 for blackened chicken caesar salad with pico de gallo, and grilled chicken sandwich that comes with field greens, pepitas, cotija cheese and pico de gallo with a choice of dressing.
The lunch menu consists of soups, appetizers, salads, house specials and sandwiches. Prices range from $4.75/$6.50 for soup of the day to $13 for grilled chicken salad and blacked chicken caesar salad.
Sandwiches come with fries or coleslaw and include n'awlins and turkey muffaletta, roasted vegetable and sausage bomber (spicy andouille).
House specials for lunch include enchilada with rice and beans, a bowl of green chili pork stew and a taco plate.
The dinner menu also includes a selection of soups, appetizers and salads. Prices range from $3.50 for crispy chips with freshly made salsa to $20.50 for three house specials.
Those house specials are a 10-ounce, flat-iron steak, grilled and topped with carmelized balsamic onions; black-n-bleu steak, topped with bleu-cheese butter; and green chili jack steak, grilled and topped with Hatch green chilies and jack cheese. Those three plates come with mashed potatoes, and all house specials for dinner include a choice of salad or soup of the day.
The sandwich menu is similar to lunch, and sandwiches come with fries or slaw and a dill pickle.
Blackened catfish and spinach salads are popular dishes, May said.
"People love it," she said. "It is nice and spicy. Our motto is 'food with flavor.'"