Flagstaff House has won the Wine Spectator's Grand Award; it's one of only 75 restaurants to win the award this year. But more remarkably, Flagstaff House has earned the coveted Grand Award every year since 1983.
"The Wine Spectator is the first and most prestigious wine magazine," says restaurant co-owner Mark Monette, and the Grand Award winners are the best of the best in the world; to qualify, a wine cellar must offer at least 1,500 selections. Flagstaff House surpasses this standard with closer to 2,300 different selections in their 15,000 bottles, as well as a gorgeous view of Boulder. To top it off, the votes of over 400,000 diners made Flagstaff House an Open Table "Diner's Choice Top Ten Best American Restaurants" in Colorado this year.
Westword recently spoke with Mark Monette to learn more about the honors.
See Also: -- Westword Dish -- Reader: The city should pay for damages done to El Diablo -- Flagstaff House receives forty-five pounds of Rainier cherries -- Flagstaff House new cocktail program -- Flagstaff House Best View 2011
Westword: Flagstaff House has quite a record in the Wine Spectator. What is the application process for the Grand Award?
Mark Monette: We submit our wine list every year and we've won it continuously since 1983...so it's a passion. They look through all the images and the different varietals and the quality of the wines on that list as well as the depth of the cellar. We have wines dating back to the 1800s. How many wines do you actually serve?
Everything on the list is on sale. I'm not sure offhand, but it's around 2,300. We have some items that are just single bottles, and one of those can go for $6,000 a bottle. If we do sell something like that, we try to replace it at an auction. That price range is rare, but we have people who are very selective about what they like, so they can search through the list. A lot of them are $500 or $600.
How did you acquire your impressive wine selection?
It's a lot of passion and financial means, because it takes a lot to withhold a big inventory. We started collecting these in the '70s...it's a labor of love. We have three wine sommeliers...and the cellars are perfectly temperature-controlled. You work with your brother, Scott, and father, Don, who founded the restaurant. What's your history in the business?
I've done this my whole life. I worked in France and New York City in the best restaurants there. Then I came back here and there's no better place to be than Boulder, Colorado.
How do you reflect your title as "Diner's Choice Top Ten Best American Restaurants" in your everyday business?
We've got a great reputation and we keep up our reputation. We're always evolving and using as many local things as possible. We keep up with the guests and make sure they're treated perfectly. Do you have any special dinners coming up in connection with these awards?
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Not because of the awards. We are doing a Rainier cherry dinner right now because they contacted us to make a special menu. We'll do a duck with Rainier cherries or salmon dish with cherries and cheese course with Rainier jam that we make. We've had that running as a separate tasting menu throughout July.