This is the first in a series focused on independently owned establishments in Prescott Valley. Some have been around for a while, and others are new, or going through transitions to meet the changing clientele in the area.

Over the next couple of years, there are many new projects coming to Prescott Valley that reflect the growth of the community and the desire of the customer to support local and source out unique venues and menus.

Since 2018, Dawn Wasowicz has been operating Rafter Eleven, located in the Entertainment District of Prescott Valley. Originally envisioned as a wine and coffee bar with a wide selection of balsamic vinegars and olive oils, as well as kitchen condiments, the space has recently completed an extensive “rebranding.”

Rebranding is a common phrase when it comes to the hospitality industry. Often occurring with a change in ownership, cuisine or a focus on current trends.

“Rebranding” is very appropriate in the case of Rafter Eleven, as the eatery is situated on land that is the family ranch, Rafter Eleven. Dawn’s great grandfather, Dan, bought the property in the 1900s and is a working ranch to this day. And the brand, which used to identify cattle and property, is now the logo for Rafter Eleven. The brand has long stood for quality and community, both of which Dawn continues to be committed to.

With 2020 in the rearview mirror, Dawn saw an opportunity to grow her business concept by providing a wider selection of menu offerings, while keeping the intimate and community feel that the Rafter Eleven has become known for.

Situated in the heart of Prescott Valley, Dawn and her enthusiastic team were offering a selection of homemade scones and baked goods, as well as bruschettas, wine and specialty coffee drinks. Those all had to stay, along with the sense of community that is at the center of their early success.

During the “rebranding” phase, the space took on a completely different look, shifting from a focus on retail, to beginning the process of becoming a full service café and wine bar.

The space was redesigned to include soft seating and tall café tables which overlook the covered outdoor patio, creating a variety of conversation nooks for diners to gather. And a large antique hutch now houses the wide assortment of vinegars and oils.

For the menu, Dawn wanted to focus on fresh, healthy and convenience. While Arin’s scones still come out of the oven fresh every morning, and the balsamic vinegars and olives oils are still available, diners can now dine on a selection of freshly prepared lunch and lite dinner options.

With a rotating seasonal menu, Dawn selected comfort food for her foray into full service, yet casual dining.<br />

Roasted Tomato Bisque, Tres Onion, and Ginger Carrot Bisque are the daily staples when it comes to soup. Each is garnished with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar or olive oils to help accent the dish and add a personal touch.

Sandwiches such as Curried Chicken Salad, Roast Beef and Blue with Caramelized Onions, or the “Popeye,” a combination of Ham, Pesto, Spinach, and Parmesan wrapped in Puff Pastry, served pipin’ hot are perfect to warm up on a cool winter afternoon.

The menu also includes a variety of Bruschettas and daily features such as Homemade Chicken Pot Pie, Beef Lasagna, and Desserts.

Long known as a gathering place for locals and visitors alike, Friday and Saturday evenings, Rafter Eleven is the stage for live music with local performers in a variety of genres. Palamino, Michael Lopez, and Dwayne LeSassier along with others provide a range of music from country, singer songwriter, and light jazz.

And new to the evening menu: Craft Cocktails. While beverage consumption is down in the industry overall, Craft Cocktails continue grow in popularity as guests look for unique and house riffs on the classics. Mixologist Jacob Holevar took Dawn’s palette and product into consideration when creating a truly unique menu that fuses cocktails and Dawn’s enthusiasm for balsamic in a unique way.<br />

Dawn’s favorite, Caprese in a Cup, is a combination of gin, simple syrup and lime with a splash of their Sicilian Lemon Balsamic. And the Peachy Pleasure uses their Peach Balsamic to bring a bit of added brightness to the drink.

Monthly cooking classes, gift baskets and lunch platters to go are just a few of the other offerings from Dawn and her team.

Rafter Eleven is at 2985 Centre Court, Suite B, Prescott Valley. Check their Facebook page, Rafter Eleven, for daily features and events or online at Rafterevelen.com. For more information, call 928-227-2050.

Barry Barbe owns the El Gato Azul and Torme restaurants in Prescott, and is the energy and insight behind the Prescott Palette. He also has a radio show, the Prescott Palette, on KQNA 1130 AM, Saturdays at noon. Email:

Prespalette@gmail.com.

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