Thursday, October 11, 2012

“The Biggest Little Town in the Desert”*

Page, AZ, that is.

“…The town began in 1957 as a housing camp for workers building the Glen Canyon Dam. In 1958, some 24 square miles of Navajo land were exchanged for a larger tract in Utah, and ‘Government Camp’ (later called Page in honor of Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner John C. Page) was born.… During the seven years required to construct the dam, Page was a federal municipality. It became an incorporated town on March 1, 1975 and is now home to more than 9,000 people” (

“…Because of the new roads and bridge built for use during construction, it has become the gateway to the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and Lake Powell, attracting more than 3 million visitors per year” ( And just a few miles outside of town sits Antelope Canyon—the purpose of our visit—which is located on Navajo Nation land, just outside the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.

So for an area with multiple tourist attractions, I was amazed at the paucity of places to eat. My “Google” search sent us off to a place that, while the internet promised otherwise, was closed at lunch. So it was back into the truck for a drive into town. Since I had no back-up plan, we decided to stop at the first place that looked promising. Which brings us to Dam Bar & Grille.

Given the prominence of the Glen Canyon Dam in the past and present of the city, it should come as no surprise that a place calling itself the Dam Bar & Grille should emphasize that connection. Immediately next to our booth was a curved concrete wall intended to evoke the dam itself.

Separating the bar area from the back dining room was an etched glass representation of the dam with a kayak hanging immediately above.

Crossed oars hung on another wall.

And there was this large water craft that reminded me of the lifeboats I have seen on the Travel Channel being used by Australian lifeguards.

And, as we are perusing our menus, I hear the bartender yell “Hey, kid. Get off the dam wall. You’ll fall and hurt yourself.”

The menu was what one would expect from what is primarily a sports bar. Heavy on food that goes well with a beer or two—or more. And from the choices, Chuck selected one of his all time favorites—the French Dip sandwich.

This was a fine example of this bar favorite. There was lots of juicy and savory, thin-sliced beef. There was a roll that, while not heavy, was substantial enough not to disintegrate under the burden of the juicy meat or
when dipped in the beefy a jus. And, for once, there was enough a jus to last until the final bite of the sandwich. Accompanying the sandwich was a good-size side of shoestring fries.

For weeks now, I have been hungry for Buffalo Wings and this would be the day that my craving would be sated.

Except, no, it wouldn’t.

Without reservation, I can say that these were the worst wings ever served in an American restaurant. It was bad enough that the chicken skin was not in the slightest bit crispy. The flabby skin could be removed. No, even the texture of the chicken was off.

About half-way through my lunch (Yes, I ate them. I was hungry.), it dawned on me. It was as if they had been heated in a microwave. I can’t swear that they were. But they tasted like it and as they cooled they became chewy and rubbery. So much for satisfying my wings hunger.

While I would give Chuck’s sandwich a solid 4.0 Addies, my wings merit nary an Addie. Bummer.

To review the role of Adler, Kitty Humbug, and the Addie rating system, read the November 14, 2011 blog.


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