By Amanda Harvey
“It took three other very special restaurants building the momentum over 20 years for this opportunity to become available and pose itself,” said Chef Lisa Dahl about her newest Sedona restaurant, Mariposa Latin-Inspired Grill. The restaurant recently celebrated its first anniversary.
Dahl has been a restaurateur in Sedona since 1995, when she opened her first restaurant Dahl & Di Luca.
“This opportunity, this place, was guided through me,” she continued. “I truly believe I am the co-creator with a very special angel, my son. I dedicate everything I do to him, to Justin, because he and I had lots of plans together. We loved the food business and making people happy. He lost his life, but he lives on,” said Dahl.
It took about two years, three architects and countless hours of planning to create the gorgeous space that overlooks the breathtaking Sedona red rock. “This is a very masculine, beautiful and austere property,” Dahl said of Mariposa’s wrought-iron and dark wood features. “It needed a touch of femininity.” She continued, “I see butterflies as very feminine and delicate but also elusive and powerful. When I was standing in just the bare bones of this space, I was thinking ‘Well, what should the name be?’ and the name just appeared. When something like that happens, I just go with it.” Mariposa, of course, means butterfly in Spanish.
Dahl also worked with many local Arizona and southwestern artisans on the details for the restaurant, including the one-of-a-kind, 800-pound front door made from stained glass and semi-precious stones by artists in Tucson; hand-blown glassware from Mexico; reclaimed Mesquite wood furniture; and much more.
In addition to collaborating with local artisans, Dahl also works with local farmers (largely McClendon’s Select organic farm in Peoria) for fresh, organic produce. She also recently started working with the Verde Valley School garden. “Serving local and organic ingredients just makes the most sense,” Dahl said. “It’s so aligned with what I believe. I came over here from Marin County [in California], which was extremely progressive. The farm-to-table concept was what living in Marin County was about 25 years ago. Now it’s becoming much more doable in Arizona, as well.”
Mariposa also has an herb garden onsite that changes seasonally. In addition to herbs, the garden features peppers, baby tomatoes, sunflowers and more. Dahl takes their vegetable excess and, instead of tossing it, turns it into vegetable broth that is used in the restaurant’s dishes every day.
On September 24, Dahl – along with two other chefs – will participate in a farm-to-table dinner to benefit the Verde Valley School and the Yavapai Food Council. Almost all the food will come from the Verde Valley School garden or within the range of the Verde Valley.
“We created the restaurant with the highest consciousness and will continue to do so,” said Dahl. They implement water- and gas-saving features in addition to recycling, with plans to begin composting as well.
“It’s been nothing but an interesting project,” said Dahl. “Amazing, but very difficult. It’s rewarding beyond words. The rewards are on the receiving end when the guests have such a great experience here and they feel mesmerized.”
For more on Mariposa Latin-Inspired Grill, visit mariposasedona.com.
Read more articles on chefs at greenlivingaz.com/chefs