Tortilla Flat, Az

Founded as a stagecoach stop in 1904, Tortilla Flat is Arizona’s smallest official town with a U.S. Post Office and voter’s precinct.

Alvin and Pam Ross, Indiana farmers, bought the town in 1998 and have turned it into a happening, a theme park, a destination.  Betsy, the hostess, at the restaurant, tells me the town has a population of six–all of them the family that owns the town.  She assures me it is as much fun to work there as it is to be a tourist.

The town is located 16 miles east of Apache Junction via paved road or 28 miles west of Roosevelt via the scenic Apache Trail–a piece of road so rough that when driving on it, you cannot speak without stuttering.

The town consists of a restaurant with walls that are covered with enough currency to retire the national debt.

The bar stools are ready for cowboys and and horse’s asses.

You are never lonesome in the men’s room.

There is also a country store,

gift shop, museum—formerly a school house—

and a couple of guitar-strumming entertainers cracking wise for those who lunch at the outdoor patio.

December through April, Gunfights on the Second and Fourth Saturday of the month. 11AM, Noon, 1PM, 2PM, & 3PM

More pix at theirwebsite:



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11 Responses to Tortilla Flat, Az

  1. Loved this Al. “Can’t speak without stuttering”. Keep up the work we Love reading it. I read it more than once as Angel loves the memories of those Arizona Towns.

  2. I must say, Al, that no one before ever cared enough to send me a picture of the inside of a men’s room. I am deeply touched.

    And all those dollar bills. What’s the story? Are they all only $1s or are there other denominations? Do you get to pick the spot to place your bill? Whose idea was it to wallpaper the place with George Washingtons, and why?

    Your pictures are wonderful, and for a few brief moments, I am there. Thanks!


  3. Colleen Rae says:

    Wonderful photos. Thanks, Al. I went through TF once in the late 1970’s. It was more of a ghost town then. It looks like a lot of fun! There’s a bar I could belly-up to…I’ve accidentally wandered into a men’s room a time or two in my life. Wouldn’t mind going into this one.

  4. karen wittgraf says:

    Thank you…what a riotous place! You should bring Jane there and have a beer in that little bar. Did they get the name from Steinbeck’s book??? I so appreciate these pics and look forward to the blog.

    • allevenson says:

      Probably the other way around. Tortilla Flat pre-dates Steinbeck’s book by 30 years. Given my homage to Steinbeck, I was especially pleased to stumble across the town.


  5. Vikki williams says:

    What a wacky and whimsical place!.
    The bar reminds me of the rough and tumble one in the old Chinese camp of Locke, in the Delta town near Rio Vista, CA .
    It has dollar bills stapled all over the ceiling.
    Obviously, the bar owners in Locke are not nearly as trusting as those in Tortilla Flats!

    • allevenson says:

      I’ve been to Locke. I think we ought to buy it, maybe get a franchise from Alvin Ross, and start our own happening. It is definitely the sort of place that the Jolly Swag sniffs the breeze for.


  6. MaryAnne says:

    fantastic! sorry I missed it this trip…..I’ll be sure to find it next winter.

    Keep the pics and blogs comin’ U do great work.

  7. Uh-uh-uh-uh-

    Always nice to see evidence of that creative spark that keeps a community alive and well and having fun!

    And seeing all that money made me think… $6 per square foot, huh? it’s like having walls covered with leather or pure silk… but a lot cheaper to install!

  8. Colleen Feland says:

    We visited Tortilla Flat yesterday, Wed, Jan. 30. My 12 year old grandson left his camera, that he purchased with his own money, on the rocks by the stream while he “panned for gold” and when he went to pick it up , someone had picked it up for themselves. He cried as we raced through your businesses asking if anyone had turned it in. They were visiting from North Dakota and had to fly out this am, Thursday. Please check with the businessses again today and see if the person who helped themselves to his camera returned or called you to tell you he has found it. My telephone number is 480-288-8155. Please, please.

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