Tag Archives: alonzo “lon” megargee

Caprese Salad at LON's at the Hermosa

The Making of A Menu: LON's At The Hermosa

Creativity is key. Not just when putting a menu together and deciding which dishes to feature, but also in how often the menu is changed, what font is used, etc.

With a history in the arts — The Hermosa Inn was originally built by cowboy artist Alonzo “Lon” Megargee in the 1930s — we continue this tradition by featuring “artful American” cuisine at LON’s at the Hermosa. From utilizing fresh produce grown in the one-acre garden located just outside the LON’s kitchen and bringing in durum wheat from my family farm in Marana, Ariz. to make our gnocchi and other pastas, the ingredients used mean just as much as the evolution of the menu each quarter.

With newly released lunch and dinner menus, below I’ll explain some of the determining factors that go into the making of a restaurant menu.

Visually Appealing

The difference between our lunch and dinner menu at LON’s is clear. Lunch is a more casual environment, where people come to relax on the patio, have a quick lunch on their break or have a lunch meeting with business associates; so, the look and feel of the menu reflects that with its straight-to-the-point font and easy-to-read layout.

While the colors in each menu are the same, the dinner menu utilizes a more artful font for our fine-dining evening options and also emphasizes a shorter, simpler design to reflect the taste and simplicity of our artful American cuisine.

No more than three fonts are used in each to keep it from looking busy, and each section is broken up via an artful brushstroke to further keep in line our artistic history. Both menus are also ordered logically per the steps of each meal; for lunch, it’s non-alcoholic versions of classic cocktails, followed by fingers to share, soups/salads, sandwiches and house specialties; while for dinner, it’s starters, soups/salads, entrees and sides for sharing.


Many focus groups have proven that there is a discomfort with dollar signs and decimals. By keeping the price of a dish as abstract as possible, it makes the process of spending money less threatening.

This is why you’ll often not see a dish listed as:

Farmer’s Market Chopped Salad………………………………$14.00

But instead, it will be:

Farmer’s Market Chopped Salad  14


As a chef, I believe this is by far one of the most important aspects of a menu. We change menus quarterly to encapsulate the fresh ingredients of that particular season, and our Chef’s Tasting Menu changes weekly to showcase the creativity of the LON’s culinary team. It all begins with the product, and then our culinary team is able to be creative in keeping it simple enough to showcase those natural flavors.

While that is one side of the menu creation, ingredients also play a role in how a guest chooses a dish from a menu. For example, other studies have shown that an item is more likely to sell if the ingredients showcased are from a specific place or region (such as Crow’s Dairy goat cheese compared to local goat cheese).

So next time you go to a restaurant, notice the creativity that goes into that menu. What makes it different? Is it the placement of the items, the lack of dollar signs or the font and color used? No matter what, it will showcase the creativity of that establishment, and now you’ll know what went into the thinking behind it all.

For further information on LON’s at the Hermosa, The Hermosa Inn or to make a reservation, call (602) 955-7878 or visit LONs.com, Facebook, Twitter or The Hermosa Inn blog.

If You Go: LON’s at the Hermosa
5532 N. Palo Cristi Rd.
Paradise Valley, AZ 85253


Lon Megargee, "Cowboy’s Dream"

Hermosa Inn Upholding Its Artful Origins: Art Walk, Residence Dinners And More

Originally built by cowboy artist Alonzo “Lon” Megargee as his art studio and residence, The Hermosa Inn has a history within the art world reaching as far back as 1936. After being launched to prominence by his commission with the state of Arizona to create 15 large, historic and iconic murals for the capitol building in 1913, Megargee also worked briefly in Hollywood; created illustrations for the cover of popular Western story magazines in the 1920s, which are hanging in the Library at The Hermosa Inn; and was also commissioned by Stetson to create his now-famous “Last Drop from His Stetson,” which to this day is printed in the top of every top-of-the-line Stetson hat and is the namesake for The Hermosa Inn’s Last Drop at the Hermosa.Lon Megargee, "Last Drop From His Stetson"

With such a rich history in the Arizona arts scene, The Hermosa Inn has since made a mission to preserve its artful origins, in addition to building an awareness of arts and culture within Arizona. A private collection of Megargee’s work has blossomed into an exhibit of more than 30 original pieces, which adorn the walls of the Inn and its culinary centerpiece, LON’s at the Hermosa — while the award-winning Artist in Residence Series is now in its eighth season. Most recently, however, is a partnership with Figarelli Fine Art — a leader in contemporary Southwestern art — who has brought in, and crane-lifted, an art installment valued at more than $2 million.

Lon Megargee, "Cowboy’s Dream"The 50+ piece exhibit is displayed in the resort, throughout the grounds, within guest rooms and in what is now the “Sculpture Garden,” includes such prominent artists as Allan Houser, Paul Moore, John Dawson, Phillip Haozous and Tony Lee. Combined with the existing pieces by Megargee, The Hermosa Inn has become an epicenter of Southwestern artistry and come late September will be hosting The Hermosa Inn Art Walk.

The Art Walk will allow guests and Valley residents alike to take guided, or self-guided, tours of the artwork on property, learn more about the artistic origins of the “old Arizona” inn and have the opportunity to purchase the work on-site.

In addition to the tours, the Inn will also be coordinating culinary events in the Sculpture Garden, where guests will not only be able to enjoy the atmosphere and artwork, but also the culinary creations of Executive Chef Jeremy Pacheco.

As if this wasn’t enough, the award-winning Artist in Residence program will be returning to the property in October and will feature a series of dinners and brunches with critically acclaimed artists, authors and musicians from across the U.S. who will be sharing stories about their work, art and life. Attendees will have the opportunity to mingle with each accomplished artists and, in some cases, watch as they create a masterpiece on-site while they share their tips and techniques.

The line-up includes:

Artist in Residence Dinners ($99++/person):

Friday, October 19: Javon Jackson
Friday, November 30: Ed Mell
Thursday, February 21, 2013: Jeffrey Siegel
Saturday, March 16, 2013: Mike Elsass Artist ‘Canvas and Corks’ Workshop
Friday, April 5, 2013: Dr. Connie Mariano

Artist in Residence Brunches
(complimentary with the cost of brunch at LON’s):

Sunday, October 21: Patsy Lowry
Sunday, November 18: Tom Van Dyke
Sunday, January 27, 2013: Jim Sudal
Sunday, February 17, 2013: Fred Krakowiak
Sunday, March 10, 2013: Linda Pullinsi
Sunday, March 17, 2013: Mike Elsass

For art lovers anxious to get a glimpse, The Hermosa Inn is open for viewing of the artwork on property, and private tours can be set up by calling (602) 955-8614. For further information on The Hermosa Inn & LON’s or upcoming Artist in Residence details, visit HermosaInn.com, Facebook , Twitter or The Hermosa Inn blog.


Recently named one of the 2012 “Top 500 Hotels in the World” by Travel + Leisure Magazine and Condé Nast Traveler’s 2011 Reader’s Poll pick, The Hermosa Inn is a jewel of a hideaway in the heart of the Valley — minutes from Scottsdale, yet surrounded by an exclusive neighborhood in Paradise Valley. Originally hand-crafted in the 1930s by cowboy artist Lon Megargee at his private residence, the Inn’s adobe architecture has kept its “old Arizona” character and charm. All 34 casitas are surrounded by spectacular landscaping and beautiful desert vistas.

The $2 million remodel of the accommodations retains the legendary personality and intimate atmosphere of the original hacienda, while enhancing the accommodations with upgraded amenities for a more luxurious experience. The culinary centerpiece of the Inn is Lon’s at the Hermosa, the celebrated Four Diamond restaurant renowned for “artful American” cuisine, which is complemented by the Last Drop Bar, aptly named after one of the many paintings by Megargee that can be seen throughout the historic inn. For more information, visit HermosaInn.com or call (602) 955-8614.