Ghost Stories: 5 Haunted Restaurants in Arizona
Our Arizona history is full of ghost stories, and our local restaurants aren’t immune. If you are looking to get into the Halloween spirit, make a reservation to dine in any one of the purportedly haunted restaurants in Arizona. Settle in, place your order and wait until the spirits to say hello!
Local Haunted Restaurants in the Valley
850 S. Ash Ave. | Tempe | 85281 | 480.968.9935
I used to live just around the corner from this Tempe hot spot, a mecca for college students and the locals in the neighborhood. They serve up a great menu that ranges from fresh oysters (anyway that you can think of), crab cakes, fish n’ chips and even tacos. The beers are flowing freely and the patio is the place to be for socializing or playing some lawn games.
As the legend goes, the house that the restaurant is housed in was originally owned by William and Mary Moeur. After the couple dies (him in 1929 and Mary at some point in the 40’s) the house was used as a boarding house. It has been rumored that the boarding house may have double as a brothel for a time. Since the house was renovated and repurposed as a restaurant, neighbors have called the police claiming that a couple was dancing in the early morning hours to loud music on the second floor of the property. When investigated, no security has been tripped and there was no one present on the property. Patrons have claimed to see a figure of a woman, pictures flying off walls and place settings and furniture moved overnight. Is believed that, while operating as a brothel, that a woman was murdered on the second floor after an argument with a patron that was not about to take no for an answer.
5009 E. Washington St. | Phoenix | 85034 | 602.273.7378
In 1919, Edward A. Tovrea, fondly known as the Cattle Baron by locals, opened a packing house to support his growing beef operations. In 1947 The Stockyard’s Restaurant opened and was a hit with local cattlemen, among other residents. While the fortunes that resulted because of cattle faded from then to now, the steakhouse has remained a local favorite, more than likely because the interior of the restaurant has retained its charm and celebrates its history. The menu features all that you would expect from a steakhouse, all perfectly prepared, as well as a few surprises here and there. (Calf liver, anyone?)
After Edward Tovrea passed away, his son, Philip took over operations. There was a fire in 1953 that destroyed the original building and shortly after a two-story structure was built and the restaurant and bar grew. Philip’s wife, Helen Tovrea, helped to decorate the establishment. She commissioned a mural in the Rose Banquet Room. The Lady in Red painting was created by Katherine Patton. It is now believed that the ghost of Helen comes alive through the painting late at night, turning lights off and on, making the chandelier shake, and creating chatter when the restaurant staff is closing up for the night. Some employees and patrons have commented that they have seen the face of a woman in the ladies room as well as what appears to be a lady in a red dress walking from the saloon into the hallway.
1418 N. Central Ave. | Phoenix | 85004 | 602.257.0380
The Old Spaghetti Factory has a storied history in Phoenix. From the first Italian meals that were served years ago to what has become a family tradition for some in the area, OSF has delighted the patrons in Phoenix for years. They offer diners three-course dinners complete with hearty fresh bread and their signature spumoni ice cream. If you wander in, make sure to try out their Mizithra, a traditional Greek whey cheese that is unlike anything you’ve ever had.
The building in which OSF is in was originally what is referred to as the Cole Mansion and Baker House, built in the 1920’s. Sometime in the 1940’s the Cole family purchased both the Cole Mansion and Baker House and combined the two properties with the intention of serving as a commercial property. The rumors state that there was an older gentleman sleeping in the original Baker House when someone broke into the home and murdered him. There is another rumor that notes that a woman was shot and killed in the basement of the property at some point in the 30’s. Staff members have reported several different supernatural situations, ranging from hearing a woman sobbing, whispers and screams as well as furniture moving, lights blinking on and off and floating apparitions.
If you are looking to visit some out of town haunted restaurants, here are a few suggestions.
417 E. Allen St. | Tombstone | 85638 | 520.457.3107
It’s no surprise that, with Tombstone’s gun slinging history, there might be a few spirits lurking around. The original business that inhabited what is now Big Nose Kate’s was the Grand Hotel. Some of the Grand Hotels guests are reported as being Wyatt Earp and Doc Holiday. Locals and tourists alike have a lot of love for this spot, and it appears that several spirits like the vibe around here, too. There are a ton of ghost stories that surround this spot ,but one of the most recurring is that f Swamper. It is believed that the spirit of Swamper is an old miner from the earliest days of Tombstone. Swamper spends most of his days now roaming the halls of the restaurant as well as showing up in some of the guest’s photos. It is believed that Swamper hid some valuables in the building and he is still standing guard to ensure no one finds it.
201 N. Court Ave. | Tucson | 85701 | 520.622.0351
From the outside aesthetic, you might not imagine that La Cocina is haunted. This popular downtown eatery has a cozy outdoor patio with an eclectic Mexican focused menu, complete with a late-night taco bar. One thing missing from the menu is that you just might receive a complimentary haunting from the resident spirits, an old cowboy and his companion, a little girl. Guests have claimed to have seen the pair as well as being touched by them.
Our state is full of rich history, and along with that comes a few folks that don’t want to leave it all behind. Do you have any favorite haunted restaurants in Arizona or beyond?
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© Taryn Jeffries 2016