Nestled in the shadow of Piestewa Peak, Aunt Chilada’s is truly a historic landmark with a personality all its own. Constructed in the 1890’s from desert stone and railroad ties, the original building served as a supply depot and general store for the mercury miners passing through the Dreamy Draw area in Phoenix, AZ. Ken Nagel, a corporate officer of the Pointe Resorts, had always coveted this historic landmark. In 1995, Ken realized his dream and began the buyout of his partners. The restaurant would once again be a family restaurant. Today Ken, Candice, their four daughters, and dedicated staff continue the tradition of quality food and notoriously good times when they welcome guests to this remarkable piece of Arizona history.
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A LITTLE HISTORY….
In the early 1890s, shortly after the reluctant surrender of Geronimo in Skeleton Canyon, Arizona was still an untamed territory and what is now Aunt Chilada’s Dining Room was the general store for the laborers who worked the Rio Rico Mines. The mines, quite unintentionally, gave this area its name. The men would emerge from a long day in the mines somewhat intoxicated and dreamy-eyed from the mercury fumes. And as they walked the road to the general store, people were heard to remark, “The men are back from The Dreamy Draw.”
In the 1930s, Dave and Jesse Noble, the land’s owners at the time, received the first liquor license issued by the state and the general store reopened as The Peak Steak House getting its name and questionable reputation from the window in the ceiling above the bar where patrons could glimpse scantily clad women on a velvet swing in the attic.
This infamous bar and restaurant found notoriety again as it began a new life in the 1960’s as George’s Ole! George Cocherham was a captain in the Phoenix Fire Department and an extremely ambitious restaurateur. He expanded the building to its present size using over 3,000 railroad ties, native stone, and a little help from his off-duty firefighter friends.
In the early 1980’s, Bob Gosnell’s Pointe Resorts bought the restaurant, renamed it Aunt Chilada’s and made it part of The Pointe’s growing family of restaurants. More information is at https://www.auntchiladas.com/our-story/.