Spooky cantina dishes up local lore - FOX 10 News | myfoxphoenix.com

Spooky cantina dishes up local lore

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PHOENIX -

We're familiar with Aunt Chilada's Squaw Peak -- a family owned restaurant nestled in the Dreamy Draw area in the shadows of Piestewa Peak, but did you know the restaurant has a long history of things that go bump in the night?

The restaurant has a long and fascinating history, and some of it may send chills down your spine.

Locals flock to Aunt Chilada's expecting fresh margaritas, generous portions and a lively crowd.  What they don't expect is to be greeted by the supernatural.

"Any of the encounters that we've had have happened in this room," said Aunt Chilada's chef and manager Tiffany Allison.

When you say encounters, do you mean people seeing ghosts or hearing them?

"People seeing ghosts.. hearing ghosts," said Tiffany.

Allison began our haunted history tour in the banquet room.  It's over 120 years old and was the first general store in Arizona.

"The reason that we are situated on Dreamy Draw Drive is because mercury makes you high, so all the miners would cross the draw dreamily.. makes them feel dreamy alright, that's right and they would come here to the general store," she explained.

Tiffany says the original store owners are buried right underneath the floor.  Many claim the wife's ghost still roams here, draped in a long white gown.

"We hear her, we see her all the time.  Things happen where you come through.. you're working at night.. you come through, you'll lock everything," she said.  "You'll come back and everything's on.. the curtains are blowing, I mean crazy things have happened.."

This building eventually became the first place with an Arizona liquor license and by the 1950s, the owners opened its doors as the Peak Steak House.

"A lot of people think it's because of a mountain top, but it has nothing to do with that. It's because we were the original peak show in the state of Arizona," said Tiffany.  "So the peak was up here in the ceiling and the woman would actually have to crawl through.. there used to be wedges behind the walls and they would crawl through up into the plexi glass ceiling."

When the Peak eventually closed, fire captain Jorge Cocherham opened Jorge's Ole.  His firefighters used old railroad ties from downtown to expand the restaurant.

"For every railroad tie they erected, he would actually give them a free beer.  That's why we joke that our entire place was kind of built at a wobble at an angle.. a little bit tipsy when we were constructing," said Tiffany.

Jorge's Ole extended all the way into the modern day cantina, where revelers once again report seeing a ghost.

"Coming from the back of the liquor room and that you hear the laughing and the haunting and basically what she's doing is taunting people," said Tiffany.

And that's enough to send me back outside, back to the light of modern day.

"Palapa bar has been here since about 1996 and we the Negel family took over in about 1994, so this is definitely our addition," said Tiffany. And they actually just became a dog friendly patio too.

The next time you're at Aunt Chilada's, be sure to look for all the old photos and documents that are hanging on the walls.  And don't forget to look for those railroad ties that hold the entire building together!

Aunt Chilada's
7330 N. Dreamy Draw Dr.
Phoenix, AZ 85020
(602) 944-1286
www.auntchiladas.com

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