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The Best Historic Restaurants In Phoenix Arizona

Historic Phoenix Restaurant - El Chorro from the outside

Courtesy of El Chorro

Discover the diverse menus, rich history and community spirit at El Chorro and The Stockyards, two ICONIC Phoenix Restaurants that have stood the test of time. 

Arizona’s culinary scene boasts a broad, vibrant tapestry of flavors and experiences, from fine dining to hole-in-the-wall taco stands. But amidst this diversity, two ICONIC Phoenix restaurants hold a special place in the hearts of many locals and visitors: El Chorro and The Stockyards. Each has a rich history woven into the very fabric of the state, and each offers much more than just a meal; they provide a taste of Arizona’s unique character and growth.

Both establishments represent two distinct corners of Arizona‘s culinary landscape. One embraces the tales of Hollywood glamour and desert sunsets, while the other echoes the spirit of the Wild West and the enduring legacy of cattle ranching. Yet, they both share a common thread: a dedication to quality, heritage and creating memorable experiences for their guests.

El Chorro: A Paradise Valley Gem

Outside of Phoenix Restaurant, El chorro

Courtesy of El Chorro

Surrounded by the Sonoran Desert, El Chorro exudes an air of timeless splendor. Initially built in 1934 as the Judson School for Girls, the property was transformed into a restaurant and lodge in 1937, quickly becoming a watering hole for guests of the nearby Camelback Inn. Its name, “El Chorro,” translates to “running stream” or “watering hole” in Peruvian Spanish, a fitting moniker for this desert oasis.

Over the years, El Chorro has hosted generations of families and Hollywood stars like Clark Gable and Milton Berle, who enjoyed countless romantic evenings under the starlit sky. This Phoenix restaurant‘s charm lies not only in its breathtaking views and historic ambiance but also in its commitment to sustainability. From utilizing solar panels and recycled materials to becoming the first restaurant in Arizona to earn the LEED Gold Certification, El Chorro embodies responsible hospitality.

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Old bar at El Chorro Phoenix Restaurant

Courtesy of El Chorro

But, of course, the true magic of El Chorro lies in its cuisine. Defined as “Arizona cuisine with a Southwestern flare,” the menu features fresh, seasonally inspired dishes. The ICONIC sticky buns served warm before every meal, are a must. Their sweet and gooey goodness is evidence of the restaurant’s dedication to comfort food with an elevated, gourmet touch. 

While sticky buns may be the first course to steal hearts, El Chorro’s culinary offerings extend far beyond this beloved appetizer. 

Inside of El Chorro Phoenix Restaurant

Courtesy of El Chorro

The menu of this Phoenix restaurant reflects the changing seasons, showcasing Arizona’s bounty with dishes like roasted quail with prickly pear glaze, grilled Sonoran sea bass with citrus salsa, and pan-seared scallops with roasted corn and poblano cream. Every plate reflects the stories of the desert landscape and culinary traditions of the region.

“As locals, we're passionate about sharing our distinctive style of food, inviting guests to savor the authentic flavors and traditions that define our region,” Charles Kassels, El Chorro Lodge, Executive Chef says. “Many of our guests, including locals who frequently bring friends and family, inspire us to create a menu that resonates with our community.”

Bar at El Chorro Phoenix Restaurant

Courtesy of El Chorro

But El Chorro isn’t just about the quality of the cuisine; it’s about creating an experience. The attentive service, the warm ambiance, and the breathtaking views of Camelback Mountain all contribute to a sense of occasion. Whether you’re enjoying a romantic dinner for two or a celebratory gathering with friends, El Chorro creates memories that linger long after the last bite.

“What sets us apart is not just the exceptional dining experience but the profound connections we forge with our guests over the years,”  Ryan Prentiss, El Chorro Lodge, General Manager says. 

The Stockyards: Where History Meets Modern Flavors

The Stockyards Bar, Phoenix Restaurants

Courtesy of The Stockyards

Enter The Stockyards, and you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time. Established in 1947 on the site of the original Phoenix Stockyards, the restaurant embodies the spirit of the Wild West. A massive mahogany bar, hand-carved in 1954, and the hand-painted murals depicting Western scenes transport diners to a bygone era.

The menu reflects the restaurant’s rich heritage. While staying true to its “beef-centric” roots with prime rib and aged steaks, it also embraces the “New West Cuisine” movement, incorporating local and seasonal ingredients into its innovative dishes. The restaurant takes pride in its commitment to quality, sourcing beef from local ranches and utilizing fresh, indigenous ingredients like mesquite-grilled quail and native prickly pears.

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Old picture of The Stockyards, Phoenix Restaurants

Courtesy of The Stockyards

However, The Stockyards is more than just a steakhouse; it’s a community hub. The “Arizona Influencers” booths–dedicated to individuals who have shaped the state’s history–and the warm hospitality solidify The Stockyards’ role as a local landmark. Generations of families have celebrated many milestones here, from birthdays to graduations, creating a shared thread that binds the community together.

The Stockyards Dining room

Courtesy of The Stockyards

Beyond its historical significance, The Stockyards offers a vibrant atmosphere. The lively bar scene attracts locals and visitors alike, while the patio provides a relaxed setting to enjoy Arizona’s 300-plus days of sunshine. Whether celebrating a special occasion or enjoying a casual weeknight meal, this Phoenix restaurant offers an experience steeped in history and flavor.

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