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Old School Restaurants in Phoenix area

I'm visiting Phoenix and love old school restaurants - the type where you get the great homemade sourdough bread, maybe a true hot turkey sandwich, killer martini's, etc. Ambiance with old red leather booths, etc. Any recommendations? I'm willing to travel to Scottsdale, Mesa, Chandler, etc.

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  1. there's really only one, so i'll just get the word in first: durants.

    its all you've mentioned. got one bad review recently, but otherwise, its usually an easy sell.

    1. Just checked it out on the web. Sounds just like what I'm looking for. It's not gourmet but I love good old American comfort food, 50's food like quasi-Polynesian Chinese food at Tiki places. Any Tiki places or drug store food counters left? Funky old Chinese places?

      4 Replies
      1. re: Paliau

        no tiki places that i know of... a few diners on west side... durants actually is not only fairly expensive, but while the food is authentic and simple, VERY very good...

        funky old chinese places: the last great one closed a few years ago.... we've got good chinese and funky chinese, we do not have good funky chinese, sadly.

        oh, to get a large blue drink in a coconut...

        1. re: Paliau

          For Polynesian Chinese fare, give Trader Vics in Scottsdale a try. Great ambience and a stroll to the hotel bar at the Valley Ho next door after dinner is always nice.

          Trader Vic's - Scottsdale
          6850 E. Main Street, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

          1. re: Paliau

            For Tiki, you might want to look into Trader Vic's, recently revived at the Valley Ho Resort, Scottsdale. Reviews have been mixed. Those, who knew the old TV's hate it, those who did not know the original, seem to love it.


            Oops, Fedeflew beat me to the punch. Note to self: read all posts first!

            Trader Vic's - Scottsdale
            6850 E. Main Street, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

            1. re: Paliau

              Funky, old Chinese -- Sing High Chop Suey House -- the name says it all. It's one of the oldest restaurant in Phoenix.As with the places listed in my post below, my experience is not recent, so proceed with caution.

              Sing High Cafe
              27 W Madison St, Phoenix, AZ 85003

            2. El Chorro Lodge on Lincoln Dr. Scottsdale is defintely "old school" try the chicken fried steak.

              1 Reply
              1. re: twodogs

                I was less impressed by the rendition of CFS, that I had, but yes, it is definitely "old school." Two, that are now gone, were: The Beefeater and Calico Cow (moved to N. Central, but closed). Other than Durant's and El Chorro, I can't recall any others, in operation now. Maybe the board will offer up some other examples.

                Thanks for the mention,

              2. Anyone have recent experience with My Mother's at 19th Ave and Indian School? It seems very retro. I recently had some out-of-town visitors who stumbled upon it and loved it, but I'm not sure how much I trust their tastes.The menu promises the requested hot turkey sandwiches.


                What about MacApline on 7th Street? Haven't been there for a while, but it fits the bill for soda fountain / drugstore counter.


                Finally, there's the Landmark in Mesa. Classic entrees and a huge salad bar in a separate room. Salad bars seem charmingly retro in 2008.


                Paliau -- Please understand that these are not really recommendations so much as reflections on your inquiry. I've not been to any of these places recently enough to recommend, but they might fit your interests, so I'm throwing them out there in case anyone else has recent experience with them.

                2611 North Central Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85004

                My Mother's Restaurant
                4130 N 19th Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85015

                El Chorro Lodge
                5550 E Lincoln Dr, Paradise Valley, AZ 85253

                Landmark Restaurant
                809 W Main St, Mesa, AZ 85201

                2305 N 7th St, Phoenix, AZ

                1 Reply
                1. re: silverbear

                  My Mother's is ok, but I'm not running there anytime soon.

                  El Chorro is definitely old school. Before The Other Place was taken over by Robert McGrath I would've added it to the list too.

                2. Ambiance with old red leather booths..
                  One of the best ever Steaks and Seafood restaurants..where you walk through the kitchen and they serve you the best damn cocktail..and the food is outstanding.
                  Love Love Love Durant's!

                  1. i know it's become rather predictable of me, but I might throw Don and Charlies into the mix. It's old by AZ standards (25 years) and definitely has that dark, old school feel. They serve a great comlimentary chopped liver platter to start and, until recently, had liver and onions on the menu. (Definitely old school!) But their steaks, chops and BBQ are second to non and the atmosphere is exactly what you're looking for.

                    1. For Mexican food in Naga Hide booths, try TeePee on 42nd st and Indin School. It's been there for ever and is a neighborhood fave. Traditional American/Sonoran dishes, with lots of red sauce and cheese. It can be a little busy as it is small, but the food is good, sometimes great.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: kmarg

                        i find teepee positively vomitacious. i know its been around forever (and i suspect some of the food there has as well), but i've never gotten the charm. with so many great mexican places in town, seems like a waste of space (though, of course, to each their own).

                        1. re: hzp

                          Does "vomitacious" mean that it 1.) causes vomit to be produced 2.) is composed of vomit (or primarily thereof) or 3.) reminds one of vomit?

                          Regardless, it's a fabulous adjective and I've added it to my repetoire.

                          1. re: ejs1492

                            Great word! I eat there often and have yet to find it "vomitacious". It's no gourmet experience, but it's clean, with decent food, and certainly fits the old school description, though no martini's ...

                          2. re: hzp

                            In my high school, we used to say "vomitrocious" or "retch-a-tronic." Still, your meaning comes through loud and clear. I haven't been to Tee Pee recently, but I don't remember having any major problems with it.

                            1. re: silverbear

                              Pink Pony is definitely old school, but gets mixed reviews. I've never been let down by the prime rib there, and the drinks and live entertainment are always fun.