After 60 years, Pinnacle Peak Patio closing June 28
One of Scottsdale's oldest restaurants will follow the boot-steps of
Greasewood Flat and Rawhide Western Town into the unmarked grave of the
city's nearly forgotten Western icons.
Pinnacle Peak Patio will
close on June 28 after nearly 60 years in business, the latest Western
vestige to be replaced by suburban sprawl in what was once a remote area
of north Scottsdale.
Generations of visitors, hankering for an
Old West experience, have set foot in the dusty wooden establishment,
known for its 2-pound porterhouse steaks and hodgepodge of neckties
dangling from the ceiling.
hideaway will be replaced by the Reserve at Pinnacle Peak Patio, a
neighborhood of 50 patio homes at the foot of Pinnacle Peak.
"It's sad," but it's also "change and progress," said Lisa Cyr, a Pinnacle Peak Patio spokeswoman.
"It's not good or bad," she said. "If there wasn't a market for it, it wouldn't be happening."
A "no necktie" policy was started by the original owner of the restaurant, who wanted to keep the atmosphere casual, Cyr said.
Phoenix businessmen wandered in to eat, and the owner warned them "to
take their ties off, or he would cut them off," she said.
restaurant estimates, more than a million other ties have been clipped
and added to the rafters since then. Employees will count the ties in an
effort to reach a Guinness World Records title for largest tie
collection, Cyr said.
Pinnacle Peak Patio follows other Western
landmarks that have closed in Scottsdale, including Greasewood Flat
saloon, which closed in March, and Rawhide, which moved to the Gila
River Reservation in 2005.
A report outlining details of the new
development says the economy, a shift in demographics and, according to
Cyr, competition from newer, more modern restaurants contributed to
Pinnacle Peak Patio's end.
The owners of the restaurant have been searching for a new location,
though nothing has turned up yet, Cyr said. A new spot would have to be
"smaller, scaled down," she said.
"Patio space is obviously a huge thing for us," Cyr added. "Remoteness is not necessarily feasible anymore."
restaurant and Western entertainment venue started as a small store
that sold beer and bait to fishermen traveling to nearby lakes. In June
1957, owner Bill Depue began serving simple steak dinners, cooked over
mesquite wood, with salad and cowboy beans. The original shack burned
down and, two years later, Depue bought 10 acres down the road where the
current steakhouse sits.
These days, the restaurant is known for
its red-and-white checkered tablecloths, sawdust-covered floors and
photos of celebrities and politicians who have visited over the years.
As a child, Steven Spielberg shot his first movie, "The Last Gunfight," there in 1958, Cyr said.
"He was trying to become an Eagle Scout," she said. "He used ketchup bottles for fake blood."
a recent Friday morning, people parked in the restaurant's dirt lot to
snap photos of the restaurant, which resembles the rustic towns
popularized in Western movies. And longtime employees remembered the
restaurant during its heyday.
Scott Browning began work at Pinnacle Peak Patio in 1979.
At age 16, he became a dishwasher and worked the kitchen and grill before moving up the ranks to manager.
Back then, Browning recalls, "We did two gun fights a night, on Friday and Saturday."
No one lived in the area, he said, and the drive to north Scottsdale at night was dark except for headlights from vehicles.
Dickson, known as Big Marv, began grilling steaks at Pinnacle Peak
Patio in 1961. The 73-year-old chef said he's upset about the closure
and doesn't want to retire quite yet.
"I just hate to see it go down like this," he said. "But it's what has to be done."
Marv said he met his wife at nearby Reata Pass 47 years ago. The
Western image means a lot to his family, including his three boys, who
also work at Pinnacle Peak Patio.
"I guess I'm from the old school, and I'd like to see it keep going," he said.
The chef owns much of the Western memorabilia in the steakhouse.
Republic reporter Peter Corbett contributed to this story
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Cook the bacon on a sheet pan in the oven, reserving the fat.
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