An Iconic Arizona Destination for Dining, Drinks, and Unforgettable Milestones
Rich tradition, culinary excellence, and unparalleled romance come together at El Chorro Lodge to create an experience that is purely Paradise Valley. Cozily nestled between Scottsdale and Phoenix, this iconic Arizona landmark offers an authentic Arizona dining experience. Say “El Chorro” and the air is heavy with juniper smoke and the sweet aroma of just-baked sticky buns, famously served at every meal.
Generations of Valley residents, visitors, and celebrities have traveled to this serene setting at the base of the stunning Camelback and Mummy mountains. With its breathtaking views and unmatched Arizona charm, El Chorro is an excellent setting for any occasion — be it a relaxed brunch, romantic dinner, or the wedding of your dreams.
A History of Excellence
The name “El Chorro” comes from Peruvian Spanish, meaning “running stream” or “watering hole.”
Originally built as the Judson School for Girls by Dr. John C. Lincoln in 1934 so that his daughter, Lillian, could attend school while he was building Camelback Inn, the schoolhouse and surrounding 22 acres were later purchased by Jan and Mark Gruber in 1937 and converted to a restaurant and lodge. El Chorro became the “watering hole” for Camelback Inn’s guests, as the Inn did not offer alcohol. Clark Gable, Milton Berle and other prominent figures visited the lodge in its early days. In the 1950s, the lodge became a favorite of Arizona families and local celebrities, including David Wright, son of Frank Lloyd Wright.
Joe Miller, hired as a bartender in 1952 and his future wife, Evie, hired as a cocktail waitress in 1954, eventually purchased the lodge in 1973. During their 36 year tenure as owners, the Millers expanded the restaurant’s capacity from 70 to 200 seats.
In 2009, noted Valley philanthropist and long-time Paradise Valley resident, Jacquie Dorrance purchased the restaurant and embarked upon an extensive remodel. Alongside operating partners Tim and Kristy Moore, Dorrance sought to preserve the classic ambiance and charm of the original restaurant, while expanding outdoor spaces and revitalizing the overall design. An eclectic mix of old and new, redesign of this Valley treasure was deemed a success.
Most recently in July 2021, Grossman Company Properties and Classic Hotels & Resorts acquired El Chorro, adding to their distinguished list of restaurants and resorts throughout Arizona and California. Locally, the portfolio includes The Scott Resort & Spa and on-site restaurant The Canal Club, Arizona Grand Resort & Spa, and the new High Country Motor Lodge – opening in early 2022 in Flagstaff. Classic Hotels & Resorts specializes in boutique service, elevated design, and uniquely curated experiences.