November 16, 2009
Ever sit around and wonder where all the ridiculous myths and legends come from? You know, the ones where you kind of shake your head and go, "That is the most ridiculous thing I have heard in my life. Who makes this crap up?"
Well, here's a good example. For Halloween this year (in Cave Creek) at Cody's Smokehouse & Grill (which officially opens in December at the location of a series of failed restaurants and bars starting with Fandango), the new owners created a "big 21-and-older Halloween" haunted house. One of the organizers told the newspaper this whopper: "We were told by Cave Creekers that Cody's was built on an old Indian burial ground. There have been movies shot there, and when it was another restaurant, people claimed to see ghosts and say it is haunted."
The only true statement in that sentence is "people claimed to see ghosts."
Ten years ago it was an empty lot across from the Mineshaft Restaurant where David K. Jones and I did our Cave Creek morning radio show. The land was bought by a new guy in town, a hotshot developer who spent a bundle on building a state of the art restaurant on the site (don't quote me, but I seem to remember he dumped about $1.4 mil into the build-out). He once bragged to me that if he couldn't beat the food at El Encanto he didn't deserve to be in business.
Fandango's had a big grand opening, and everyone in town came. I sat on the patio near a trickling waterfall and chose the albondigas soup. Instead, I received something that tasted and looked suspiciously like French onion soup. When I told the waitress someone must have confused my order, the owner's wife (a stunning brunette) came over and tried to convince me it was albondigas soup. I felt bad for her, because after a while it became obvious she was trying to cover up the fact that their cook (who was anglo) didn't know how to make albondigas soup. Then why was it on the menu? She didn't have an answer. I made a vow to never return. Eventually, no one else went either (thus the ghosts of customers past). Reggie Jackson from Rawhide came out six months later and took me to lunch there. He was buying so I didn't protest too much, although I warned him. Lo and behold, they had a new chef, a talented hispanic from Jalepenos down on Pinnacle Peak Road, and he knew what he was doing, but it was too late. The stink of inauthentic was on the place and the restaurant died an ignoble death not long after.
Moral: he didn't deserve to be in business.
After Fandangos it sat vacant for a long time. Someone tried to make it a bar, The Long Branch, but that too faded. It might have been something else but I don't remember. Anyway, some kid, trying to drum up business for a new venture pulled a tall tale out of her rectum and here's the crazy part: I predict that thirty, forty years from now someone will extract this windy out of the newspaper archives, dust it off, only by then it will be a historic fact.
Hey, it was in the newspaper.
So when I'm doing research on something that happened 100 years ago and someone says to me, "of course it's true, it was in the newspaper," I always have to laugh.
"People are more likely to believe a blatant lie over a half truth."
—Adolf Hitler, the father of modern advertising
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