Not many restaurants can say they have a "Marilyn Monroe table" and actually have a plausible story to back up the claim. But the legendary Durant's steak house does, and it's a little surprising. Talk to any of the waiters or employees and you'll quickly realize that the majority of the anecdotes about the restaurant — especially ones about Jack Durant himself — aren't backed up by many facts. Almost every story at Durant's (2602 North Central Avenue) is a rumor, but it keeps the mystique alive, and we like it that way. It's certainly true that Marilyn Monroe did, indeed, sit at Table 54, though, and to this day patrons still request the spot when they call for reservations. The table is one of many features of Durant's that ooze history and tradition. Entering the restaurant from the back kitchen door is an absolute must, as is taking in the vintage décor and all-red everything. The atmosphere inside Durant's is unlike anything else in Phoenix, with the flocked wallpaper, dim lighting, floral arrangements, and endless plaques and awards proclaiming the steak house's greatness.
The busiest time of year at Durant's starts in October and usually lasts through spring. Employees even say that it's quite ambitious to come to the restaurant without a reservation between November and February. Durant's has plenty of loyal customers, many of whom fill up the polished booths on Christmas Eve every year, but guests are usually split halfway between locals and tourists. Another famous feature of the restaurant is the old wooden phone booth located across from the host area. People often go inside to talk on their own cell phones away from the surrounding noise, and the actual phone is used so rarely that the phone company actually tried to take it away once. There's even a phone in the women's restroom, but we don't want to know what kind of situations result in its use.