Paradise Valley's landmark El Chorro Lodge reopened yesterday to a sold-out dinner crowd anxious to see all of the changes and improvements that have taken place since Jacquie Dorrance acquired the property last June. Dinner reservations are nearly booked solid for the next two weeks. Luckily, we've got a little preview of what you can expect from the new El Chorro.
|Photo by Al Payne, A. F. Payne Photographic, Tempe, AZ.|
|El Chorro re-imagined: Can you tell what's old from what's new?|
Considering the scope of the changes, this was one of the quickest renovation projects I've ever heard of. The original footprint of the building was kept intact, but dazzling new features were added including a gorgeous front archway, blue-tiled courtyard fountain, several outdoor fireplaces, and a new patio space which accommodates more than 200 guests.
The indoor/outdoor bar and fireplace conversation areas are first-come, first serve -- which means you can pop by for a sticky bun and a cocktail without reservations, if you can snag a seat.
There are also two regulation bocce ball courts and an on-site organic vegetable/herb garden that Moore eventually plans to have local children help tend. The idea was to modernize El Chorro while retaining its original charm.
That's a pretty lofty goal, but from what I saw on a preview tour this past Wednesday, they succeeded. If you've never been to El Chorro (gasp! shame on you), it's hard to tell the old from the new.
Click through for more info and a photo slide show of the new El Chorro Lodge.