As Optima®’s Scottsdale communities continue to flourish, residents are presented with an extraordinary opportunity to embark on a culinary journey that blends the best of both worlds: modern dining experiences nestled within the walls of historic homes. These establishments not only offer a glimpse into Scottsdale’s rich past but also serve as a testament to the area’s evolution into a vibrant, contemporary city.

These new dining venues are part of a trend nationwide, where local developers and chefs are transforming old homes into culinary hubs for the surrounding neighborhoods. In Phoenix, we see innovative approaches to sustainably preserve historic homes while serving the economic needs of the neighborhood.

Here are just a few of the restaurants popping up in our own backyard:

Farish House
The Farish House. Photo: Trystan Trenberth

The Farish House, standing proudly at the threshold of the 20th century and now a recognized member of the Phoenix Historic Property Register, narrates a tale of transformation through the ages. Constructed in 1899 by Howard Cassidy and later becoming the home of Phoenix’s first city manager, William A. Farish, and his wife Jane in 1901, this building has journeyed from a single-family residence to a multi-faceted space with duplexes, an art gallery, and various business offices over the years. Located in the vibrant Evans Churchill neighborhood of downtown Phoenix, The Farish House has evolved into a cozy bistro that honors its rich history with a menu of timeless classics like ratatouille, mac and cheese, and beef stew, all while sharing a landlord with the neighboring Songbird Coffee and Tea House.

House Brasserie
The House Brasserie. Photo: Sophia DuBois, Sophia DuBois Photographer

In the heart of Old Town Scottsdale, The House Brasserie invites patrons into a world where French elegance meets modern American cuisine. Operating from a residence constructed in 1939 by the pioneering Mowry family, this restaurant carries forward the legacy of Arizona’s early settlers through its innovative menu and the preserved charm of the original home. The Mowrys’ spirit of hope and hard work is echoed in the delightful dishes and the preserved rose bushes that symbolize their lasting impact on the Scottsdale community.

Garden Bar Phoenix
Garden Bar. Photo by IG: @iamchanelle

Meanwhile, Garden Bar offers a unique “garden to glass” experience from a 1914 California bungalow, blending the historical essence of downtown Phoenix with contemporary mixology.  This spot offers some classic, nostalgic and whimsical cocktails along with curated grazing boards, truffle parmesan popcorn and pretzel bites.  They also have a Bespoke Cocktail Experience that ties mini cocktails into the history of the house, during WWI & II, including the Kilroy Was Here … a cocktail created after the Kilroy family that lived in the house from the 1940’s – 1960’s.  Guests can eat and drink in any of the cozy, decorated rooms, back patio or in rocking chairs on the dog-friendly front porch.

Located in a historic building in downtown Phoenix’s Heritage Square, the Diaspora Collective is a vibrant beacon within the community, inviting all to immerse in the celebration of culture and the rich tapestry of African diaspora history. More than just a space, it’s a dynamic hub where visitors connect, sharing and shaping stories of Africa and its widespread descendants. Within its embrace, Soko presents a market brimming with an exquisite array of goods crafted by Black artisans from Africa and beyond, offering a tangible connection to the diaspora’s creative spirit. Complementing this cultural journey, Latha serves as a culinary gateway, its menu a homage to the diverse food traditions spanning Africa, the Caribbean, Brazil, and the southern United States, each dish and drink a story of heritage and unity.

Nestled in a historic dwelling just a stone’s throw north of Roosevelt Row, Sottise breathes new life into the venerable Knipe House, originally crafted by the acclaimed architect Leighton G. Knipe in 1909. As one of the remaining original structures in the Roosevelt Row arts district, the building’s storied past spans designs across Phoenix, including notable works on the Arizona State University campus in Tempe. Despite enduring multiple renovations and recovering from a fire in 2010, the space found its new purpose in 2021 when TJ Culp and Esther Noh transformed it into Sottise. This modern French bistro pays tribute to the timeless elegance of French cuisine and viniculture, inviting guests to savor this homage on the home’s iconic wrap-around front porch or within the intimate confines of its dining room, each corner a whisper from the past.

Cibo Pizzeria
Cibo Pizzeria. Photo by Cibo Pizzeria

Set in a restored bungalow built by a rancher in 1913, Cibo Pizzeria resides in a charming neighborhood in central Phoenix. Before becoming a pizzeria, the home was once a boarding house and a naturopathic doctor’s office, according to the restaurant’s co-owner and chef Guido Saccone. Complete with an intimate front patio, exposed brick, hardwood floors, stained glass, and a fireplace, the building became Cibo in 2005 and has been serving Italian staples ever since. Popular for its red and white pizzas, fresh salads, and housemade pasta, Cibo is a local favorite for lunch and dinner.

As Optima residents explore these historical dining venues, they’re not just savoring a meal or a cocktail; they’re partaking in a living history lesson, savoring the stories of those who came before while contributing to the ongoing narrative of the vibrant community. Through these experiences, the past and present merge, offering a taste of history with every bite and sip.