Los Dos Molinos is a Valley dynasty – a colorful, kitschy, spicy dynasty. After starting their restaurant business in the far eastern Arizona town of Springerville in the mid-1970s, Victoria and Eddie Chavez set up shop in Mesa on Alma School Road. It was during the long daily commute from the Chavez’s home in Laveen to the Alma School restaurant that Victoria and Eddie first spotted an old, white ranch house just north of South Mountain (pictured above) that had been badly damaged in a fire. The city was planning to destroy the home, but the Chavez family offered to purchase the property and repair it. They placed a bid, cleaned out the interior of the building, replaced the floors, and renovated the space to include a kitchen and bathrooms. In 1989, the third location of Los Dos Molinos opened there.
The Chavez family saved more than just a beautiful historical home. The property held significant cultural importance as well. Silent Western film star Tom Mix made his residence there in the 1930s, right as Hollywood was embracing the latest cinema craze: “talkies.” (Mix’s Arizona period was not long-lived; in 1940, he fatally crashed his Cord 812 Phaeton into a gully outside Florence.) The ranch house became a commune for a period of time in the ‘60s, and then a mortuary. “We have a lot of people in the area who still come in, and say, ‘Well I’ve never come in here because I’ve actually attended a funeral here!’” says Sandy Melton, one of the Chavez’s daughters and chef at the South Phoenix location.
While Victoria Chavez (pictured left in the courtyard of the South Phoenix location) retired two years ago at age 78, her daughters and grandchildren are busy cooking the same food that Los Dos Molinos – now a chain with five total outposts – has been serving for almost 40 years, preserving the legacy of their family’s food inside a building that preserves pieces of Phoenix history.
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