Cafe Margarita

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Spirits can be playful and move things where they like them.

Some spirits love keeping an eye on the places they loved in life.



The building that now houses Cafe Margarita, once known as Nellie Cashman’s Restaurant, is an upgraded 1959 replica of the original adobe. Stepping inside is like stepping back in time, with wooden tables, and decor expected in a Mexican/Italian restaurant from the Old West.

There is a patio/courtyard on the side of the restaurant, with rooms located around the patio. They are no longer used as hotel rooms. The building was probably renovated a few times throughout the 20th century to bring it up to code (to modernize the kitchen area, etc.) but the owners have been careful to stay within the guidelines of the National Register of Historic District Landmarks.

Cafe Margarita offers its patrons the real flavors of Mexico and a touch of Italy. The owners and staff “take pride in serving our guests authentic Mexican and Italian dishes made with the finest ingredients available.”

Their mixed drinks are truly delicious as well. They advertise “Sip on an iced cold creamy horchata or hand blended cactus margarita.”


In this spot, an adobe was built in 1880 and opened as a restaurant and boarding house. In 1881, Joseph Pascholy and an Irish immigrant by the name of Nellie Cashman, a part time prospector, bought the place and opened their own restaurant and boarding house; “a lodging house with spring mattresses, a reading room and one of the largest dining rooms in Tombstone.”

Nellie had many gifts and talents.  She made a living while prospecting for silver herself. She also was terrific at fundraising! As soon as she settled in, she raised money for a new hospital among other things needed for a caring society. The hospital opened in 1881.

Nellie was a gifted business woman, a tremendous cook with high standards for the restaurant and the rooms. When her widowed sister and her nieces and nephews came to Tombstone, she took them in, and opened up another business; a hotel. She ran that with her sister, who eventually died of TB in Tombstone.

Nellie was called “The Angel of Tombstone,” as she took care of down-and-out miners. She also had a strong conscience, and wasn’t afraid to confront those with bad ethics. Five outlaws who were doomed to be hung because of the murdering spree they went on, sat in the Tombstone jail. Nellie visited them in jail and converted them all to faith before the hanging.

A local man saw the opportunity to make some money from their execution. He built an observation stand and sold tickets. After exhausting her legal ways to stop this, Nellie turned to covert actions.

She called upon all of her mining friends for a favor. Before the hanging, which was scheduled for the next day, the miners tore down the observation stand with gusto. No one pressed charges, as even those who bought tickets admired her so for all of her good works in Tombstone.

A variety of lawmen rented rooms here, such as Sheriff John Slaughter, who was the head lawman for Cochise County, after the Earp/Cowboy confrontations and peace had come to Tombstone.

Nellie also traveled around the southwest, drawn to places with silver strikes; setting up restaurants wherever she went. She always raised money for good works and lived a stellar life to be admired and praised.

She came back to Tombstone as a home base, and picked up where she left off at the restaurant. Nellie eventually went to Canada, where she died at a very old age.

The adobe, continued on as a hotel, a boarding house, and sometimes a restaurant through the eras, under many owners. Its location was right across from the major attraction in town, the OK Corral, where tourists came for gunfight reenactments of that fateful day.

Their prime location kept it open continuously throughout the late 19th-21st century. In the 1950s, Mrs. Josephine Keagle rented out rooms and had a souvenir shop in the restaurant area.

In 1959, a fast burning fire, bolstered by thirty mile an hour winds destroyed the old Nellie Cashman adobe.  A new replica was built with improved features and rooms around the courtyard, with an updated kitchen. It opened once again as The Russ House, Nellie Cashman’s Restaurant, and finally it became the Cafe Margarita.


The spirits who keep the living company here have a connection either to this structure or the land that it sits upon. Some possible reasons are listed below.

People who enjoyed a special place while alive, like to still visit it as spirits remembering all the good times there.

Brother Sebastian’s Restaurant NE (Apparently, there is a spectral patron who still likes to come and enjoy others eating and drinking in his favorite restaurant, despite being in spirit form).

Wabasha St. Caves MN (Three spirits of murdered gangsters still like to play cards and enjoy the many events here).

The Red Lion Pub, IL (A variety of spectral customers still like to visit, remember their good times here, and watch the living drinking and eating).

The Casa Margarita in Tombstone, AZ (Spirits who loved to eat here in life like to visit).

People who are forced by circumstances beyond their control, or because their own choices prevented them from doing what they loved to do in life, sometimes try to make up for it, and find comfort in letting the living know that they are back.

Liberty Hall, KY (The spirit of Mrs. Marick died before she could be of much help to her grieving niece, so as a spirit she has tried to help the living anyway she can!).

Captain Benson Bailey House NE (Captain Bailey is restless because he couldn’t figure out how his wife died, which led to his own death in the same murderous way).

Hartford Twain House, CT (The Twain family had to move out of their forever home over money issues and because the place was a sorrowful reminder of the death of their daughter).

The Casa Margarita in Tombstone, AZ (Perhaps someone who owned this place had to give it up because they died suddenly, or made unwise business decisions, or had to move on to another town. Perhaps they lost it in the fire).

People who enjoyed working or owning an establishment, sometimes want a more hands-on role and continue to work or manage, visit or reside in their old, beloved place of employment or business as spirits.

The Lake Hotel WY (The spirit of a porter still appears in solid form and asks guests if he can carry their bags up to their room, and does so).

Bair Bistro, WA (The spirit of the original owner tries to be involved with the current business here).

Farnsworth House PA (The spirit of a former mistress or head housekeeper, checks up on the supplies).

The Cafe Margarita in Tombstone, AZ (Some staff members have felt that friendly eyes have been watching them do their job).

Sometimes spirits will connect to the land where their special structure once stood; and will sometimes move into the any structure built on their favored spot.

Custer House, ND (When the Custer House was rebuilt using the exact plans that Custer himself drew up, and the Custer artifacts and furniture were added, the spirits of the Custer family and the officers who used to hang out here gladly moved back inside!).

Rialto Theater, IN (When a theatre was built upon land that was once a farm, the spirits of the farm residents gladly moved inside to help and encourage the living).

Pittsburgh National Aviary, PA (Inmates who died in the prison that once stood here love to walk through the Aviary, which helps to calm their restlessness).

The Cafe Margarita in Tombstone, AZ (While the original structure burned down in 1959,  spirits connected to it or to the land that it sat upon, apparently have moved back into the 1959 replica, probably appreciating all the new improvements).

Sprits whose lives are cut short because they were murdered, sometimes are restless, want justice, and/or try to live their old lives the best they can. They often hang around the property where they were killed.

The Lumber Baron’s Inn CO (Two young women were brutally killed when the mansion was a low-rent boarding house in a run-down neighborhood. Their spirits still wait for justice).

Saint John’s Twin Cinemas, OR (The spirit of a Vaudevillian performer who was murdered in the alley behind the theatre still is a friendly, helpful protector of the staff and owners).

Lucky’s Tavern, FL (A mobster who was shot just outside of this bar many years ago has decided to move into the building, and joined the managerial staff, doing his part to keep an eye on the employees using his gruff ways).

The Cafe Margarita in Tombstone, AZ (Sometime during this building’s history, a young woman who was a boarder was murdered by another boarder. She amuses herself in the restaurant, trying to work through her restlessness through acts of levity and playfulness).

Some spirits become upset when they hear the living doubting their existence, especially if they try hard to be noticed by the living.

Hassayampa Inn, AZ (The spirit of a bride who killed herself reacts when people state that she doesn’t exist, or bring up what she did to herself).

Rex Restaurant, MT (The spirit of a murdered bartender will knock a book off the shelf above the bar so it flies at people who claim that spirits don’t exist).

Brumder Mansion, WI (A member of a paranormal investigation team openly stated that he didn’t believe in spirits. As a result, he soon had a hard time finding his coat, which had mysteriously wound up on top of the coat rack after a long search  for it. The coat wasn’t there when he first started to look for it, as it would’ve been seen by anyone helping in the hunt for the coat).

The Cafe Margarita in Tombstone, AZ (Customers of the Cafe Margarita need to watch what they say or discuss, especially if they don’t believe in spirits. A spirit has sensitive feelings here).



A variety of spirits very much like the rebuilt adobe and make personal appearances, as well as amusing themselves in other ways as unseen presences.

General Activity

Electric lights have a mind of their own; being an irresistible temptation to a spectral visitor or resident.

Strange noises, crashing sounds, and even muted voices have also been reported by the living.

Cold spots suddenly appear with no natural explanation to them.

Older Male Spirit

Dressed in an old fashioned black suit. Perhaps, he is a former owner.

The spirit of this friendly gentleman astounded the cooking staff and waitresses when he appeared and sauntered into the kitchen; perhaps to check up on the food?

A Solid Spirit Couple

This spirit couple dressed in late 1800s in fine western clothing, walked or floated into the restaurant.

They looked like living people, solid form with all their parts, including their feet.

The waitress thought they were re-enactors.

As she came to take their order, the two would-be patrons had melted into the air. Imagine her surprise!

Notice Me!

An unknown, female spirit wants to be noticed by the living staff and owner.

Some think that she is the murder victim.

A female spirit has been seen, floating around the restaurant.

She moves items around to her liking.

This female spirit can be playful. She performs little pranks and jokes to let the living that she is still there.

Watch What You Say

This female spirit gets annoyed with the living patrons who don’t believe in spirits.

When patrons misbehave and laugh at the idea that spirits are there, look out!

Such a foolish couple sat down for a meal.

After scoffing that the restaurant was haunted, a jar of mustard mysteriously fell over into the lap of one of them. Oops!


There have been a boatload of reports from witnesses about the paranormal sightings, and activity here.

Haunted American Tours caught several great pictures of a spirit inside the restaurant when this business was called Nellie Cashman’s. They were the only group who posted hard evidence; their pictures were taken inside the restaurant. These were taken on an Easter weekend: 4/03/2008.

I bet private investigations were probably done for various owners, to make sure their spirits would not hurt employees and patrons. The verdict was that the spirits mean no harm, and are pretty much benign; even the one who gets offended by skeptics.


Probably so! The Cafe Margarita may have spectral fans of their cuisine as well as living ones who may enjoy watching others eat and enjoy themselves, and pretend to have a meal here.

A former owner may be keeping an eye on the kitchen, being very much interested in the preparation and serving of the food.

The mischievous spirit may have had her employment cut short because of circumstances beyond her control, and is making up for it now. Perhaps she was the murder victim who died here, and doesn’t want to be forgotten.




Cafe Margarita (formerly The Russ House)
131 South 5th Street
Tombstone, AZ 85638
(520) 457-2277

Cafe Margarita is located on the northwest corner of the intersection of 5th and Toughnut Streets; right across from the OK Corral.


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  • Nellie Cashman’s Restaurant (Tombstone) – Dark Haunts …

Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr


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