Old Spaghetti Factory

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Nothing like a little murder and mayhem to create restless spirits!



I would describe this establishment as being a very classy but versatile joint!

The Phoenix Old Spaghetti Factory is an Italian Restaurant, a spin off from the original one that started in Oregon. There are Old Spaghetti Factory Restaurants in thirteen states, including Oregon.

This central midtown Phoenix Spaghetti Factory is an unique restaurant as it offers historic craftsmanship and modern space for romantic dates, small group/large group dining, and a variety of activities. This isn’t surprising because The Old Spaghetti Factory Corporation that owns this chain, respects historic places that are chosen to be transformed. They are careful to work around the site’s historic features when they can as they renovate the structures to become Old Spaghetti Factory restaurants. Both the historic and the new renovations work together to provide what the public wants and needs.

Two large, historic Phoenix homes that had long ago been changed into a single commercial building (by building an addition connecting them) needed further changes to make it into a restaurant worthy of the Old Spaghetti Factory name. An effort was made to  save the historical decor when possible.

Walls were taken down that originally separated different rooms, providing wide areas for an antique bar, dining tables and the customary Old Spaghetti Factory trolley car that people can sit inside and eat their meals. The load-bearing wall in the bar area was one of the casualties, but candy cane poles provided the support to keep the second floor secure.

So you may ask, what interior historical decor remains?

There are still some of the original rooms and much of the original woodwork, stained glass and antique cupboards still bring class to this restaurant.The wainscoating along the walls brings a classic feel, along with the wood decor and occasional stained glass windows and skylights.

Experts were hired to do the needed and necessary update to the outside of the building. As it was in the inside, the restoration process came with some modern additions.

“The restoration experts at Fine Point Finishes were hired to do the job along with architects Michael Kiner and John Glenn. With layer upon layer of paint on the exterior of the building, we had to bring in Jim Harrison to chemically strip the paint and bring back to life the wonderful red brick,” the franchise owner Krisann Kontaxis shared.

Changes: The original door was changed to be a double door. “Although the building is very old, it was never registered as a historic landmark, which is why we were able  to replace the original door with large double doors hand-hewn by Steven Richardson.”

The stained glass that had been there for years was changed as well. Kontaxis explained, “They were also able to change out the dark stained glass in the front of the building with clear glass to give it a more modern look and added a ramp so that they met ADA regulations.”

The result of all the improvements is that this restaurant is quite popular for any occasion, providing both intimate, romantic to larger more public dining areas, and popular group events. Patrons come to enjoy  great Italian meals and the entertainment opportunities, such as Murder Mystery productions, fundraising, birthday parties and other occasions needing banquet or meeting space.




In 1921, a pair of upper class, two-story houses with beautiful decor were constructed right next to each other on the main drag on North Central Avenue, in Phoenix, as it was the thinking at the time to build homes near the downtown area, probably within walking distance for convenience of the homeowner. One home was bought by the Cole family, and the other was bought by the Baker family.

What the original houses looked like on the first floor can be seen in a picture taken before the newest remodel, stripped off all the siding and paint down to the original bricks. They remodeled the front first story to better accommodate handicapped guests, and to give a fresh look to the restaurant.

In 1928, the mob came to this frontier town and moved in, with  the Henley Clan at the head. Local law enforcement often looked the other way, and the FBI had no presence here until 1935.  “The Mafia Outfit chose Phoenix as the hub of its proprietary and illegal betting wire, the Trans-America Publishing and News Service.  Mobster Gus Greenbaum was sent to run it. The wire service gained a powerful local ally in land baron and rancher Kemper Marley.”

Uh oh! When bad apples join forces and there is no one to police them, crime and corruption grow. The Mafia operated their illegal betting wire undisturbed for years to come, often in cahoots with Phoenix big wigs.  Their presence became stronger and stronger. By the 1970s, the Phoenix Mafia began to be influenced by east coast Mafia.

By 1941, the two homes were no longer on the outskirts of town, but were located now in the heart of the business district, as Phoenix had grown due to all the activity of the Mafia and their local partners, as well as other factors.

A descendant of the Cole family bought the Baker home and decided to connect the Cooper House with the Baker Home with an addition. The plan was to evolve the structures into one commercial business instead of tearing them down and starting from scratch. They decided to repurpose both structures, using their beautiful enteriors to enhance their new business endeavor.

These two connected homes became the new place for a furniture store, in the now commercial area  close to midtown Phoenix. The beautiful enteriors would create great atmosphere to showcase furniture and home decor.

In the 1970s, the Cole family sold their building to the Barrow family  who opened their business here. Finally, the Barrow family sold the building once again in the 1990s to the Old Spaghetti Factory chain, with the family of Krisann Kontaxis owning the franchise.  They opened for business in 1996.



One of the houses that is part of the restaurant, The Baker House, was the crime scene of two people during the 1930s.

By 1931, the downtown area had drawn many people with disputable character due to the infestation of the Mafia and their local bigwig partners. Also, The Great Depression caused desperation in people, pushing them to do things they normally wouldn’t do. It is also possible that the murders listed below happened because the victims and killers knew each other, out of revenge or retribution. The forceful taking of life often leaves restless spirits behind.

The two spirits from the Baker House are restless, but each has a different way of handling their bad ends.

After suffering a violent death at the hands of another, some victims as spirit people cannot go on, and get stuck in the moment of their death, not able to let go of their strong feelings or wanting justice.

The Lumber Barons Inn, CO (Two young women were brutally killed by a man who lived in the same building. They are stuck and want justice, Their killer was never caught, though they  as well as the other spirits in this inn have told investigators the name of the killer, it is another thing to prove it).

Old Faithful Inn, WY (A bride was killed by her groom when she was walking out of the bridal suite on her way back to her family. He cut off her head. As a spirit she mourns her failed marriage carrying around her head).

Shaker’s Cigar Bar, WI (A young teen prostitute was brutally killed by a client and buried in the wall).

The Old Spaghetti Factory, AZ (In 1931, a woman was brutally murdered in the basement. Paranormal activity suggests that the murdered female is still suffering and can’t get over her death).

Sometimes when people are brutally murdered, they don’t want to admit they are dead, and try to continue in their life as a spirit the best they can.

Kahler’s Grand Hotel, MN (A spirit who was brutally killed by underworld thugs, visits/stays to remember her good times in this hotel where she has peace and waits for justice).

USS Hornet, CA (Sailors who died in combat or in horrendous shipboard accidents want to continue on serving as spirits. They have given themselves new responsibilities to support the museum staff and those in charge of overbite visits).

Cary House, CA (Stanley loved his job as the desk clerk and concierge but had some overly flirtatious behavior that got him killed. His spirit continues on doing what he loved; his job and his flirting with the living).

Paranormal activity on the staircase and upper floor of the Baker Home suggests that the spirit of the murdered gentleman is still going about his business.

The Old Spaghetti FActory, AZ (The older male murder victim who was attacked while sleeping in his bed by an intruder, still wants to continue his life here as a spirit).



Spirit of Female Victim

She is still very upset about having her life taken from her, and perhaps still wants justice.

Staff who have to go down to the cellar are sometimes treated to the full paranormal sports package.

She lets them know that she is still there, and how unhappy she is about having her life end in a bad way.

The spirit appears, turns lights on and off, cries, shrieks, screams, and makes cold spots that chatters peoples’ teeth.

She whispers in the ears of staff who have to come down to the cellar.

Spirit of Male Victim

He has been spied by the living floating down the halls of the original Baker house.

His foot steps are heard going up the stairs in his house.

He likes to move the furniture around upstairs to suit himself.

As he goes around on his business, he turns lights on and off.

Still Friendly

He was personable while alive and is still that way as a spirit.

He knows the names of the members of the staff.

This spectral gentleman greets them by name in a friendly way.



Staff and the owners have reported the paranormal activity that they have experienced.

No evidence or EVPs have been shared with the public, though a private investigation may have been done to see if the spirits were dangerous.


Most Probably So!

The two spirits who stay here look at their murders in different ways.  The gentleman spirit is making the best of it, enjoying his house and being who he was while alive. He lets the memories of his murder go, and continues on, happy to spend his afterlife in his favorite place.

The female spirit is stuck in the negative emotions of grief and anger, not willing or capable of letting go and crossing over to loved ones on the other side.  It may be wise to invite a medium in to talk to her and offer counseling, letting her tell her story, and perhaps even helping her to leave her pain behind and pass over.


The Old Spaghetti Factory
1418 North Central Avenue,
Phoenix, AZ

The Old Spaghetti Factory is located about 5 blocks from central downtown Phoenix, in the 1921 historic section of a commercial zone on North Central Avenue, a major street that runs north/south through Phoenix.


  • Downtown centennial Old Spaghetti Factory gets face-lift
    By Angélica Salgado-Wood, Special to GetOut
    Jul 5, 2015
  • phoenixbites.com
  • roguecolumnist.typepad.com
  • www.azcentral.com
  • www.osf.com/location/phoenix-az/
  • roguecolumnist.com

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