Iconic Tempe restaurant The Chuckbox celebrates 50 years in business

Jul 15, 2022, 4:45 AM | Updated: 10:11 am

TEMPE, Ariz. — The Chuckbox, downtown Tempe’s oldest restaurant, is celebrating 50 years in business this month.

At University Drive and Forest Avenue, the restaurant borders Arizona State University and has kept students fed with hamburgers and other options since it opened in 1972.

“A lot of the students and locals that have been coming in and supporting us these years are still living in the area, they’re bringing their kids and they’re bringing their grandkids,” supervisor Paul Marquart said, who has been with the restaurant for nearly all of the 50 years.

“We’ve got generation after generation coming in to enjoy The Chuckbox. That’s really rewarding for us.”

It started after the elusive restaurant owner, known only as Frank, was fed up with the corporate hamburger world.

He set out and created The Chuckbox, and Marquart joined on when he was a teenager shortly after and stuck around.

“What makes us special to the community is we cook over real mesquite charcoal, we cook in front of you, we have great quality ingredients,” Marquart said. “We use our special magic dust.”

Many employees of the restaurant have also worked at The Chuckbox for decades like Marquart, providing customers a familiar face in addition to the iconic food.

“Our GM, Chris, has been there 21 years. We’ve got a guy in our advertisements, we call him Big Jaun, and he’s been there about 40 years,” Marquart said.

“It’s the people who make the experience for the customer, as well.”

The restaurant throughout the month of July will be celebrating by selling an exclusive mug or T-shirt that honors the anniversary.

Tempe Mayor Corey Woods is also expected to honor The Chuckbox for crossing the threshold on July 25.

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Iconic Tempe restaurant The Chuckbox celebrates 50 years in business