Saguaro out front, ghost within help make R Place a unique place
Phil Villarreal Arizona Daily Star
Monday, March 11, 2013 12:00 am

The mosaic was installed when the north-side building housed Blue Sahuaro Chicago Style Pizza and Steak House. - PHOTOS BY BENJIE SANDERS / ARIZONA DAILY STAR

The building that houses R Place Bar & Grill has seen businesses come and go, but one feature that helps draw new tenants is its stone saguaro mosaic on the wall facing North Dodge Boulevard.

The turquoise-colored mosaic is a relic from when it served as the logo for Blue Sahuaro Chicago Style Pizza and Steak House, which gave way to Charlie's Tavern & Grill. Charlie's was known as a hangout for Green Bay Packers fans before it closed in 2008.

Donna Warren and her husband, Randy Cramblit, opened R Place in 2010. Warren said she likes the saguaro and is pleased to have it as part of the exterior. She has fond memories of Blue Saguaro, which she visited regularly.

The current operation is a family affair, with Warren's 22-year-old daughter, Makayla Pulido, tending bar.

The saguaro mosaic attracts attention. Visitors frequently stop and take pictures of it.

"A lot of people don't ask," Warren said. "Some people do come in and ask to take a picture. That happens one or two times a month."

Warren said she understands the mosaic's appeal. "I think it's beautiful."

The saguaro isn't the only quirk at the restaurant, which supposedly is haunted by a ghost that flicks the lights off and on and turns the music off, then back on at full blast. The spirit is said to organize the pens on a desk and turn the heat up on the grill, and sometimes can be heard crying in the bathroom.

That sort of talk doesn't faze regulars Jim Knight, 65, or 63-year-old Richard Petzelt, who heard about the ghost for the first time as he sipped a beer.

"Oh, hell no," Petzelt said, asked if he was spooked. "I'm into it."

When Warren was asked if there's anything else odd about the restaurant, she laughed, saying, "Isn't that odd enough?"

If you go

• What: R Place Bar & Grill.

• Where: 3412 N. Dodge Blvd.

• Hours: 10 a.m.-1 a.m. Sundays-Thursdays; 10 a.m.-2 a.m. Fridays-Saturdays.

• Phone: 881-9048.

Contact reporter Phil Villarreal at or 573-4130.