A restaurant/steakhouse in Tempe, Arizona, on the southwest corner of Mill Ave. and Rio Salado Parkway, about half a mile west of Arizona State University's Sun Devil Stadium (where the Arizona Cardinals play their home games, at least until the new stadium is finally built). It has a unique history that makes it something of a landmark of the Phoenix area.

La Casa Vieja (which is simply Spanish for 'the old house') was originally the home of Charles Hayden and his family. Hayden settled at the future site of Tempe to set up a flour mill and a ferry that ran across the Salt River. In 1877, Charles and his wife had a son, Carl Hayden (who would later represent Arizona in Congress for nearly 60 years). By this time, a decent-sized community had grown up in the area, and was called Hayden's Ferry1.

In the 1890s, Hayden and his family moved into a new home, but kept ownership of La Casa Vieja. The family ran it as a restaurant until the 1930s, when it was hit with significant financial problems (possibly related to the Great Depression). The restaurant changed hands a number of times until 1954, when it was purchased by Leonard Monti.

As to the food... well, I'm not much for steaks, personally, but I've heard theirs is pretty good, especially considering their prices. I can personally vouch for their roasted chicken, however. And, of course, the Roman bread. (They also used to serve a spicy baked chicken entree that was quite good, but it's apparently no longer on the menu.) At any rate, if you're ever in the area, it's a nice place to go for good food and a bit of history. (Just don't go when there's a football game going on at the stadium - you'll almost certainly wind up in traffic for at least an hour; and that's just getting there from a few blocks away.)

1: I'm not sure when or why Hayden's Ferry was renamed Tempe (though the reason may have something to do with the fact that the Salt River no longer flows through there). Frankly, I wish it hadn't been; I'd much rather be able to say I went to school in Hayden's Ferry.

Source: http://www.montis.com

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