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Hidden gem: Dine in an underground wine cellar, secret prohibition poker room at LON's at The Hermosa Inn

The room was found buried under the property in the early 1990s
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Posted at 5:34 AM, Aug 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-02 08:35:50-04

PARADISE VALLEY, AZ — Nestled in the heart of Paradise Valley is LON's at The Hermosa Inn.

The neighborhood hideaway resort was the vision of Lon Megargee, who settled here during prohibition in the 1930s.

The resort itself is a beautiful point of pride for those who live north of Camelback Road just east of 32nd Street. What’s hidden far below the restaurant is something we consider an Arizona Hidden Gem.

ABC15 talked with John Boggs, the general manager who tells us Megargee really enjoyed working here. It’s where the late cowboy artist created 'The Last Drop.' The painting, which features a cowboy, his horse, and a ten-gallon hat, became famous when it was selected as the world-famous logo for Stetson hats.

Locals have described Megargee as a notorious gambler who built a secret underground room to host illegal poker games during prohibition.

That room was finally found buried under the property when the new owners renovated the Hermosa Inn in the early 1990s.

“They were playing poker downstairs underground," Boggs told ABC15 Mornings Anchor Kaley O'Kelley. "It had secret tunnels. Megargee would have somebody up in his artist’s tower, as a lookout. When they saw prohibition agents coming their way, they would blow the whistle, and everybody would scatter through the tunnels built into the secret room that would take them out to the desert where their horses would be waiting, and they would ride off into the sunset.”

Boggs also says most people don’t know about this quaint romantic wine cellar, which is typically reserved for private dining and kept at a cool 57 degrees. That alone makes this a great setting for a one-of-a-kind Cool Dining Experience.

Now through Oct. 2, Boggs says hotel guests and locals can enjoy a special six-course tasting menu for $115 per person.

Based on availability, it will be open for parties of two or more, Thursday through Sunday nights.

Reservations are opened 7-10 days prior, beginning on Thursday for the following weekend, and can be made by calling LON’s at 602-955-7878.

Seating is limited to 12 guests.