FOOD & DINING

Historic Teeter House downtown has been empty for years. Meet the new restaurant moving in

Bahar Anooshahr
Arizona Republic

After two and a half years, a new restaurant is opening in Teeter House. Previously occupied for more than a decade by James Beard Award winning chef Nobuo Fukuda's restaurant Nobuo at Teeter House, the space has been vacant since it shuttered on March 30, 2020.

Built in 1899 by Leon Bouvier, a flour miller and cattle farmer, Teeter House is a Victorian-era pyramid cottage located in Historic Heritage Square in downtown Phoenix, across from Pizzeria Bianco. But the name comes from the second owner, Eliza Teeter, who purchased it in 1911 and started renting it in 1919.

Que Sazon, a food truck with the tagline: "If you cannot move to South America, we bring South American to you," received the City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Board's approval to open its first brick-and-mortar at the Historic Teeter House on Aug. 25, 2022.

"We are just very excited," said Julie. "Our business is built into a community. For us, it's about quality. We put our heart and soul into the food we make."

French downtown:Why you need to visit Sottise and what to order when you get there

Que Sazon is a family-run Colombian restaurant

Husband and wife team, Fabian and Julie Ocampo started their food truck in St. Louis in 2014 and restarted it a year after moving to Arizona in 2017. They were successfully building a community of patrons when the pandemic forced them to close in 2020. "Every time we had a popup people would come and bring a new person with them to try the food," said Julie.

Two years and a few private events later, the duo decided to take the next big step and open a brick-and-mortar restaurant. 

"Fabi and I were looking all over for a space until Teeter House came up," said Julie.

The Ocampos plan to serve a Latin American menu with what they describe as a Miami vibe, inspired by their favorite Miami Beach restaurant, Bolivar. Colorful walls and artwork will set the eclectic mood, which is mirrored in the flavors on the menu.

The couple divides the responsibilities with Julie attending to the front of the house and Fabian doing what he loves and excels in — cooking.

Fabian learned how to cook at a young age by helping his grandmother in his native, Colombia, and worked in restaurants as he got older.

Family and food have come full circle for him. Whereas when he was younger, he was the one helping his family, now his family helps him.

Fabian Ocampo and his wife Julie Ocampo laugh and joke with their children Sebastian and Kaylee at Teeter House at Heritage Square on Sept. 30, 2022.

Julie's sister, Terri Cross, and Fabian's kids, Kaylee and Sebastian, who are now 14 and 17, have pitched in since the beginning. The kids help take orders and add sauces to dishes. Fabian's mother, mamita Elizabeth Ortiz helps when she’s in town.

Downtown Phoenix bartender explores:'How one cocktail could change the world.'

What's on the menu at Que Sazon?

One of Fabian's most popular dishes at the food truck was the loaded fries topped with chicken or pulled pork and his specialty chimichurri plus barbecue sauces. It won him first place at the French Fry Throw Down event in 2019.

At the restaurant, he will continue to make everything from scratch for an expanded menu featuring pan-South American specialties like arepas, loaded fries, arroz con pollo, empanadas, tostones, Peruvian ceviche, Cuban sandwiches, Argentinian-style marinades and some Brazilian recipes. A ceviche bar rounds out the experience.

The drink menu features domestic and South American beers, fruit drinks like Lulo (Colombian sweet and sour kiwi) and sodas like Inka Kola and Colombiana.

"The area is refreshing, rejuvenating, diverse and just beautiful," Julie said. "Our South American cuisine just adds to what’s already here."

The expected opening date is November 2022.

Details: 622 E. Adams St., Phoenix. Follow @quesazon_az on Instagram.

Food park:A guide to every food and drink vendor at the Pemberton

Reach the reporter at BAnooshahr@azcentral.com. Follow @banooshahr on Twitter.