Fab Couples: Arizona

Eric & Michelle Jurisin

Eric and Michelle Jurisin, founders of The Haunted Group

Home base: We divide our time between Jerome, Lake Havasu City and Paradise Valley.

How did your love story begin? Eric: Our story starts in the 1980’s at AJ’s grocery store in central Scottsdale. Michelle was working at the deli counter at the gourmet market in 1987 when I walked in. I was renting a house in Paradise Valley with friends, and after some convincing, she eventually went out with me.

Michelle: Before we even got married, which we did in 1989, we began working together, opening a Mesa restaurant. Eric handled operations, while I served as the chef. We had our first child, Nicole, in the 1990’s while we both worked, and by the time our second child, Eric Jr., was born, we were well into what has become our legacy in The Haunted Group.

Eric: Our brand started with The Haunted Hamburger in Jerome in 1994 and over the past 30 years has grown to include Nic’s Italian Crab & Steakhouse (named for Nicole), The Tavern HotelThe Tavern GrillPizzeria BocceSTRADA at Bocce and Crema Craft Kitchen, all along Cottonwood’s Main Street, as well as – of course – Haunted Hamburger, which still stands today, and The Clinkscale Hotel, Bar & Grill, also in Jerome. We also have Grapes in Jerome, too, but it is in the midst of a renovation this year.

Michelle: It is a true family affair these days. Eric Jr. is a chef like me and currently oversees The Clinkscale’s culinary operations, and Nicole heads up operations for The Tavern Hotel.

Favorite thing about one another: Eric: I cannot share my first thought because it would be inappropriate. My second thought is her passion for family, food and friends.

Michelle: His generosity.

Favorite date night: Michelle: Somewhere with a great breadbasket and espresso martinis.

Favorite tradition you have as a couple: Eric: Going to Ramiro’s Taco shop on Mission Beach, which also happens to be the location of our first real date. 

What does your happily ever after look like? Michelle: Living in Jerome and walking uptown to Grapes and making pasta and pastries. Then finishing the day enjoying food and drinks on the patio with family and friends while taking in the views of the Verde Valley.

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