'Tom's Tavern' in downtown Phoenix closes doors, auctions items

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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

An iconic downtown Phoenix restaurant is closing its doors after 88 years in business. But you can take home a piece of history with you.

"This has been extremely emotional," said the chef and owner of Tom's Tavern, Jim Gallen. He said history is what drew him here in the first place.

"Every sitting governor since '32 has dined here," he said.

And though Phoenix has changed throughout the years, the love for this landmark hasn't.

"There's a big part of the downtown landscape was negotiated, navigated and created here at Tom's Tavern," Gallen said.

But history has also been one of the Tavern's biggest challenges.

"There was a perception about what Tom's was and I was unable to change that perception in a way that made the restaurant financially successful," Gallen said.

So, after nearly nine decades, the walls now sit bare. The menus will become mementos.

Gallen is working with Auction Nation to parcel off the pieces that made Tom's unique, from the tables, to the taps.

While we don't know what will happen to the space at First Avenue and Washington, Gallen said Tom's Tavern's legacy will live on in living rooms across the state. 

"I'm sad to be sitting here going through this process but whatever I could've done to make sure that the small pieces of Tom's are in somebody's home right now, and they can live on in small ways, I was hoping to do that," he said.

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Lindsey ReiserLindsey Reiser is a Scottsdale native and an award-winning multimedia journalist.

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Lindsey Reiser

Lindsey returned to the Valley in 2010 after covering border and immigration issues in El Paso, TX. While in El Paso she investigated public corruption, uncovered poor business practices, and routinely reported on the violence across the border.

Lindsey feels honored to have several awards under her belt, including a Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence Award, Hearst Journalist Award, and several National Broadcast Education Association Awards.

Lindsey is a graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University, and she currently serves as a mentor to journalism students. She studied for a semester in Alicante, Spain and also earned a degree in Spanish at ASU.

She is proud to serve as a member of United Blood Services’ Community Leadership Council, a volunteer advisory board for the UBS of Arizona.

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