Good morning. It’s a another beautiful day in the Old Pueblo, and you’re listening to Katy DT Tucson. Thank you for spending a part of your brunch hour with us on your downtown. Tucson Community sponsored, or I can roll radio station.
On this week’s show, we’re going to speak with Chef Travis Peters of the Delta Bar and Grill, which is going to be opening soon in Downtown Tucson. We’re going to find out about this young man’s travels from self-taught chef to Spain to Guy’s Grocery Games, and then back to downtown Tucson.
Today is December 19th my name is Tommy thin. You’re listening to Life along the streetcar each and every Sunday, our focus is on social, cultural and economic impacts in Tucson’s Urban core. And we shed light on hidden gems. Everyone should know about from a mountain to you, Arizona and all stops in between. You get the inside track right here on 991 FM streaming on Downtown Radio dot org, also available on your iPhone or Android by heading over to your app store and getting our Downtown Radio Tucson app on to that device. And if you want to reach us here on the show, our email address directly is contact at Life along the streetcar dot-org. You can use that same URL to find all of our past episodes. And of course, our podcast is available just about anywhere you listen to podcasts. Feel free to check us out on Instagram and Facebook hit us up for topics. You’d like us to share and tag us and things we should be sharing with our audience.
Well, Tucson is a popular place for Santa. I think he’s enjoying our warm weather. He was in town yesterday for the Southern Arizona Transportation museums event over there at the historic train depot. And today I find out this afternoon, he’s going to be over on main gates. Where is part of their holiday Boulevard bash? It’s going to go on for 4:48 today. Not only are they going to be pictures with Santa, which will be free. There’s also the Tucson girls course, they’re going to kick off the 5th annual holiday bash, and then we’ll be joined by Santa . There’s lots of wonderful things to do over there, including some Merchants having special offers and attractions, things for the kids. They’ll be a movie meaning of Santa Claus Conquers, the Martians. Because what can’t that guy do, right? So that’s going to all be over on Main Gate Square. If you have any questions on that, you can go to their Facebook page or their website. Main Gate Squarecom for more details.
And our guest today is Chef Travis Peters of the Delta Bar and Grill, which is coming to downtown to some of the old space where Janos is downtown. Kitchen and Cocktails had been four years, and we’re going to talk to Chef Peters about his roots at Hotel Congress as exploration of Spain as a representative of the city of astronomy, how he became a fabulous Chef here in Tucson, and why his team that opened up the parish decided that after 10 years, it was time to open up and downtown Tucson, which sat down with Chef Peters is just a couple of days ago to talk about his past and his new restaurant.
Well, I, Tom, how you doing? Thank you for having me. Yeah, we’re well,
I’m going to jump in. We’re going to get into the Delta, because that’s why we’re calling. But I have to ask a few questions first, because I got to find out a little bit about you, because I was doing a little research. And I found out that you came from a household in which your mom was not the greatest of cooks. And that might have been something that led you into the culinary world. Is that true?
Yeah, you know, II. I was a pretty good cook. He would. He would do stuff. So there’s a balanced inspiration there to do something I didn’t know I was going to do this for a living. But yeah, you just learned how to make stuff you like, or how to adjust it. When Mom made something a little funky. And you’re like, oh, I need, I need to put some salt on here something. At what point did you realize? Holy crap, I’m good at this. And this is this is going to be my future when we got the parish. All right, I did borrow. I just cooked and bar girls for a long, you know, off and on. I just didn’t have a lot of direction of what I was going to do with my life. So I just was it. I was always able to find a restaurant job. And obviously, if you put any effort into something every time you do it, you become a little bit better. And I think that’s just goes for everybody on anything. And eventually I got a job at a place called Nonis. It was was a Creole restaurant, and quickly became their one of their lead line cooks. And then I left for a summer job and up in Mount lemon pie shop with with Pam. And she saw me and asked me to maybe she liked me and like what I was doing. And I had made some food for like some whatever. I just made some random food for her for fun. And she asked me to write a dinner menu. It was a very first time that place had ever done a dinner menu in 35 years of business. And it was, it was right after the Mount Lemmon fire. So she was the only business. So she is very captivated audience. And so I didn’t know what I was doing, but I made a dinner menu. And I have to say, that’s, you know, all joking aside. That’s probably the first time anyone ever said, hey, you’re good at this, and we believe I believe in you, and she really put a lot of heart and effort behind me. And I gained some confidence I didn’t realize I had. So I was probably the very first time I felt like I at least knew I could put together some good flavors, and people loved it.
They’re gonna tell you, if you gave me a hundred guests as I would not take Mount lemon pie shop as the place that got you got your start,?
She was just the first adult, just it felt like 100 percent, you know, believed in me. And you know, my mom and dad were always, but that’s mom and dad, you know, they tell you’re good at everything from Mom attacked. So but it was the first adult to ever just take me under their wing. Even though I was an adult at the time. I just, you know, it was a good influence later on. Right after that. A couple of years, I ended up getting a job at Hotel Congress, and that’s where I met my business partner. And I became the chef there, and I was really going to Douglas restaurants. Do my back had gotten hurt, and I was kind of burned out. And then my wife had told me that she was pregnant, and we were engaged at the time. She told me she was pregnant. So so I took the job at the hotel Congress, and that was that was my one little retirement thing. And then I realize I need to make a real career out of it. So that was my another motivating factor. And I took the job at Hotel Congress. I worked with Steve done for a few years. And then we just said, hey, we got a lot of cool ideas. And Steve had one more guy, which is our third partner, Bryce Ziegler, who owned a Cajun restaurant called the French Quarter for for many years. And he had sold it when it was successful. And the three of us got together and talked. And that is the time where I realized I want to do this forever. Like, this is my career. I really going to go. I’m putting all my heart and effort into it.
Are you? Are you from Tucson a you Tucson native?
Technically, I think I am. We moved a lot when I was younger. My mom’s family moved here from Sonora Mexico and 1875 and they were her family was recognized as one of the founding families of Tucson, and they had an old trade business that would, you know, in the cowboy days. And so they would trade, food and goods. It was a trading post. It’s called the Brenna Trading Post, I believe. And the U of A wrote a I think it’s a book about some of the founding families. I think the ronstadt’s are in there, and some other, you know, some other famous, this one’s. And so my family is not famous like there’s our, but they were. They were they had written a bit about it. So it’s pretty neat. I learned that in 2017 when I actually was about to go to Spain I learned about, and I didn’t actually know that. That’s kind of cool.
That’s really cool. So you get together with Steve and Bryce. You’re thinking, hey, let’s open up a restaurant. And the parish comes out right? That’s what, ten, ten years or so ago,
Ten years ago, this October? Yeah. We, there’s a hole in the market. There was no. As far as I remember, there wasn’t any like Southern food happening the way we wanted to do it. We saw a hole in the market, especially where we were like up on the northwest side. There was anything there like that. So we were like, hey, there’s a good people out here, love food. Obviously, Tucson really loves food, I think. And so we went with Southern and then the parish, the name the parish was just the one we landed on the one we didn’t all hate. We all had different names, and that’s the one we were like. This is pretty neat, you know? But it’s always stuck with it. And as stock and, you know, you’ve gotten accolades not just from Tucson Foodies, but all across the country have been written up in magazines and named best this and best that. So you don’t something right up there. Yeah, man, we’ve been super fortunate it really.
One of the local papers had written about us that we were a true Gastropub, which is what we were shooting for at the time. And they did. That was our first right up ever. And it opened the doors. We were very happy to get $400 or eight hundred dollars in sales a day. So what we be able to pay bills. And that’s how we had started. No one knew who were no one cared for about six, seven months. And then we got that right up about the food, and it just exploded from there. And we are very fortunate. I just I just, yeah, it’s just amazing. And from there, we got you know, we’ve gotten some national awards, National accolades, International Awards and accolades and lots of local ones. And just, I don’t know. I count my blessings every day. I just always think it’s amazing. The support we got from Tucson.
Well, in a couple of just personal notes, you mentioned your trip to Spain. That was part of the city of gastronomy tour. Correct?
Yes, sir. Yeah, I got a phone call when I was on vacation with my I believe is Jonathan. And he asked if I would be if I would want to go to Spain, and my head exploded because that’s my mom’s I know I said they were from Sonora, but they were there from originally from Spain and Mexico. And then, of course, they, you know, created a large family base in Sonora. Mexico then expanded. So Spain’s in my Heritage and I and she had passed away, maybe two years before that. So I was like, hey, Mom, I’m going to freaking Spain for you. No? So is very like it was a massive honour for me, blew my mind. And the experience was life-changing. I met chefs from all over the world. Literally, there’s a teen chefs from all over the planet. I was the only one from the US that got to go, which I thought was even more incredible honor. And then obviously Tucson. And then we all just we were told it was funny. But we were told the cook for we’re going to have a presentation for 40 people. And something was lost in the translation. But we were outside in front of the beach.
It was beautiful. And there is, I think, about 30 or 40 thousand people walking around like a Fourth Avenue street fair. So it was much more than 30 people. So the best part about that was none of us were prepared for that. And so it made us all rally and work together. All of us were running two markets, grabbing supplies and just help each other out. And this is just a magical magical moment I had. I was hoping people from South Korea and Japan in there is a language barrier. Number two spoke the same language, but we all spoke food. And so they would just we would all show each other what we need to do. And we all understood and helped each other out. It was it was it was beautiful, gave me complete faith in humanity and the world. It’s just it was amazing.
We’re going to be back to the second half that interview in. You’re going to see how that experience in Spain directly contributed to his success on guys. Groceries. Guy’s Grocery Games, I think, is what it’s called on the Food Network. But I want to remind you that you’re listening to Life along the streetcar on Downtown Radio 991 FM available for streaming on a Downtown Radio, dot-org.
We’re going to finish up our interview now with Chef Travis Peters just before the break. He was telling us about a trip to Spain, representing Tucson in the United States as part of the city of gastronomy. And that was in 2017 in the 2018 you found himself on Guy’s Grocery Games, and we’re going to hear about that story right after restart here on the brake, and is going to finish up talking about his fabulous new restaurant coming to downtown, The Delta.
So I guess that that was 2017. So you’re running around getting Mark going to the market for things you don’t fully understand or know. I guess that leads me into my next question, which is, you know, so does that prepare you for your Food Network’s debut and Guy’s Grocery Games? Because that’s what you did there. Right?
Yeah. No, I think it did. I mean, that was a whirlwind. I think so. Had, and they had it by the second you had less than 15 minutes as they walk you through the aisles to memorize everything. It was incredibly fast paced. And that was it. That’s all the warm-up you got in, and they put you back in your the actors trailer that we are all in. And then at some point, they brought us out. It was Go Time. So it was, it was insane. It was really fun. And you’re like, this is just like Spain. I got this. No problem. They do. You owe me. If I was getting cut,
Well, for those that don’t know, you did not get cut. You walked away as the champion I believe with yeah, yeah, a lot of recognition.
You refer to yourself as a chef. You said that that you stole it, kind of its kind of weird for you to say that. Why do you? Why do you think that?
Well, I’m just I’m just now becoming comfortable with it, I guess, you know, I guess it can. I’m willing to own that the title at this point, but I, you know, I didn’t go to. It’s weird. It’s my friend explained, imposter syndrome. And I think I had that for a long time. As far as I didn’t go to school, I had no aspirations to do this for a living. I know a lot of people work very hard and studied very hard and practice very hard to. Do this, and I sort of fell into it and have, and have been very like with it, you know, obviously traveling and TV and owning my own restaurants. And I almost feel guilty, because I didn’t actually have any aspirations for it. Now, I do have lots of aspirations for it. And I’ve accepted that this is a destiny. I had no idea I was going to be part of. You know, I thought maybe I would do something with art or music or something. And but this just happened. So it’s always it’s always felt a little strange to me. I mean, I accepted the title for, you know, because it needs to be a title for if you’re going to be in the restaurant or run a restaurant. But I’ve just now accepted the title is actually I’ve earned it, I guess, hopefully.
I would, I would say so with with the results that you have. And and I’m excited about the the newest Venture. So you and Steve and Bryce, you’re getting together again, and you’re moving downtown to you know, speaking of Janos is his old location. They’re downtown kitchen and Cocktails tell us a little bit about the Delta. What’s what are we going to expect from that?
Hopefully the unexpected man we are, we are just pumped up and Chef. Janos has been. So he just been so great about he’s been helping us, you know, like walking us through the building, where these things could use some work, or this was, you know, and, and he’s offered up his the carriage house for me to go in and practice, but he just very generous, very cool man. Obviously a huge influence on the city and The Culinary scene here. So I just wanted to give a shout out to him. I just think he’s just a wonderful guy. He’s just always been so sweet to me. And so anyway, yeah, we got a phone call that it was becoming available. Chef Janos, talk to us, and also the guys that bought the building, and we thought it was a cool idea and for Steve. And I was Full Circle that come here from Hotel Congress. We hadn’t been downtown for 10 years. And I was like, man, what a way to celebrate our 10-year anniversary is opening up a place downtown. So we decided that we wanted to make some really fun bujji bar and grill food, you know, like upscale, trashy food. I don’t know. House explain it. So we’re just having a blast with it, you know. And the drinks are out of this world. We’ve been working on those four months and months.
What are the things? I mean, if you’re used to the parish, is this going to be a like the that’s a menu brought down to the Delta? Are you doing dude?
The one thing that the parish and the Delta will have in common is obviously there’s a few things will be southern food. We’re really pushing, really wonderful hospitality downtown. We just want to have a just a bunch of friendly faces and quality drinks and really delicious drinks. Those are the things we have in common, the food and drinks. I think they’ll be similarities, and you’ll see that it’s the same style. The same owners, the same, you know, ideas, but they’ll be very different. There’s we’re. The food is kind of funky. Man. We’re, for example, we’re taking an entire beef short rib and and putting it, we’ll have a video coming out of it. But that’s a sandwich with the bone in it that will be tableside. You’ll have an entire short rib of beef sandwich. We got these giant pork rinds, or, you know, they’re just about two feet tall in other massive. It’s just fun. Silly food we got did. It’s all beautiful, though that’s why I’m trying to. It’s sort of like bougie, our food.
I think people need to check out your Facebook page to get a pictures of some of what you’re talking about, because it’s on your Facebook page, the Delta, Lambda.
And yeah, we’re good pushing. A lot of those were starting to do that now that we’re closer to opening up. And, you know, we got a whole rack of ribs that stuffed with tater tots and tomato cheese sauce. It’s just it’s ridiculous food.
It’s ridiculous for that’s a good tagline. Well, yeah, what do you think about opening? Is there is there a time another time line, but you have a extra opening day Tory. Still tentative.
Yeah, I mean, unfortunately, and fortunately, we were fortunate enough to get in the world. So we’re sort of at the mercy of shipping and construction companies getting what they need shipped in to finish the projects. We are really hopefully hoping within the next two or three weeks, we can be completed. But again, we’re at the mercy of things. So I stopped giving a date a few months ago, because I thought we would be done in June. And here we are in December, you know. So it’s no one’s fault. It’s just it’s just a funky time for everyone.
Yeah, you’re here in that across the board, from everyone trying to get these projects done. So you’re thinking, possibly then the end of this year, twenty twenty two or Twenty Twenty-One or beginning of 2022? Yeah, we’re really shooting to do it before. New Year’s, you know, I just I really want to do that. Fantastic. Yeah. Well, chef, and I’m going to call you Chef, because I think you’ve earned it. And I think everyone in Tucson who is tasted your food or or senior success, or have you represented Us in Spain or on television, I think they would appreciate that in call you Chef as well. So I’m glad you’re owning that.
That’s that’s all.
I appreciate your time. And I look forward to the opening. And as we get closer, we’ll we’ll make sure to update everybody when the when the date is announced, yes.
Absolutely. Man, I’m excited. And just really wonderful talking to you. Yeah. Well, welcome back to downtown. And I’m looking, I’m looking forward to a sandwich with a big old bone in it. Yes, sir. Thank you very much. Man. I just want to shout out.
That is Chef Travis Peters of the Delta, Opening hopefully 20 21 in downtown Tucson. Interesting note, he talked about the Janos and show Fiona’s Wilder being a huge influence and Jonathan Mabry connecting him with the city of gastronomy. And so I love about downtown. It’s a such a small little place. The I did an interview with Janos and Jonathan about the city of gastronomy. And and then every we talked a little bit about Travis, and we did that interview in the downtown kitchen and Cocktails, which is now his Delta Bar and Grill. You can check out that interview. If you’d like over on life on the street, car dot org just put in city of gastronomy, and you’ll pop that right up. My name is Tommy Ethan, you’re listening to Life along the streetcar and Downtown Radio 991 FM and available for streaming on Downtown Radio dot-org.
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Well, thank you to Chef Peters. I’m looking forward to the opening of the Delta and another fabulous restaurant in downtown Tucson on last week’s show. We kind of outlined some of the new and exciting things happening in The Culinary scene in downtown. And of course, we could head over to 4th Avenue and talk about all of that as well, and we’ll do a show on that early and 2022 to highlight some of the Fantastic food that’s happening in areas outside of the center of downtown. If there’s ever a topic you would like us to cover, send us a note contacted Life along
the streetcar dot-org. You can interact with us on social media. That’s that’s honestly where we like it best as you can tag Us in something, and you can direct message us, or put us on a post or do whatever that social media thing is, where we get connected. But then we can find the source of the story you’re talking about and connect with them and love to share. Most of the topics we cover nowadays are generated by questions from you or something that our guest says that triggers a new a new thought process, always welcome to have those. And as always, you can listen to our podcast, really Spotify iTunes by our radio SoundCloud bunch of places. In fact, you can ask your smart speaker to play Life along the streetcar podcast, and that will should bring it up. If you speak clearly. Sometimes it doesn’t. I know I pulled up to test it, not because I like to hear my own voice all the time.
Well, we are approaching the final few days here of 2021. And I’m sure you’re like me thinking this year went by fast and your probably saying I say this every year, but this year just flew by, but it does seem to have gone by quickly, and we’re looking forward to an exciting 20:22. I’ve got a big project on the horizon. Don’t have quite the announcement to make yet, but just know that we’ve been working hard behind the scenes with his show to capture it in a different way. And I look forward to sharing that with you as we roll into 20 22. I do hope you have a good holiday week. They celebrate Christmas Merry Christmas, and we will be back on the air at the day after, with some wrap-up information for the year 2021. But in honor of Our Guest today is opening up the restaurant called the Delta that we leave you with a little music from 1967 this is Bobbie Gentry, an album called Ode to Billy Joel. You listening to Mississippi Delta. Have a great week. Have a great holiday and tune in next Sunday, more like along the streetcar.