We had the good fortune of connecting with Chris Purcell and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Chris, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
It’s hard to feel out of balance when you do something you love. My family does a pretty good job of reeling me back in when I am spending too much time focusing solely on work. I also make sure to spend a few hours every week on a bicycle (road, mountain, and beach cruisers). Bikes are a pretty big part of my life.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I’ve spent almost my entire professional career in the restaurant industry. I started as a cook, went to culinary school, and have worked just about every position in a restaurant, managed multiple locations in multiple states, and worked in a corporate office of a chain restaurant supporting an operations team.
I met Julian Wright the founder of Pedal Haus Brewery somewhere around 2015, shortly after Pedal Haus Brewery opened. I recall admiring his unique approach to the restaurant/bar business. At the time I was working for a casual bar concept, opening new locations around the country. I recall there was a unique authenticity that both Julian and Pedal Haus Brewery exhibited. Over the next few years, I stayed in touch with Julian and frequented Pedal Haus regularly. At the same time, I became increasingly restless working in a “chain” concept that lacked authenticity and a true connection with guests, team members, and the communities they were built in. It got to a point that I actually left the restaurant business for almost two years, but when Julian reached out, I jumped at the opportunity to take the reigns at Pedal Haus.
We are coming out of the pandemic a stronger organization that will open two new locations in the next six months and I believe we still possess the same authenticity and have an amazing team of managers and hourly employees that have been through a lot in the past year. It’s very rewarding to see the team thriving and growing.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
It would start with a visit to Pedal Haus Tempe for happy hour, then probably over to the House of Tricks for dinner, unless we were in Chandler, then it would be Pedal Haus Chandler the to Hidden House or The Brickyard (Gavin and his team are amazing).
We would head south and do a day or two down in Bisbee, including a trip across the border in Naco for tacos. We would get some riding in down there, it’s one of the best places to ride a road bicycle. We’d stop into Tombstone Brewery for beers.
Take a day to ride up to the top of Mt. Lemon. That’s one of the tougher rides in the state.
Back to Phx and do a night of bar hopping in Roosevelt Row, Phx. Lucky’s Indoor/Outdoor and Killer Whale Sex Club are two unique spots worth visiting.
Next, it would be up to Prescott for a day of mountain biking..,
The last day would probably be spent hanging out in the backyard, in the pool with Pedal Haus Day Drinker Light Lager, and smoke billowing off the Traeger grill full of goodies from Von Hanson’s meats in Chandler.
As you can probably tell, I am not great at sitting still.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My family! My wife Claudia, We’ve certainly faced our challenges over our 23 years, but we’ve found that we are better together. The restaurant/bar industry is challenging for relationships and families. I credit Claudia for always being the glue that’s kept us together.
Also my amazing kids, Alex, 22 ASU grad and pilot, Mia, 16, social butterfly and competitive dancer. Both inspire me on a regular basis!
Guys on bikes: Wheelsuckers.org Team Photos: Pedal Haus Brewery, Tempe