We had the good fortune of connecting with Paul M Reyes Jr and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Paul M, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
As an entrepreneur work is woven into every hour of my life, the best part is I wouldn’t want it any other way. Early in my career in the food and beverage industry I was 20 years old with hardly any real “adult” responsibilities. I would practically live at work simply because I loved the atmosphere of restaurants and the life lessons and great food experiences to be had. Arrive early in the morning and chef was always sure to be making something delicious for a “family meal”. Stay late after the restaurant closes and the team was sure to be heading out for a night on the town filled with many great bites and plenty of cocktails to help wash it down. The last thing on my mind was “work life balance”.

Fast forward a decade, add a wife, and a beautiful little girl and one day you wake up and that balance has a whole new meaning. I was in my 30’s working for a resort that required a great deal of my time, there I was working during family functions, holidays, and late into the night often arriving home to a sleeping household. I was spending all my time at a luxury resort while my family was creating memories without me. Something had to change. I knew I was in love with the restaurant industry and stepping away would be no easy feat, that’s when I was presented the idea of a pizza truck.

Now I have the luxury of setting my own work times and assuring I never work during the holidays or during family celebrations, however as an entrepreneur you are never truly free from “work” but now its a family affair and I get to share my craft with my daughter. This is a life craftily balanced by myself for myself.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
As someone who never considered myself to be a creative type I love that the culinary arts gives me an outlet to re-create and share my food and beverage experiences from over the years. Every pizza I make is a reflection of myself and those experiences.

Before I became a pizza maker I would brew beer and ciders as a hobby, when I started crafting pizza dough I realized the process was pretty much in line with that of brewing. I began to experiment with different yeast strains and created a very unique champagne dough that we still use to this day utilizing a champagne yeast from a lab in Napa Valley.

From dough to a final product every pizza is a creative masterpiece that I get to artfully craft with my own hands.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
For a full Tucson experience for out of town guest I would start our day at Prep and Pastry restaurant for a zesty Bloody Mary to pair with anything from their breakfast menu (its all delicious)

With breakfast out of the way the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum is an absolute must. This mostly outdoor museum showcases the natural beauty and animals of the desert I call home.

Mountain biking is another great way to showoff our beautiful desert and Tucson has no shortage of mountain bike trails for exploring. I like to take new riders out in the later afternoon where we can enjoy a famous Arizona sunset in the desert away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Urban bike riding is another great way I like to show off my city with our “loop” system you can ride anywhere in town and away from vehicle traffic making for a safer urban ride experience. My favorite rides on the loop end at Tucson Hop Shop for a local brew inside their beer garden that has a warm and relaxed atmosphere.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I have to give a Shoutout to my wife Kirsten for being my biggest supporter in my journey as an entrepreneur, The late nights, the times it all seems like its too much her love and support is the fuel to my fire.

I’d also like to give an inspiration shoutout to Sam Fox, during my time working for Fox Restaurant Concepts I learned a great deal about hospitality, risk taking, and the pursuit of culinary excellence. I apply many of these lessons in my kitchen today.

Website: www.ciaodownpizza.com

Instagram: @ciaodownpizza

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ciaodowntucson

Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/ciao-down-tucson

Image Credits
Bridget Clarice Photography

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