We had the good fortune of connecting with Pauline Martinez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Pauline, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
The population growth in Arizona was very rapid and as a result there wasn’t much in the restaurant scene that wasn’t big corporate chain offerings or fast food. Mom and pop restaurants were few and far between. So we found a location that we thought desperately need and injection of locally owned breakfast and lunch options. I come from the Midwest and so do many other transplants that navigate to the desert. I saw a gaping hole for the “place where everyone knows how you like your coffee and can greet you by name”. So, once the location was identified we got to work on making that place a reality.
What should our readers know about your business?
PERK is a family owned operation with parent roots in the mid-west. Three generations of restauranteurs have carried family recipes and a true love for good, stick to the ribs food to the wild west. The very best promise we can give to our patrons is that we will cook and create for you with the same love and quality we share with our own families. We have a passion for fresh, local and organic foods- so we always try to use as much of that as possible. The PERK family is passionately devoted to preserving the quality of our surrounding community, so enjoy your experience dining with us while knowing that a portion of our proceeds is put back into many charitable and community organizations. Most people don’t know this but my education is in architecture and design. I grew up in restaurants and had two other operations in Michigan before I moved to Arizona. Restaurants are a brutal business to be in and my son was very young so I swore them off after I sold my businesses in Michigan and moved out west. Shortly after my move the recession hit and anything real estate or construction related come to a screeching halt. Yet, I still longed for a cozy place to have a wonderful breakfast and I just couldn’t find it. So, back to my family roots I went….. and dug my heels into the business I swore I’d never be in again. The early years were very difficult, the economy was horrendous, I was dealt a major blow with my health and I didn’t even have medical insurance. It was a grueling 7 day a week operation and we did everything from prep and cook the food to mop the floors. Then one day we got a major boost by being featured in Phoenix magazine for being the Best in the Valley for our pancakes and we stared to develop a loyal following. Shortly after we started making a name for ourselves we were blessed with the chance to be featured on Food Network’s, Diners Drive-Ins and Dives. It was so unexpected that I though someone was pulling my leg. Our current operation is still self managed and continues to hold the same integrity in our food and service. We value a clean and wholesome product and great service.
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.
Sedona would be at the top of my list because it possesses a type of natural beauty that is unique to Arizona. So, Elote Cafe on a weekend in Sedona is a must. A round of golf at the Westin Keirland for those that appreciate great views and a great course. As for dining, I live to find locally owned mom and pop restaurants and there are a few we really love. First off, if you like Italian food, our favorite spot is just across the street from Perk Eatery. Tutti Santi is top notch with the most delicious handmade ravioli and gnocchi you will ever eat. Another wonderful local spot we frequent is Glai Baan in Phoenix for amazing Thai food. The location is very small and quaint but the flavors are explosive and the cocktails can’t be beat. It’s never really a complete trip to Scottsdale without a stroll through Old Town Scottsdale, enjoying all the amazing art galleries and small shops.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I owe everything to my dad. He is the strongest, smartest, most supportive and selfless human being I’ve ever encountered. I owe everything to him because I couldn’t have done anything without his support and guidance.
Facebook: Perk Eatery