East Valley Tribune
After 65 years, Pete's Fish and Chips sticks to what it does best
By Mike Sakal
Fresh home from the war, newly married and needing to better recover from malaria and rheumatic fever he caught from a mosquito bite on a PT boat in the south Pacific, Peter Grant packed his car and trailer and left his home city of Indianapolis for the desert town of Phoenix.
He simply set out to follow his dream, a dream that included starting a fast-food business his name remains synonymous with: Pete’s Fish and Chips.
Today, Grant’s family is keeping the dream alive, for Pete’s sake, and marking the 65th anniversary of the roadside dining restaurant started March 23, 1947 in a small wooden shack with no running water in east Phoenix — a company that continues today with eight Valley locations and its Mesa business hub.
From that first Phoenix location at 3060 E. Van Buren Street, Grant sold fish and chips for 35 cents and a bottle of soda for a nickel. Leasing the property from a friend who owned a driving range — and whose garden hose he borrowed for water — Grant believed he “was on to something” when he made $12 profit the day he opened.
He called his first location Sports Fair Fish and Chips and later that year, he opened two more small stands and called them The Chip House. By the time he opened his fourth location in Tolleson, he began calling it Pete’s Fish and Chips. Grant later came to boast his business venture as “The Biltmore for the common man,” and expanded on the philosophy of “It’s better to make a quick nickel than it is a slow dime.”
Pete’s, with its cracker meal batter-breading on Pollack fish and shrimp, Monsterburgers and special sauce, has two East Valley locations, in addition to the downtown Mesa company headquarters. Pete opened one at 820 Mill Ave. in Tempe in 1950 and another at 145 E. Main St. in Mesa in 1951. The Tempe location now is at 1017 E. Apache Blvd., and the Mesa store — now in its third home — is currently at 22 S. Mesa Drive, at East Main Street.
Although Pete Grant died in 1987, not much else of the business has changed. In an era where many family-owned restaurants are shuttering their doors, Pete’s is in its fourth generation of family members active in the business, mirroring at least four generations of customers. Some say they keep returning for the sauce. Others says its for the freshness of the food and quick service.
“We are what we are,” said Kathy Adams of Mesa, one of four of Grant’s daughters who co-owns the restaurants with sisters Pat Foster, Babs Sanders and Ginnie Grant. They all began working for their dad when they were old enough to hold a potato in their hand, peeling piles of them and later worked their way up through the ranks. Adams’ daughter Casey Ruiz and sons Cody and Kyle Adams also work in the family business, as does her granddaughter, Hannah Adams, a 16-year-old junior at Mesa’s Mountain View High School.
“We’re fast food, but with reasonable prices, quality and good service,” Kathy Adams said. “That’s what we do, and we’re not going to change a thing. Our customers have been loyal to us, and we love them.”
“He loved being in downtowns,” Pat Foster said.
Pete’s Fish and Chips iconic neon sign portraying a large fish was first manufactured by Mesa’s own Paul Millett. It beckons like a beacon for regular customers who come to eat the daily lunch specials ranging from $1.60 for a hot dog and French fries to $8.50 for a 15-piece shrimp and chips dinner.
The crowds of people who dine at the picnic tables outside or cars that steadily pass through the drive-thru window are proof that Pete’s is popular place.
At age 84, Jesse Carpenter of Mesa is a regular who has been coming to the Mesa location since it opened, a few years after moving from Oklahoma in the wake of the Great Depression.
“I guess I like it here,” Carpenter said as he cracked a couple of jokes with longtime customers Dennis and Patty Wilson of Gilbert. “I love the fish and chips and that’s what I always get to eat. I think it’s really good.”
In fact, just last week, Pete’s downtown location made KPHO’s (CBS-5) Dean’s List for cleanliness and service — not an easy designation.
But Grant’s family knows all too well — it has overcome more difficult challenges.
In the late 1970s, when Pete’s experienced numerous robberies at his Phoenix locations, he declared war on all “hoodlums” by arming all of his managers with a handgun after training them how to shoot, according to past newspaper articles hanging on Pete’s office wall.
Sadly, on Dec. 14, 1987, Pete Grant was shot to death inside his apartment by a man going for a his coin collection, valued at $30,000, and bags full of special 1-ounce silver coins Grant had been handing out for the 40th anniversary of his business. But the tragedy did not end his family’s entrepreneurial spirit of keeping Pete’s going.
While serving in the European campaign during World War II, Grant acquired a love for eating fish. An avid golfer who played as an amateur in the British Pro-Am for 25 years, Grant also saw how big the fast-food fish industry was in England, further bolstering his decision to expand his business.
“Dad always said build a better mousetrap and they’ll beat a path to your door,” Ginnie Grant said.
The Wilsons said they’ve been to all of the Pete’s Fish and Chips locations, and love the sauce, but are most comfortable in Mesa where Pete’s is near a small park.
“It’s a nice setting here,” Patty Wilson said. “We always get the fish. We have a daughter who lives in Utah, and whenever she comes down here, she has to eat at Pete’s.”
On Friday, all of the Pete’s Fish and Chips locations throughout the Valley, will sell any size soda for 65 cents.
Pete’s other locations include a newly-renovated Ruth Walden Super Pete’s at 9309 W. Van Buren in Tolleson, named after the longtime manager who worked there for 57 years, one in Glendale, and four in Phoenix.
“We love to hear the stories about the business through the years from the customers, especially the college stories,” Babs Sanders said. “We’re a springboard for many high school students who get their first job here. Many people tell us if they wouldn’t have eaten here, they couldn’t have afforded to stay in college.”
“Pete’s Fish and Chips is one of God’s gifts to the earth,” said Jarred Hurt, 31, who moved to San Tan Valley from Oklahoma about two weeks ago and was eating at Pete’s for his second time. His brother, Tony Cutler, sister-in-law, Nina, and niece, Aamani, who is 5, like to eat here, “and now I do.”
Cutler added: “I’ve eaten her since I was a kid. There’s not many places around that have a wide variety of food that you can get quick and the sauce is awesome. And, it’s always fresh.”
What’s next for Pete’s?
“Nothing new,” Foster said. “We’ll stick with what we know and just focus on improving the locations we have.”
“What would dad say?,” Adams said. “I think he would be proud.”
Contact writer: (480) 898-6533 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Pete's Fish & Chips founder Peter Grant Jr.What was the first Petes fish and chips? ›
He opened Pete's Fish & Chips in 1947 and never looked back. At first, Pete's was nothing more than a wooden shack on what is now 44th Street and Indian School Road. The soda (or as Midwesterner Pete called it, “pop”) was 5 cents, 35 cents got you a plate of fish and chips and a quarter paid for two burgers.What kind of fish does Pete's fish and chips use? ›
Pete's, with its cracker meal batter-breading on Pollack fish and shrimp, Monsterburgers and special sauce, has two East Valley locations, in addition to the downtown Mesa company headquarters. Pete opened one at 820 Mill Ave. in Tempe in 1950 and another at 145 E. Main St.How many calories are in petes fish and chips? ›
There are 1473 calories in 1 serving of Pete's Fish & Chips.
Now he's opened a modest fish-and-chips restaurant in Times Square — Gordon Ramsay Fish & Chips — perhaps parlaying his media fame into a low-brow success at the city's foremost tourist mecca.What is the biggest fish and chip shop? ›
The Papas Cleethorpes restaurant and takeaway is currently the world's biggest fish and chip shop with over 500 seats.What is the oldest fish and chip shop in the world? ›
 Meanwhile, up in the North of England, John Lees was selling fish and chips from a hut on Mossley Market before he opened his shop on Stamford Street in 1863. The window of Lees's shop was ensigned with the slogal 'LEES'S CHIP POTATO RESTAURANT OLDEST EST. IN THE WORLD'.What was fish and chips originally called? ›
The fish prepared “in the Jewish fashion,” as Thomas Jefferson called it, grew so popular in London it could be found sold on the streets any time of day. 'Pescado Frito' is what they called fried fish back in the day, likely brought to the UK's shores by Spanish and Portugese refugees during the 16th century.What nationality is fish and chips? ›
The pairing of fish and chips has long been considered a British staple. The irresistible combination of a hunk of battered cod resting atop a mound of steaming hot chips (french fries in America) is the quintessential British comfort food.What is the tastiest fish for fish and chips? ›
Haddock is the fish that most chefs prefer for fish and chips. The texture isn't as flaky or tender as cod but the meat has more flavor. Haddock has a slight sweetness that pairs well with the buttery flavor of the batter.
Cod. Cod is the most popular choice, and for most consumers, this is what first comes to mind when they think of fish and chips. It's mild and tender, the perfect complement to the breading on top and the malt vinegar or tartar sauce that you pair the fish and fries with.What kind of fish is in Costco fish and chips? ›
Taste. The Costco Fish & Chips Meal Kit is really good overall! The fish is a breaded cod. It's light and flaky and the breading is crispy and crunchy.How many calories are in 2 pieces of fish and chips? ›
Cb & Potts Mains Battered Fish & Chips 2 Piece (2 piece) contains 113g total carbs, 105g net carbs, 118g fat, 41g protein, and 1670 calories.What has more calories pizza or fish and chips? ›
In terms of calories, fish and chips have 595 in an average portion, an average pizza has 871, chicken korma 910 and a donner kebab 924. And that is just in terms of fat content and calories per meal, NHS guidelines are that a healthy diet should include at least 2 portions of fish a week.How many calories are in a large battered fish and chips? ›
It's only one meal, gone in a matter of minutes, but it packs an artery-clogging wallop. An average portion of fish and chips equals about 842 calories.What chef has the most Michelin stars? ›
1. Joël Robuchon: 31 Michelin Stars. Many consider the late French chef Joël Robuchon the best chef of the modern age. And with 31 Michelin stars spread across three continents, it's hard to argue this claim.Who is the best chef in the world? ›
- #1 Dabiz Muñoz. Spain.
- #2 Rene Redzepi. Denmark.
- #3 Joan Roca. Spain.
- #4 Massimo Bottura. Italy.
- #5 Andoni Luis Aduriz. Spain.
- #6 Bjorn Frantzén. Sweden.
- #7 Disfrutar. Spain.
- #8 Alain Passard. France.
Our flagship destination, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in Chelsea, gained the ultimate accolade of three Michelin stars in 2001 and has retained them ever since, a true mark of excellence, quality and consistency.What is the world's most famous chip shop? ›
This is the story of Binley Mega Chippy. It started as an unassuming local chip shop, now it's arguably the most famous chip shop on the planet - definitely the most famous one on TikTok, anyway.What country is most famous for fish and chips? ›
Often considered Britain's national dish, fish and chips is a common take-away food in numerous other countries, particularly English-speaking and Commonwealth nations. Fish and chip shops first appeared in the UK in the 1860s, and by 1910 there were over 25,000 across the UK.
The Dayton, Ohio-based Mike-sell's Potato Chip Company, founded in 1910, identifies as the “oldest potato chip company in the United States”. New England-based Tri-Sum Potato Chips, founded in 1908 as the Leominster Potato Chip Company, in Leominster, Massachusetts claim to be America's first potato chip manufacturer.Where is the longest running fish and chip shop? ›
Leeds, Yeadon, West Yorkshire
This quaint fish and chip shop has been serving up England's favourite dish since 1865.
The brand of chips credited as the first potato chip ever invented, Moon Brand Original Saratoga Chips, is back on store shelves. Back in 1853, George Crum took a thinly-sliced Yukon Gold potato, fried it in cottonseed oil, added some sea salt and invented what I'd say is now America's favorite snack.What is shark called in fish and chips? ›
The name flake is commonly used as a name for any type of shark meat. Most fishmongers and fish and chip shops use the word to cover every species of shark that is either caught in Australian waters or has been imported.Why do we eat fish and chips on a Friday? ›
It's a longstanding tradition in the UK that fish is eaten on a Friday and comes from the Roman Catholic belief that meet should not be eaten on a Friday. This tradition holds strong today. Many schools serve fish on a Friday and many Brits see Friday as the night to have a fish and chips supper.How much was fish and chips in 1973? ›
In 1973 I was selling a regular piece of cod for 10p and a regular portion of chips for 5p.Why do Brits love fish and chips? ›
So engrained in English culinary culture are fish and chips that they were one of the few foods never rationed during World War II. The government believed that safeguarding this comfort meal during a time of distress was key to keeping morale up. Today, fish and chips remain a staple in the modern English diet.Are fish and chips healthy? ›
Fish and chips is one of the nation's favourite dishes. But both the fish and the chips are usually deep-fried, so can be high in fat and calories. Even oven chips have usually been fried at some point and can have added salt, too. If you're getting a takeaway, stick to a small portion and ask them to hold the salt.What meat is fish and chips? ›
fish and chips, classic dish of the British Isles, consisting of battered and deep-fried fish, usually cod or haddock, and french fries.What fish does Mcdonald's use? ›
We use wild-caught Alaska Pollock for our Filet-O-Fish® sandwich in the U.S., which is 100% sourced from sustainable fisheries. Why is sustainable fish so important to us? Because it helps protect our oceans—something that's important to you.
You will need white fish for this dish. We chose cod because that was what Gordon uses in his recipe, but you can use halibut, grouper, or any other light white fish you can find.What oil is best for fish and chips? ›
Thanks to its neutral flavor, affordable price, and high smoke point, canola oil is the most popular oil for frying fish. Peanut, cottonseed, and coconut oil are also great fish frying oils.Whats the healthiest from fish and chips? ›
- Try to avoid: thin-cut chips, pies such as cheese and onion or steak and kidney, jumbo sausages.
- Healthier options: fish coated in breadcrumbs, mushy peas, thicker-cut chips without salt.
Long John Silver's wild-caught Cod and Pollack come from the icy waters of the North Pacific Ocean, one of the best-managed and most sustainable fisheries in the world. LJS fish is fresh-caught, and flash-frozen while still aboard the fishing boats to lock in the flavor.Which is better haddock or cod? ›
Haddock is more flavorful and “fishy.” However, the difference between Cod and Haddock is more about shape and texture than taste. Cod fillets are thicker and firmer. They're great for grilling or searing because they don't overcook as easily. Haddock fillets are thinner and more fragile.What is the best frozen fish to buy at the grocery store? ›
"Oily fish such as yellowtail or some tuna generally don't freeze well, and even salmon can suffer if frozen too long," Harris said. Harris recommended opting for frozen pacific cod, tilapia, catfish, swordfish, walleye, pacific halibut, or pollack instead.Is Costco fish fresh or frozen? ›
Most of the fresh fish at Costco is farmed raised and what is wild is previously frozen.Is Costco fish wild-caught? ›
Does Costco sell wild-caught fish? Though not all of the seafood at Costco is Wild-Caught by U.S. fishermen or wild-caught for that matter, they definitely have good options.Is fish and chips high calorie? ›
*Fish and chips are less than 10% fat if properly cooked and an average sized portion is less than 1000 calories.Is fish and chips high in fat? ›
The currently accepted benchmark for the total fat content of commercially produced fish and chips is 15.4 g/100g and 12.4 g/100g, respectively (McCance & Widdowson's, 6th Summary Edition). The average total fat found was 9.8 g/100 g and 9.0 g/100 g, respectively.
|Small||3oz (85g)||5oz (142g)|
|Regular||6oz (170g)||10oz (284g)|
|Large||9oz (255g)||15oz (425g)|
|Extra Large||12oz (340g)||20oz (567g)|
Overall, potatoes contain more vitamins and nutrients than rice, but when you add toppings such as butter, sour cream, gravy, bacon bits and salt, the number of calories and fat grams in a baked potato increases significantly.Is fish and chips good for diabetes? ›
Unless you overturn the original Fish and Chips recipe, you can't reduce its fat and carbohydrate content. For this reason, Fish and Chips are not a dish typically suitable for those who have diabetes.Are fried fish healthy? ›
The high temperatures during frying also damage the healthy omega-3 fatty acids in fish more than other cooking methods do (39, 44 ). In fact, one study found that frying tuna decreased the amount of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids by 70–85% ( 45 ).How many calories are in 3 pieces of fish and chips? ›
Ivar's 3 Piece Fish 'n Chips (1 serving) contains 69g total carbs, 69g net carbs, 0g fat, 32g protein, and 536 calories.How many calories are in 2 battered fish? ›
|For a Serving Size of 1 serving|
|How many calories are in Battered Fish & Chips (2 piece)? Amount of calories in Battered Fish & Chips (2 piece): Calories 1670||Calories from Fat 1062 (63.6%)|
|% Daily Value *|
The seafood restaurant group has secured sites in Salcombe, Sidmouth and Topsham, and has plans to strengthen its pipeline for future growth. Mitch Tonks, the founder of Rockfish, recently won a Catey for Restaurateur of the Year - Group at the 2022 awards.Who is Rockfish owned by? ›
Mitch Tonks is founder and CEO of Rockfish, a unique seafood business which catches, processes and serves local seafood at 9 coastal locations in the South-West as well as delivering fresh fish to people's homes nationwide from the Rockfish online seafood market.Who was the first owner of fish and chip shop? ›
Many food historians say that a Jewish cook, a young Ashkenezi immigrant named Joseph Malin, opened the first chippy in 1860 in London. The shop was so successful that it remained in business until the 1970s.Who owns fish and chips Co? ›
The Fish & Chip Co was trading under the Holding Company Taste Holdings from 2012 and got acquired by Fiamme Holdings in 2019.
The rockfish I found at Costco was from Canada. You may also see it called rock cod or Pacific snapper. The fish has a pinkish hue to it, but not as pink as salmon. It's a medium firm lean fish with a mild taste.How many Rockfish restaurants are there? ›
Rockfish, the nine-strong seafood restaurant group led by award-winning chef and restaurateur Mitch Tonks, has achieved record financial results in a year that has seen sweeping changes in the industry as it plans to open three new sites in Devon over the next year.Why are Rockfish called Rockfish? ›
Rockfish are a crucial part of the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem. Their local name comes from their habit of hiding among oyster reefs and rocks, where they feed on smaller fish, such as bay anchovies or menhaden and crustaceans like juvenile crabs and shrimp.What is rockfish comparable to? ›
Rockfish. Can be used to describe many kinds of saltwater fish, including striped bass, rock cod, redfish and ocean perch.Is rockfish the same as red snapper? ›
A Flavorful White Fish Perfect for Bold Preparations
Pacific Rockfish, sometimes known as Alaskan rockfish, rock cod, red snapper, or Pacific snapper, is the most common near-shore fish on North America's West Coast.
Types. Tilapia is a fresh water cichlid. Although the genus Tilapia includes many species, tilapia is the only market name. Unlike tilapia, rockfish has many common market names such as cod, bass and Pacific red snapper.Why is fish and chips on Friday? ›
It's a longstanding tradition in the UK that fish is eaten on a Friday and comes from the Roman Catholic belief that meet should not be eaten on a Friday. This tradition holds strong today. Many schools serve fish on a Friday and many Brits see Friday as the night to have a fish and chips supper.Where is the oldest fish and chip shop in the world? ›
Leeds, Yeadon, West Yorkshire
This quaint fish and chip shop has been serving up England's favourite dish since 1865.
Fish and chip shops are facing "extinction" amid rising costs, an industry body has warned. Some shops in the West of England say the soaring price of cod, sunflower oil and energy has left them struggling.Did Mcdonalds do fish and chips? ›
Enjoy them on the go! Fish bites (5 pcs.) sweet and sour sauce or sour cream!
The humble feed of fish and chips has a crucial part to play in the battle to save declining shark populations. Conservationists say the "flake" fish sold at the local chippy could actually contain a mix of unknown shark species.