Peter Grant’s first “chip house” opened on March 3, 1947; photo courtesy Pete's Fish & Chips

For the Love of Pete’s

Written by Savanah Yaghsezian Category: History Issue: November 2017
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Before McDonald’s, Chick-fil-A or Burger King, there was Pete’s Fish & Chips.

Seventy years ago, Peter McLane Grant Jr. moved from Indianapolis to Phoenix and built a fish and chips stand that would grow to become one of the most recognizable “street food” institutions in the state.

Pete’s Fish & Chips was truly a labor of love. A World War II veteran, Grant moved to Phoenix to improve his health after a medical discharge. Though he had a teaching job lined up, he decided to pursue his passion for food instead. He opened Pete’s Fish & Chips in 1947 and never looked back.

Grant standing in front of his “ little goldmine,” below, which he later expanded and rebranded as Pete’s Fish & ChipsAt 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. There was no air conditioning and no running water, just hard work and good, greasy food, according to Pete’s website.

As Grant’s family grew, so did his business. As children, his four daughters all learned how to cook and helped operate the business. By the time the girls were in high school, Pete’s had a total of eight locations Valleywide.

Tragically, Grant was killed by an acquaintance who robbed him of his prized $30,000 rare coin collection during a home invasion in 1987. After the murder, two of his daughters, Kathy Adams and Pat Foster, took over the business. They vowed to keep their father’s legacy alive by maintaining his original mission: low prices, little advertising and good food.

“We’re serving fourth-generation customers now,” Adams says. “I think, after 70 years, we must be doing something right.”