Business feature: J.J. Jumbo Burger

By Clarence Plank: PNT staff writer

J.J. Jumbo Burger is a staple in Portales.

Pete Paiz has been running J.J. Jumbo Burgers for 15 years. He bought the restaurant from his father, Johnny Paiz, who owned the business for 20 years before he sold it. Back then it was called Jose’s.

Altogether the business has been in the Paiz family for 35 years.

Pete decided to buy the place from his father after being given a choice at his old ethanol plant job to either move to Farmington or Hastings, Neb., to keep his job.

Family came first, Pete said, because he wanted to raise his children in Portales. Pete made the offer to buy the family business and the rest is history.

What does it take to do the job: A lot of time and commitment to the food industry and being able to deal with the public and employees.

Paiz said he can tell if someone is motivated to do the job when it comes to looking for employees.

“I look and see how they handle themselves and working with others,” Paiz said. “I look for a lot of common courtesy and self motivation.

“My dad taught me to have some pride in what you are doing,” Paiz said.

His pride has been a family tradition. So much so, he works to make sure the food someone is buying from him is the same burger he would have gotten from his dad.

Wearing many hats: Paiz cooks the food, does bookkeeping, is janitor, marketing, public relations and cashier. He also puts a lot of effort into his employees to help them see it is their business too.

“It is all fresh meat from a local supermarket, they grind the meat for me and we hand patty the meat every morning,” Paiz said. “It is like my signature. I went to the (Ag) Expo yesterday and it took me hour an just to get through to see the thing. Everyone kept stopping me saying ‘hey that was good burger the other day.’”

What: J.J. Jumbo Burgers

Where: 708 East 1st

Contact: 356-6368

Hours of operation:

Mon., Tues., Thurs., Fri.