Iconic Tucson Servers: Bobo’s Restaurant’s Debbie Gaudern

Diners flock to Bobo’s for the pancakes, but they stay for the people.

We’re taking a look at some of Tucson’s iconic servers.

Any restaurant-goer knows that a great dining experience takes expert coordination between the kitchen and the front of the house. A good dish can be made great by the skills of a talented server. Attentive, but not overbearing service and a positive attitude can go a long way. Excellent service takes precision timing, people skills, multi-tasking, and a lot of time on your feet. It’s no secret that waiting tables is not a job for the faint of heart.

Some of Tucson’s iconic restaurants have the benefit of seasoned staff who have worked for their team for more than two decades. They are servers who are committed to their restaurant, their customers, and to doing an excellent job. Each of these individuals has their own unique story, but between them lies a common thread of deep appreciation for the people they serve and the pride they take in their work.

Diners flock to Bobo’s for the pancakes, but they stay for the people.

Debbie Gaudern has served loyal regulars, families, and college students at Bobo’s for an impressive 27 years of the restaurant’s 43-year history. She added owner to her resume when she purchased the restaurant from the previous owners 14 years ago.

During her tenure, Gaudern has cultivated a faithful following of diners. She estimates that about 80 percent of their customers are regulars, saying that, “if they come in the door once, they usually come back.”

Bobo's Restaurant (Credit: Theresa Delaney)

Bobo’s Restaurant (Credit: Theresa Delaney)

Gaudern has also developed an experienced staff, which includes multiple generations in her own family. Her daughter, Danielle, has worked the gamut of positions in both front and back of the house at Bobo’s. Danielle’s daughter, Katrina, has also worked at this Tucson breakfast staple for years.

Seasoned staff don’t only come from Debbie’s family. The mother, daughter, and granddaughter trio have the support of servers and kitchen staff who have worked alongside them for many years.

Staff aren’t the only part of the restaurant that has stayed consistent. The kitchen uses original recipes that have been crowd pleasers for decades, and the installation of a larger grill in the last few years has helped to accommodate the huge volume of food the kitchen puts out on a daily basis.

Bobo’s received international attention in 2015 when the New York Times highlighted the breakfast diner in an extended article focused on Tucson architecture, “In Tucson, an Unsung Architectural Oasis,” so you can expect the typically full dining room to get even busier.

More business shouldn’t be a problem, however. Gaudern shows no sign of slowing down. But when she does decide to take a step back, she knows that her family will be there to keep Bobo’s traditions alive.

For more information, visit bobostucson.com.

Megan Black is a Tucson native who is always looking for the next great meal at home and around the globe.

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