4 December, 2022, 12:49

Iconic Tucson Servers: Bread and Butter Cafe’s Joanne Soto

Soto says that at this point she's essentially “part of the building.”

Meet Joanne Soto of Bread and Butter Cafe.

“Jojo” — to those who know her best — Soto is originally from Philadelphia but has called Tucson home for over 40 years. For 30 of those years, she has served comfort food classics at the Bread and Butter Cafe.

Soto started at the cafe while working at another Tucson landmark, Kon Tiki. The owners of Kon Tiki purchased Bread and Butter Cafe and asked Joanne to help them get started. The rest is history.

Soto says that at this point she’s essentially “part of the building.” Coworkers have served alongside her for close to twenty years, and she says that it’s relationships with customers and staff that keep them devoted to the restaurant.

Some of Soto’s regulars dine with her five days a week, and she appreciates that the cafe offers quality, affordable food that people from all walks of life can enjoy.

She also thrives off of the fast-paced environment that comes with keeping the diners and the kitchen happy. At one point in her career, the owners of the café trained her to do back-office work, but she decided that it didn’t suit her as well as being on the floor with the customers.

Soto has fond memories of watching children grow up in the cafe and then returning with their own families as adults. Joanne’s daughter even worked with her for a period of time and was able to kick off her current career by landing an internship opportunity through a conversation with a regular customer.

These days Soto works the busy weekends in the cafe so that she can spend the weekdays with her grandchildren.

The constant flow of customers — even in the summer — is a testament to the scratch-made food and quality service that Bread and Butter provides, she says.

After 30 years at Bread and Butter, she sums up her feelings with a few grateful words.

“I’ve been very fortunate.”

For more information, visit Bread and Butter Cafe.com. Of the two locations, Jojo works at 4231 E. 22nd St.

This feature continues our 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.

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