The year was 2008, and Peter Madrigal had yet to become one of Lisa Vanderpump's SURvers. He was, however, a recent University of Southern California graduate with a job in retail at Club Monaco when he met SUR co-owner, Guillermo Zapata. The two hit it off, and Peter, who fans know as the manager of the sometimes-rowdy spot on Vanderpump Rules, began his tenure at the West Hollywood eatery as a busser.
"At the time we were going through a recession, or the recession was going to be upon us soon, and I just wanted anything I could get. That’s all I wanted," Peter told The Daily Dish. "I wanted to take anything I could get at the time. I was like, 'You know what? Suck it up. I’ll just work my way to the top from bus boy to server/bartender.' That’s what I did."
Eventually, Peter did move up the ladder at the restaurant, but it was colleague Kristen Doute who always knew how to work the system best to score the most hours. "The only one that could figure out the system there was Kristen. Kristen literally worked seven days a week in a row. This was before I became a manager. At the time we were all servers, it was harder," he recalled. "Everyone got maybe two shifts a week. If we got three, one of us would be cut. We were always fighting for the Saturday shifts."
While SUR had been up and running for several years, Peter admits that everything changed when Lisa joined The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and the four owners — Lisa, Ken Todd, Guillermo, and Nathalie Pouille-Zapata — expanded SUR to include the space next door, thus creating the sexy, unique SUR Lounge it is today. "The whole thing looks different than it did back eight years ago," he explained.
Peter has also changed a lot since coming to work at SUR nearly a decade ago. "They taught me to grow up and they taught me to be responsible and learn. All of them: Guillermo, Nathalie, Ken, and Lisa. They made me grow up. They didn’t fully trust me until about two years after that. When I really started to get to know Ken and Lisa more was when they made me the manager of their restaurant. It was right before the summer of 2011," he said, adding, "I can legitimately say that I’m Ken and Lisa’s friend at this point because I don’t want anything from them. I just want a little bit of respect, and that’s it. I want respect and that’s all."
Check out throwback Peter pics, below.