SAN DIEGO – Chef Billy “Butter” Joyce prefers to stay out of the spotlight, but his passion for serving others and his incredible food gets him close to some of the professional athletes and celebrities in San Diego.
Joyce, the owner of Surfside Deli located at 1912 Rosecrans Street in Point Loma, said his passion for cooking dates back to his years traveling the world on yachts.
“When you’re fishing on the boats, you’re cooking for five to 18 days at a time. You really have to be sharp on your feet,” he said, adding, “If I could cook on boats I could cook on land.”
Joyce’s founded Surfside catering 20 years ago. Since, the business has connected him to big names in politics, including Joe Biden and John Kerry.
Joyce is an avid sports fan and enjoys bringing people from all walk of life together through food. The San Diego Gulls are just one team that he’s been working with and he hopes to continue to expand to other teams whether they’re local or just visiting.
“At first it was just cooking omelets for the guys before they skate in the morning,” Joyce said. “It evolved into their practices, after the game, parties at the coaches house. I’ve got to meet these players … some of them have been called up the NHL for the Anaheim Ducks.”
“It’s all about who you know,” he said referring to a recent talk with the San Diego Padres. “Someone made an introduction. I went down and I showcased what I do. They were impressed. I’m hoping to get a least 30 home games and also cook for the visiting teams.”
The walls of Surfside Deli showcase memorabilia and gifts from friends and fans of his food. He has a picture of freediver Sam Wiseman, a paddle signed by Capt Phillips and a jersey from MLB pitcher David Wells.
As to his nickname “Butter,” apparently his surfing skills are “smooth on the waves.”