While the Peacock experience has long been synonymous with full service waitstaff, chandeliers, tablecloths and venues for private parties, the new location at 1287 E. Fry Blvd. delivers a fresh, modern experience with the classic Vietnamese dishes customers from Sierra Vista and far beyond have loved for the past 27 years.
Due to COVID, the family-owned restaurant has embraced a more casual and takeout-centric approach, says owner Hiep Wingate, known affectionately by regulars as “Mama.”
The new building also represents a significant downsize. “As everything was going more towards takeout, we realized we didn’t need such a big building or big dining room,” her grandson, Jonathan Wingate, explained.
Diners can now expect a touch-free ordering process at the counter before taking a seat to admire the brightly-lit walls adorned with Vietnamese artworks, first brought to the U.S. by the entrepreneur decades ago.
Another addition is a clear counter where customers can watch their food being prepared, to the delight of many.
The rest, Jonathan promises, will be the “same Peacock experience customers know and love.”
The crowds seem to agree. Despite a three-month-long hiatus before reopening on March 29, business is booming and busier than before, according to the elder Wingate.
“I have customers from Phoenix who say to me, ‘You know how many restaurants are between here and Phoenix?’ Yet they keep coming back. They’ve been back twice since we reopened,” she said, holding back tears.
Despite the restaurant’s stature in the community, the Wingates faced challenges on the road to reopening that resulted in the months-long hiatus.
“We were completely broke for the last three months, without any income. When we were closed for (awaiting approval to open), I would cry, wondering ‘what will happen?’ ” Hiep Wingate recounted.
“People would tell me, don’t worry, we will support you when you reopen. And they have,” she added, thanking the community for its continued support.
The stars aligned for the major update when the Wingates found an opportunity to buy a building for Peacock, as opposed to renting. The new location represents the family-owned establishment’s fourth move since opening its doors in 1995.
Despite the more casual setting, quality is never compromised when it comes to Peacock. Cloth napkins, quality silverware and granite tabletops are just a few details that preserve the spirit of the old Peacock Restaurant.
No matter whether customers dine in or take out, the restaurant is committed to providing the familiar taste of Vietnamese cuisine Hiep first introduced to the community years ago.
“Our main goal throughout the downsizing process was to make sure we kept the integrity of the food we provide,” said Jonathan Wingate.
“This town — Sierra Vista, Fort Huachuca … even customers from Bisbee and Benson — is so supportive and loving of my family. If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t be here for this long,” said Hiep Wingate.
Now in her 70s, she is still the first to arrive at the restaurant in the morning and the last to leave. When asked what keeps the restaurant running after more than a quarter century, Hiep Wingate’s answer is simple: “It’s what we love to do!”