SAN DIEGO - With less than two years in operation, J&S Pit Shop got a surprise of a lifetime in December of 2019 and recently they filmed with Chef Vivian Howard the host of a Public Broadcasting Service show called Somewhere South.


“I got a phone call from PBS in December (2019). They told me they were interested in doing a show here for their upcoming (season) on Somewhere South with Chef Vivian Howard,” said Sarah Chapa owner of J&S Pit Stop.


Chef Vivian Howard is a host and award-winning chef. According to PBS, Howard's show, Somewhere South, explores the lesser known roots of southern food, cooking and living. Howard also examines cross-cultural dishes, such as dumplings and beans and rice, enjoyed by diverse communities across six one-hour episodes.


“They wanted to feature our mollejas. Well, then, they found out we were an all girl team. They would come and feature us and our barbecue,” Chapa said.


So on Monday, Jan.13, and Tuesday, Jan. 14, PBS showed up to the restaurant to film.


“So when they came Monday afternoon, they did customer interaction and our meal preparations. On Tuesday, that's when Chef Vivian Howard came in and we did the show with her,” Chapa said. “She joined us in the kitchen in the morning as we were preparing and I was lighting up the barbecue pit. She joined us as we seasoned the meat and when I turned on the pit also.”


Chef Howard helped prepare the food that would be served to J&S Pit Stop customers on Tuesday. She even helped Chapa's sister, Rachel Saenz, roll out the tortillas. She asked questions as she helped prepare food. Questions that Chef Howard asked were related to each dish and the culture behind the dish.


“At first, we were nervous having a chef come into our kitchen, but she's just like you and me. She was talking with us and made (the experience) comfortable,” Chapa said.


Chapa isn't exactly sure when the show will air on television because the show's season starts in late March. She is expecting a call or email from the producer about the exact air date.


“It's exciting. Mys sister, Rachel, has said that she wants to have a 'show party' when the episode airs...,” Chapa said. “I feel accomplished and proud (to represent the City of San Diego). You never expected a broadcasting (show) to be interested in you.”


The family-owned restaurant is located at 806 East Gravis in San Diego. Joel and Sarah Chapa are the owners of the restaurant, but Sarah is the one who runs the daily operations with her sister, Rachel Saenz, and her niece, Catherine Solis. For more information about the restaurant's hours of operations visit them on Facebook at J&S Pit Stop.