Kingfisher Bar & Grill has been serving award -winning cuisine drawn from a wide variety of American regional influences, highlighting seafood, grilled meats and poultry dishes since 1993.
owner / chef – since 1993
Jeff Azersky was born and raised on the South Shore of Massachusetts. After high school he attended Johnson and Wales in Providence RI for Hospitality Management. From there he developed an interest in cooking and spent a summer in the kitchens of Rhode Island School of Design. After school he then moved into the city of Boston where he worked at the acclaimed Parker House Hotel, The Hampshire House, and most notably, Il Capriccio in Waltham MA.
In 1986, he moved to Tucson, Arizona where he became Executive Chef at the newly opened Café Terra Cotta, which was at the forefront of Southwestern Cuisine. For the next four years he expanded on his culinary repertoire by working with a range of ingredients indigenous to the region. From there he moved onto another iconic Tucson restaurant, Boccata Bistro which featured Northern Italian/ Southern French cuisine. During that time, while also teaching cooking classes at the much beloved Tasting Spoon, he fell in “love at first sight” with Suzy and they were married 15 months later.
In 1993, Azersky partnered with Tim Ivankovich, James Murphy, and John Burke to open Kingfisher Bar and Grill in midtown Tucson. The team, who had helped other people open numerous restaurants over the years, decided to put their talents together and make their own unique mark on the Tucson restaurant scene. As they soon discovered, with the instant popularity of the restaurant, that opening Kingfisher filled a much needed niche and it continues to be one of Tucson’s most popular, award winning restaurants.
Today, twenty something years later, Kingfisher is still going strong. With several longtime staff members, a loyal local following, a commitment to take nothing for granted and to always try to improve, you can bet that they will be around awhile longer.
Jim "Murph" Murphy
owner / chef – since 1993
Chef Jim Murphy, is a founding partner of the award-winning Kingfisher Bar & Grill in Tucson, AZ. One of Tucson’s top chefs, Murphy began his career in 1974 as a busboy/kitchen worker in restaurants in Phoenix. Moving to Tucson to attend the University of Arizona, he worked part time to support his studies, continually moving up the back of the house ladder at various restaurants including The Vineyard, Lunt Avenue Marble Club, and at Jerome’s Seafood Restaurant where he was a grill cook and developed his passion for seafood.
Following a stint of several years at the Westin Hotel in Washington DC as a Tournant and Commis Chef and a brief stretch at the The Biltmore in Phoenix, he returned to Tucson and to Jerome’s as Sous Chef, then Executive Chef for 2 years. In 1990 Murphy and his new bride, the beautiful Jackie Rose, moved to the Hudson Valley in New York to matriculate at The Culinary Institute of America where he studied for three years. While there, he collaborated long distance with his soon to be partners in purchasing the Iron Mask, one of Tucson’s most iconic “continental” restaurants which was up for sale.
Upon graduation in 1993 the Murphys returned to Tucson and opened the new Kingfisher Bar & Grill with partners John Burke, Tim Ivankovich, and Jeff Azersky. The seafood centric midtown restaurant has been a Tucson favorite in the 24 years since then, winning countless awards along the way.
Kingfisher celebrated 24 years in business in 2017 and is Tucson’s only restaurant devoted to seafood cuisine where restaurant guests can always count on finding the freshest, best catches from around the world. The popularity of annual signature events like “Oysterfest”, Fat Tuesday Mardi Gras and their unique Summer “Road Trip” Culinary tour, Kingfisher continues to be fresh and innovative and a real labor of love for Chef Murphy. His ongoing devotion to his craft keeps him engaged and creative and working “on the line” at least three days a week.
pastry chef – since 1993
Marianne Banes, CCP, has been a professional chef and pastry chef since 1977. The former executive chef at Café Terra Cotta in Tucson, she has held positions at Stars and Square One Restaurants in San Francisco, Garland’s Lodge in Sedona, and Jerome’s and Janos in Tucson, among other fine dining establishments. She taught cooking and baking classes at Culinary Concepts for 11 years and at Pima Community College for three years. She has been the pastry chef for the last 20 years at Kingfisher Bar and Grill, teaches pastry classes, and contributes articles on food, organic gardening, and cooking to several publications..
executive chef – since 2001
Kingfisher Executive Chef Fred Harris was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts. Beginning as a line cook at the Landmark Café in Boston’s famed Faneuil Hall Marketplace, he worked his way up the ladder to the Village Inn of Woodstock, Vermont and to Café Buon Gustaio as Sous Chef, he gained valuable training and knowledge. With an extensive New England culinary background, he was a perfect fit at Kingfisher where he has been since 1998 first as Sous Chef then moving into the Executive Chef position that he holds today.
Richard de la Cruz
sous chef – since 2012
Richard de la Cruz, age 34 is a Tucson boy, a graduate of Amphitheater High School, and subsequently graduated from The Art Institute of Tucson with a degree in Culinary Arts. He has worked in many Tucson Kitchens, most notably Vero Amore and Rocco’s Pizza. Richard is a 5 year employee with Kingfisher, he is the A.M. Sous Chef.
He is also quite an accomplished drummer.
pm sous chef – since 2002
Andrew "Teddy" Hall
general manager - since 2007