Pepper’s Cocina Mexicana & Tequila Bar

An Amelia Island favorite known for delicious Mexican food and tequila, Pepper’s is now serving brunch Mexican-style, with authentic favorites and delectable drinks.

You know that place where you never need worry about seating, good food, last-minute parties, refreshing drinks, or even complete catered occasions? Pepper’s is that place for many locals and visitors. For decades, it has been this place. Many of us remember when Pepper’s was that tiny place in the Food Lion shopping center on Sadler Road.

And now you can add it to your weekend brunch rotation! From 11 a.m to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, you can relax and enjoy brunch, Mexican-style, at Pepper’s. Sit on the porch and watch Centre Street go by; sit at the bar and chat or watch televised games; or sit in booths or at tables in the spacious dining rooms.

Start your brunch vibe with drinks. You like to fly, right? Pick a mimosa or sangria flight, and away you go. Specialty drinks include a Bloody Maria, made with house-made mix; Mexican Iced Coffee, which does taste special; and Aperol Jalisco with aperol, tequila, prosecco, and grapefruit. These pink beauties were being thoroughly enjoyed by the women sitting next to me at the bar. Alcohol-free options are special, too: choose from fresh-squeezed juices of orange, beet, or veggie green, or hot drinks like Mexican coffee or hot chocolate.

All brunch menu items except Steak & Eggs can be made vegetarian, so if you are interested, look for the green leaf. And if you want to frontload your daily fruits and vegetables, check out Mexican Street Corn or Avocado Toast. In Spanish, Azul means blue, as in the word azure, so what might a Waffle Azul be? A blue corn waffle, with hazelnut meal, buckwheat, and rye, all topped with freshly whipped cream; little ones have their own Mini-Waffle Azul, too. Eight other specialties of the house are creative mixes of various peppers, cheeses, other vegetables, spices, sauces, in or on corn wonders. Each deserves its own investigation.

Fire up your fun with the flaming brunch appetizer of Queso Fundido, very nice with chorizo, alongside a truly smoking fancy Smoked Old Fashioned cocktail. Hot, hot, hot! Anthony or any of the bartenders can tell you the difference between tequila and mezcal, and the difference between average and premium quality, just ask them.

Pepper’s has authentic mezcal-tasting cups, too. Recently, I read that the agave plants will not be able to keep up since agave-based tequila and mezcal recently were named the fastest-growing spirits category. Follow this trend at Pepper’s, where you can have a shot for between $5 and $500, or have flights to find your favorite. Margarita flights, anyone? Pepper’s has your agave needs covered.

Start or end your brunch with a dessert martini. The beginning is as good as the end with Tia Maria, vodka, and espresso. Another exquisite dessert is Mexican flan: that soft, round egg custard dripping fresh caramel has come a long way since its humble beginning as an ancient Roman solution to a surplus of eggs. Fernandina is lucky to have had its own fabulous flan source since 2006.

One local celebrity has been eating at Pepper’s every week for seven years. Many locals have been regulars for years. It is that kind of place, and now it is the place for brunch, too. Pepper’s is located at 530 Centre Street.