Pepper’s Cocina & Tequila Bar is much more than meets the eye. From Centre Street, one is drawn by its breezy, inviting patio, but once inside, Pepper’s offers a comfortable bar, booths, tables, and even an attached private dining room for special events.
When I met a chef friend there recently to check it out, we sat at the bar, where bartender Jennifer showed us around Pepper’s specialties. But first some appetizers: chips, homemade queso dip, guacamole, and ceviche mixto were perfect for tasting tequilas. Saving for next time the Tex-Mex guacamole with corn and bacon, we enjoyed the traditional guac with its own smooth burn. And the ceviche was a sumptuous mix of seafoods, flavors, and colors. A tequila beginner myself, I was ready to be educated.
Pepper’s offers eight gorgeous Margaritas, but of course serves other cocktails like a Mule, Gimlet, Old-Fashioned, Piñata, and my choice, the Paloma, or the even better Spicy Paloma. If you want to know more about tequila and its history, Pepper’s offers an interesting guide to the nuances between four age categories of tequila: the light and crisp Blanco; Reposado, which is rested less than a year; Anejo, which is mature and deeply toasty, barrel-aged for 1 to 3 years; and Extra Anejo, which is barrel-aged for 3-plus years and more mature.
Cristalino describes a treatment of tequila, usually an Añejo, which has been filtered with activated charcoal, leaving a fruity, sweet, clear liquid. My Cristalino served neat was like an immensely sippable fine cognac. You can continue the agave adventure at Pepper’s with Mezcal and tasting their eleven offerings, and sample flights in Select, Cristalino, and Smokey! Finally, Pepper’s has wines and beers, hard seltzers, and three sangria choices.
Pepper’s takes peppers seriously, and you’ll find serrano, poblano, bell, ancho, chipotle, and jalapeños prepared in ways that best utilize their textures, colors, and flavors. Fresh seafood and local shrimp are prepared in special ways that diners may never have seen, like the glorious Nachos Camarón with grilled shrimp, pico de gallo, house queso sauce, and sliced avocado, and the Camarones a La Diabla, which is perfect for spicy food lovers like me.
Vegetarian versions of Enchiladas de Mole, Chile Relleno, or Sizzling Fajitas are marked by a leaf on the menu.
Meat choices abound, with Chorizo sausage, braised pork tips, and antibiotic-free chicken; Angus beef comes in Pepper’s favorites like barbacoa, carne asada, and birria, which is served either in a quesadilla or a taco. And plan carefully so you can enjoy desserts like the luscious Milky Caramel Galaxy Chocolate Cake, Authentic Churros, and Traditional Flan.
If you would rather enjoy take-out or want to drink and not drive, you can have Pepper’s foods and drinks delivered to your house! Order online on the restaurant website or check out the daily Takeout and Delivery specials. Interested in Margaritas at home? Try the Top-Shelf Margarita Kit that makes 15 drinks for $65 or just order Take-Home Margaritas. Located at 530 Centre Street, Pepper’s Cocina & Tequila Bar opens every day at 11 am, and they are ready to share with you the many ways they offer Mexican hospitality, foods, and drinks.