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Delicious Puerto Rican seasoning at Don Pepe Restaurant

For almost 20 years, this establishment in the east has stood out for offering Puerto Rican cuisine in a family atmosphere and having a large wine cellar

April 20, 2024 - 11:00 PM

Traditional snacks and appetizers are essential, and they pair well with a variety of sauces, the hot sauce, and the house wine. (XAVIER GARCIA)

Lee la historia en español aquí.

Río Grande.- Good Puerto Rican cuisine shines through in every plate served at Don Pepe Restaurant, a restaurant that specializes in local fare, established nearly two decades ago in Barrio Palmer, Río Grande.

“If the seasoning is good, people will come. Keeping active in this highly touristic area, well, it’s an indication that at least people like what we do and it’s good,” expressed the executive chef of the locale, Benjamín Vázquez Torres, who –with the concept’s owner, Eddie Olmedo Angueira– has kept the establishment alive.

Don Pepe Restaurant began in 2004 as a blend of Puerto Rican and Mexican gastronomy. However, its patrons’ taste buds yearned for local flavors. Over time, they shifted their focus exclusively to Puerto Rican cuisine, featuring their renowned lunch specials and à la carte menu.

“We’ve received positive reviews from a lot of people. Some even travel from off the island just to eat here. They come back to Puerto Rico and make it a point to return here,” Vázquez Torres remarked.

Their appetizer selection includes a traditional mix of alcapurrias, yuca, arepas, bacalaítos, cheese ball fritters, and sorullitos (corn fritters); daily soup specials; seafood turnovers; and chicken longaniza cooked with onions.

Main dishes such as Borinquen-style chicken breast accompanied by ground beef, criolla sauce, amarillos (fried ripe plantains), and cheese; mofongo stuffed with a variety of meats or seafood; chicken cracklings; grilled, garlic, or breaded chicken breast; their famous chuletas can can, fried pork chops, and steak.

Moreover, they offer various prime cuts of meat including: Filet Mignon, Ribeye, New York Strip, veal tenderloin, and T-Bone.

Most of the sauces are homemade, including garlic cream, chimichurri, guavamayo, and the Don Pepe hot sauce, which is also available for purchase at the restaurant.

Don Pepe Restaurant offers a large international wine cellar, including one of their signature picks, Altanza from Rioja.

The family-friendly atmosphere at the establishment transforms in the evenings with live acoustic music on weekends and jazz on some Wednesdays and Thursdays of the month.

According to Vázquez Torres, the biggest challenge over the years has been staying afloat amid the natural, economic, and health-related hurdles that the country has faced.

Don Pepe Restaurant is open Sunday through Thursday from 11:00 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. For information, call 939-221-2034 or 939 221-2035.

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