Hays Take On: Pepito’s
Hays Take On is a blog series where we explore the Twin Cities in order to find the best and most interesting food and drink stops. Check for updates every Wednesday and follow along to see what we find!
If you’re familiar with the hidden gems of the Twin Cities, when it came to Mexican food, Pepito’s was the go-to restaurant to satisfy your craving until it closed down. However, the Pepito’s legacy still lives on in their take out based market just off of 46th and Nicollet in Minneapolis. It has all of the great hole-in-the-wall Mexican Restaurant feelings that the original had just on a smaller scale, however the taste of the food is still the best.
Located right off of 35W at 46th and Nicollet Ave in Minneapolis, the proximity to 35W makes this Pepito’s an ideal spot for a quick lunch on any workday. Walking into the building you immediately can feel the warmth from the tortillas and meats cooking in back. The walls are decorated with old photos of friends and family, in a similar style to how the original restaurant was decorated, which gives you that “at home” feel. Behind the counter you can see where all of the food is prepared as you order it, with one of the coolest features is the little range that they bake the tortillas on to give them a nice brown that’s firm but not crunchy. With only a few tables and booths available, you’re going to want to beat the rush if you plan on dining in, so getting there right after they open at 11 will usually guarantee you a seat, a short line, and some fresh baked chips!
Considered the smaller market version of the original restaurant the menu here is much more refined, but covers the basics along with their signature Nacho Lupitas. Even though they carry the basic Mexican plates, their ingredients really make each order stand out. With plenty of meat choices as well as vegetarian options, there are plenty of combinations to try. Burritos here are well filled, tacos are stuffed full, and the enchiladas are well covered, so don’t worry about going hungry.
Alongside these great meal choices, are the fresh baked chips and great salsas, guacamole, and queso dip. Here’s our words of caution: Pepito’s has nailed the recipe for one of the hottest but flavorful salsas you can find in the Twin Cities. It’ll make your nose run and forehead sweat, but you won’t be able to stop grabbing chips and going back for more. If you’re headed back to work for the day, it’s worth it to grab a bag of chips and a tub of salsa to go so you can snack the rest of the day.
While we are saddened by the closing of the original Pepito’s, their market version will be able to satisfy your needs for a long long time. In our opinion the burritos hold up against Chipotle, Qdoba, or any other Mexican restaurant you can name and that hot salsa will have you torturing yourself for “one more bite” over and over again throughout your meal.
Check out more here: http://www.pepitosrestaurant.com/deli.php
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Pepitos.Mpls/
In the Nicollet Shop Mall on 46th and Nicollet – 4624 Nicollet ave south
Make sure to check back next Wednesday for the next adventure and if you have any suggestions on places we need to check out let us know in the comments!