Pepe’s Cantina – 433 West New England Avenue Winter Park.
Local independent restaurants are the life blood of any successful food economy, not only do they provide variations of food styles that major chains run a mile from, but they put their heart and soul into the business as their personal message to the customer.
Once such business is Pepe’s Cantina in Hannibal Square Winter Park. In a space previously occupied by the Spanish restaurant Mi Tomatina, General Manager Frank Chavez, who owns and runs the restaurant in partnership with Executive Chef Jose Baranenko decided to open a Mexican restaurant named “Pepe’s Cantina” in October 2015.
The internal dining area is compact but given a great Mexican vibe with photos and paintings in keeping with the Mexican theme. A front fan cooled patio, a side alley eating space and a fabulous bar area to the rear of the restaurant give you a wide selection of places to eat and drink. Latin American sounds compliment the ambiance combining different Latin music genres in keeping with the required mood.
We chose to sit outside, and even on a hot day the fans made our decision comfortable and the right choice. Service was attentive and knowledgeable, we almost immediately had chips, salsa and water on our table along with a special lunch menu.
Our team have eaten at Pepe’s many times and covering all sessions, so I will just combine all thoughts and tell you why we like Pepe’s. In a nutshell, the food is great and fresh. You can go to many Mexican and Tex Mex restaurants and get similar named dishes i.e. Fajitas, Tacos, Enchiladas etc. but at Pepe’s they choose whenever they can to rely on fresh products, from the Salsa to the Tortillas, all made on premises and it shows. The table side Guacamole is another star, your server will lead you though the preparation in a way you like, Spicy – Less Spicy – Chunky – Smooth, more of this less of that. The result, perfection. Jose (Pepe) also adds his own stamp on traditional Mexican dishes with signature entrees, his refried beans are amazing and as all self-respecting Mexican Chefs, he has his own excellent recipe for Mole, that most Mexican of sauces that seems to get better the more ingredients you use.
Check in for Brunch and get Pepe’s take on Steak & Eggs as well as Huevos Rancheros, my personal favorite, you will not be disappointed.
As you would expect there is a vast selection of Tequila and Margaritas of every size, from shots to pitchers.
Easy parking at the New England, Pennsylvania Ave cross street.
They have a great bar at the side of the restaurant hidden from the road – Check it out
Daily specials and deals such as Taco Tuesday and Wine Down Wednesday along with Happy Hours – Check web site for details
So all in all a great Mexican restaurant serving fantastic fresh food, the guys here are really trying to go that extra mile to build a reputation for value and quality, lets help them out and support this fantastic local business.