The Pepper Is The Hot Place To Eat In Downtown Plattsburgh

The Pepper in Plattsburgh

Photo: Brian Kachejian © 2023

As a journalist who covers both history and news, I love walking through old towns and discovering new places that just jump right out in front of me. While walking down City Hall Place, in downtown Plattsburgh, NY, I stumbled upon a very colorful storefront for a restaurant called The Pepper. Hands down, you know when a restaurant is calling your name, and this call went to eleven. The inside of the restaurant looked very clean and comfortable. Still, as it was around 70 degrees outside, I decided to make use of their outdoor seating. It’s very different sitting outdoors at a restaurant in Plattsburgh than it is in Manhattan. There are just a few million people fewer walking by and no city buses drowning out your conversation every five minutes.

The Pepper in Plattsburgh

Photo: Brian Kachejian © 2023

A very friendly older type waiter brought me a large menu to take a look at. He had a presence about him that made me think he was the owner. I asked him if it was his place. He informed me that he was not the owner but had been working at the restaurant for the past twenty years. That’s a long time for someone to work in a restaurant. It’s actually pretty impressive to hold a job in the same place for that long. Plattsburgh is a unique city filled with many stories. It would have been interesting to learn more about him, but he was pretty busy at the time. He did tell me that The Pepper had opened twenty two years ago in 2001. Since its opening, it has gone through four owners and he has worked for every one of them.

What I love about Mexican Restaurants is the fact that instead of bread and butter being brought out to the table, you are greeted with salsa and nachos. It’s the first test of the quality of a restaurant. The salsa and nacho chips that were brought to my table were wonderful. The chips were fresh and crunchy. The salsa was homemade and delicious. As you can see in the picture, they bring a nice size helping. The trick is not to eat too many of them and ruin your appetite like my father used to say.

The Pepper in Plattsburgh

Photo: Brian Kachejian © 2023

There were so many items on the menu. I asked the waiter to recommend what was popular. It’s a question I always ask. Many times I will hear the dreaded answer “Everything is good here.” Well okay, that’s nice, but it doesn’t help me. Thankfully my waiter was very eager to showcase the most popular items. This was a man who was proud to work in this restaurant. He was proud of what he did and the food he served. He described some very enticing sounding entrees. In the end, I could tell that the Chicken & Asparagus Enchilada was the way to go. It wound up being a good decision.

The menu featured all the traditional Mexican specials like Taco’s, Quesadillas, Enchiladas, Burritos, and more. However, what makes The Pepper Restaurant so special is the original recipes and unique combination of foods that they use to make these traditional items.  One can choose a Seafood Enchilada filled with shrimp, scallops, and crab, a Red Chili Barbegued Sirlion Enchilada, or a Portobello and Spinach Enchilada which is self-explanatory. There are so many enchiladas and unique items on the menu.

When the waiter brought out the Chicken and Asparagus Enchilada to my table, it looked and smelled like I had made the right choice. Upon the first bite, my correct decision was confirmed. It was jaw-dropping how fresh and tasty the Enchilada was. I had never tasted anything like it. It was most unique. I was told by the waiter that it was a recipe that the restaurant had been using for twenty years. The item was so popular they weren’t going to mess with it. The entree also came with perfectly cooked moist Spanish rice and heavenly beans.

The Pepper in Plattsburgh

Photo: Brian Kachejian © 2023

Between eating all those salsa chips (sorry Dad) and the Enchilada and Rice and Beans, I was pretty stuffed. However, whenever I have just finished an absolutely stunning meal in which every food item was just perfect, I just can’t deny myself the opportunity to sample one of their desserts. The world needs to know. I had already been at the restaurant for about an hour. This is a place where they don’t rush you. It’s actually very enjoyable to be able to relax at an outside table under absolutely no pressure to eat and get out. I felt like I was in Paris again, except in the background was the Macdonough Monument instead of the Eifel Tower (people spend hours at restaurants in Paris).

As I was waiting for my waiter to come back outside, I was greeted by a woman instead asking if I needed anything else. Of course, I asked her to recommend desserts. She ran through a few items until I heard the words “fried ice cream.” It didn’t take too long, but about ten minutes later she came out with the largest presentation of a fried ice cream ball I have ever seen. This was a desert for at least two people and probably even more. It was astonishing.

The Pepper in Plattsburgh

Photo: Brian Kachejian © 2023

The woman who brought out my dessert turned out to be the owner of the restaurant. She was incredibly friendly. She had an aura about her that reminded me of an elementary school teacher. I am also a teacher, and teachers usually recognize other teachers. It turned out that I was right. He name was Susan and she was a retired elementary school teacher. She had purchased the restaurant during the beginning of Covid. She was the fourth owner of The Pepper since it originally opened in 2001.

We talked about the town of Plattsburgh and how one of the biggest struggles for many business owners in Plattsburgh was finding people to work. She is a small business owner giving it her all to continue to keep her restaurant open. In a town where so many small businesses have closed their doors in the past few years, Susan’s dedication to her businesses in all aspects from the food to her customers and more has proven to be extremely impressive and successful. Enjoying a great meal at a restaurant like this can be even more fulfilling when you discover the back story behind the blood and guts that keep the lights on, the stoves burning and the drinks flowing…….. If you find yourself in Plattsburgh, New York looking for a great meal, you must stop by The Pepper!

The Pepper

+1 518-566-4688

The Pepper Is The Hot Place To Eat In Downtown Plattsburgh article published on ClassicNewYorkHistory.com ©2023

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