Grayson County’s newest restaurant, Pepe’s Grill, was hopping with activity on Wednesday as patrons either visited for the first time or made a return trip for seconds. A ribbon-cutting ceremony outside complemented the buzz of activity inside.
Having been in the restaurant business for nearly six years, manager Antonia Arriata was able to quickly and efficiently get the newest local eatery up and running.
So far, business is going well, he said, and he expects it to stay that way thanks to the freshest of ingredients “from our fries to our margaritas” and Pepe’s signature steaks. Free wi-fi access, as well as upcoming drink specials are sure to be crowd-pleasers as well, he said.
“We’re authentic.” Arriata said, “we have food that [other area restaurants] don’t have.”
He also expressed plans to hopefully expand the restaurant in the near future, creating more dining space as early as this summer.
Arrieta, a well-spoken young man who recently made the move from Indianapolis to Leitchfield, sat down to talk with The Grayson County News-Gazette on Wednesday afternoon about his latest venture, Pepe’s Grill.
Wearing an apron and a tee-shirt which read, ‘Food like you’ve never tasted before,’ Arrieta seated himself at one of the many wooden tables filling the dining room of his family-owned-and-operated eatery located in the breezeway of the Southgate Mall Shopping Center.
While customers and wait staff buzzed around the room, Arrieta explained that a friend had brought to his attention that the building, which formerly housed a barbeque joint, was for lease.
“When I came to look at the location, I noticed how friendly the people were around here,” he said.
Arrieta began speaking with the building’s owners in January and quickly signed the lease, moved to Grayson County and opened up Pepe’s Grill - and, yes, Arrieta says Pepe is not only a real person, but he does actually work in the restaurant’s kitchen.
As far as community networking goes, Arriata is more than ready to get involved and is already pleased with the local Chamber of Commerce, which his business has joined, and with the area residents he has met so far.
While chatting with local Clydean Cooper over a plate of chicken chimichanga, Arriata showed his winning personality, business savvy and new-found sense of community by offering Cooper a dish named after her on his menu if she would send him a recipe for her delicious and authentic sopapillas.
Cooper was not only excited about the opportunity for recipe-sharing, but thoroughly enjoyed her meal, calling it “fresh and authentic” - two of the things Arriata prides himself on.
Bringing his interview to a close later that day, Arriata said, “It’s all about giving back to the community. Not only creating jobs, but giving back because at the end of the day, we’re a part of the community, too.”