I Ate Here: Pepe’s Bistro, Lincoln, Nebraska

I recently spent a day in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Yep, I visited the Beef State. And I ate really, really well thanks to Pepe’s Bistro.  Omaha and Lincoln continue to surprise and delight me with their veg offerings, some of the best meat-free meals I’ve had in the nation!

The sign at Pepe’s Bistro

I heard about Pepe’s from Isa Chandra Moskowitz who tweeted about a Kickstarter project.  Pepe is starting a food truck in addition to his bistro.  While a veggie food truck certainly caught my attention, it was the bistro that intrigued me.  I’m all about immediate gratification and knew I would be visiting Lincoln, so dinner at Pepe’s was planned into the trip.

Pepe gave us a tour

Here’s what you need to know about Pepe’s…You order at the counter.  Pepe cooks the food himself in a small and extremely efficient kitchen.  He buys produce from local farmers, farmers that he knows.  The menu changes every week, based on availability of produce. Got a dietary restriction?  Ask.  All I had to do was ask, the fella taking orders and Pepe were both knowledgable.  A few dishes on the menu during my visit contained cheese, but they will gladly leave it off.  And to top if off, Pepe told me he is looking into a gluten-free flour tortilla option, making more of the menu an option for folks like me.

My favorite fella’s aunt met us for dinner.  They both eat gluten and split a sweet potato quesadilla and a sandwich that was drool-worthy.  Fresh baked bread with black beans, herb and chile roasted potatoes, onion, garlic, bell peppers,  sauteed cabbage and Swiss chard, heirloom tomato pico de gallo and cheese.  But the real treat was the guacamole…

Topped with beautiful dehydrated tomato chips and pepitos, I considered moving the bowl to my corner of the table and refusing to share. I  didn’t, but I’m still thinking I should have.  I make good guacamole at home, but this was GOOD guacamole.  Pepe made it fresh when we ordered and served it with chips and salsa.  My favorite fella’s aunt really liked the salsa, commenting how fresh the flavors were.  I’m not a fan of too much cilantro, but this salsa had just the right amount of cilantro in it.

I had enchiladas for dinner.  Black bean and roasted yellow squash enchiladas with a side of rice and a salad.  The salad was dressed with a slightly spicy dressing.  The rice was tasty with no sauce. I know it looks like plain ol’ rice with cilantro, but it was great by itself.   The enchiladas were simply perfect.  You know the dish you think you could eat every single day for the rest of your life?  I do believe I’ve found it.  I’d eat these enchiladas any time I could!

A few other tidbits about Pepe’s…Ride your bike there, save 10%.  Take your old bike parts there on Saturdays and barter for a discount on food.  Pepe works with a community cycling program, getting bikes into the hands of folks who need them for transportation.  The bistro is closed on Sundays and Mondays. Take cash.  Go hungry.  Order the cucumber lemonade.

Pepe’s Bistro is located at 3227 South 13th in Lincoln, NE.  This review was written after a visit to the original location of Pepe’s on Havelock. 

Pepe's Bistro on Urbanspoon

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