What’s on the takeout menu at Pepper’s Food and Drink, a fun new fast-food counter for fried chicken, burgers and Korean snacks
Name: Pepper’s Food and Drink
Contact: 189 Wallace Ave., @peppers.189
Owners: Ihn Huh, Leemo Han (Hanmoto, Pinky’s Ca Phe, Seoulshakers)
Chef: Julian Ochangco (BB’s Diner)
Outdoor seating: Some picnic tables, but they’re off limits for now given the current lockdown restrictions
COVID-19 safety measures: All high-traffic areas sanitized and disinfected; Covid safety screening for all staff; clearly marked areas to allow for distancing; mandatory masks for staff and customers; staff has been trained on Covid protocol, safety and sanitization processes
Pepper’s Food and Drink is part takeout kitchen, part curated selection of Asian-Canadian staples and snacks. “This food is a culmination of our upbringings,” says co-owner Ihn Huh, of the menu designed by Julian Ochangco, who creates dishes based on his Filipino roots, along with some inspiration from Hawaii and Japan. “It’s comfort food: things like fried chicken, rice and Korean side dishes. Basically an eclectic mix of foods that somehow all work together. At the end of the day, it’s all comfort food for us.” Comfort food is right—Pepper’s current menu includes deep-fried apple pie, spaghetti with sliced hot dogs, a fried chicken box with a bevy of sides and a loaded chili cheese dog.
Everything’s made in a bustling on-site kitchen; there are also two fridges full of Korean dishes made by co-owner Leemo Han’s mother, known around Pepper’s as Mama Han. Her unique take on Korean food reflects western and pan-Asian influences—the selection, rotated daily, includes everything from classic banchan to Mama Han specials like cilantro kimchi. Try the smooth, subtle pork curry sauce—a marriage of Japanese and Korean influences—or the rich, herbal braised chicken stew with dates and ginseng. The imitation crab salad, with vermicelli, cucumbers and lemony mayo, is an early favourite.
Pepper’s has a wide range of Asian soft drinks and a small selection of craft beers and wines to accompany their extensive takeout menu. Grab a can of bubble tea, Sac Sac orange, or milky Calpis (a popular Japanese soft drink) to go with your meal.
For obvious reasons, Pepper’s is operating as a takeout-only destination for now, but plans to open dine-in and patio seating as soon as it’s safe to do so. The bright, funky interior is studded with retro details—the menu above the kitchen was repurposed from a bowling alley, there’s a fully functional movie theatre–style hot dog roller, and colourful neon signs that glow above the beer fridge. You’ll want to take a look at the snack selection while you wait for your order—if you don’t walk out with a basket of fun stuff, you’re not doing it right.