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Pepper Jack’s – Fabulous Fast Food

December 28, 2010

None of the MHK staff had been to Pepper Jack’s in about 3 years, probably due to the fact that we found the food to be a bit boring and very average.  But now that the 10-year-old burger, cheesesteak, burrito, and wrap eatery has moved to a new location on North Allen Street, we thought we’d give them another shot; as it turns out, we should have given them another go much sooner.

Pepper Jack’s menu is essentially fast food, but they throw some culinary curveballs into the mix, offering creative ingredient combinations for their panini, sandwiches, wraps, and even their cheesesteaks (advertised as “authentic Philly cheesesteaks).  The chicken pesto panini has roasted peppers, red onion and Provolone, and the Santa Fe features chicken salad with cheddar cheese, salsa and hot peppers.  For wraps, they have a cheeseburger club with bacon and all the fixin’s; a breakfast wrap with eggs, ham, cheese and homefries; a cranberry turkey wrap with mushroom cornbread stuffing and cranberry sauce; and the buffalo chicken wrap with Pepper Jack and blue cheeses.  There are also items like the BBQ Pulled Pork sandwich, chicken or steak burritos, salads, and an array of finger foods like jalapeno poppers, curly fries and boneless Buffalo wings.  It’s a fairly extensive menu; even vegetarians will find a few things to try.  They also have homemade desserts.

We called in our order and we were told it would only be about 15 minutes; this timetable was right on the money.  We ordered the Deluxe Philly, the Red Hot Philly, the chicken burrito, and the Turkey Club Wrap, along with sides of fries and onion rings.

Both Phillys were very good – the steak was sliced razor thin, and the soft roll absorbed the juices nicely.  The Deluxe came with onions, bacon, mushrooms and Swiss; it was very tasty, but the mushrooms were pretty much non-existent – they were either omitted, or just weren’t enough to discern in the sandwich.  The Red Hot Philly had onions, hot peppers, Frank’s Red Hot sauce, and Pepper Jack cheese.  It was perfectly spiced – good heat but not too much, and the slight crunch of the peppers was a nice contrast of texture.  But it did leave me wanting more cheese, especially on a cheesesteak.  It was there, but I wanted more of that melted gooeyness in each bite.

The chicken burrito was a good size, stuffed with rice, black beans and cheese.  The ingredients were well-proportioned and it tasted great, though it would have been even better with some salsa or sauce.  The Turkey Club wrap was very basic, just turkey, bacon, lettuce, tomato and mayo.  While the turkey was not freshly carved, it was better than average, and it’s always nice to see a restaurant do the really simple dishes well.  The fries were far better than we remembered them being from 3 years ago – these seemed to be freshly cut, skin-on, and the outside stayed crisp while the inside remained soft and fluffy; very delicious.  The onion rings had a great crunch to them while the onion inside stayed tender; again, very delicious.

You won’t find anything over $8.99 on the menu, and the portions are hearty without being obnoxiously large.  With the new location, Pepper Jack’s is looking to expand their delivery area and make delivery service more efficient, as well as bringing in new business-lunch customers from nearby Central Avenue.  If they keep serving quality food, that shouldn’t be a problem.

The Mouse House Kitchen gives Pepper Jack’s 4 out of 5 stars!

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