Pepper's Food & Drink
Pepper's Food and Drink offers a no-fuss menu of burgers and fries, fried chicken and chili dogs served out of this takeout space offering Asian staples and snacks.
Co-owners Leemo Han and Ihn Huh, the brainpower behind Seoul Shakers, Pinky's Ca Phe and Hanmoto, transformed Pepper's Cafe that sat at the corner of Lansdowne and Wallace for over 30 years into this retro grocer and takeout spot.
The menu includes a varied selection of comfort foods with a mix of influences from Korea, Japan, Hawaii and the Philippines, where cook Julian Ochangco (formerly of BBs Diner) is from, as well as freshly prepared packaged Korean eats from Umma's.
They serve up beef, veggie and kimchi pork buns ($4.50), both steamed and crispy, the latter keeping their soft texture while featuring a golden, crispy layer on each side thanks to a bit of pan-frying.
Made fresh on the daily and kept warm in a display window at the counter, it's hard not to leave without at least one. The kimchi provides a balanced, yet lasting heat.
Next to the display case of fresh buns sits a movie theatre–style hot dog roller lined with dogs. You can get one on a bun with beef chili and cheese ($4.50) or hot mustard and pepper hash ($3.50) or with a side of rice and macaroni on a pile of hot chili ($14.99).
The yummy burger ($7.50) comes with a beef patty topped with house tartar sauce, cheddar and shredded lettuce on a Martin's potato roll on with some curly fries. The tangy tartar packs in plenty of flavour between the super-soft burger bun.
There's also a large selection, rotating daily, of freshly packaged meals made in-store by Han's mother, including Korean classics like spicy napa kimchi, pickled daikon radish, wakame salad and shishito peppers with crispy anchovies ($4.99).
The store features a good amount of Canadian and Asian snacks and food items, with the ramen corner always stocked fully with noodle options to pile into your shopping basket.
When it comes to something to wash your chili dog down with, choose from one of the craft cans in the neon-lit beer fridge. There is also a small bottle selection of Dillon's and wines.
For something of the non-alcoholic variety, a wide range of Asian drinks including a number of canned bubble teas, are also available.
Pepper's Food and Drink feels a bit like a funkier version of an old corner store, drawing in locals for both the tasty selection of comfort food on the menu and drinks and snacks in-store.