MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Burgers and burritos might not be the most logical pairing for a restaurant menu, but that’s exactly what’s on the menu at Peppers and Fries in Minneapolis.
“Bring the Mexican with the burgers, the burritos and burgers,” laughed Steve Frias.
Steve and his daughter Marie bought an abandoned Lake Street gas station and opened their unique family restaurant in 2014.
“I think I was more scared than anything,” said Marie Frias, “it was such a big responsibility because of all the work and the hours of losing sleep.”
Steve and Marie grew up in the restaurant business: the Frias family is legendary in St. Paul, as Steve’s parents founded Boca Chica Mexican Restaurant in 1964.
“I grew up in this business, I was born in it,” said Marie.
Her expertise is the front of house: working with servers and checking on guests, as well as the line-up of craft beer. Steve’s expertise is in the kitchen, where he’s combined his life-long love of burgers, with his family’s legendary burritos.
“We call it the Willie Burrito, this is my dad’s signature dish at Boca Chica,” he said.
Willie’s Rojo Pork has chipotle pork, refried beans, rice, cheddar and is smothered with another scoop of pork. It’s incredible.
“We’re a scratch restaurant. We hand-patty our burgers, make our own sauces, use the best bacon. Everything has to be quality,” said Steve Frias.
The fries are hand-cut too, blanched overnight to take out some of the starches, par-fried in the morning and then fried again when they’re ready to be served.
“You can taste the potato on the inside, and the crunch on the outside,” said Steve, noting they go through about 1,400 pounds of fries every week.
There are 15 different types of burgers: The Bangkok Burger with sriracha coleslaw and jalapenos won the Twin Cities Burger Battle. The PB and J has peanut butter, bacon, and pepper jelly, and also shows these Mexican restaurant vets know their way around a burger.
“We’ve always loved burgers,” said Marie.
The restaurant name is a play on Steve and Marie’s nicknames. Former baseball coach Frias was always called Fries, and he nicknamed his daughter “Pepper.”
“Marie has dark skin, my wife has light skin, I called them Salt and Pepper,” he said.
Pepper and Fries is about more than the really good food, it’s about the Frias family carrying on a tradition of making other families feel good.
“There are people who had kids 3 years ago before we opened and now they’ve grown up. That’s my favorite part, the regulars and the relationships we’ve had with the neighborhood,” she said.
Peppers and Fries
3900 E. Lake Street, Minneapolis
Hours: Monday- Saturday 11am-12am; Sunday 11am-10am