Fancy-pants dining is nice and all, but you know the single most-asked question I’ve heard for the last three months: “What’s up with Don Pedro’s?” You know, the taqueria on Sebastopol Road that’s been taunting us all with its curious signage. Is it open? Not open? Open? Not open? All the hubbub just confirms what I’ve always suspected — it takes a lot of tacos to make great cuisine in Wine Country.
So here’s the long-awaited answer: Don Pedros is now officially open. The menu has been expanded to include breakfast (American and Mexican, with a focus on omelettes), homemade tortillas, rellenos, six types of salsa, burritos, and entrees like fried fish and enchiladas. Outdoor seating, lowered prices, all that good stuff. The Shrimp Diabla Burrito, decidedly delicious. For dinner, chile verde, adobada, chicken mole, pork spare ribs and on weekends, menudo and birria.
But why the delay? Well, there’s always a backstory.
The iconic restaurant on the corner of Stony Point and Sebastopol has been in the Kocalis family since 1961, and has been a Mexican restaurant of some sort since 1972. It’s most recent tenant, Pepe’s, occupied the building since 1986, serving up legendary local burritos.
But when Pepe’s lease came up last February, the restaurant decided to move to spacious new digs up the street at 1512 Sebastopol Ave. (in case you were wondering), and property owner Don Kocalis brought in Don Pedros, which he hoped to open relatively quickly. Unfortunately, he got mired in four months of unexpected city permitting issues and $100,000 in renovations and upgrades. Meanwhile, Kocalis was working on a another project on his property just to the west, planning a three-story Art Deco office building to get under construction in October. Kocalis points out that when it comes to red tape, things seemed to move a bit more smoothly with his ambitious office building than with the little corner taqueria.
But that’s all mole under the enchilada now.
What’s left to prove is whether Don Pedro’s can live up to the popularity of Pepe’s. Diving into a super burrito the size of a small child in my burning hands, I’d say they’re off to a solid start.
Don Pedro’s, 2000 Sebastopol Rd, Santa Rosa