By Jim Donahoe
It is with great hesitation that I write this article. You see, once I have discovered a great eating-place I am very reluctant to let others know about it because I don’t want Pepe’s to become too popular! I know that’s bad, but it’s the truth. Oh well, just for this one time, I will make an exception. Pepe’s Fish and Shrimp Taco Stand is fabulous and very “local”.
Pepe’s success is not based on a major marketing campaign. Gosh, they don’t even have a sign! This is a true tribute to word of mouth advertising. When asked why they are successful, Jose (Pepe) Luis Diaz, one of the family of owners explained that, “People just come and eat and keep coming back for more”. That is exactly what happened with my friend, Jack, and I. After our first visit, we have become Pepe’s most regular clients. Why not? We each have two shrimp tacos and we split a coke. Seventy-six pesos – total. How can you beat that?
I am sure the fish tacos are equally good, but why would I consider changing from my favorite camarones tacos? Yes, I know the shrimp and fish are deep fried… shame, shame, shame. But golly, with the shrimp piled high on the maize (corn) tortilla and absolutely the best salsas and condiments around, I just can’t help myself. I know I am becoming more Mexican with each visit as I learn how to build a skyscraper of a taco and as I grow braver with the amount of habanera sauce and chiles I pile on my daily food art creation.
Another part of the Pepe experience involves the staff. Over the course of time we are now greeted with smiles, hand slaps, attempts at conversation and tacos that are presented before even placing an order. Over the past year, we have recommended Pepe’s to many people, locals included. Everytime, the feedback we receive is the same. People love Pepe’s.
Pepe’s family moved to La Paz 34 years ago to learn the business. Eventually, they opened a small taco stand on the corner of Cinco de Mayo and Guillermo Prieto, just a couple blocks inland from the cathedral. With much hard work, they eventually relocated to their current location, just a block away at the corner of Prieto and Independencia. That was 14 years ago. Through lots of hard work they have now purchased the home just behind the stand. “We plan to expand our operation to incorporate the home as part of dining area”, explained Pepe. Based on the number of patrons I always see, they definitely need the expansion space. This family run operation also owns and operates another taco stand at the corner of Verdad and Independencia.
Pepe’s is open 7 days a week from 8:00 am to 2:00 pm. However, be there before 1:30 pm to make sure they haven’t run out of essential condiments. OK, now that I have let the cat out of the bag, go ahead and try Pepe’s and even tell a friend. By the way, if you feel as strongly as I do about another taco stand, email me and let me know. I will look to include that information in an upcoming column.
Jim Donahoe has been a licensed real estate broker for 30+ years, has consulted throughout Western Mexico for the last 9 years and has been a full time Paceño for nearly 3 years. Jim is the Broker Manager for Linda Neil Properties in La Paz. firstname.lastname@example.org – (612) 140-1054 – www.lindaneil.com.