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Jan 19, 2007 04:22 AM

Don Pepe Drive-Thru in Salinas?

How is this place? I wanted to try the convenient drive-thru on this chilly night, but it had already closed when I passed by later at 7:30pm. That did afford me the opportunity to take this photo of the drive-thru menu (no prices) -

Don Pepe Taqueria
301 E Alisal St
Salinas, CA 93901
(831) 757-4540

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  1. I've eaten here many times, but I usually have the veggie burrito, which is very good, but not very traditional. They have an extensive seafood menu, but at lunch, it's too much food for me, and I've never gone at night. If you stop, I would recommend going inside to order for two reasons. One, the drive through can be very slow, because they do take a bit of time fulfilling orders, and two, they have a great picture menu so you can have a better idea of what you're ordering. I have heard that their quesadillas are very good.

    However, if you're on East Alisal, why not just go a couple more blocks to the El Charrito Market on West Market? That's where I usually end up!

    6 Replies
    1. re: mersidoe

      Thanks, I'll have to stop by during the day and go inside. I've heard that this is the same Don Pepe as in Fresno which gets good marks here . . . can anyone confirm that?

      I liked El Kora, which is two blocks away around the corner from Long's Drugs, for Nayarit style seafood. I think that El Charrito on West Market is more than a mile away. The East Alisal location of El Charrito would be much closer. I've only been to West Market, which is okay, the two Alisal branches might be better.

      1. re: Melanie Wong

        Melanie, we dropped in for dinner last night (Fresno) around 6 PM and the place was hoppin'. Near the end of our meal there was a lull so I asked the fellow that had been waiting tables if they had a sister location in Salinas and he said yes, however, I'm unsure if he understood my query, and the fellow that was on the cash register previously was no where around.

        I checked out the pic of the menu in Salinas that you posted and noticed that the arrangement of the items was quite similar. I couldn't quite make out the names under the Mariscos section, but if you can recall them being (shrimp) Zarandeado, Veracruzana, Diabla, and Mojo de Ajo, that would replicate our humble location. One other similarity might be, below the previous items they have Shrimp Botana, Shrimp Tostada, and Ceviche Tostada.

        It'd be great to have this great food available on our trips through Salinas, but on the other hand, you've provided us with a heap of good hound-worthy leads in your home town, Muchas Gracias!

        1. re: PolarBear

          After reading about Don Pepe's in Fresno, I was hoping to find Zarandeado on the menu, but the Salinas one has Camarones Empanizados in its place. My other motivation for finally checking out Don Pepe's was to see if the drive-thru might be a convenient substitute for street food from the trucks. Guess not, if it closes before 7:30pm.

          1. re: Melanie Wong

            Popped in again yesterday for lunch (best al pastor torta and lengua taco I've ever had!) and found out from the cashier that not only are the two places related, but Salinas is the site of the original. Looking forward to comparing them sometime. Do they have the large cocktels (camarones y pulpo)?

            1. re: PolarBear

              Thanks for staying on this. Coctels de camarones are right under the mariscos items you mentioned above. If you're in the area, you might want to check out Mariscos El Kora, that is about 2 blocks away. It has zarandeado on the menu and other Nayarit specialties, for another take.

              El Kora (Estilo Nayarit) -

              P.S. After many tries this morning, I can finally open this thread and read your reply.

        2. re: Melanie Wong

          I can confirm this. I know someone who is related to those who own Don Pepe in Fresno. I live near Salinas, and have lived in Fresno but have not been to either location. But, yes, they are of the same owners.

          Don Pepe's
          3719 Wilson Rd, Bakersfield, CA 93309

      2. As a Fresno hound, I can vouch for the deliciousness of Don Pepe's here in Fresno and would be interested to know if there is a related restaurant in Salinas. However, Hubby and I have asked the counterperson if there were other Don Pepe's and were told "no". But he didn't seem especially knowledgeable, and we were having a conversation about Fresno, so who knows. report on Fresno Don Pepe's

        1. The drive through window is misleading. I think this building originally housed a burger joint, hence the drive through window.

          When I was a kid, there was a "Little Pizzarina" in it's place. At that point the drive through was completely useless. Could you imagine waiting at the drivethrough window for 25 minutes?

          In recent years I was addicted to Don Pepe's Carnitas super burritos.

          My father once told me that the owner said they were getting robbed after dark, so that's why they started closing earlier. Sounds reasonable in that neighborhood.

          So... if you go for lunch or an early dinner and just pretend they don't even have a drive through, and order inside you'll be set.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Rawj

            Thanks a bunch for the info. Any other places in Salinas you'd like to recommend?

            Restaurante Don Pepe
            301 E Alisal St, Salinas, CA 93901

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              Thanks for an accurate update, Melanie. BTW, what's with the auto-address generator linking to a place in Bakersfield? I reported another the other day in a post on Mammoth Lake linking to a place in Fresno.

              1. re: PolarBear

                The auto link matches the restaurant name against the database for the region, in this case, the territory covered on the California board. When an error is made for the link in one of your own posts, you can click on the blue "remove" button next to the address to get rid of it. The "remove" is always there and not subject to the 2-hr time window for editing the text in posts.

                Taqueria Don Pepe
                4582 N Blackstone Ave, Fresno, CA 93726

                Taqueria Don Pepe
                4950 N Woodrow Ave, Fresno, CA 93726

              2. re: Melanie Wong

                Don Pepe's has reopened after a remodel.

                Restaurante Don Pepe
                301 E Alisal St, Salinas, CA 93901

              3. Drove by last week and saw that this location is now Taqueria Jalisciense.