Peppe’s–Canutillo, TX

Peppe’s Restaurant & Cantina
6761 Doniphan Dr.
Canutillo, TX
(915) 877-2152
Peppe's Restaurant

Peppe’s Restaurant

Perhaps my favorite long time El Paso restaurant was Griggs Restaurant, located on Doniphan Drive about a mile north of Country Club Road. There were branches in Kern Place, a long-running one near the airport, and for a brief time on Mesa Hills. These all used the Griggs family recipes, but the Doniphan restaurant is the one that stayed in the family until shortly before its closing in 2003. I also thought the Doniphan restaurant stayed the most consistent to the family recipes, although for the most part the other restaurants served the same great food.

I heard that the east side Griggs Restaurant closed sometime around 2008, and unfortunately it was related to the health of the owner. This led to an agreement between the owner and his long time employees Peppe and Lorena Morales that the latter could open their own restaurant using the Griggs family recipes. Thus Peppe’s Restaurant & Cantina has been open since 2009 in Canutillo, Texas, carrying on the Griggs tradition and using the same recipes that were used in the original restaurants.

Peppe’s dining room with much of the memorabilia from the old restaurants

The Griggs Restaurants on Doniphan and Montana were probably as famous for their antique furniture and artifacts as for the food, and both were in spacious buildings that resembled haciendas. In contrast Peppe’s Restaurant is rather small, with only a few of the antiques from Griggs Restaurant on display. Peppe likes it this way, though, allowing him to concentrate on the food which has been purposely copied from Griggs. The menu even looks the same as the old ones I remember.

Peppe's menu

Peppe’s menu modeled after the former Griggs Restaurant

With Peppe’s Restaurant being small and the owners present every time I go there, I think the food will keep the consistency I found at the old Doniphan location (Peppe worked as a chef at the Montana location and is very familiar with the Griggs family way of doing things).

In 1968 the Griggs family published a cookbook with Mrs. Josephine Griggs’ recipes, and copies were still being sold as late as about 2015 at El Pinto in Albuquerque. Mrs. Griggs’ children owned Griggs Restaurant in El Paso, La Posta in Mesilla, New Mexico, La Posta in Rancho Cordova, California, and El Pinto (the Albuquerque restaurant). La Posta in California is closed, but it is apparent that the restaurants still operating do not cook the food in exactly the same way, and have done a lot of tweaking to the original recipes. Peppe says that Mrs. Griggs’ book was not complete in that it did not explain what type of pots and pans to use for cooking the food, where to source the ingredients used, etc. Presumably, though, this information was passed down to all the Griggs children and to anyone operating the family’s restaurants.

One of the unique features of Peppe’s (and Griggs before it) is the source of its chiles. These come from a farm in La Union, New Mexico (near the El Paso Upper Valley) and are fresh inasmuch as the growing season allows. Peppe takes further steps, though, to ensure a good quality and flavor of his chile (including the chiles rellenos). The chiles used at Peppe’s are all sun dried, which gives a mild flavor (many restaurants use machine dried chiles, which have a darker color and a more bitter taste). His chiles are not terribly spicy, and the Griggs family understanding of New Mexican chile was that it is not supposed to be as spicy as some of those from Mexico such as chile de arbol, habanero, etc. The Griggs recipes also make generous use of tomatoes which further tone down the food.

In my opinion La Posta and El Pinto are geared toward tourists in their chile spice level. El Pinto seems to start with milder chiles than Peppe’s, and by the time they tone them down with tomatoes and other ingredients, there is very little New Mexico chile heat left (although there is enough flavor that I do not totally dismiss La Posta’s food as being unauthentic, only that it is one of the mildest New Mexico style restaurants in the Las Cruces area).  I have not been to El Pinto in a while, but the review on Gil’s Thrilling (And Filling) Blog indicates that it is very mild as I remember it.

At Peppe’s I think the the red chile has the highest spice level. It does not match the level of some restaurants in New Mexico, but it is definitely noticeable. The chile con queso is probably next on the spice level, with the green chile being the mildest (although it definitely seems to be more potent than the green chile served at La Posta).

In some ways the recipes at Peppe’s are a little non-traditional for New Mexican food, and offer a little bit of a different take on this cuisine than I normally find. Some examples are the following:

  • The green enchiladas are a solid choice here although I rarely care much for them anywhere else. The spice level is less than with most other New Mexico style green enchiladas, but they are hot enough that to me this is not an issue. The flavor, though, seems to be a perfect blend of chile, tomato, and spices (and few others have a flavor that I like this much).
  • The Griggs family recipe for the chile relleno is similar to the one at Chope’s in serving it plain with no sauce on top, and both Chope’s and Peppe’s use local chiles. Although Chope’s has what I think is the iconic New Mexico chile relleno, the one at Peppe’s is very good, and makes this one of the few restaurants where I go out of my way to order the chile relleno.
  • Peppe’s presentation of chile con carne is a little different than at most restaurants, and in addition to serving it plain also features it on a tostada compuesta with the beans, lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese on top. Several restaurants use chile con carne in a sopapilla compuesta, but Peppe’s is one of the few I have found that serves it on a tostada.
  • The slaw at Peppe’s is quite unique and is my favorite side dish over the rice or beans (La Posta, though, has a similar slaw which is also made from Mrs. Griggs’ recipe).

Salsa and Appetizers

Chips and salsa

Chips and salsa

After all these years it is still hard to beat Griggs’ Salsa, now served at Peppe’s along with with their excellent chips (and tortillas if you desire). In fact, I used to think that the Griggs salsa was a little wimpy, but I appreciated it a lot more after all the Griggs Restaurants closed and it was no longer available (and fortunately it was only a short wait until Peppe’s opened). It is true that this is not the spiciest salsa in El Paso or in New Mexican restaurants throughout the Southwest, but I appreciate the flavor and the fact that it is always fresh.

Radio salsa sampler

Radio FREE Salsa Sampler

The Radio FREE Salsa Sampler came as a promotion on the El Paso History radio program which airs Saturday mornings on KTSM-AM. Peppe’s is a sponsor of the show, and anybody who mentions the “Radio FREE Salsa Sampler” gets the above pictured salsa samples for free. The original purpose of it is so that you can try all of their sauces and find out which ones you like best in terms of the flavor and the spice level before you order a whole plate of it. It is also a good thing to order, though, if you simply want to try different things (you can ask for it whether you heard it on the radio program or not).

The Chile con Carne (at the top of the photo) is the same meat sauce used on the tostada compuesta, and it also comes on some of the combination plates such as the Combo #3. Peppe says this is also a sample of their red sauce used on the enchiladas, although this sauce comes without the meat.

The Green Sauce (at the bottom) is used on the green enchiladas, although I think it has a better flavor on the enchiladas because of the cheese that is added.

Peppe’s has one of the best examples of Chile con Queso I have found anywhere (shown on the left of the photo). The cheese at Peppe’s is a little thicker than is usually found, offering the reason people will either like it or dislike it (depending on their viewpoint), but I am glad it is more of a solid than a liquid. The green chiles are fresh and flavorful, but not of the ultra hot variety.

The salsa on the right is the regular one that all customers get with the chips.

Combination Plates

Combination Plate No. 3

Combination Plate No. 3 with green enchilada instead of red

Usually I like meals with a variety of items, and the combination plates offer several choices for this (they will also make some substitutions). The Combo Plate #3 on the dinner menu is a good way to sample some of my favorite items. Although the red enchilada comes standard on the plate, I think the Green Enchilada is one of the best items at Peppe’s, and can be substituted for the red. To me the green enchilada offers a very flavorful blend of New Mexico chiles, cheese, tomato, and tortilla (but one which is not as spicy as most of the ones in Las Cruces).

There is no question in my mind that the Chile Relleno is another “best dish” at Peppe’s. Peppe’s serves the chile relleno New Mexico style, with no sauce on top. The chile, cheese, and batter are all much better than average, making it unnecessary to add a sauce (and in my mind it would be an adulteration of the dish to do so). The trick of the cheese is to cook it just right, and I have found that Peppe’s has this nailed (the menu says they stuff it with a mild cheddar). There is also the factor that the chile is local, and is sun dried.

Another notable item on the Combo #3 is the Chile con Carne, made with pork carnitas and red chile. This was one of the spicier items served, and I thought it went well with the other items. My favorite form of chile con carne, though, is when it is served on a tostada compuesta with beans, lettuce, tomato, and cheese. Thus my choice is usually to get the Noonday Combination C that includes a tostada compuesta, and because of the substitutions that are allowed I usually get the other items I want as well.

The Rolled Taco is an item I often substitute because I am usually not a big fan of ground beef, but the one at Peppe’s was quite good. It tasted as if it were mixed with potato, and everything was simple but prepared well.

Green Enchiladas

Green enchiladas are New Mexico style

Green enchiladas are New Mexico style

An order of Green Chile Cheese Enchiladas comes with rolled enchiladas, but you can ask for them to be flat, as pictured. Stacked (flat) enchiladas seem to have more sauce, and I think this is the best way to enjoy one of the best versions of this dish I have tried in the El Paso area (in fact, I am gradually reaching the point that these are the only green enchiladas in El Paso that I really like).

Red Enchiladas

Red enchiladas with an egg on top

Red enchiladas with an egg on top

The Red Chile Cheese Enchiladas plate is also quite good, and is prepared New Mexico style (with more of the chile flavor coming through than in restaurants that serve the typical El Paso style enchiladas). These enchiladas are spicier than the green ones, but mild compared to ones found in Las Cruces or northern New Mexico. I recommend it with an egg on top (as shown in the photo).

The Rice is excellent, with a good mixture of flavors. Its moisture content indicated that it had not been sitting around for a long time.

Peppe’s serves whole beans by default. It is really hard to judge these compared to others, since preparing them is pretty straightforward. I prefer these, though, to just about any refried beans that are served in El Paso.

The Slaw is notable for being one of the best, although slaw is somewhat of a novelty in El Paso restaurants unless they are New Mexico style as Peppe’s is. One of the secrets of the slaw here is that it is made with apple cider vinegar (and Peppe says it has to be a certain kind of vinegar mixed just right with the other ingredients that are used).

Chile con Queso Dishes

Chicken breast with chile con queso

Chicken breast with chile con queso

I do not think there are any items with chile con queso available on the combination plates, so the best bet is probably to order one of several plates available from the menu. One of the best is the Chicken Breast with Chile con Queso (you can also get it Tampiqueña style). One reason I like this dish is the high quality of the chicken. Another one of my favorites from Griggs was the Grinder (chopped steak), but I have not yet had this at Peppe’s. Burritos are also available topped with chile con queso.

Noonday Combinations

Noonday Combination

Noonday Combination with items from both C and D

The Noonday Combination C is one of my “go to” choices at Peppe’s, although I usually substitute a green enchilada (an item from Combination D) for the folded taco (an item normally served on C). I think the reason I can make this substitution is that Combinations C and D are the same price (A and B are less expensive, and probably allow similar substitutions between them).

The above photo shows my preferred mix and match, resulting in slaw, tostada compuesta, chile relleno, and a green enchilada. It does not have rice and beans, but I do not really miss them since I have the slaw. Griggs Restaurant only served the Nooday Combination at lunch (hence the name), but Peppe’s lets you order it any time.

Peppe’s charges extra for a Sopaipilla, as did Griggs Restaurant. You can get them plain or get the bite size version with cinnamon and sugar.

Other desserts are also available, such as Flan. I do not know if this is one of the items from the Griggs family recipes, but I was quite impressed with it.

A Summary
One of the little things that I particularly enjoy about Peppe’s, is the fresh Corn Tortillas that are served with the meal on request. The tortillas are made fresh daily at a nearby tortilla factory, and I think are excellent.

There is a full cantina (bar) here, but Peppe says he is keeping a family atmosphere (there are no TV’s or loud music playing although you can sometimes watch football games without the sound playing).

I do need to mention that they have an additional charge if you use a credit card. It does not become official until you sign the receipt and they run it through, so if you decide you want to pay by cash after seeing this charge on the check, you can do so.

My usual meal here is the Noonday Combinations C, with an enchilada substituted for the folded taco. The Combination Plates have a larger number of items, and are also very good. For those who want smaller plates, though, the Noonday Combinations are available any time and not just at lunch.

For a one-item plate, though, my top choices would be enchiladas (green or red) or something with chile con queso. Be advised, though, that the green enchiladas are served rolled unless you specifically ask for them to be stacked (the red enchiladas come default as stacked).

So many of El Paso’s classic restaurants are now gone that I make a special effort to support the ones that are still around or that have been reincarnated with new names. What is especially good about Peppe’s is that it maintains the quality that Griggs had, and the food here is not exactly like anything I have had in El Paso or New Mexico. La Posta in Mesilla, New Mexico gives a good presentation of the Griggs family recipes, but I think Peppe’s gives one that uses hotter chiles and has a better flavor.


Cuisine: Mexican New Mexican
Cost: $$
Hours: Closed Sun. evening & Mon.
Accessible: Yes
Smoking: No smoking

Most Recent Visit: Oct. 20, 2019
Number of Visits: 10+
Best Items: Green Enchiladas, Chile Relleno, Tostada Compuesta, Red Enchiladas, Grilled Chicken Breast with Chile con Queso, ICX (chopped steak with chile con queso), Slaw, Beans


Mexican Food Details

Chile Index: chile 4
Cooking Oil: N/A


Special Ratings
star 5 Green Enchiladas
star 5 Red Enchiladas
star 5 Chile Relleno
star 5 Tostada Compuesta
star 5 Rolled Taco
star 5 Chicken Breast with Chile con Queso
star 5 ICX (chopped steak with chile con queso)
star 5 Slaw
star 5 Rice
star 5 Beans
star 5 Chile con Queso
star 5 Chips
star 5 Salsa
star 4 Flan
star 4 Sopaipilla


Menu (May 2019):

India Hut–El Paso, TX

India Hut
4410 N. Mesa St.
El Paso, TX
(915) 260-9900
India Hut

India Hut

I know that many Indian people believe in reincarnation, and if this principle applies to buildings there is probably no better example in El Paso than the one that now houses India Hut. A number of restaurants have operated in this building over the years, and one that I particularly remember was Asia Garden which was here in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s serving a foretaste of what has turned into a trend of authentic and very good Chinese food in El Paso.

An Indian buffet is actually a very good use of the building which for some unknown reason is long and narrow, allowing the placement of tables on one side of the main dining room and the buffet line on the other. What is not so efficient is the fact that the parking lot surrounds the building, yet only those who find spots on the north side are situated near the restaurant’s one and only entrance (although there is an emergency exit at the south end).

India Hut is in good company with other restaurants which have repurposed a former restaurant with another one which is just as good or even better than before. I put up with quirks in the architecture or layout of the building in order to get good food, and those who are familiar with my reviews are probably aware that this many times involves humble surroundings rather than the city’s fanciest new buildings (although good food is non-discriminatory and may be found in all types of restaurants).

One other part of the story is that Indian food has always seemed to be very popular in El Paso, yet there have traditionally been very few choices for it in the city. In my opinion it has been better quality and less Americanized than many of the ethnic cuisines served, and business has seemed to be good at the Indian restaurants that have been here over the years. For some reason, though, most of them do not seem to last for a long time. India Hut is one that seems to be doing things right–it delivers good quality for the money. Of course this is no guarantee that the restaurant will have staying power but things look hopeful.

The Buffet

The buffet at India Hut

The buffet at India Hut

At times the buffet is the only type of food available, including Sunday lunch (at other times it is also possible to order from the menu). I am not usually a fan of Indian buffets because the food is usually nowhere near the spice levels that should be found in Indian food. In the case of India Hut there usually seem to be one or two items that are more spicy than the others, and they are about as spicy as I would order them from the menu. This alone makes the buffet at Indian Hut better than most I have tried.

The flavor of the food from India Hut’s buffet is generally very good. Here there are generally one or two items that I think fall short, while at many buffets it is the opposite (I can only find one or two items that I really like).

As of this date I have been to India Hut twice, so I cannot make blanket statements about the consistency of the food. What I can say is that both visits have been consistent in the fact that I liked several of the items. They have not been consistent, though, concerning which items these were. On the first visit one of the servers told me he had cooked the navratan korma, and this was one of the items I liked the best. On the second visit I did not like this item as much, and I did not see that particular server at the restaurant (so I assume the korma was cooked by someone else).

More than half of the clientele I saw in the restaurant appeared to be of Indian ethnicity, and it is always a good sign when a restaurant is popular with the people it is supposed to represent. I did think it had a good flavor, although most of the items were not as spicy as I think many Indian people prefer.

One area which was disappointing was their chutney and pickle selection. This has been a deficit in many of El Paso’s Indian restaurants, and is something I use as a test of Indian restaurants. Until recently I thought India Palace did not have them, but I discovered that it is available at an extra cost. At India Hut there are a couple of chutney/pickle varieties available on the buffet, but the ones I tried were so sweet and non-potent in the spicy category that I do not consider them to be true chutneys (they may be authentic, but just not the kind I need to spice up Indian food).

The Naan is one of the most important elements of an Indian meal, and the one here was excellent. They mostly serve garlic naan and at times I have had to wait for the plain one, but they serve it eventually.

Chai is available here, and they have a fruit flavored iced tea that I like. They give one free refill on the chai, and I am not sure about the sweet tea.

The price and quality of the buffet are good enough that I probably would question the desirability of ordering from the menu instead, although if you go for Sunday lunch (and I think any day at lunch time) the buffet is the only option.

Buffet Items

Items from the buffet

Navratan korma, channa masala, spinach tadka, dal makhni

In my two trips to the restaurant there has been very little variation in the buffet items served. The photo shows some of the items I tried on a Sunday buffet. At another buffet they added tadka dal and they had black lentils instead of the dal makhni, but other items were the same including the korma, channa masala, rice, naan, etc.

One of the biggest things I noticed, though, is that some of the items had different flavors and different spice levels on my different dining experiences. There was not really a difference in overall quality, but just that different items were ones I liked best on different trips. For instance, on my first visit the Channa Masala and Navratan Korma were my favorite items. On the second visit the Tadka Dal was the best item, while others that I liked before were somewhat of a disappointment (such as the channa masala).

Thus I really should not write a description of individual items because they seem to change from one visit to another. With a buffet you can sample different items and than get more of the ones you like, so I think this system works pretty well. Overall I liked the food but I was disappointed that only one or two of them were spicy enough for my taste (my sample was mostly of the vegetarian items). I do like the selection of vegetarian items that they offer (the number of choices is about equal to the meat items).

On one of my visits they did not have chai (the owner was not there and no one else could make it). Instead I had a fruit flavored iced tea that was very good and turned out to be much better than it sounded when they described it as “sweet tea.” When I had the chai on another visit I thought the flavor was not as good as the one at India Palace, but they give one free refill and I think this is a good drink to have with the meal.

Other Comments
The positive about the buffet here is that almost everything has a really good flavor, and at least one or two of the items on each visit have been spicy enough for me. They do not have a problem with leaving the food sitting until it gets cold, and the price is good. For now I will probably always eat from the buffet until I can find something I like well enough to order from the menu.

My favorite items have been different on each visit, but there have always been items that I thought were very good. In figuring out an overall evaluation of the restaurant, though, it is not only the flavor which should be considered but also the quality and healthfulness of the food. Indian food is definitely one of the ones I feel best about eating, and India Hut has well prepared food on the buffet which gives a good choice of items to try.

India Hut Web Site


Cuisine: Indian
Cost: $$
Hours: Open Daily except Sun. evening
Accessible: Yes
Smoking: No smoking
Alcohol: N/A

Most Recent Visit: Oct. 13, 2019
Number of Visits: 2
Best Items: Tadka Dal, Navratan Korma

Special Ratings
star 5 Tadka Dal
star 5 Navratan Korma
star 5 Spinach Tadka

Peter’s–El Paso, TX

Peter’s German Grill & Bakery
255 Shadow Mountain Dr.
El Paso, TX
(915) 626-6368
Peter's German Grill

Peter’s German Grill

The owner of Peter’s (whose name you can guess) was formerly a baker at Lo Mart Supermarket, a grocery store that had a large selection of German baked goods and other items imported from Europe (and is a store I have missed since it closed). Fortunately, though, Peter’s German Grill and Bakery goes a long way in filling the void, except for the fact that Lo Mart used to be on both the west and east side while there is only one Peter (who is located on the west side on Shadow Mountain Dr.).

Peter operates a German restaurant that mainly serves bratwurst and schnitzel, although I know that some other items are available as well (the web site lists two other types of Wurst). Side dishes are available, and there are daily specials Monday through Saturday. Most of what I have tried so far has been because it was the daily special.

The bakery is similar to Marina’s Bakery on the east side, except here there is a greater selection of breads while Marina’s mostly serves pastries. Each of these bakeries gives you a good selection of both, though.

Peter kept telling me that Friday night is the beer special night (I think it is half price) but I have yet to check it out. So far, though, I have found more than enough to keep me interested in coming back.




Bratwurst is one of the specialties of the restaurant, and it is obvious that Peter takes care in finding a good source and in cooking it the right way. The one here is grilled, resulting in an excellent flavor of an already good sausage. Sauerkraut is served on top (onions are also available), and all around it is excellent.

After several visits I have come to the conclusion that the Sauerkraut is one of the things I appreciate most about the food here, and that this is one of the best versions I have found anywhere. The two things that are important for a good sauerkraut are freshness and flavor, and Peter has both of them nailed.

A very good Potato Salad is served as part of the daily special deal on Wednesday, or you can order it separately any time (including Monday when the bratwurst sandwich is half price). The potato salad is served cold. I have been told that it is prepared in house daily, and this is evident by its freshness.

Peter has several types of mustard which you can try out to your heart’s content, but the one I have found to be the best is the coarse mustard. Marina’s Bakery is the place in town that I think has the best German mustard, and I really like their bratwurst better overall except perhaps for the sauerkraut (I haven’t had Marina’s in a while and I am really impressed with the sauerkraut at Peter’s).




Jagerschnitzel is one of the variations of schnitzel served here, and the mushroom gravy covering the meat lived up to my expectations (as did the meat).

Marina’s does not serve jagerschnitzel, but it is a popular item at The German Pub. Personally I think the one at Peter’s is better because of the flavor of the sauce, but both Peter’s and The German Pub have an excellent jagerschnitzel.



German style pretzel

One feature at Peter’s is that they have German style Pretzels made with rye, covered with rock salt, and served with butter. Like all of the bread it is fresh and baked in house.


Cranberry and walnut bread

Cranberry and walnut bread

After trying the Cranberry and Walnut Bread I have made it a point to buy more every time I go back. This is one of my favorite things to eat at home for snacks or as part of breakfast–the sweetness is just right but it is not to the point that you will get a sugar high from it.

For those who like bread with fruit and nuts, I would honestly say I have tried quite a few of them and this one, along with the cranberry and walnut at Whole Foods (and a similar bread at Bella Cora) are the best. My favorite of all of them, though, is Peter’s.


Black forest

Black forest

The Black Forest has a very nice cherry filling with a liqueur flavor along with a very fresh cake and European style (not too sweet) cream topping. This is definitely one of the best I have tried (I would say probably the best).

I should mention that Peter has quite a few other desserts, but I am so stuck on the Black Forest that this is the one I like to buy.

There is a large variety of specialty drinks in the cooler (I think many are from Europe) that include some I have tried and would recommend. The drink I usually buy is the canned pink lemonade (I think it is by Minute Maid).

Peter does not have a drink fountain (Coke, etc.) and does not serve iced tea. Beer is available, though.

Other Comments
This is a German deli with a very impressive selection of schnitzel and wurst, but overall the menu is not as extensive as would be found in most German restaurants. The quality of the food at Peter’s is very good, and of course there are other perks such as the pastries.

The daily special on Wednesday is especially good if you go with a friend. You get two bratwurst sandwiches with a side dish (such as potato salad), two drinks, and two desserts for the current price of $20 (I figure when you add up the prices of everything if it were purchased individually, the desserts are almost free). All of the daily specials seem to be good deals, though, and all of them are for one person except on Wednesday.

In addition to being a restaurant and a bakery, this is also quite a good store for German and European foods (and I think Peter expanded it in 2019). I do not think the selection is like it was at the old Lo Mart, but it is getting very close.


Cuisine: German
Cost: $$
Hours: Closed Sun.
Accessible: Yes
Smoking: No smoking
Alcohol: Beer

Most Recent Visit: Oct. 12, 2019
Number of Visits: 7
Best Items: Jagerschnitzel, Bratwurst, Cranberry and Walnut Bread, German Pretzel, Black Forest

Special Ratings
star 5 Bratwurst
star 5 Jagerschnitzel
star 5 Potato Salad
star 5 Pretzel
star 5 Cranberry & Walnut Bread
star 5 Black Forest