Stellar margaritas with chips and guacamole are a great way to start a meal at Pepe and Chela’s. The homemade guac ($6.45) is chunky and perfectly salted with wonderful back-of-the-throat heat, and the house margarita ($3) offers a perfect sweet-sour balance. Beer-lovers will appreciate the chilled glasses with their brew.
The enormous menu is made even larger by the option to build your own combinations of tacos, enchiladas, burritos, tostadas, tamales and pan-fried tacos. The delicious Southwest eggrolls are a terrific appetizer ($7.95), with plenty of spice and complex flavors from smoked chicken, black beans, corn, jalapeno Jack cheese, red peppers and spinach, all wrapped in minimally greasy tortillas. The huge entrees include a spicy El Jefe burrito ($8.75), a 12-inch flour tortilla wrapped around rice, beans, sour cream, romaine lettuce, cheese and chicken (ground beef or shredded steak varieties present other possibilities). The No. 2 burrito combo ($8.75) piles on the red meat with a beef, bean and cheese burrito; a beef enchilada; and a beef taco, in addition to rice and creamy refried beans. Tell your tastebuds to be prepared, the pico de gallo is heavy on the red pepper flakes. It’s worth taking some of your entree home to save room for a dessert chimichanga ($3.75), a crunchy shell filled with smooth dulce de leche or raspberry cream served with raspberry or caramel sauce.
Despite a few slow service issues, Pepe and Chela’s delivers a great meal that doesn't break the bank.