CHEAP EATS: Pepper's Grille in Central Market
Here's the story: A York County girl fell in love with a southern boy. Together, they realized their love of spicy hot flavors and fresh food. A few months later, a downtown food stand was born.
Ginger Hollidge of West Manchester township met Stephen Walker, who previously lived in Virginia, through her best friend a year ago. She said Pepper's Grille came as an answer for the couple to live closer and share a business they both loved.
"We put a little bit of love and care in our food and keep it as fresh as we can," Walker said.
Walker and Hollidge opened Pepper's four months ago, and they are most proud of their homemade mop sauces (they taste like a thin barbecue sauce) and beer marinades that use brews from Liquid Hero Brewery.
While many area eateries promise to serve a fresh menu, Hollidge likes to think Pepper's takes it a step further.
"You'll never see barbecue sauce coming out of a plastic tub," Hollidge said.
Stationed in Central Market, Pepper's has also made friends with local produce stands and meat markets. Walker said he prefers to walk to pick up his hamburger or tomatoes.
Walker, who moved to York this year, does use one sauce that's not local. It's found in the south and he uses it to flavor all of Pepper's hand-pattied burgers. He said it's the secret that drives a better beef flavor.
When I went, I followed Walker's recommendation and ordered the Jamaican Jerk burger. It was so juicy, the bottom of my to-go container looked like a small lake when I was halfway through. I could taste a peppery seasoning and freshness.
What I appreciated most about the stand was the worker's genuine care for the food. Walker explains to customers that burgers take a few minutes, because all are grilled to order. He loves dishing out information about Pepper's fresh-food standard, and says "Have a good day" with a certain southern charm.
Pepper's also offers catering services and so far this year has filled four big catering orders, Hollidge said.
"We are trying to have a totally different standard of quality coming out of a food stand," she said. "I'm proud that all of our hard work seems to really be accepted by the area."
Cheap Eats profiles local restaurants, aiming to please our palates and our wallets. Reach Ashley May at 717-771-2053, firstname.lastname@example.org and @ashleymaytweets.
If you go
Location: Central Market, 34 W. Philadelphia St., York
Ashley's pick: Jamaican Jerk Burger, Utz chips and AriZona Arnold Palmer tea, $8.48
Hours: 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday
Price range: $3 to $7.99
Accepts: Cash and credit
Kid's menu: No