Pepe is now open on the West Side of Disney Springs!
Pepe by Jose Andres
Pepe is the new counter service component of Jaleo by Chef José Andrés (which will open for its dinner debut this evening). This location in Disney Springs is the first brick-and-mortar location for Pepe, following the Pepe food truck which has been a hit for the last six years in Washington, D.C.
You’ll find Pepe on the front corner adjacent to the main entrance for Jaleo. So, if you’re hoping to catch some of the authentic Spanish cuisine by Chef Andres, but don’t have plans to dine inside Jaleo, we’re going to check out what Pepe has in store for you!
Pepe — just like Jaleo — was designed by Spanish designer Juli Capella.
Upon walking in, a counter stands with the menu posted above. (We’ll take a closer look at the offerings on the menu in the next section of the post.)
And, of course, friendly staff are there to greet you!
The most striking visual in the immediate area is a mural by Marc Jesús, a famous Menorcan painter known for “his ever-happy, blue-skinned female characters.”
And along with some seating in the ordering area, there is also a dedicated space inside the bright and colorful Jaleo for guests at Pepe!
Simple chairs and tables set the scene underneath gorgeous and striking red lantern-style chandeliers.
The spot is strategically placed by the Matador Bar, since that’s where Pepe guests pick up their beverages.
By the way, even though this part isn’t technically about Pepe… here’s just an FYI that the bar will be open for dinner for first-come, first-served seating and guests sitting there will be able to order off of the Jaleo menu.
But for now, it’s back to the PEPE menu!
Sandwiches, gazpacho, salads, sangria, and more are all on the menu at Pepe!
Let’s see… where to begin? How about with some Sangria?
Oh, my… what a way to start! This Sangria is not uber-sweet at all (which is something we’ve come to expect from other sangrias at Disney). It is very fruity, of course, but the sweetness comes through on the back end. It’s truly enjoyable.
Notice the extra-large cubes in the cup which melt more slowly than crushed ice. Oh, and it’s served in a plastic cup as opposed to glass for sipping outside, if you like.
And if you’d like a little (or a lot) of something to go with your Sangria 😉 … let’s take a look at a few of the sandwiches, starting with the Pepito Ternera.
The Pepito Ternera is one of the Pan de Cristal selections, which is a thin, crispy bread unique to Spain. It features flat iron steak, caramelized onion, cheese, and mayo. It is SERIOUSLY good, with huge chunks of perfectly grilled steak. The grilled onions add some terrific taste and the cheese is mild, but not lost in the flavor.
And the bread is surprising because it’s crunchy, yet somehow still chewy on the inside.
We learned that Pan de Cristal translates to “glass bread” and was named such since it makes the sound of shattering glass when you bite in.
Next up is one of the Pressed Bikini Sandwich selections: Bikini Quatro Quesos — grilled cheese! This four cheese sandwich — havarti, manchego, provolone, and Spanish blue — is served with a side of honey mustard.
The steak sandwich was so good that we thought this might be underwhelming following it. But no…
The toasty bread has a nice bit of crisp surrounding the mix of cheeses. And, even if you don’t like blue cheese, don’t let its inclusion scare you off from this sandwich. It just adds a little something different rather than overwhelming everything.
I’ve not previously dipped grilled cheese into honey mustard before, but it’s something of a game changer. This particular version isn’t as sweet as traditional honey mustard, with something of a Dijon taste.
Our final sandwich is the Pollo Fritto, served on a roll.
Breaded chicken breast comes with piparra peppers, gem lettuce, alioli, brava sauce (you’ll see this sauce again soon), and a sherry dressing.
And it’s yet another winner! The chicken is flavorful, but not too heavy. The tomato-based brava sauce tastes great and the peppers add some good heat.
You can also pick up some sides to pair with your sandwich. The Patatas Bravas are potato chips with alioli and Brava sauce. Upon receiving the “dish,” it looks like a normal bag of chips, right?
But when you reach inside…
Surprise! The alioli definitely presents a pronounced garlic paired with the tomato-based Brava sauce with its natural sweetness and lots of flavor.
This side is tasty, messy-in-a-fun-way, and very shareable!
Another side option is Gazpacho. And if you were expecting a bowl of this chilled soup, like I was… think again!
Served in drinkable fashion, this soup made of tomato, cucumber and peppers is — despite its thick appearance — quite light and refreshing!
The cucumber shines through unexpectedly and there’s even some nice spice from the peppers.
And for dessert? Soft-serve options are Leche Merengada, Fresa (Strawberry Sorbet), or a swirl. The Leche Merengada is based on a classic Spanish drink of sweetened milk with cinnamon and lemon.
The Cast Member strongly suggested we pick up a Spanish-made torta to go with the ice cream (which you can purchase individually or take home in a pack).
The Leche Merengada is terrific and unique. We didn’t pick up much of the lemon flavor, but it’s super creamy and bursting with the cinnamon. It is tasty on its own…
But we have to hand it to the Cast Member who suggested the torta to go with it!
It’s crispy and dusted with sugar, without being too sweet. It’s delicious and adds great crunch to the soft-serve. A sweet end to our first visit to Pepe!
Nosh or Not?
You’ll want to stop by Pepe if:
- You really want to try some of the cuisine by Chef Andres, but do not have plans to dine at Jaleo.
- You do have plans to dine at Jaleo, but would like some more Sangria, please 😉 .
- You’d like to introduce yourself or your family members to Spanish cuisine if it’s new to you. This is a great place to start!
You’ll want to pass by Pepe if:
- You need to save room for your first visit to Jaleo 😉 .
What a great first impression Pepe offers! There really wasn’t a weak spot in the bunch in our selections, but our favorites were the Pepito Ternera (steak sandwich), the Leche Merengada… and, of course, the Sangria! But no matter what you choose, the more upscale atmosphere and the unusually good eats make this a very memorable counter service option, and we’re so glad it’s available for guests who may not have the time or opportunity to dine within Jaleo. And the really nice thing is that Pepe is not simply an after-thought to add on to Jaleo. It’s a great destination on its own already.
Some logistics: Pepe’s hours are 11:00 AM – 11:00 PM. Pepe is one Quick Service credit on the Disney Dining Plan, with Plan guests receiving one sandwich or salad and any drink (including Sangria for of-age guests). Dessert is not included in the quick service meal credit; however, you can get a dessert as a snack credit.
And with that, we say “Welcome, Pepe!”
Would you like to dine at Pepe? Please let us know with a comment!