A Tasty Walk Through Northern Italy

Words | Debbie Burkeweb-peppes


The fresh flavors of summer are nowhere more delicious than at Peppe’s Bistro in East Stroudsburg. A style that is characterized by owner Tom Farda as “Italian trattoria meets American bistro in a relaxed, hip and casual setting,” Peppe’s offers traditional Italian comfort dishes. The food is prepared with local farm-to-table produce, fresh fish, poultry and meats as well as house-made pasta. Quick bites are also available, from black angus burgers, sandwiches, fresh salads, wings and brick oven pizza. Which, by the way, is what the bistro is particularly known for.
“We serve 12-inch artisan pies baked to perfection in our California Earthstone brick oven,” said Tom. The pizza is made with imported San Marzano tomatoes and Caputo double zero flour. The most popular choice is the saltimbocca pie, topped with fresh spinach and imported prosciutto. (Did you know that the translation of ‘saltimbocca’ is ‘jump into the mouth’?) On the veggie side, another big hit is the garden grill pizza, a tomato pie with fresh mozzarella and topped with fresh eggplant, mushrooms, broccoli, spinach and basil.

Chef Orlando Andrade stays current with culinary trends through social media, Epicurious, Food Network and others sources. He also handles private banquets and prepares the to-go food from the catering menu. His inspiration leads him to create dishes with striking flavor combinations, like fresh black mission figs with provolone and prosciutto over mixed greens with raspberry vinaigrette. “Pairing savory and sweet is a concept that is popular once again,” added Chef. “The black mission figs are seasonal; in late spring and early summer they are at their peak. The prosciutto, figs and provolone are true to our Italian roots.”

The top popular appetizers at Peppe’s include the golden fried calamari with zesty marinara sauce, and mozzarella in carrozza (breaded and fried house-made mozzarella triangles with a garlic butter sauce). Carpaccio (extremely rare filet mignon sliced very thin, served chilled with greens and sharp provolone) is also a favorite, along with shrimp pancetta (jumbo shrimp dredged in pesto sauce, wrapped in pancetta bacon and grilled, served over mixed greens).

With 60 wines to choose from at an average price point of $35 per bottle, mixed drinks are a hit as well. The preferred mixed cocktail today usually involves vodka, Tom noted. Drink favorites include a dozen martini specials from the Cosmopolitan and the Hawaiian Dream to the ever-popular dessert adult beverage, the Ultimate Chocolate martini.  “Customers are also more sophisticated when it comes to their choices in beer, and we have fifty domestic and craft beers to choose from along with ten ice cold drafts served in a frozen pint glass. Craft and draft beers with natural flavors added are fashionable now,” he added.

The bistro will soon expand their grill selections to include a 22-oz. bone-in New York Strip steak and an 18-oz. black angus ribeye, and will add gluten-free items since pizza and many other entrees can be prepared with rice flour.

Friday nights are known for live music at Peppe’s. From 7-10 p.m. entertainers play classic rock, jazz or folk music. Other special events include the Mady’s Angels fundraiser in the second week of December, hosted by Peppe’s Bistro and Skylanes Bowling Center, with live music from the Maybabies.

August and September are the best months for their farm-to-table specials, fashioned around the abundance of fresh produce like beefsteak tomatoes, elephant garlic, peaches and sweet corn. “We are very in tune with the seasonality of our fresh ingredients,” said Chef Andrade.

For more information call 570.421.4460 or visit www.peppesbistro.com.

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We are the premiere lifestyle magazine of the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania.