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Northwest Indiana Restaurant Review
Dueling Pepe's

I've dined at two Pepe's Tacos Restaurants in Northwest Indiana (the location near the northeast intersection of Route 30 and Broadway in Merrillville and the location near the intersection of 61st and Broadway in Gary) and there are actually quite different, each worth giving a visit for some authentic Mexican dining and (possibly) other aspects of a good evening's dining experience.

I've found that both Pepe's are consistent in providing good Mexican food.  One item that I'm often pleased with at Pepe's is their tamale, which are often notoriously dry at other Mexican restaurants. 
Also, unique at Pepe's is their complimentary salsa.  It's good, but it's not your typical diced tomatoes salsa.  I hate to say it, but it reminds me of Campbell's tomato soup: it has a similar consistency and smell.  But it's good chips and salsa. ( A tip for diners who prefer the more standard version:  ask for other salsas types; they have them readily available.)

Also pleasing are the Combination platters.  Two that I've enjoyed (both for $6.75): the Pueblo Combination Platter, with Chile Relleno, taco, and tamale, and the Guadalajara Combination Platter, with steak taco, tamale, and tostada sueza (believe me?mucho sueza!).

So what are the differences?  Let me list a few. 
There is no non-smoking section at Pepe's near Route 30.  This is what the greeter told me on my last visit, and his statement really wasn't necessary to convince me.

Pepe's on 61st has a more lively atmosphere for weekends:  more enjoyable bar area, even karaoke some nights.

I've found service at the Route 30 proximity Pepe's to be more accommodating that the 61st location, but I may be recalling an odd refusal for a $1 off coupon at the later restaurant.  (But that's not a pretty picture, making both the manager and myself appear to be true cheapos, so I won't get into details beyond this attempting-to-be-amusing quip.)
The 61st location offers a more pleasing atmosphere than the sometimes noisy location near Route 30/Broadway.
Pepe's is a good Mexican restaurant to check into every so often.  I dine there at least four times a year and am typically pleased with a filling and positive experience.  (Yes, I've gotten over the coupon incident.)  Enjoy.

Read other local restaurant reviews.

See's Dining Guide for a list of area restaurants with web sites.