"J. Pepe" was born Javier Froilan y Manuel de la Pepperito into a very large family of poor farmers in southern Mexico around the turn of the 19th century. Always ambitious, "Pepe" became a Lieutenant General in the Mexican Revolution by the tender age of only 11 leading, fighting valiantly and living off little in the way of available rations and sustenance. It was during lulls in the vicious fighting that Pepe became interested in cooking and catering to his soldiers and staff. After victory he assisted in drafting the Mexican Constitution and catering to the delegates. Pepe soon afterwards returned to his small village and began to plan his future.
After a few years learning more about cooking in the safety and comfort in his mothers family kitchen, he headed with a group of friends to his Mexican neighbor to the north – the USA, and eventually made his way into the Yorktown Angel’s triple A baseball farm club as a catcher. Unable to routinely hit the slow curve ball that was popular in the 1920’s and tremendously missing access to a kitchen daily, J decided he’d head west to try and become an actor in Hollywood.
History denies us knowing much about the next few years in J. Pepe’s" life but it is known that he never made it to California and his theatrical dreams. Many historians and reports claim to have evidence that he only made his way as far west as Chicago where a young scrappy gentleman matching his background and description and introducing himself simply as "J.P." worked in the tough crime ridden streets of the Prohibition era simply catering food to gangsters, in speak easy’s, moon-shiners conventions and the occasional G-Men that wandered close by.
The next proven turnup of J Pepe came in 1945 when finally made his way to Dallas after a stint in both Europe (behind enemy lines) and in the Pacific (as a prisoner of war) during WWII. He soon married a young lady named Paula from Alabama. Apparently they settled down west of town on a few acres. Little is known about Paula but its understood she liked it that way – spending most of her free time playing (cheating) Texas Hold’um on Indian reservations north in Oklahoma.
During this period of his life J. had the opportunity to open his very first restaurant that bore his name and began to thrive in the downtown Dallas area. Mr. Pepe was also the very first restaurateur to bring the marvel of air condition to the restaurant industry in North Texas.
J.Pepe repeatedly shunned the limelight and refused repeated attempts by the locals to bring his extensive lifelong experience to the publics eye. His standard response was "not me, amigo" when asked to share a few words. He continuously perfected his cooking craft in his kitchens for the next 45 years. He finally retired from full time work with J. Pepes Mexican Restaurant in 2000 at the urging of his great-great-great grandchildren. Sure as he did, Pepe died suddenly just two days after retiring, doing a face dive into a just finished fajita platter .
After a massive parade in downtown Dallas our beloved J. Pepe was interred in a secret location under the floor of the J. Pepe’s Restaurant. His family pledges to keep it’s true location a secret forever.
And so it goes ….