Pepitas to Bring Vegan-Mexican Comfort Food Near UNT with Stand-Alone Restaurant | Business


Vegan diners will have another option for plant-based fare near the University of North Texas with the opening of Pepitas Vegan Taqueria on Hickory Street this month.

The restaurant, originally known as Pepitas Vegan Cocina, opened alongside Milpa Kitchen & Cantina in October, sharing a building but maintaining separate dining areas. The popularity of the restaurant has led the Landeros family, who own and operate Milpa and Pepitas, to pursue a long-standing desire to give Pepitas its own space, which is slated to open on July 23.

“This has been our goal for Pepitas was to be its own showcase and to have its own vibe, its own energy, and that’s what we’re doing with it now,” said co-owner Jorge Landeros.

Jorge’s brother Edgar, who will run Pepitas, has been a vegan for over six years. The new space, located at 1115 W. Hickory St., Suite 113, will offer an expanded menu emphasizing Tex-Mex and Mexican comfort foods like tacos al pastor, picadillo and empanadas. It’s an opportunity to celebrate traditional and authentic Mexican food from the childhood of the Landeros and bring a unique dining experience to Denton’s vegan scene, Edgar said.

“We try to replicate recipes that we all grew up with as a Spanish family,” said Edgar. “We have the same mindset of doing things from scratch and we’re a small family, so our parents help bring in the real, authentic recipes and we sort of tweak them.”

The Landeros began work on the new space in May. Pepitas will feature lots of white and pink and lots of greenery to keep the restaurant fresh and modern. The storefront also means kitchen staff will have more room for experimentation as they receive customer feedback.

“The cuisine is huge at Milpa, but I think it will give us a lot more space to play with our own recipes and continue to grow,” said Edgar.

Right next to Fry Street and the UNT campus, the Hickory location better fits the demographics of Pepitas, Jorge said, and will be more accessible for those in the heart of Denton. The property does not plan to remain open for the Fry Street night crowd from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays and to remain open until 10 p.m. on weekends, but it does not rule out overtime for the to come up.

For now, the Landeros are focused on integrating Pepitas into his new home.

“I think it will be great to have some really culturally authentic vegan food – I don’t think we have that here in Denton,” said Edgar.

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