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The Scarlet & Black

Pop into the Peppertree

Looking for a good place in town to enjoy a classic Iowa meal with a bit of history? Catch the next train to he Peppertree at the Depot Crossing, on 3rd Avenue and Park Street.

The Peppertree resides in the former railroad passenger depot, where the two train tracks through town cross, and the restaurant plays on this history, with a stained glass rendering of a train just inside the front entrance. The beautiful architecture lends to the atmosphere, with original wooden trusses and bricks providing an old-fashioned feeling that simply cannot be duplicated with modern materials. There are a few choices for dining environment: there is the main dining room, the bar area and a small seating area near the bar.

Photo by Eric Mistry.
Photo by Eric Mistry.

The menu is quite extensive and offers something for everyone. There is a good list of appetizers, as well as a selection of soups and small salads. The entrée selection is huge, with a heavy emphasis on meat and seafood. There are also a variety of large salads, pastas and various sandwiches. Most of the pastas, meat dishes and seafood come with bread, salad and a side. Portions are quite sizable at the Peppertree; those with smaller appetites could easily split a meal and be sated. The Peppertree also offers a kid’s menu and various early-bird specials.

I had dinner at the Peppertree this past week—here is a peek at a meal there. After perusing the menu and being tempted by the daily dinner special of a rack of ribs, I decided on the Chipotle Chicken Sandwich. Though it came with shoestring fries, I decided to upgrade to seasoned criss-cross fries for 50 cents more. It was totally worth it. The fries were delightfully crisp and deeply flavorful. The sandwich itself was quite huge and ridiculously rich. It featured charbroiled chicken breast, topped with bacon, cheddar cheese, tomato and chipotle mayo, all on thick toasted sourdough bread. The chicken was succulent and the stack of bacon, cheese and tomatoes made the sandwich extra indulgent. The thickly cut and toasted sourdough was a good choice, as it kept the sandwich from falling apart; a lesser bread would not have made it. The portions for the meal were quite substantial—I had a generous amount of fries and the sandwich was almost big enough to split.

Peppertree’s Chipotle Chicken sandwich with criss-cross seasoned fries and pickle spear.  Photo by Eric Mistry.
Peppertree’s Chipotle Chicken sandwich with criss-cross seasoned fries and pickle spear. Photo by Eric Mistry.

The Peppertree is a great choice for larger groups and definitely has something for everyone to enjoy. The service is attentive, and the location is both historic and fun. If you like trains and great food, then choo-choose the Peppertree for your next dinner.

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