Peppe's Goes Old-School Italian

The owner of Gallo in neighboring Ridgefield has opened this South Salem eatery, and they have massive cheese wheels

South Salem is not a stronghold for restaurants, so when a new one opens there, it’s important to take note. Peppe’s, a restaurant serving traditional Italian-American fare, recently “cut the ribbon” in a space off Route 123 that used to be a bagel and pizza shop.

Raffaele Gallo, owner of the popular restaurant Gallo, in nearby Ridgefield, and partner Giuseppe (Peppe) Castellano unveiled their new eatery in September.

The ambience is “casual dining in a stylish setting.” Tables made of tree trunks and finished wood tops crowned with plants give the restaurant an earthy feel.

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The eggplant parmigiana and fried calamari accompanied by aurora sauce (made with a dash of Brandy) are recommended. And since I consider myself an eggplant parmigiana snob, I’m happy to write this is the best I’ve had.

Someone in your dining party must order the spaghetti Peppe’s, if only for the presentation. Along with cherry tomatoes, garlic, and oil, the pasta is mixed together in a giant pecorino cheese wheel—a bit of culinary theatrics with your dinner.

Head Chef Brian Bender, who has nearly 30 years working as a chef, recommends the seared hangar steak with fresh herbs.

Also on the menu: an artisan cured meats and cheeses sharing board, linguine with clams and shrimp, meat lasagna, chicken scarpariello, seared salmon in a lemon-caper sauce, and plenty of pizzas to choose from. Gluten-free bread and gluten-free pasta are also available. Gluten-free pizza is coming soon.

At lunch, expect pizzas, sandwiches, and salads; a brunch menu is coming soon on Saturday and Sunday with omelets, pancakes with strawberries and whipped cream, two breakfast pizzas, quiche, and fresh-squeezed juices.

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Since there is no café in the area for those early birds, breakfast is served weekdays, including egg sandwiches, bagels from Queens-based New Yorker Bagels, pastries, and fresh juices. The croissants and morning pastries are brought in from Balthazar Bakery in Manhattan.

With all of these options, it might seem tempting to fill up and skip the house-made dessert, but you’d regret it. The ricotta cheesecake, garnished with fruit and sugar, and the decadent tiramisu are must-orders.

The eatery seats about forty indoors and for those summer nights, about a dozen can be accommodated outside.

Peppe’s
450 Oakridge Commons
South Salem
914.533.7732; www.peppesvista.com

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