A Saucy Story
The Red Pepper has been a Grand Forks landmark and University of North Dakota mainstay since the 1960s. The original Red Pepper is uniquely nestled in a residential area between UND and downtown Grand Forks, and its origins can be traced as far back as 1961. However, many patrons claim that it truly became something special when the Tellmann family took it over in 1973. The story goes that while Bruce Tellmann was working as a writer, he declared to his wife, Janet, that he had to find a new way to work. When she asked why, Bruce said it was because he couldn’t drive by the Red Pepper without stopping to eat. Instead of taking a new route, the couple decided to purchase the business. The Tellmanns bought the Red Pepper and turned the once small, rough neck taco shop, into a favorite stomping ground for many Grand Forks locals. While practically everything remained the same, from the name to the food, the Tellmanns add a level of pride to how they ran the business that helped the Red Pepper thrive.
Over the next forty years, the Red Pepper’s reputation for delicious fresh-made grinder sandwiches, tasty tacos and mouth-watering homemade sauces has grown into a national passion for local and nonlocals alike. By the 1980s, Red Pepper chip sauce could be found in grocery stores throughout the Red River Valley. By the 1990s, the Red Pepper crew was shipping “grinder kits” all over the United States.
Today, The Red Pepper is owned by Bruce’s son, Jeff, and his wife, Nicki – and the food is still unique, fresh and delicious. Fortunately, there is more Red Pepper to go around. In 2006, the Tellmann’s opened a second Red Pepper location in Grand Forks, which they dubbed Campus Place. Then in 2013, they opened a third Red Pepper location in Fargo, ND. In early 2018 they opened yet another location on the South end of Grand Forks, near Choice Health & Fitness and the ICON Sports Center.
With Food This Good, There’s No Need To Change
The Red Pepper is more than a taco shop. It is more than sandwich joint. It is more than a late night mexican restaurant. The Red Pepper is classic. It’s nostalgic. It’s comfortable. While everything else has changed in our world, isn’t it nice when some things stay (deliciously) the same.
You may have heard about our causal, no-frills atmosphere. You may have heard that we don’t have forks. You may have even heard a story or two about some late night adventures “at the Pep.” Or maybe you haven’t. Either way, while we are indeed known for all of these things, the one thing that everyone remembers is our food. It’s tasty. In fact, it’s down-right addictive. And, believe it or not, it’s fresh and lean. We shred our own Colby cheese, we get the leanest locally ground beef available, we use local, fresh-baked buns and all of our food is made-to-order. And our sauces? Well, you really need to taste them to believe them. Chip sauce, hot sauce, enchilada sauce, the “white sauce” – all are made right here in our own kitchen. There’s a reason we were voted “The Best Late Night Food in the United States” by Esquire magazine. But don’t take their word for it. Try it for yourself.