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Deliciousness through the generations

by: ISABEL GAUTSCHI - Meet the Sanchez family: Jose, Checho, Lorena Serrano and Jose: the family behind Pepe's Tacos.Once upon a time in the state of Jalisco, Mexico, in a small town not too different from Estacada, a young woman was learning how to cook from her mother, who learned from her mother, who learned from her mother and so on.

You’ve probably tasted some of those family recipes when you’ve rushed to Pepe’s Tacos on your lunch hour.

During a lull after the lunch rush on Thursday, Aug. 22, Lorena Serrano and her son Jose Sanchez (who translated for his mother) told Estacada News of their family business.

“Ever since she was little, my grandma, her mom taught her how to cook because she loved helping out in the kitchen,” Jose translated for his mother. “Back in Mexico what they did was they always taught the young daughters how to cook. They started from a young age.”

Lorena knew that she wanted to be in the food business ever since she was a little girl.

“She said she has passion for cooking Mexican food,” Jose translated.

Lorena grew up in the tiny Mexican town of Pihuamo. Her father owned a food market “basically like a Thriftway, but a little smaller.”

“She said it’s just like a replica of Estacada. It’s a small community and a nice place to be. It’s also beautiful in many ways,” Jose said.

Lorena met her husband, Jose (Senior), when the two worked at the same butchery. He was a butcher, she was a sales clerk.

The family grew fond of the Estacada area after visiting a relative in Gresham.

by: ISABEL GAUTSCHI - Pepe's Tacos is a popular lunchtime draw. Look for it in the parking lot in front of Napa Auto Parts.“There weren’t that many taco trucks here. It was a nice calm community. She enjoys it because it’s countryside, not like a big city,” Jose said of his parents’ decision to settle the Pepe’s Tacos business in Estacada.

Jose’s parents picked the menu by making lists of the recipes they knew and choosing the food that was the “fastest to make and richest in quality.”

Many of the recipes have been in the family for generations. All of the marinated meat sauces are made by hand and no, you can’t buy those addictive red and green sauces in a store — those too are made by the family.

When pressed for their favorite items on the menu, Lorena said her favorites are the new pineapple pork tacos while Jose favors the spicy pork nachos.

Pepe’s Tacos has been in business in Estacada for 15 years.

“Thank God so far that business has been rising each year, increasing,” Jose translated for his mother.

The whole family works at Pepe’s Tacos: Lorena, Jose Sr., Jose Jr. and his little brother, Checho.

In their spare time, Lorena and Jose (Junior) make elaborate cakes for fun.

by: CONTRIBUTED - In their spare time Lorena Serrano and Jose Sanchez make beautiful cakes and pastries. Lorena does the baking and Jose does the decorating.Lorena scrolled through an array of photos of beautiful confections she’s made with her son.

Lorena bakes and makes the fillings while Jose does the decorating.

Sometimes customers will special order a cake. When they’ve had the time to make them, cupcakes are sold at the taco truck.

While Jose has an undeniable talent with the elaborate cake decorations he does, he is interested in pursuing dentistry. He’s entering his senior year at Estacada High School.

When asked if they’d like to say anything to readers, Jose translated for his mother, “Special thanks to the community and to our customers. They’re the reason we’re still in business. We thank God that they love our Mexican food and we hope to serve you more years in business.”



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  • 20 Oct 2014

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