Springfield food truck closes, owners opening restaurant: ‘It has brought me this far’

A Springfield couple is no longer serving their food on wheels as they focus on their new brick-and-mortar restaurant.

Amanda and Louie Ortega, owners of The Painted Pepper, are opening their stand-alone restaurant today in COhatch The Market, 101 S. Fountain Ave.

Last month, was the last time for The Painted Pepper food truck to visit neighborhoods and coffee shops.

“It was pretty surreal. It was sad and exciting,” Louie said. “We’ve been doing that for six years and it has gotten us to where we are now, so it was tough. There are parts of it that I’m going to miss, but I’m glad to be going into a space.”

Louie explained he will miss “going from place to place” and meeting new people. During the coronavirus pandemic, he was allowed to bring the food truck to local neighborhoods as a close-to-home food option.

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The couple said they do not have plans to get rid of the food truck and that they are open to catering events.

“I don’t want to get rid of it. It has brought me this far,” Louie said. “We want to focus on the restaurant.”

Right before the pandemic, the couple decided to close the food truck, but reopened it for two months to serve the community and support their family.

He explained they were able to adapt to the environment. But as the restaurant opens, he said he is relieved.

“It’s really a huge relief,” Louie said. “We’ve been waiting for so long and we were so close right before the pandemic hit.”

“It’s exciting to have a home for all of things that belong to the restaurant and be able to separate that a little bit,” Amanda said.

The Painted Pepper is planning to open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday for the time being. Louie said they will open for breakfast and extend the closing time in the future.

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He said he is excited for customers to “not only experience COhatch The Market and just kinda see what the newest, coolest thing is, but they can come and still get their old favorites from the food truck and sample some new things we are offering.”

The menu includes breakfast burritos, chicken quesadillas, tacos, corncakes, dessert chips and chips, salsa and guacamole.

“We are starting with some minimal things, but we are excited to add new menus and add events - really branch out and challenge ourselves by offering different types of foods to the Springfield community increasingly overtime,” Amanda said.

She will be opening a “tiny wine bar” called Cork + Board on Wednesday at COhatch The Market.

Cork + Board will not only serve wine by the glass and by the bottle, but educate customers on the full wine experience, Amanda explained.

“Just to be apart of the COhatch space is really exciting,” Amanda said.

Other vendors in COhatch The Market include Crust & Company, North High Brewing, Ironworks Waffle Cafe, Fresh Abilities and The Market Bar.

Crust & Company is already open and most of the other vendors are planning to open later this week.

For more information on when each vendor will open, search for the vendor on Facebook.

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