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Cortez restaurant Pepperhead plans to close July 7

Owners announce new, earlier closing date

Pepperhead Restaurant will close July 7, more than a month earlier than owners Tess Montaño-Forth and Pete Montaño originally planned.

The new closing date was announced on the restaurant’s Facebook page on Wednesday. Tess Montaño-Forth said she and restaurant staff members are ready to move on after eight years operating the Mexican eatery, located at 44 W. Main St. in Cortez.

“We want to make sure we provide wonderful service and great food for as long as we can, and we decided July 7 is the longest we can do that,” Montaño-Forth said on Thursday.

The owners announced in May that the restaurant would close Aug. 18 before deciding to move that date earlier. Montaño-Forth said closing a restaurant has been a new and challenging experience, but she and her crew members are trying to make the transition as smooth as possible.

Chefs Luke Hubbard and Mickey Colorado, who have worked at Pepperhead for years, will take over with a new restaurant once Pepperhead closes, according to Montaño-Forth.

Pete Montaño is retiring from the restaurant business because of health issues, and Tess Montaño-Forth wants to spend more time with her two young daughters, she said.

The food scene in Cortez has expanded and improved since Pepperhead opened eight years ago. Tess Montaño-Forth was only 24 when she started the restaurant. She said there wasn’t much else on Main Street when the restaurant opened, but over the years more businesses slowly joined them, including The Farm Bistro, Stonefish Sushi and The Loungin’ Lizard.

“The whole thing has been a very difficult decision, but we’re trying to do this in the best way we can,” Montaño-Forth said.