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Pepperhead Restaurant to close in August

Owners moving on, but margaritas will stay

Pepperhead Restaurant owners Tess Montaño-Forth and Pete Montaño announced last week that the restaurant will close in August.

Pete Montaño will be forced to retire due to health issues, and Tess Montaño-Forth has two young daughters at home. This summer will be the final one for the 8-year-old restaurant, and it will close Aug. 18, Tess Montaño-Forth said.

“It’s been a fantastic eight years,” she said. “It’s really bittersweet. I have loved being part of it.”

The space at 44 W. Main St. won’t be vacant after Pepperhead closes, though. Chefs Luke Hubbard and Mickey Colorado, who have worked at Pepperhead for years, will take over with a new restaurant, Montaño-Forth said.

“We decided the best thing was to let someone else with the passion, vision and opportunity to take over,” she said.

Hubbard and Colorado haven’t settled on a menu for their restaurant, but Pete Montaño said they will serve many different types of cuisine.

“They’re going to let themselves wander around the world,” he said.

The new chefs will still be serving Pepperhead’s signature margaritas, though, Pete Montaño said. Tess and Pete have agreed to share the recipes.

Pete Montaño said he has experienced vision issues that will force him to retire from the restaurant business. Exposure to chilis and capsaicin, the substance that gives peppers heat, has affected his vision health, he said.

Pete and Tess said the food scene in Cortez has expanded and improved since they opened Pepperhead. 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, Stonefish Sushi and The Loungin’ Lizard.

“It’s been fantastic since then watching new businesses open up,” she said.

Being part of the “Restaurant Row” family in downtown Cortez is one of the top things she’ll miss once Pepperhead closes, she said. One event she said will be especially hard to step away from is Montezuma’s Table, an annual fundraiser dinner put on by the restaurants on Main Street.

Though it was a tough decision to close the restaurant, Montaño-Forth said she’s excited to focus on being a mom to her two daughters. They will get to spend more time with their grandfather, she said. “That’s going to be the coolest part of this,” she said.


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