Chef Mimmo cooks up some delicious food for Atlanta & Co. host Christine Pullara for 50th B-Day on 11 Alive
(Photo Credit: Tomas Espinoza)
What’s your name, company name, and title?
Mimmo Alboumeh, Red Pepper Taqueria, Chef/Owner.
Which country did you emigrate from?
Why did you or your family decide to immigrate?
My family started migrating in the mid-’70s from Lebanon to Italy, Spain, then the USA in the late ’80s. I came to Atlanta in 1995.
What was the most difficult thing you faced when you arrived in the US?
I honestly was lucky because I had a large family here already. Adjusting to the American culture was easy, and people didn’t have so much hate and segregation like you see today.
What was your very first job?
I have worked in restaurants since I was 15 years old. My first job in Atlanta was at Don Juan Spanish Restaurant, closed now. It was very popular and one of the original restaurants in the city.
Why did you choose to become an entrepreneur?
At a very young age, maybe 8–10 years old, I was already helping my grandmother in the kitchen and in her small grocery store. She cooked all the time. The Chef dream was born then. I was blessed to have the ambition to become who I am. Of course, it only took 20 years to learn and build the business.
How did you raise the money necessary to launch your business?
Credit cards, loans, and partners. (My least favorite is having partners. It’s never easy for a chef to have another partner that isn’t from a chef background).
What was the most difficult thing you faced when you first started your business?
I was broke. I used all my credit limits and barely got by.
Why do you think you have been successful?
My unconditional commitment and determination to succeed. Treat every employee with respect and they will treat your guests even better.
What advice do you have for newly arrived immigrants that want to pursue the path of entrepreneurship?
We must learn the real facts in life; money cannot fix everything, but life experience can. Work for small and big companies, be patient and learn slowly. The entrepreneurship seeds will start growing before you know it.
Red Pepper Taqueria – You may be surprised to know that a full 90 percent of the menu here can be made gluten free. Some items are naturally gluten free, but many tacos can become gluten free by swapping to corn tortillas. Just ask your server.
By Malika Bowling Friday, January 12, 2018
Whether you are looking to get down to business at lunch or you just want to get out of the office, there's a spot for you in Buckhead. Here are 10 of the best lunch spots in this swank Atlanta neighborhood.
- Blue Moon Pizza – If an office outing is in your future, this pizza spot is a terrific choice. Who doesn't love pizza? Therestaurant does have lunch specials available daily, but it's better to go and share a pie as there are more than a dozen specialty pies to choose from. My go to is the Luna with chorizo, jalapenos and spicy ranch. Having a party? Blue Moon's food truck and can come to you.
- Capital Grille – Sure, when you think of Capital Grille, you think of a hearty steak. And the grille does that well, but the restaurant also features a delicious two-course lunch that will have you in and out in no time. Start with creamy butternut squash bisque then get the tenderloin sliders. Of course, they come with truffle fries. Wash it all down with the house-made grapefruit soda.
- Chow Bing – Chinese doesn’t always mean food that is laden with MSG. At Chow Bing, Gary Lin uses lots of organic meats and items containing no MSG. Get the crawfish wontons. In the mood for something really hot? Order the Sichuan wings, true to the “tongue-numbingly hot” promise on the menu. Just make sure you have a bubble tea handy to combat the burn. For a main, get Chow’s chicken.
- Davio’s – The signature spring rolls are a must order when you are dining with a group. Chicken parm, Reuben and Philly cheesesteak are highlights. Paninis and pizza are quite affordable, but steaks and other heartier options are available, too.
- Doraku – Located in swanky Shops Buckhead Atlanta, you’d expect prices to be extremely high, but at this sushi spot lunches are quite reasonable. Get a bento box or one of the the lunch specialties.
- La Fonda – This Latin restaurant features some of the best enchiladas you can find in the city. Quesadillas and paella are decent, too. Though the decor is no frills, parking is easy to come by and prices are quite affordable.
- Red Pepper Taqueria – Here you’ll find excellent margaritas and tacos. My favorite are the shrimp and kale tacos. But go and find your favorite.
- Storico Fresco – What started out as a simple Italian market has morphed into a full-fledged restaurant. Stock up on dry pastas like chickpea or squid ink from the display to take home with you. Pastas like lasagna are the highlight, but sides like grilled asparagus or the rapini (broccoli rabe) with smoked ricotta are just $6 each, or you may make your own vegetable plate by choosing three for $15.
- Sufi’s – The kebabs here are a specialty and are served with aromatic saffron basmati rice. There are plenty vegetarian selections though. Try delicious eggplant dishes, falafel wraps and more. Bringing the kids? There is a kebab menu for them.
- Yumbii – The popularity of Yumbii’s food truck spurred the restaurant location in Buckhead. You’ll find ample parking in the lot behind the restaurant. The small, fast casual restaurant has a bright and modern look. Some of my favorite items are the panko-crusted fish tacos, Asian rib eye Philly, spicy pork burrito and sides like sesame fries with Sriracha cheese dip.
Malika Bowling is the author of Culinary Atlanta: Guide to the Best Restaurants, Markets, Breweries and More!, and founder of Roamilicious. Malika also has served as a judge at various culinary competitions and food festivals, including Taste of Atlanta. Her podcast, Just a Byte, can be downloaded from iTunes. Follow her on Twitter @MalikaBowling and Instagram.
On September 5th we are raising money to help the families affected by the Hurricane down in Houston by giving 50% off all Taco Sales to Houston Food Bank.
You can also donate at anytime by visiting www.houstonfoodbank.org/donate/donate-money/
Tequila lovers, this one’s for you! It’s time to rejoice, celebrate and of course drink to celebrate the upcoming holiday: National Tequila Day (on July 24,2017). We found the most extravagant and delicious cocktails in Atlanta this summer, so go ahead check out these tequila masterpieces and honor this special day.
Chef Mimmo at Red Pepper Taqueria is gearing up for National Tequila Day with a whole host of tequila concoctions including the Paloma Margarita. But for the true tequila connoisseurs, you will find a large selection of various tequilas like Extra Añejo aged for more than three years in oak barrels, RP infused tequilas, a variety of Sotol and Mezcals and, our favorite, Tequila flights which are served with sangrita.
We had an amazing fiesta celebration! Thank you to all that attended our party and a special thank you to all our customers who continue to make our days more enjoyable.
If you’re looking for a great place for your Cinco de Mayo celebration, you might want to check out Red Pepper Taqueria. We had lunch there and it was a blast! I hear they are going to have a real party with live music and they’re pulling out all the stops for their Cinco de Mayo party. The dining room is large, but the place to be will be the outdoor seating area so get here early! The band gets cranked up at 4:30pm.
We got started with Ceviche Blanco, its made with red snapper along with a citrus salsa that has a strong lime flavor. Angel thought of all the ceviche we’ve had, and he ranked the Red Pepper Taqueria ceviche his favorite! I thought the flavor was excellent, but I liked the fact it was served with fried plantains! Very unique and totally awesome!
We decided to indulge in our family style eating method so we each get to try everything. We ordered the Chicken Enchiladas, that was served with a diced tomato salsa and mexican rice. We also order the Al Pastor, a braised pork taco served with pickled onions and grilled pineapple; Pescado Frito, a fried fish taco with slaw, corn and sliced radish; and a Carne Asada, which is a beef taco that is skirt steak, cilantro, and pickled onions. The flavor of each of the Red Pepper Taqueria dishes was excellent. The fish and the pork tacos were great in flavor but were messy because of the liquid dripping out of them. Be careful if you order these so it doesn’t drip all over your clothes.
Red Pepper Taqueria: Revelers can take advantage of all-day specials including $2 smoked beef tacos, $3 Tecate, $4 Dos XX Lager as well as the full dinner menu and drink menu from 4 p.m. to close. Read more about Red Pepper Taqueria’s bottomless mimosas here.
2149 Briarcliff Road N.E., Atlanta. 404-325-8151 and 3135 Piedmont Road N.E., Atlanta. 404-869-2773. www.eatredpepper.com.