Formed out of the desire to nourish the Boulder community while serving humane and sustainably sourced food, Pepper the Noshery opened this past July in the same space Wild Standard occupied for four years. On the west end of Pearl Street next-door to Salt, both eateries are operated by chef/restaurateur Bradford Heap and his wife, Carole Vilate.
Heap and Vilate lovingly refer to Pepper the Noshery as “Salt’s mischievous kid brother.” The playfulness shows in both the menu and the design: While the word “noshery" suggests a snack bar, the restaurant serves full meals, and the space is elegant yet casual.
Despite the success of Wild Standard over the past four years, the change in concept is with the intention of creating a space and menu that appeals to a broader range of guests.
“Wild Standard received very nice reviews for the food and flavors, for which we are appreciative and thank our chefs and purveyors, but we wanted to offer something that spoke more to our surroundings here in land-locked Colorado,” says Vilate.
The Noshery menu caters to a wide range of palates, with gluten-free options, a small seafood selection, and a spotlight on vegetable-forward dishes made with fresh, organic ingredients.
“We’re keeping with the theme of GMO-free and humanely raised ingredients while moving away from the seafood focus,” says Chef Roy Benningfield. “Pepper’s menu is very vegetable-heavy with care for seasonality and approachability.”
Though Wild Standard might be a thing of the past, menu favorites like the salt & pepper calamari with sweet chili glaze, and the Thai mussels with coconut milk, cilantro, and jalapeno will be available on the Pepper menu.
Benningfield is especially excited to share First Light Wagyu beef with guests.
After spending a decade cross-breeding Wagyu Bulls with New Zealand Cows, First Light created the ideal animals that only need to feed on grass, grow to a manageable size, and yield the marbled, delicately sweet and buttery Wagyu Beef flavor that has gone on to win major awards like the 2018 World Steak Challenge.
Benningfield notes that cows roam freely on pasture at First Light farms from the time they’re weaned until slaughter, and only feed on New Zealand’s nutrient-dense, GMO-free land.
“The result is a melt-in-your-mouth product that we’re featuring on Pepper’s menu,” says Benningfield. “With items like our cracked pepper-crusted tenderloin, seared in an iron skillet, serviced with caramelized onion mash, and a port wine sun-dried tomato reduction.”
The interior went through a light remodel, spearheaded by Vilate, an interior designer. As a starting point, she approached local street muralist Lindee Zimmer and multimedia artist Jess Webb, giving them free rein to create artwork for the space using colors that inspired them. Two new laser cut aluminum chandeliers were also added to brighten the space, incorporating a reflective element to the interior.
Pepper The Noshery may be the new kid on the block, but don’t expect it to take long for it to fit right in amongst the rest of downtown Boulder.
“Once we had the artwork, I arranged everything to work together with the interior,” says Viltae. “We lightened the space and added some quirky fun elements like the hot pink cats perched on the bar shelves and freehand mermaid painted in our private dining room dubbed ‘The Pearl Dive.’
“We’re hoping that the space provides guests with an inclusive, casual and fun vibe.”