The best thing about Pepper's is that, even though it did move, it hasn't changed in what, 20-30 years?
Sadly, that's also the worst thing about Pepper's, because on its best day, it was never more than mediocre.
I guess some people will find charm in the atmosphere; I've seen worse, but not often. I suspect the decor was chosen, because it's impossible to tell if the restaurant is clean or dirty.
Service anywhere can be hit-or-miss, and Boone has its fair share of less-than-great servers. Service at Pepper's is consistently lacking. Busy, not busy....doesn't matter. Servers are aloof at best.
Pepper's has okay food. Just barely OK. Not an iota of thought, creativity or innovation evident in a single dish on the menu. Ho-hum, why-bother afterthought of a salad bar shouldn't even be there. Some of the worst chili I've ever eaten (not this summer, but last winter). Boring sandwiches made with off pre-packaged ingredients. You can definitely get as good (or better) a sandwich at the Harris Teeter deli a few steps away. Salads are OK too--though in my wildest dreams, there isn't a homemade dressing or sauce in this place.
Pricing for everything is just high for what it is. Since everything is "okay" on a good day, mediocre most of the time, and maybe truly awful on a bad day..."top of the market" pricing for this fare is not a good value for anyone.
My guess is that the shockingly high rating for this stunningly mediocre restaurant is that it's been heavily reviewed by tourists, who are famished by the time they arrive, and who are dazzled by the contrived-rustic dining room. Perhaps too, the Pepper family, long entrenched in the Boone community, has a lot of friends who can type. Every few months, a friend will want to go here; if I can't convince him to go elsewhere, I'll agree to give it another try, maybe it really isn't all that bad. But after two recent, unavoidable, visits, I maintain it would be hard to do worse for your money than this.
My hope would be that if people are spending time in the mountain area, voting with their dollars, that they would find a better candidate for their vote.
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