September 10, 2009

Cracked Pepper

By Eric Shangraw

July 13, 2010 Updated Jul 13, 2010 at 2:30 PM CDT

A Peoria caterer is now in the full–fledged retail bakery business.
Eric Shangraw is having lunch at Cracked Pepper in this week's You Gotta Eat.

There is more than what initially meets the eye at Cracked Pepper Catering and Bakery.
The front door puts you in direct contact with fresh baked goods. Back in the kitchen icing is going on to the 12 once cinnamon rolls. This is Herb–onion Focaccia bread with Parmesan cheese going in the oven.
Here is fresh basil being grown in a hydroponics herb garden
Nichole Martin uses Cracked Pepper's products as an automatic free pass to get into a Doctor's office. She's a pharmaceutical rep.

"I love Cracked Pepper. I think they have some of the freshest ingredients. They offer a nice variety with what they are doing everyday," said Martin before placing another order.

Every morning at 3:00 AM a baker is in the kitchen to start creating the days offerings. I didn't make it past the parking lot before ordering an Italian Beef. It was a first place winner at the Taste of Peoria. A boxed lunch also comes with baked beans. The beans and seasoning commingle nicely with ground beef. Photographer Doug Smith had a pork chop, which he said wasn't thick enough for the bun.
He also said the cole slaw was a bit tangy for his taste. My Italian beef on the other hand was a competitive creation worthy its award winning history. With drinks our bill: $19.25. Now the bad news:

"The lunch menu is going to be changed. I'm not going to make my guy cook outside in December," said Travis Mohlenbrink, Cracked Pepper President.

The good news; the winter menu includes fresh Pannini sandwiches and home made soups. The grill is going until the first of October.

" stopped to get a nice chicken sandwich and some Danishes. –And a root beer. Good place to eat!" said customer Floyd McGhee with a big grin.

Cracked Pepper Catering and Bakery is open six days a week. They serve lunch from 11-2 Monday through Friday. Closed on Sunday's.
3406 NE Adams St. Peoria
Caterping 309-219-1717
Bakery: 309-687-0039

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