CLOSED: Pepper Club

Overall rating: 3.0 stars 9 Reviews
Serves meat, veg options available. Approximately 1/2 of main entrees are veg. Prices moderate to slightly expensive. Reported closed to HappyCow, Dec 2014. Price: Moderate more-less
American, International, Organic, Beer/Wine, Non-veg
78 Middle St (India/Franklin Arterial)
Portland, Maine 04101

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  • Accepts credit cards


First Review by will-travel-for-food
  • mostly-vegetarian

Uninspired food, poor service

Posted on 10 / 10 / 2013

After hearing rave reviews of the Pepper Club, my partner and I tried it. Our experience was less-than-positive. The wait staff was beyond inattentive, providing very poor service and extending our wait times to at least double the norm. We watched more than once when our dishes were up or we (and other diners) were out of water, and the wait staff stood behind the counter playing on their phones or talking to one another. The food was uninspired at best - bland, overcooked, and uninteresting, both my vegetarian "pasta bake" and her omnivore steak. Definitely did not live up to the reputation. The best part of our experience there was probably the kitchen soundtrack we could hear blaring into the dining area - at least we got to listen to The Ramones through dinner.

Cons: poor service, noisy, poor quality food
  • vegetarian


Posted on 06 / 01 / 2012

We've been to Pepperclub several times in the past decade on visits to
Portland, ME. We've always liked the fact that, instead of the
obligatory single vegetarian dish, or even two, half the menu is veg,
so we're spoiled for choices. The menu is always designed with some
thought, and the execution has often been very good to excellent.

We had another good dining experience, but the food felt short of
great overall. The sliced bread they put out was indeed excellent.
But our edamame in a pepper soy sauce turned out to be a pile of
edamame (in shells) with the soy-pepper broth below, half of them
immersed and the other half entirely on top, a somewhat sticky mess of
an experience with too small a cup given to hold the shells. Of the
entrees, my partner's risotto cakes seemed to have a strong flavor and
didn't elicit any squeals of delight. My own main was corn fritters
with zucchini, black bean, and quinoa. This turned out to be just
that: a slice of zucchini (looking a bit like a gherkin slice), black
bean, and quinoa. The sauce accompanying the risotto cakes was rather
bland. So the flavor was all there, but not put together too well.

I was also disappointed that they didn't have more of the local beers
on tap: I think they offered only two. This is a pity in a great beer
town like Portland.

Beyond the food alone, either I've grown more attentive or the overall
experience has gone down a little. The interior certainly has a hip
and funky vibe, but the whole place just looks and feels very scruffy
(especially when there's some sunlight coming in) and in need of a
thorough scrubbing. In the men's room the soap dispenser was long
out, and instead there were just a few pieces of soap swimming in a
watery soapdish. I'd almost expect this at a hippie vegetarian place.
But at a place where a main dish costs $17, and it's virtually
impossible for two people to spend less than $60 for dinner? Sorry:
it feels like you may be coasting a little, Pepperclub.

Pros: very veg friendly menu, friendly, some good food experiences
Cons: expensive, scruffy
  • vegetarian

very nice

Posted on 10 / 09 / 2011

we arrived and were immediately seated in a cozy booth. our waitress was prompt and very well informed about the menu. we had the mezze plate as an app and both enjoyed it. the meal included a demi salad that was delightful and then the entrees. my boyfriend had the lemon chicken which he thoroughly enjoyed and i got the vegetarian double curry dish which was also wonderful. our waitress was available to us but not intrusive. overall we had a very nice evening

Pros: service,informed staff, big portions, healthy

  • vegan

Always good

Posted on 06 / 15 / 2011

Ever changing menu, great for vegans!

  • vegan

Great place for veggies and non.

Posted on 06 / 29 / 2010

What a great place.  My stepmom is gluten intolerant, my dad wanted a great salad, my wife a staunch carnivore and me being near veganesque with a vegetarian daughter, we did have some diverse needs and all were met.  I was also, after 4 days, so tired of veggieburgers and trying to veganize ingredients on touristy restaurants and being inundated with fried clams.

I ate at this place two years ago and every one seemed to be happy and I figured it was time for a nice meal of a higher quality.  It served all of our needs and everyone was actually happy with their fare.

We had a miso/mung bean soup which I thought was lentil at first taste.  It was seasoned just right with a nice earthiness to it.   2 other apps were Tempeh Spring Rolls with soy dipping sauce and Samosas with a chili dipping sauce.  The samosas had a nice peppery taste that overwhelmed my mom and was just a bit over the line for my dad.  We three like it.

The Spring Rolls were good but I didn't really get a tempeh sensation.

My dad said his Greek Salad was excellent and had to be persuaded to take half of it home.  He wondered out loud how chefs know exactly how much of each ingredient to put into a salad to create that perfect balance.   They're chefs dad.

We wont go into the 4 salmon dishes but everyone was happy with the mustard glazed or plainly seasoned ordered.

I tasted the mashed potatoes which were half sweet potato, garlic, salt and pepper and no dairy.  Incredibly creamy but not totally pureed so it had a bit of texture.

My Thai Coconut Tempeh was a wonderful mix of flavors.  It was served over Jasmine rice, contained bok choy, carrots, broccoli and softened triangles of flavored tempeh.  A squeeze of lime added a nice freshness to the dish.  The sauce was a coconut milk based broth.  Great dish.  I added Sirracha and it kicked.

I'm still getting my head around taking a picture of my food before I start, (or finish), eating so here's a real life example of that.  Glad I had SOMETHING to take a picture of!

The salad, which I usually don't mention, was mixed greens, crisp, refreshing, with a dill vinaigrette.  I think there might have been some tarragon in there.  What a wonderful change from Old Orchard Beach fare.

Desserts were heavenly.  I had a piece of non vegan Chili Chocolate Cake just because I think I can veganize ...

For pics and the rest of the review please visit my blog at:

Pros: great food, flex selection, atmosphere/staff
Cons: it's not local to me
Iris M
Iris M
  • vegan

Horrible and Good

Posted on 10 / 18 / 2009

Let me start by saying that this place is insanely overpriced and you don't get what you pay for. Vegan dinner portions are big but the plate is pretty much flavorless and when you close your eyes you wouldn't know what you're eating. Could be mushy cardboard. We used to go for Brunch because it was usually always pretty good. Stay away from the Tofu Scramble, it's gross. The veggie hash, home fries and Beans were good, but again overpriced and the food often comes out cold. Staff is slow. The last time we went for Brunch was for my husband's birthday. We were a party of 4. Waited over 1 hour for food to be served. My husband and I had 2 tiny little plates of cold veggie hash (out of home fries) and tiny little cup of fruit. My brother in law had a burned b'fast sandwich and mom-in law had a little plate of non-vegan items. A little coffee a little juice. We paid $62! None of the staff was apologetic that we waited for over 1 hour for a tiny breakfast and no one offered to bring something out to tie us over (like dry bread maybe or free coffee). And - the place needs a good scrubbing!!!

Pros: vegan options
Cons: quality, taste, price
  • vegan

Vegan Meal

Posted on 09 / 14 / 2009

Went to this restaurant on a recent vist to Portland (2009). We were there the night they were celebrating their 20 year anniversary. There were many options for VEGANS on the menu. We had a great meal and an enjoyable visit. The restaurant had a nice atmosphere and the staff were friendly and helpful with the menu. It is wonderful to have a good VEGAN meal and them have a great VEGAN desert to overall good experience. Enjoy!

Pros: Good food, Great staff, Good bread!
  • vegan

only went once but...

Posted on 12 / 16 / 2008

There wasn't much for me to eat. I was told it was a great place for vegans to go, and all they had for me was a veggie burger, like every other place on the planet. I think the menu changes a lot so I might have just been there on a bad night, but I wasn't impressed. But the veggie burger was good. Cute place. Nothing to write home about.

Pros: veg option, nice atmosphere
Cons: not even vegan food
  • vegan

Really cute place with great vegan special

Posted on 05 / 09 / 2008

While at Pepper Club, my fiance and I ordered one of everything that was vegan on the menu: the two vegan appetizers, the two vegan entrees, and the one vegan dessert that was offered. Each one of them was very tasty, beautifully presented, and filling. The menu changes pretty regularly, I think, so it would be a nice place to frequent. The staff were very friendly and kept our water glasses nice and full, which was appreciated after having hiked all day long. We will definitely go back to Pepper Club the next time we're in Portland!

Pros: unique, tasty dishes, great staff, lots of vegan options


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Last updated: 2014/12/27


Added: 2007/08/01


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