Restaurant of the Week: El Jaripeo

FESTIVAL FLAVOR. It may look small from the outside, but step inside El Jaripeo located in the Meadowbrook Shopping Center, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Jaripeo is the festival of Mexican ancestry held in many small towns. While the restaurant is devoid of bulls, loud music and racing adrenaline associated with those festivities, there are many elements that spark of a restaurant south of the border from its colorful wall hangings, table settings and most certainly it’s extensive menu boasting authentic Mexican offerings. In Culpeper four years in July, El Jaripeo is one of several restaurants by the same name located in Ruckersville and Charlottesville. For manager Ivan Marquez, the location is good and his customers are usually repeats. “Sometimes we’ll see them several times a week,” he said, “we’re busy.” Originally hailing from Honduras, Marquez is happy to have made Culpeper his home. Currently there are 14 ‘Specialties of the House’ but according to server Pedro Garcia, a new dish, the Jaripeo Parrillada, is one of his and fast becoming a customer favorite. Serving up to four, it is prepared with grilled chicken, steak, shrimp, chorizo, sausage and grilled onions. It is served with rice, beans, lettuce, guacamole, sour cream, tomatoes, and flour tortillas. Delicious! While there is no live music, there are lyrics in the air making you feel that a strolling mariachi band is just around the next table. El Jaripeo regulars Sophie Brakowiecki (left) and Marykate Lanham (right) enjoy the casual atmosphere. “We come here all the time,” said Sophie…their margaritas are great.” Customers enjoying their visit and management appreciative of the community’s support seemed the perfect photo. Manager Ivan Marquez is on the left with Pedro Garcia on the right. El Jaripeo is located at 500 Meadow Brook Shopping Center. Phone 540-727-0404

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Anita Sherman is the editor of the Culpeper Times. You may reach her at