The culinary dreams of Wigglin’ Pig owner Ernie Padilla continue to come true with the opening of a storefront restaurant at 44 W. Main St. in Cortez.
Padilla had such good success with his local food truck specializing in barbecue, he jumped at the opportunity to expand into a permanent space on Cortez’s famous Restaurant Row.
“My menu attracted quite a following, so when this space became available, I knew this was my moment. It really is a dream come true. I love cooking and serving the public quality food,” he said during a break from the kitchen.
His signature barbecue and “gourmet comfort food” dishes like macaroni and cheese, pulled pork tacos, smothered fries, grilled cheese, and sliders and burgers keep people coming back.
“I appreciate the support,” Padilla said. “I have daily specials and plan to expand the menu.”
A staff of 10 employees bustles and hustles to cook and serve up customers during the lunch and dinner rushes at the spacious restaurant, formerly Pepperheads.
“We keep a friendly, upbeat atmosphere where people can come and enjoy a good meal relaxing with friends and family,” Padilla said.
Soon they can have a cocktail and a local craft beer with the meal once a liquor license is approved.
Attention to detail, experience in the kitchen, and flavorful recipes are what makes his food especially good, Padilla said.
“Since I was a child, I have been cooking and experimenting with different dishes and sauces. My mom and aunts were a big inspiration,” he said.
“At family reunions, I was the guy manning the grill, and as a family man I’ve perfected my style by experimenting with recipes served up to the wife and kids.”
The Wigglin’ Pig food truck will continue to show up at festivals, events and anywhere around the county where people need a hot, homestyle meal.
The new restaurant’s hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday-Thursday (Closed Wednesdays), and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday.