Outdoor renovations and greenhouse make their way to Chilli Peppers Grill & Pupuseria

Published 12:19 pm Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Chilli Peppers Grill & Pupuseria, located near milepost 5.5 in Kill Devil Hills, recently updated their outdoor dining area as a response to COVID-19.

“Because of this [COVID-19], it really propelled us to make sure we have an outdoor area,” said owner Jim Douglas. Douglas has been running Chilli Peppers for 27 years and knew that his outdoor patio was in need of a renovation.

The restaurant was closed for three months; it reopened on June 1 to 50% seating capacity. Douglas said his team would work a few hours a day during the closure to remodel the restaurant’s backyard.

Guests can enter the outdoor dining area from the bar. The plant-covered, lighted pergola ushers you to the back patio, where there now lies a pond, sculptures, hook and ring games, handmade vases containing lush greenery and a freshly painted fence to enclose it all.

Chilli Peppers decided to completely redo their outdoor tables, which now display a burned wood look. Douglas said he made most of the vases by soaking towels, sheets and pillow cases in concrete, wrapping them around an inflated exercise ball and allowing them to dry. “I saw the idea on YouTube,” he shared.

Along with the updated backyard, Douglas said he had installed a greenhouse out back of the restaurant this past winter. “We did this in December and, ironically, we were able to really use it.”

The greenhouse holds a variety of vegetables, plants and flowers. Douglas walked through, pointing out the abundant heirloom tomatoes, peppers, sunflowers and Meyer lemon trees. Most are used in his colorful food creations served daily at the restaurant.

Partially covered, the greenhouse spans throughout the back portion of the property. Staff has been maintaining the crops every day. Douglas said each one was started from seed, and it’s been a “hustle” to make sure they thrive, especially since they are back open for business.

Speaking of business, Douglas shared that it’s been weird for the grill and pupuseria. “It’s such a strange concept,” he noted. The restaurant has been offering take-out and the main seating preference seems to be outdoor dining, according to Douglas. Of course, outdoor seating is always weather-dependent.

Chilli Peppers is open seven days a week, serving lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch. Learn more at www.chilli-peppers.com.

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