Hot In the Harbor – Literally!
Where They Came From
Founded in 1989 by Craig Migawa, the Pepper Palace started out as a kiosk in a popular Mall in Wisconsin. Priding themselves on being the “One Stop Shop” for everything spicey, they soon opened two retail stores and operated out of them for the next 8 years. Deciding it was time to move “down south”, Pepper Palace debuted its first location in Gatlinburg, Tennessee with a store right on the edge of town. To this day Gatlinburg is home to the Pepper Palace empire. With a 3000 square foot retail space in the Mountain Mall in downtown Gatlinburg, Pepper Palace is the largest specialty spicy themed store of its kind in the Nation.
How They Got Here
National Harbor store manager, Derrick Pressley, told me that the owners are always on the look out for new opportunities and felt that opening another retail outlet in the Harbor was a good move. Having only been open for a little over 4 months, they are still working on making their footprint on Waterfront Street. I have a feeling that by the time the summer rolls around, they will be a destination for locals and visitors alike.
What They Do
As their motto says, this is a one-stop shop for everything spicey. The store here in the harbor is jam packed with all sorts of sauces, salsas, oils, spices and rubs, bloody mary mixes and jerky….and don’t forget the “spicey” t-shirts! They are proud of their Pepper Palace brand and display it prominently but they also offer good old stand by’s with the likes of Tabassco and some of your other favorites! You can tell by the photos in this column, that there is something for everyone! They even have a hot sauce from UVA (and several other universities) for you Cavalier fans out there. I was, however, disappointed that they don’t have a hot sauce from my alma mater University of Wyoming! Maybe I can put in a request!
How They Do It
When Pepper Palace incorporated in 2006, they started their private label. The distribution center/warehouse opened in Sevierville, TN in 2007 and they began to expand to other states. They have stores in Myrtle Beach, SC and St. Augustine, FL. They opened two franchise locations in 2011 – one in Branson, MO and the other in Gatlinburg at The Village and now at National Harbor.
I have always been a proponent of “a picture says a thousand words” so I hope the few that we have published here will give you a sense of what Pepper Palace has to offer locally! You won’t be disappointed by your stop there during your next trip to the Harbor.
112 Waterfront Street
Written by: Lani Gering