Fran Tate celebrates more than two decades of doin' in Barrow

Posted: Tuesday, October 31, 2000

BARROW (AP) -- Fran Tate is well-known in Barrow and beyond for two hot items in an otherwise cold climate -- jazz and tacos.

Tate recently celebrated the 22nd anniversary of her Mexican restaurant, ''Pepe's North of the Border.'' She also has logged 20 years as volunteer host of her Saturday afternoon show, ''Jazz Below Zero,'' on public radio station KBRW.

Tate, 71, remembers the origins of both events well.

She hosted her first jazz show from an old tin building with just one turntable. And she still talks about each artist, as well as about her annual trips to the Monterey Jazz Festival and others in the Lower 48.

Pepe's got its start in a small, chilly house near the downtown post office in 1978. Tate said it was fortunate she had plenty of hot coffee and spicy food to offer. The heater was strong enough to keep only a small portion of the restaurant warm.

The restaurant moved to its present location at the Top of the World Hotel building in May of 1980.

Tate has been featured in scores of news stories distributed around the world. She also appeared on the Johnny Carson Show in the 1980s.

Tate doesn't have any plans to retire. She said she loves doing what she's doing -- playing jazz and running the restaurant.

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