More About Maria & Pepe

For the second year, Maria & Pepe opens its doors at the cultural hub OASE, above the Maas river in Rotterdam. The 2023 adventure for a Mexican summer is longing for a follow-up.

From July 11th to August 31st, you can enjoy the treasures of the Mexican kitchen on a sunny terrace. The menu translates Mexico’s rich culture in its tasty dishes, while reflecting values of compassion and love for the planet. Get ready for warm, summer evenings with delicious food, cocktails, good conversations, salsa dance, musical performances and tortilla workshops.

Maria & Pepe is a result of love. Its co-founders, Maria and Pepe, met 3 years ago during Covid at a park in Rotterdam. Their first encounters consisted of walking and walking again, occasionally cleaning up trash together and being home before curfew. Love is not only for each other but extends to all life on earth which we practice as best as possible at the pop-up. “You‘ll see this first in our menu, but just as much in our interactions with each other. The vibe within the team is special – you can see that when you are our guest,” says Pepe (aka Joost).

“Mexico has so many colors and flavours – there’s no end to it, it just keeps going. The pop-up is such a great opportunity to share everything it has to offer, while adding an extra layer of our take on environmental and social consciousness. Building the menu and the terrace has also been a good exercise of reflection, being self-critical and discovering our position and responsibility as citizens on the planet” – Maria


Maria & Pepe is not just any restaurant, but has a special seasoning that shows that entrepreneurship is possible based on mutual trust. Working from values is essential. We do this by:

  • We believe that people are naturally disposed to care, and need to have meaningful power in order to sustain that care (from the book Citizens by Jon Alexander, Food Citizenship)
  • We see people as citizens: good beings and willing to participate and take responsibility
  • As citizens, we care about the wellbeing of all life on this planet
  • We practice practice non-violent and kind communication with the team (and our guests, of course). This is important to not only maintain a good flow of service, but to build and create a positive and uplifting work environment for everyone
  • Whoever joins the team shares in the revenues! Everyone in the team shares depending on experience and number of shifts worked. This way everyone participates equally and act on responsibility and solidarity
  • There is transparency about income and expenditure. The team is always informed about the financial outlook
  • A crowdfunding campaign will start at the beginning of May to raise the necessary starting capital. New and old fans can then help out Maria & Pepe take off to a good start
  • This year, we want to welcome at least 50 Rotterdammers for whom eating out is not a given. That is also partly what crowdfunding is intended to cover
  • The profit (if realized) will be donated to a project in Mexico and the Netherlands.


Support us by joining us for dinner, spreading the word, or making a donation to the project!

Make your donation to:
Joost van Beek Ecopreneur

75% of your donation is used for a meal for a meal and 25% for our building up. 

Maria & Pepe is a non-profit project. For administrative reasons, your donation will be done through the Joost van Beek company (eenmanszaak). Who knows…maybe founding a Maria & Pepe NGO is in the cards for the future?